A clean and healthy pool filter is essential to ensure pool water is free of dirt and debris. When you have a dirty filter, trying to clean a pool becomes a lot more difficult.
Cleaning your cartridge filter for the first time can seem daunting, but you'll be pleased to know that it's not as scary as it sounds.
To learn more about pool filter cartridges and how to clean them properly, read on!
Table of Contents
- Why do you clean pool filters?
- Cleaning a pool cartridge filter: a mini guide
- Step 1: Turn off the filter system
- Step 2: Open the filter canister
- Step 3: Remove the cartridge
- Step 4 - Check for damage
- Step 5: Remove any dirt or debris
- Step 6: Time for a deep clean
- Step 7: Reinsert the cartridge
- Step 8: Check the filter air pressure
- Cleaning tips for pool filter cartridges
- Clean your pool filter cartridge with hydrochloric acid
- Use hydrochloric acid
- pool maintenance course
- How to clean different pool filters
- How to clean a sand pool filter
- Cleaning once O.D. (Kieselgur) Half filter
- frequently asked questions
Why do you clean pool filters?
Before we dive in, you might be wondering why a pool cartridge filter even needs cleaning.
Pool filters collect small dirt particles and debris that move through the water from people, animals, leaves, etc. Traces of body oils, calcium, and even insects often clog the filter, preventing it from doing its job.
Occasional cleaning of the filter is an essential part of basic pool maintenance.
Cleaning a pool cartridge filter: a mini guide
Our 8-step guide below explains everything you need to know about cleaning your filter cartridge.
Step 1: Turn off the filter system
Turning off the pool pump and filtration system is essential when dealing with the inner workings of a pool. This will prevent damage to the device and yourself.
You must now "open" the bleed valve to remove the air from the filter canister. It is important that you only open the filter canister when there is no more air inside.
Step 2: Open the filter canister
Removing the filter tank cap is fairly easy. Most come with an o-ring that is removed by depressing the "release" knobs and turning them counter-clockwise.
If you have trouble, you can always refer to your filter's instruction manual (if you still have one!).
Step 3: Remove the cartridge
After removing the cap, you can reach into the tank and pull out the cartridge filter. How this is done depends on your cartridge model. Some cartridge filter models come with a large attachment, but others can be detached separately once removed from the filter housing.
Again, you may need to take a look at the manufacturer's manual for advice on the best way to remove it.
Step 4 - Check for damage
Once the filter cartridge has been safely removed you can check for wear. The material may have small rips or tears.
If you come across a small hole or crack, it can affect the efficiency of the filter, so we recommend you buy a new one. Cartridge filters typically last 3-5 years before needing to be replaced.
Step 5: Remove any dirt or debris
A garden hose is the perfect tool for this job. The best way to remove dirt is to start at the top and spray all the way to the bottom. Then turn the cartridge over and repeat the process. A hose with a powerful nozzle attachment is ideal for this type of filter cleaning.
Use:There are some filter cleaners on the market that connect to a garden hose and allow water to easily enter the folds of the filter for a more thorough cleaning. One of the most popular is theKatikie's cartridge filter cleaner, which is available from Amazon.
Step 6: Time for a deep clean
Hosing down is effective at removing larger pieces of dirt and debris, but also requires a more thorough cleaning with some effort.
Oils from sunscreen, skin, and sweat can be difficult to remove, especially when there is a lot of them. A generic filter cleaner or pool degreaser will do the job, both of which can be found at most retail stores. Simply spray the product onto the cartridge filter and leave for about a minute before rinsing.
Step 7: Reinsert the cartridge
When you are happy with how the cartridge looks, you can put it back into the filter canister. Remember to secure the lid before turning the vent valve to the "closed" position. It is now safe to turn the filtration system back on.
Step 8: Check the filter air pressure
To make sure everything is OK, check the air pressure by turning the bleed valve slightly to release excess air. When the water starts spraying in a steady stream, you can turn it back on.
Cleaning tips for pool filter cartridges
We've put together some tips that you might find useful, especially if this is the first time you're cleaning your cartridge filter.
- Always refer to the manufacturer's manual before handling pool equipment. Following the instructions is key if you want to avoid damage.
- Pool filters only become a problem if left unattended. It is therefore advisable to manually check the pool chemistry at least every two weeks during the cooler months and once a day when the pool is in use.
- You don't have to clean your cartridge filter every day. This can do more harm than good.
- Do not use a pressure washer to clean your cartridge filter. This can damage the material, reducing its effectiveness. The filter doesn't need to look like new before you put it back in the filter canister. As long as most of the dirt is removed, you're good to go!
- Ideally, the pressure gauge should read 10-15 PSI. If it doesn't look right, take a look at the manufacturer's instructions or consult a professional.
Clean your pool filter cartridge with hydrochloric acid
If your pool filter is heavily caked with grease and dirt, you may need something harder than water from your garden hose. Remember that hydrochloric acid is an acid and as such is a chemical that should be used sparingly. Always wear protective clothing and safety glasses when using this product.
Use hydrochloric acid
To get started you need to follow the given steps to clean your pool filter normally. Then follow the steps below.
Step 1 - Put on protective clothing
If you haven't already done so, you must now put on acid-resistant goggles and gloves. You should also wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants for added protection. If the acid splatters on your clothes, you'll end up getting holes in them, so make sure they're expendable and not the best!
Step 2: Prepare the solution
Dilute hydrochloric acid in at least 5 gallons of water. For more information on the dilution process, see the instructions on the back of the product.
Step 3 - Soak Filter
Now you can place the filter in the diluted solution and let it soak overnight. When removing the filter from the solution, again wear gloves and safety glasses.
pool maintenance course
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How to clean different pool filters
If your pool does not use a cartridge filter, a sand or DE (diatomaceous earth) filter will be used. Fortunately, we also took some time to put together a mini-guide for each one. Let's take a look at them!
How to clean a sand pool filter
Pool sand filters are a popular choice among pool owners as they are the cheapest and easiest option to use. When the pressure gauge reads 8-10 PSI above its reading when clean, it's time to start thinking about cleaning the sand filter.
Here's how to do it.
- Start withfilter backwashfor a few minutes to remove as much dirt and debris as possible.
- Turn off the pool pump again before turning the valve to “Filter” mode.
- Remove the lid of the strainer and add some sand filter cleaner.
- Replace the strainer lid and turn on the pump for 10 seconds. This allows the sand cleaner to be transported quickly from the pump to the filter.
- Leave the pump off for about 8 hours or leave it on overnight for best results.
- Perform another quick backwash clean before turning the pump and filtration system back on.
Cleaning once O.D. (Kieselgur) Half filter
D.E filters are often considered to be the best filtration systems. They are able to capture and filter particles down to 3 microns in size (a grain of salt is about 90). Well-functioning DE filters are durable and easy to clean. Below is a quick guide that will tell you how to do it.
- Start by backwashing the filter for a few minutes before turning off the pump.
- Now it's time to "open" the bleed valve.
- Drain the filter canister by removing the drain plug.
- Open the filter canister. If you have trouble doing this, take a look at the manufacturer's instructions.
- Remove the screens and filter collector. You can also clean the tank with a garden hose.
- Clean both the manifold and screens with a hose, filter cleaner, or a dilute hydrochloric acid solution.
- Finally, place the collector and screens back into the filter canister. Once the lid is firmly in place, you can turn the filter system back on.
frequently asked questions
If we can't answer your questions above, our handy FAQ can help.
How to backwash a pool with a cartridge filter
This is easy as you cannot backwash a pool filter that uses cartridges. They're not designed to be backwashed, and it's unlikely you'll have such a setting available to you anyway. Instead, you have to disassemble the filters and manually clean them with a garden hose or something similar.
Can I use vinegar to clean my pool filter cartridge?
Yes, you can use vinegar as a cleaning solution for your pool filter cartridge. To do this, you need to dilute one part vinegar with one part water. However, hydrochloric acid is a much more effective cleaner.
How often does a cartridge pool filter need to be cleaned?
As mentioned above, it is not necessary to clean the cartridge filter on a daily basis. We recommend removing the filter for cleaning every 2-6 weeks. This allows the filter to collect as much dirt and debris as possible for you to remove.
What other solutions can I soak a pool filter in?
You can make your own solution using a good dish soap. To do this, you need to add one cup of liquid dish soap to at least 5 gallons of water. Then let your pool filter soak for as long as you like.