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If you are a pool owner in Arizona, and your pool has cartridge filters, I want you to go take a peek at them. What do they look like? Are the cartridges a dark brown color? Are they covered in a film or slime? Maybe they look clean, but you are seeing small tears or broken bands.
A common question we get asked here at Down Under Pool Care is, “When should I replace my pool filter cartridges, as opposed to simply having them cleaned?”
This is a great question, as there is no defined time frame or termination point when it comes to changing out your cartridges. There is actually no set rule that your filter will last a certain amount of time. Your cartridges’ life can depend on many factors, including: pool use, proper water chemistry, following a routine cleaning and maintenance schedule, and the quality of the cartridges and filter; all of which Down Under Pool care can assist you with!
Here’s what you need to know about your pool filter cartridges, and signs that it’s time to replace them:
Arizona swimming pools use filters to strain out dirt, debris, oil, suntan lotion, etc. Some of these filters use cartridges (as opposed to DE grids), made of a corrugated paper or polyester cloth. These cartridge filters are one of the most important pieces of equipment in your pool, as they keep your pool water healthy, safe, and clean. Over time these pool filter cartridges get clogged up with dirt, debris, algae, and other contaminant particles. They also can wear down, tear, rupture, and break. To ensure these cartridges are effective, they need to be cleaned and replaced periodically.
1. Flattened pleats- A sure-tale sign that you’re in need of new cartridges for your filter, is when you begin to see the pleats flatten out. These ridges in the cartridges are designed to trap the various particles that pass through, and when they flatten out, they are no longer effective.
2. Unraveling, frays, holes, or tears- With chemicals and particles continually being pumped through the polyester cloth or corrugated paper that makes up a cartridge, it’s a given that they won’t last forever. Over time, tiny holes and tears will develop. Small holes stretch to larger ones. When this occurs, debris will easily pass through them, and end up right back into your pool. Without replacement, you’ll soon be swimming in a dirty pool.
3. Consistently dirty pool- If you are working tirelessly at cleaning and vacuuming your pool, and it still seams to be dirty all the time, it may be an indication that it’s time to replace the filter cartridges. If your vacuum is picking up the dirt and debris, and you see it blow right back into your pool, your filters are clearly not doing their job and it’s time for a replacement.
4. Busted cartridge bands- The cartridges used in your pool filter have bands that hold everything together, and play a very pivotal role in preventing the cartridge pleats from flattening out (see #1). These bands are under constant pressure, and can break. With one or more of these broken bands, the effectiveness of the cartridge filter can be compromised.
5. Broken endcaps- Much like the cartridge bands, the cartridge endcaps help hold the cartridge together. With constant exposure to chemicals and pressure, they can get weak and crack. While this does happen, it’s usually rare; as the polyester cloth or corrugated paper will likely wear out first.
6. No change in psi- If you have your pool’s filter cartridges cleaned, and you only see a slight drop in your pool’s psi, it’s time to replace them. What this means is that your cartridges are likely so old that they are plugged up with contaminants, which no amount of cleaning will completely remove. If this is the case, you will not see a dramatic improvement in the appearance of the cartridges after a cleaning. They’ll still look dirty.
7. Catastrophic failure– Every once in a while our professionals will come across a cartridge that almost looks like it exploded. We are talking complete center core collapse. While this is rare, it can happen if you go too long between cartridge filter cleanings. The pressure just builds, and BOOM!!
If you want to extend the life of your pool filter cartridges, take these proactive measures. Down Under Pool Care can help you with each of these suggestions.
The way your pool cartridge filters are designed, is to trap dirt, bacteria, debris, and contaminant particles. These filters need to be cleaned about every three months, or when your pool’s pressure reaches 20 psi or higher. Eventually complete cleaning of the cartridges is not possible, or they become worn or damaged, and they’ll need to be replaced.
Let Down Under Pool Care inspect and clean your swimming pool’s cartridge filters. Our highly trained professionals will take a look at your cartridges, and recommend cleaning or replacing them. These measures will surely leave your pool healthy and ready to use whenever you’re ready for some fun in the water.