Importance of swimming pool filtration system – choosing the right one

The home swimming pool is probably one of the largest investments most homeowners make, second only to the home itself. Having a swimming pool at your home can no doubt add value, but unless it is properly maintained, it can soon become a liability and an eyesore. And the swimming pool filtration system can be the single-most important equipment you can install to ensure that your swimming pool is good for a splash anytime. Although there are a couple of different swimming pool filtration systems available in the market, the most commonly used systems are the high-rate sand filter system and the cartridge filter system.

Swimming pool sand filtration system
A typical sand filtration system for a swimming pool

The sand filter system consists of a tank, made of fiberglass, concrete or metal, containing a thick bed of special-grade sand. Now, the water inlet and outlet systems of the swimming pool is installed in such a way that the used water from the pool comes in through the filter’s inlet pipe, which leads to the water distribution head inside the tank. While gravity pulls the water down through the sand, the tiny sand particles catch any dirt and debris. At the bottom of the tank, the filtered water flows through the pick-up unit and out the outlet pipe to the swimming pool again. As the sand filter becomes plugged with debris from the pool, the water flow drops and you need to run it in reverse and dump the waste water. This is referred to as backwashing the filter, which once done you can repack the sand and use it again.

Swimming pool catridge filtration system
An Intex swimming pool catridge filtration system

But, for home swimming pools, which are in most cases smaller in size and even for over the ground pools, in place of a sand filter, a cartridge filter is best suited and easy to maintain. Cartridge filters are tanks that use polyester cartridges to filter out small particles of dirt. These filters can trap particles as small as 5 to 10 microns in size which means it can filter dirt that is impossible to see with the naked eye. In a cartridge filter, dirty water passes through a filter made out of polyester cloth or corrugated paper – something like the water filters in our kitchens. Here, once the cartridge is clogged, you remove the filter and hose it off the debris.

My recommendation:

Based on the various pros and cons of the two types of filtration systems, I would go with a high-end cartridge filter. It is easier to maintain and has no chance of blowing sand into the pool. You don’t need to backwash and lose pool water. The dirt remains in the cartridge until you are ready to replace it or wash it away. The cartridges can be soaked in cleaning solution or rinsed off to wash away some of the larger particles of dirt. Replacement of the cartridge is also very easy. Cartridge filter systems are economical – based on their diameters and the size of the pool, a cartridge can cost from just $100 to $250.