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How to Clean Your Above Ground Pool Filter: A Comprehensive Guide for Every Type

Posted by Watson's on Mar 26, 2024 1:56:59 PM

Keeping your above ground pool ready for every splash, laugh, and dive starts with crystal-clear water. And the secret to that clarity? It’s all in the filter care, whether you’re working with sand, cartridge, or diatomaceous earth (D.E.) filters. A clean, well-looked-after filter system is your best bet for not just inviting waters but also a pool that’s set to be the stage for memories for years to come. So, let's simplify the process, breaking down how to clean each type of above ground pool filter and spotting the signs that it's time for a replacement. Ready to dive into maintenance made easy? Let’s go!

Understanding When to Clean vs. Replace Your Pool Filter

Before delving into the cleaning processes, it's crucial to recognize the signs that indicate when a filter needs cleaning or replacing:

  • Sand Filters: Typically require replacement every 5-7 years. Signs that it’s time include sand finding its way into the pool, the filter running at higher pressures even after backwashing, or a noticeable decline in water clarity.
  • Cartridge Filters: The lifespan of a cartridge depends on maintenance frequency, pool usage, and environmental factors. A cartridge often needs replacing when it shows signs of fraying, has cracks in the end caps, or when cleaning no longer restores its water flow capacity.
  • D.E. Filters: Grids or fingers coated in D.E. powder should be replaced when they show signs of tearing, or if the skeletal framework is damaged. If D.E. powder starts to return to the pool, or if the filter's pressure doesn’t drop after backwashing and cleaning, it might be time for new grids.

Above Ground Pool Dirty Cartridge Filter

Deep Dive into Filter Cleaning and Maintenance

1. Cleaning Sand Filters

Sand filters are a popular choice for above ground pools due to their effectiveness and simplicity. However, even the best sand filters need regular maintenance to keep your pool water sparkling.

Steps to Clean a Sand Filter:

  • Backwashing: The first step in cleaning a sand filter is backwashing, which reverses the water flow to flush out debris. Turn off your pool pump, set the filter to 'Backwash' mode, and turn the pump back on. Watch the sight glass; when the water runs clear (typically after 3-5 minutes), you've done enough.
  • Rinsing: After backwashing, set your filter to 'Rinse' for about 1 minute to settle the sand and eliminate any remaining dirty water from going back into your pool.
  • Chemical Cleaning: At least once a season, use a specialized sand filter cleaner to remove oils and deeply embedded debris. Follow the cleaner's instructions, typically involving adding the cleaner to the skimmer with the filter set to 'Filter' mode, then backwashing after a few hours.

Above Ground Pool Sand Filter

2. Cleaning Cartridge Filters

Cartridge filters capture dirt and debris through a fine filter media. They're straightforward to clean but require more frequent maintenance than sand filters.

Steps to Clean a Cartridge Filter:

  • Removing the Cartridge: Turn off the pool pump and release the pressure from the system. Open the cartridge filter housing and carefully remove the cartridge.
  • Rinse with Water: Use a garden hose to rinse off loose debris from the filter. Avoid using a high-pressure nozzle, which can damage the filter fabric.
  • Soak in Cleaner: For a deep clean, soak the cartridge in a filter cleaner solution or a mixture of water and muriatic acid. This step is crucial for removing oils and deeply embedded dirt.
  • Rinse and Dry: After soaking, rinse the cartridge thoroughly with clean water. Allow it to dry before reinstalling. Drying can help open up the filter's pores, improving its efficiency.

Dirty Cartridge Filter

3. Cleaning D.E. Filters

D.E. filters offer the finest level of filtration, trapping particles as small as 5 microns. They require specific maintenance to function correctly.

Steps to Clean a D.E. Filter:

  • Backwash: Like sand filters, start by backwashing your D.E. filter to remove dirt from the filter grid.
  • Open and Clean Grids: After backwashing, turn off the pump, release the pressure, and open the filter tank. Remove the grids or fingers and hose them down thoroughly.
  • Inspect and Repair: Look for any damage or tears in the filter fabric. Damaged grids will need replacement to ensure your filter works effectively.
  • Recharge with D.E. Powder: Once the grids are clean and the filter is reassembled, add fresh D.E. powder through your skimmer, as per the manufacturer's instructions. This step replenishes the filter medium, ensuring optimal performance.

Above Ground Pool Filter System 1

Ensuring Optimal Performance and Water Clarity

Regardless of filter type, maintaining optimal performance involves regular monitoring of the system's pressure gauge. A significant increase over the baseline pressure indicates it’s time to clean the filter. Conversely, a pressure drop after cleaning that doesn’t improve water clarity might suggest the need for filter medium replacement (sand or D.E. powder) or a new cartridge.

Embracing Maintenance for Endless Fun

By embracing the routine maintenance of your pool's filtration system, you're not just ensuring the longevity of the pool itself but also guaranteeing countless hours of joy and relaxation. Watson's believes in making your house a home you'll cherish, and part of that is providing the know-how to keep your pool's heart—the filter—beating strong.

Whether it's time for a thorough cleaning or a complete filter replacement, remember that this maintenance is key to uninterrupted, crystal-clear fun. Dive into these practices with the same enthusiasm you have for poolside entertainment, and rest assured, your efforts will pay off in clear, sparkling water that invites life’s best moments.

Stay tuned to our blog for more tips on elevating your home entertainment experience, because at Watson's, we're more than just a store; we're a cornerstone for creating memories that last a lifetime. Let's dive in, make a splash, and let the good times roll—one clean filter at a time.

For more tips and tricks on above ground pool maintenance visit our comprehensive guide on above ground pool maintenance

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my filter is working properly?

A well-functioning filter will maintain clear pool water and operate at a consistent pressure range. If you notice cloudy water, higher than normal pressure readings after cleaning, or sand/grit returning to the pool, it might indicate a problem with your filter system.

Can I clean a cartridge filter without chemicals?

Yes, for routine cleanings, simply removing the cartridge and washing it with a garden hose can be effective. However, for deep cleaning to remove oils and stubborn debris, a specialized cartridge cleaner is recommended.

Topics: Pool - Above Ground Pools

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