How To Extend the Life of Your Cartridge Filter Mediums

Is A Pool Filter Cartridge Cleaner Worth It?

Cartridge filters are a popular choice for pool owners looking for a low-maintenance and effective way to keep their pool water clean and clear. However, like all pool equipment, cartridge filters require regular maintenance to ensure they operate at peak efficiency and have a long lifespan.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss some tips and tricks to help you extend the life of your cartridge filter mediums.

For the purpose of this article:

  • Filter = The entire filtration system housing itself. Hayward and Sta-Rite are 2 major filter system manufacturers. Cartridge filters are one of the major and most efficient pool filtration systems.
  • Filter cartridge or filter medium = The pleated cartridges that sit inside the filtration housing and trap the contaminants that were vacuumed and skimmed from the water. These need to be rinsed from time to time.

6 Ways To Extend The Life of Your Pool Filter Cartridge Mediums

  1. Clean the filter mediums regularly

    One of the most important things you can do to extend the life of your cartridge filter mediums is to clean them regularly. The frequency of cleaning will depend on how often you use your pool and how dirty the water is.

    As a general rule, plan to clean the filter several times during the swimming season as needed. You might get away with less if you have a clean environment but the more contaminants that get trapped, the more likely you’ll have to rinse them.

    To clean the cartridges, remove them from the housing and rinse them with a hose. Be sure to rinse both the inside and outside of the cartridges, as well as any crevices or pleats. If they are particularly dirty, you may need to soak them in a filter cleaner solution for several hours before rinsing.
  1. Balance your pool chemistry

    Proper water chemistry is important for the longevity of your cartridge filter mediums. Unbalanced water can cause calcium buildup, which can clog the filter and reduce its efficiency.

    Make sure to regularly test your water and adjust the pH, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness as needed.
  2. Reduce debris in the pool

    Another way to extend the life of your cartridge filter mediums is to reduce the amount of debris in the pool. This can be achieved by regularly skimming the surface of the water, vacuuming the pool floor, and using a pool cover when the pool is not in use.

    An extendable pool skimmer on a long pole enables you to remove leaves, twigs and other things that are visibly floating before they go into the skimmer and through the filter.

    You can also do yourself a favor by removing hair and other visible contaminants.
  3. Use a pre-filter

    Using a pre-filter can also help extend the life of your cartridge filter mediums. A pre-filter is a device that attaches to the end of your hose and traps large debris before it enters the pool. This reduces the amount of debris that ends up in the filter, which can help prolong its life.

    Specifically, it is a charcoal-based system that helps to remove metals, minerals and other contaminants from the tap water that you use to top up your pool when water needs to be added.
  4. Replace the filter medium when needed

    Finally, it’s important to replace your cartridge filter mediums when they are worn or damaged. Signs that your filter may need to be replaced include decreased water flow, increased pressure on the filter gauge, and visible wear or tears in the cartridge material.

    Most filter mediums will last between 2-5 years, depending on use and maintenance. You can soak and rinse them in a bucket of filter cleaner solution to remove oils and contaminants that simple rinsing may not achieve.
  5. Avoid algae

    Algae is a cartridge filter medium killer. If you can keep water balanced and avoid an algae bloom, you will at a minimum save yourself significant time and money and keep your pool crystal clear for swimming. Because no one wants to – nor should they – swim in a green pool.

    Once you get an algae bloom, you’ll need to quickly get rid of it. The problem is that even if you kill the algae with an algaecide, the algae needs to be vacuumed up and removed completely. Which means it gets sent directly to your filtration system when vacuuming it. Which then means you have to rinse the mediums by hand to get rid of the algae that is stuck in the pleats. Probably multiple times if the algae bloom is bad.

    Cartridge filters work well in general terms but an algae bloom takes significant time to clear from a cartridge filtration system if it’s a bad one.

Final thoughts

Cartridge filters are a great way to keep your pool water clean and clear with minimal effort. By following these tips and tricks for maintaining your cartridge filter mediums, you can extend their life and ensure that your pool remains a safe and enjoyable place to swim.

Remember to regularly clean your filter, balance your pool chemistry, reduce debris, use a pre-filter on your garden hose before refilling the pool, and replace the filter cartridge mediums when needed.

Carl Mueller

I bought a home with a salt water pool in 2006 and soon realized the benefits over traditional chlorinated pools. On this website I'll discuss all the tips and tricks I've learned over the years. I'll also help you troubleshoot various problems with pools in general and ones specific to salt water pools that I've experienced personally!

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