Make Filter Media Last

Those keeping accurate logs should be able to tell if there is a problem with flow. The flow rate is calculated by taking the volume of the pool divided by the state’s turnover rate divided by 60. If the flow rate is not greater than or equal to this number, ascertain why it is not meeting the flow.

Some of the easiest actions to take are to empty the pump basket, clean the skimmer baskets, and make sure all valves are in the correct position. If the flow rate still does not improve, it is now time to backwash.

What about cartridge filters?

Cartridge filters do not provide the option to backwash; rather, they need to be cleaned manually, which is a lengthy process. It involves shutting down the filtration system (pump included), manually removing the cartridges, and cleaning with a high-pressure hose to remove oils, grease, dirt, and scale.

After cleaning, if there are still oils, grease, dirt, and scale, use the following process:

Follow the steps in this article to clean your filter cartridge. Island Gate HOA, Manahawkin, NJ

Note: Always turn off the pump before doing anything to a filtration system. Also, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions.

1. Open the filter-drain valve and air-relief valve (if applicable).

2. Take off the lid to remove the cartridges.

3. Spray each cartridge with a hose.

4. Soak the cartridges in a Tri Sodium Phosphate (TSP) and water bath overnight.

5. In the morning, spray each cartridge with a hose.

6. Soak the cartridges in a muriatic acid and water bath (ratio of 1 to 15) overnight.

7. The following morning, spray each cartridge with a hose once again.

The cleaned cartridges are now ready to be reinstalled. First, replace the lid. Remember to close the filter-drain valve and air-relief valve. Start the filtration system (turning on the pump) to see if all parts are assembled correctly.

If the filters leak, turn off the pump and make sure the gasket has a tight seal before turning it on again.

It is highly recommended to have a spare set of cartridges on hand so the pool or spa will not be shut down from the two-day cleaning process. If this is the case, be sure to allow the cleaned cartridges time to dry then store them for later use.

How long will filter media last?

With continual use and backwashing or cleaning, filter media do have a life expectancy. The sand in sand filters may last between 5 and 15 years, as long as the top layer of sand is changed annually.

The DE in a DE filter generally lasts 4 to 6 months, and the same between cartridge cleanings.

High bather loads diminish the life expectancy of filter media. Again the more the filters are backwashed/cleaned, as well as the higher bather load, the less life expectancy the filter media will have.

As with everything, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions when backwashing/cleaning or replacing filter media. Do not use backwashing as a part of the routine, but rather when needed to get the most out of a filtration system.

Trevor A. Sherwood II is the owner of Pool Operation Management, a pool-consulting company, in Brick, N.J. Reach him at (732) 451-1040.

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Related posts:

  1. Weighing The Options
  2. Troubleshooting Filters
  3. Spray-Equipment Filtration
  4. Regenerative Media Filtration
  5. Troubleshooting Filters – Test

2 comments on “Make Filter Media Last

  1. Bill Rich on said:

    Nice article however just a few comments. The sand in sand filters last forever as long as you take good care of it. You do not need to replace the top layer of sand every year. Keep your water balanced properly and you should not have to replace it. DE is thrown away each time you backwash the filters. If it is a bump D.E system the media will last as long as you are able to get good filter runs. Once you are unable to get the filter run you want between backwashing then it is time to clean the filter and add new media. Most bump DE filters do not use DE. They use a material made from wood pulp. Much better for the enviroment. With cartridge filters you should always have a second set of filters so you can run the pool while you are cleaning the cartridge filters that are dirty. You don’t want any down time for your pool. If you take good care of your cartridge filters they can last up to a year. Again keep the water balanced to make them last longer and don’t wait too long to clean.

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