Having a pool at home is a very important investment. Although it may not be used all the time, when summer comes you will see how you needed a cold-water dip. However, having a swimming pool is more than just building it. It is a responsibility, and maintenance task that can take up a lot of time and money, especially if it is not done at the right time.
The filter is an element that stands out in maintenance tasks, being the fundamental piece that allows the use of the neat pool. Today we’ll show how to clean a swimming pool filter properly so you can extend its life and keep your pool in optimal condition.
Keeping the pool water clean is not a game, it is a constant job that you must never forget to do, and that is why it is important to have a clean filter system. With proper maintenance, this component will allow the water to remain purified for much longer. Not only because it is in charge of removing dirt, but it also helps the chemicals to recirculate throughout the liquid.
Obviously, there are many types of filters, and each one has a particular way of cleaning it thoroughly. However, the vast majority are built with a similar design. Therefore, knowing how to clean a swimming pool filter will prepare you to cover most cases.
We anticipate that you should get a pair of gloves and protective glasses since there is a possibility that you will need to use muriatic acid in extreme cases.
How to clean swimming pool filter – Cartridge filter
As mentioned, there are many types of pool filters, and due to the type of dirt that clings to them, some people even use dangerous chemicals to clean them. However, this is a somewhat extreme method.
The first step will always be the same: turn off the pump, and remove the air in the pipes and filter. The built-up pressure could cause you serious injury when handling the devices.
You should remove the system pressure slowly by opening the air relief valve just a little, which is usually located on top of the filter tank. Because it is under pressure, abrupt disposal is dangerous.
Once all the air has been removed through the air relief valve, the next thing to do is open the filter tank. Depending on the model, the tank can be secured by O-rings or metal clamps.
Now, to know how to clean the filter, you must understand its basic operation.
Inside the tanks, there are a few small devices called cartridges (in this model). The cartridges are a kind of strainer or mesh similar to that used to filter coffee, which prevents large particles of dirt from passing through.
With use, the cartridge filters begin to accumulate dirt to the point where the water can barely circulate. You must keep the cartridge clear of anything that obstructs the passage of water, or else circulation will be reduced and the mesh will break.
With the tank open, removing the cartridge should be a simple task. Although, some small models also include accessories that can make this step difficult.
Careful cleaning or needed replacement
With the cartridge in hand, it is time to determine if it is better to replace it with a new one or clean the filter. Generally, and with proper care, a cartridge should last at least 5 years, although this period is subject to the use of the pool.
A damaged cartridge filter is easily recognizable: if the mesh has holes, or if the material is excessively worn, it is best to replace it. One way to find out if the cartridge is still functional is to soak it in filter cleaner overnight. If it doesn’t come out clean, then it needs to be replaced.
If you think that cleaning the filter will recover its full capacity, then proceed first with the simplest method: spraying water. It may seem ironic to use water to clean a filter that keeps the water clean, but the trick is to spray it under pressure.
Always cleaning from top to bottom, use a steady stream of water so that the dirt separates itself from the filter. If you find debris, plants, or oils adhering to the cartridge, you can help with a little filter cleaner to soften the debris.
Rinse the cartridge filter, flip it 180 degrees so that the bottom is now the top, and repeat the process to remove the remaining dirt and debris.
In the same way, you can also check the filter tank, since dirt also accumulates in it. If you have the opportunity, apply a bit of lubricant to the lid that keeps the tank sealed so that it is easy to open and does not rust.
How to clean swimming pool filter – Sand Filter
Another type of filter that is extremely popular, especially for its low cost, is the one that uses silica sand inside the tank.
Actually, a sand filter is made up of several layers of sediment, each one of different thickness, which filters the dirt by levels. In this way, the larger stones at the top can stop oversized dirt, while the bottom is made up of fine sand that has smaller particles. Despite this construction, this mechanism is not as efficient at removing small organisms, so you may need to add a final filter.
As we said before, the cleaning process is pretty similar. First, turn off the pump and remove the filter tank.
Now you simply have to clean the filter against the current using a garden hose and a bit of cleaner. In this way, the small dirt and debris trapped in the intermediate layers should come out thanks to the large open spaces.
You should also bear in mind that the sand in this type of filter deteriorates. If the quality of the pool water decreases, it may be time to change it.
How to clean swimming pool filter – DE Filter
The last type of filter that you may need to clean is very similar to the sand filter. These are DE (Diatomaceous Earth) filters, which replace sand with sponge-like organisms. They are responsible for filtering the water.
In this case, you will have to rinse the filter for at least 5 minutes against the current with a steady stream of water.
As with the other models, you need to check the grates, the manifold, the O-ring, and even the tank. Each of these parts should be carefully cleaned and checked for any cracks or damage. The tank must be lubricated depending on the wear it had. The pump must be filled with pool water and finally, the air relief valve must be opened to remove the excess.
Testing the air relief valve
With the cartridge, sand, or DE clean, the next step is to simply assemble each piece in place and reinstall the filter. To be sure that the whole process was well done, you should check that the PSI is within its normal range. If not, it is possible that the tank is not set correctly.
Finally, once the placement of the tank has been verified, it is necessary to test the system pressure that the filter has. It is important to make sure the valve is working properly for the filter to do its job, and for this, you have to turn it on.
If the air relief valve only pours water, then the purge process is complete and there should be no more air bubbles in the pipes.
Hard but rewarding work
Having a pool in the house is undoubtedly not an easy thing, since it requires a lot of work and effort to keep it clean. However, once known how filters work and how to clean them, the work becomes somewhat easier.
The most important part of the process is knowing when it is better to replace the parts than to clean them. It is not worth extending the life of a filter that no longer does its job, as it will only bring you problems and more constant maintenance.
Also, remember that in most cases, with a regular check you will not need to go to the extreme of using muriatic acid to clean the filter system. This is the main thing you should avoid, as the pressurized water is more than enough to remove the dirt that interferes with the filters.
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