Pool Cartridges

Sand or DE or Cartridge? Pool Filter Options

In Arizona Swimming Pool Blog by Les Greenfield, Owner / Operator

The sight of a clear, sparkling pool is one to behold. There are different steps to maintaining a clean pool throughout the seasons, such as balancing the water’s pH and regularly skimming the pool. While these require your regular involvement, one of the most important elements of pool maintenance is constantly running on its own. This is the pool filtration system, a crucial part in keeping your pool free of dirt and debris.

What does a pool filter do?

Stagnant water often leads to the collection of debris, insects, and unwanted bacteria. Working in conjunction with a pump, the pool filter keeps the water moving, pushing water through the filter to clean the water and remove the particles and bits that are unwelcome in a clean pool. The pump and filter are set to purify water on a cycle.

Pool filters differ in the material used and that relationship to the resistance created when filtering pool water. Choosing the right pool filter depends on a number of factors: the amount of time you want to spend, the environment in which your pool is situated, and the size of your pool.

Sand pool filters

Sand filters, the oldest kind of pool filtration, are likened to espresso machines: dirty water enters in the top, is filtered through the sand, and clean, purified water is released through the bottom of the filter. When it is time to clear out the collected debris, pool owners simply turn on the backwash valve to remove the junk. After, return the valve to rinse mode and allow the pool to settle.  This process must be performed every few weeks. Sand filters are the least expensive option for a pool filter but may pose an inconvenience because pool owners are required to buy and transport sand. Once the sand becomes dirty, remove the sand in the filter and fill it up with a fresh, new batch. Unfortunately, sand filters do not remove very small particles – they filter down to a particle size of 20 to 40 microns – and are therefore not the preferred choice.

Diatomaceous earth pool filters

Diatomaceous earth, known as “DE,” is made of the fossilized exoskeletons of diatoms – which, ironically, is a class of algae! Because of the small size of DE, the material acts like a sieve and can remove particles as small as 2 to 5 microns. Known as the “water polisher,” DE filters remove the DE filtration particles when you backwash the pool. Afterwards, you will have to replace the DE powder for future filtrations. Once or twice a year, DE filters require a good hosing down and a scrub of all filtration parts. Though it requires more upkeep than the sand filter, DE filters offer a better filtration and quality of water purity, due to its ability to capture much smaller particles. DE filters are also costlier than a sand filter, but they are great for use in areas where dust and debris commonly get into the water.


Cartridge pool filters

Cartridge pool filters are the recommended option, both for ease and simplicity of operation and maintenance. Like an air filter in your car, a cartridge pool filter is a component that collects debris and dust, and is easily removable for cleaning. Most cartridge pool filters last anywhere between three to five years, with simple maintenance along the way. Depending on how much debris collects, cartridge pool filters notify you when it is time to clean, usually when it is 8 to 10 pounds above the clean reading. Pool owners simply remove the filter and hose it down to remove debris, and then place the cartridge into the filtration system. There is no need for removing sand or DE from a filter, or for transporting supplies to and from your home. As an added benefit, cartridge pool filters are estimated to reduce up to 50% of water wastage.


Which pool filter is best for me?

Here at Hydroblue Pools, we recommend cartridge pool filters. Contact us at Hydroblue Pools for a consultation on the best pool filter for your pool. If your current pool filter isn’t getting the job done, we will recommend the best fit for your pool, based on the size and surrounding environment.


Like some help with these tasks? We can help.

We offer pool maintenance services and repair across the entire Metro Phoenix Area including Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Gold Canyon and beyond. We invite you to contact us to schedule an appointment.

Hydroblue Pool Service & Repair | 480-203-4376