Properly maintaining swimming pools can be tricky business. You can hire a pool service to keep your pool cleaner, but it isn't too hard to do it yourself. You have to understand what kind of swimming pool chemicals are best used to treat the water of the pool and you have to have a filter to keep the water pumping and get rid of any dirt or debris that might end up in that water. Chemicals and filters are two of the most important swimming pool accessories that are available to pool owners. There are three different kinds of pool filters available for inground swimming pools and you should know that all of them will do an exceptional job at keeping your pool clean and usable. If you have experience with hot tub filters or hot tub chemicals, you may want to read this anyway, since hot tub filters are a little different.
Even though all three pool filter systems (sand, cartridge, and diatomaceous earth) will do a good job of removing all of the nasty stuff from your pool they each work in different ways and will each have distinct characteristics that you might want to consider before you install one of them. If you’re looking for particular brands for pool pumps and filters you might want to check out a Hayward pool filter or one of the Intex pool filters.
Pool Sand Filter: Can’t Go Wrong with Sand
A swimming pool sand filter pictured above.
Sand filters use the technology of the earth itself to filter your pool system. Basically what they do is push water through a bed of sand at one end of the pool. As the water is sucked through the layers of sand all of the stuff you don’t want to see floating around your pool will be caught up in the sand and filtered through a series of tubes underneath. Dirty pool water comes in through the top layer of sand and clean water is put back into the pool after the filtration is complete.
Sand filters have their benefits. They are really easy to clean because all you have to do is replace the used up dirty sand with some new sand but they have a pretty low catch rate. Sand is dense but it isn’t the finest comb for filtering water so the backwash hydraulic pool filter pump the filter uses to pump water back into the pool isn’t going to catch everything it should. Sand filters are the least effective filtration type because they will always allow the smaller particles to get back into the pool.
Pool Filter Cartridge: Cost Effective and Easy to Treat
A cartridge swimming pool filter system pictured above.
Cartridge pool filters are pretty simple really. They use the same mechanic your bathroom and kitchen sinks use to catch debris. That is, they pass water through a filter material that gets all of the little pieces stuck in it. The water passes through and gets clean and as soon as the cartridge fills up to the point that water can’t pass through anymore you simply remove it and empty it out.
The nice thing about cartridge pool filters is their price. Cartridge systems are incredibly cheap and even if they break down (which they probably won’t ever do) you can easily just replace the broken filter with a new one. To properly keep your cartridge filter maintained you just have to manually clean it out once or twice each month. The cartridge filters will catch more or the small particles that sand filters miss but they aren’t necessarily the most accurate filters out there.
Diatomaceous Earth Pool Filters: The BMW of Pool Filters
DE pool filters look like this.
Diatomaceous Earth pool filters, or DE for short, are made out of fossilized diatoms. What’s a diatom you ask? Well, they are basically tiny little dinosaur insects that have gotten stuck in rocks for millions of years. Why are we using dinosaur bugs to clean our pool’s water? Simply put: there is no finer comb than a comb made of the exoskeletons of these bugs.
The DE swimming pool filter has its grids coated with the bones of these fossils and they serve to create an incredibly accurate filtration system. These water filters are practically splitting the hydrogen molecules in the water to get rid of all the debris and can filter out particles up to 5 microns small. That’s some impressive filtering if you ask me.
DE filters are going to be more expensive and they require a lot more power than your sand or cartridge swimming pool filters so they might not be as energy efficient. However, they are by far the best filtration system out there if you don’t mind spending a little extra money on these pool accessories.
If you don't have one already, a pool cover also helps in keeping your pool clean. Swimming pool covers are an easy way to keep debris out of your pool and out of the filtration system. Inground pools and fiberglass pools alike would both benefit from having a good filtration system in place, and the filters will extend the longevity of each type of pool.