The Ultimate Guide to Pool Filter Types, Maintenance and Repair

The Ultimate Guide to Pool Filter Types, Maintenance and Repair

The Ultimate Guide to Pool Filter Types, Maintenance and Repair


A sparkling pool is the heart of a perfect summer day — a refreshing centerpiece for backyard barbecues, splashing kids, and serene evening swims. What keeps your pool shimmering and safe? A well-maintained filter system plays an important role. Yet, the options and intricacies of pool filters can be overwhelming. Whether you're a pool owner looking for DIY advice or a professional honing your craft, understanding pool filter maintenance is crucial for consistent water quality. This comprehensive guide unpacks the mystique of pool filters and offers actionable advice on how to clean, repair, or replace them effectively.


Part 1: Decoding the Three Pool Filter Types

Sand Filters: The Workhorses of Pool Filtration

Sand filters are a popular choice for their simplicity and cost-efficiency. High-grade pool filter sand is the medium that traps dirt and debris as water flows through it. These filters require backwashing — a process that reverses the water flow to flush out contaminants from the sand.

When a sand filter is properly maintained, sand replacement is typically necessary every 7 years. If the pool water is regularly balanced and backwashing is done frequently, the sand maintains its effectiveness. Over time, fine particles can bypass the sand media, leading to cloudier water.

Cartridge Filters: The Clean Team for Clear Water

Cartridge filters are known for their fine filtration capabilities. They consist of a cylindrical cartridge with pleated polyester fabric or another fibrous material. Water passes through the fabric, trapping smaller particles than sand can.

Maintaining a cartridge filter involves regular cleaning with a hose to remove visible dirt. Deep cleaning with a filter cleaner, and eventually replacement of the cartridge, is also necessary as the filter ages. A well-maintained cartridge filter can last 3 to 5 years before needing replacement.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Filters: The Micron Masters

DE filters utilize filter grids coated with diatomaceous earth, a fine, porous powder made from the fossilized remains of diatoms. The powder coats the grids and acts as a filter, capturing even microscopic particles that the naked eye can't see.

DE filter maintenance is the most involved of the three filter types. Regular backwashing is necessary, as is adding more DE after each backwash. The grids themselves need to be thoroughly cleaned at least once a year, ideally just before the pool season starts. With pristine maintenance, DE filters can last 10 years or more.

Each filter type has unique benefits and maintenance requirements, and your choice may depend on factors like pool size, the environment, and the desired water clarity. It’s essential to understand the specifics of the filter in your pool to keep it performing at its best.

Part 2: How To Maintain Your Pool Filter

Regular Cleaning Schedule

Filters require regular cleaning to prevent a buildup of dirt and maintain water clarity. Depending on usage and environmental factors, a sand filter may need a backwash every 1-2 weeks, a cartridge filter may need deep cleaning every 1-2 months, and a DE filter should be taken apart and cleaned at the start and end of each season.

Detecting and Addressing Leaks

Leaks are a common issue with pool filters and can be the result of O-ring deterioration, cracked filter bodies, or issues with the plumbing. It's important to inspect your filter regularly for any signs of leakage and address them promptly to prevent water loss or damage to the filter.

Recharging DE Filters

DE filters operate by a fine powder coating the filter grids, which needs to be replenished after each backwash to maintain effectiveness. This process is called "recharging," and it's as crucial as the backwashing itself. After backwashing, and once the filter has been run for a few minutes, the DE powder is added to the skimmer to evenly distribute it throughout the filter.

The frequency of necessary cleaning for each type depends on usage and environmental factors likelandscaping, weather, and the number of swimmers. By understanding how to properly maintain your specific filter, you can extend its life and ensure top performance.

Part 3: Signs That Your Pool Filter Needs Repair

Decreased Water Flow

A noticeable reduction in water flow is often the first sign of a dirty or clogged filter. It’s important to address this promptly, as reduced filtration can lead to a variety of water quality issues and strain on the pump.

Pressure Gauge Spikes

The filter’s pressure gauge is a key indicator of its condition. If the pressure is consistently higher than normal (after cleaning), that's a sign that the filter is clogged, the pump is too powerful for the filter, or there's a potential issue with the multiport valve or piping.

Water Clarity Issues

If your pool is experiencing water clarity problems despite proper chemical levels, your filter may be the culprit. Water that is not coming out clean or is taking longer to clear up post-backwash indicates a filter issue.

Uncommon Noises

Unusual sounds like grinding, whining, or clanking can indicate a variety of issues from a simple mechanical issue to something more serious. Call a professional immediately if you hear any unexpected noises coming from your pool filter system.

Detecting a faulty filter early can save you money and time. Filters are designed to help keep your pool's water sparkling, and maintaining them properly ensures that your pool operates at its best.

Part 4: Filtering Through The Repair Process

DIY Filter Repair

Minor issues with your pool filter may be fixed with some DIY maintenance. This can include O-ring lubrication, plumbing repairs, or simple part replacements. Most filter systems come with a user manual that outlines how to perform these tasks.

Professional Filter Repair Services

For more complex problems or if you’re not confident in your DIY skills, it’s best to turn to a professional pool technician. A technician can diagnose the problem accurately and either repair or recommend the replacement of critical filter components, saving you the headache of troubleshooting.

Upgrading Your Filter System

Sometimes repairing your current filter isn’t the most cost-effective solution, especially if your filter is nearing the end of its lifespan. Upgrading to a more efficient system, or one that better fits your pool's needs, can save you money in the long run and provide better filtration.

Investing in high-quality equipment and staying on top of repairs and maintenance is essential to protect your pool and swimming experience. It’s always best to work with a professional if you’re unsure about any pool maintenance or repair task. Properly maintained, your pool filter will keep your water clean and clear, so you can enjoy those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer to the fullest.



Your pool filter is one of the most important components of your pool system. It's the guardian that stands between you and a cloudy, uninviting pool. Understanding how to select, maintain, and repair your filter can save you time, money, and ensure your pool water remains inviting all summer long. If you're in need of pool repair in Orlando, FL, don't hesitate to reach out to All Phase Pool Remodeling for professional service. Remember, a clean filter equals a happy swimmer!