Keeping Your Pool Crystal Clear: When and Why to Change Your Pool Filter Cartridge

Ever gazed at your sparkling pool and wondered how often you should be changing the filter cartridge? You’re not alone. This is a common question among pool owners, and it’s an important one too.

Maintaining the right schedule for changing your pool filter cartridge not only ensures a clean, healthy pool, but it also prolongs the life of your pool equipment.

Key Takeaways

  • Pool filter cartridges come in three different types: Sand Filters, Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Filters, and Cartridge Filters, each with unique characteristics and cost implications.
  • Clean pool filters are vital for maintaining water clarity, ensuring proper circulation, and extending the lifespan of pool equipment.
  • The frequency of changing pool filter cartridges depends on various factors: number of swimmers, surrounding environment, pool usage, and cartridge quality.
  • Signs indicating it’s time to change the pool filter cartridge include decreased water flow, algae growth, a high-pressure reading, and murky water.
  • Regular maintenance of pool filter cartridges – cleaning, inspecting for wear and tear, correct storage, and gentle handling – extends their life and improves pool health.
  • Choosing the right pool filter cartridge involves considering different brands’ lifespans, balancing budget and performance expectations, and ensuring compatibility with your pool system.

Understanding Pool Filter Cartridges

Maintaining your pool involves a firm grasp on the knowledge of pool filter cartridges. It’s not a matter of merely knowing when to change them, but also what type they are and why keeping them clean is paramount.

Types of Pool Filter Cartridges

Diving into the aspect of pool filter cartridges, they categorize broadly into three types, namely; Sand, Diatomaceous Earth (DE), and Cartridge. Each type brings a unique set of characteristics to the table.

  1. Sand Filters: Cost-effective, sand filters function by allowing water to run through a sand-filled tank. During this journey, the sand captures and holds onto the debris.
  2. Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Filters: On the higher end of the pricing spectrum, DE filters offer superior filtration. DE coats the grids inside the filter, acting as a sieve to trap debris as small as 5 microns!
  3. Cartridge Filters: As the midpoint between the previous two in terms of cost and performance, cartridge filters include replaceable filter elements. Routinely replacing these cartridges results in optimally filtered pool water.

Importance of Clean Filters in Pools

If you’ve ever questioned, “Why are clean filters so vital?” or “Can’t I clean the pool another day?”, think again. An immaculate filter holds an essential role in providing you with a clean, healthy, and functional swimming pool. Here’s why:

  1. Water Clarity: From dirt to microscopic organisms, a clean filter traps various undesirable elements, ensuring your pool’s water stays clear and inviting.
  2. Circulation: Unkempt filters hinder water flow. Fine-tuning the filter keeps the water circulation going, contributing to an evenly heated and cleaner pool.
  3. Equipment Lifespan: Clean filters ease the stress placed on your pool pump, prolonging its lifespan. Applying regular maintenance tasks keeps your pool running for years.

Riding on this knowledge, remember that a proactive approach towards understanding and caring for your pool filter cartridges goes a long way in providing optimal pool condition, carving out an enjoyable swimming experience for you and your loved ones.

How Often to Change Pool Filter Cartridge?

Let’s dive right into the details. Changing a pool filter cartridge isn’t arbitrary. The frequency depends on few factors which we’ll explore in this section.

Factors Affecting Filter Lifespan

There’s a range of factors that influence the lifespan of a pool filter cartridge:

  • Number of Swimmers: Larger crowds in your pool mean more dirt and debris, causing the filter to work harder.
  • Surrounding Environment: More trees and plants around your pool could result in more leaves and debris, hence more regular filter changes.
  • Pool Usage: Pools in use all year round require frequent filter replacement, typically between 9 to 12 months.
  • Quality of Cartridge: Higher quality cartridges last longer, reaching up to 2 years before a replacement’s needed.

Take these factors into account, and you’ll nail down a schedule suitable for your pool filter cartridge.

Signs That Indicate Need for Change

Recognizing the telltale signs that your pool filter cartridge needs changing isn’t rocket science. Keep a lookout for the following indications:

  • Decreased Water Flow: When the water in your pool begins to circulate slowly or seems to be barely moving, that’s a red flag.
  • Algae Growth: Despite regular chlorination and pool cleaning, persistent algae in your pool could mean it’s time for a filter change.
  • High Pressure Reading: Pool filters have pressure gauges, reading higher than normal is often a sign your filter is overworked.
  • Murky Water: If your pool water isn’t crystal clear, despite treating it, it might point to a filter problem.

Remember, keeping these signs in check helps ensure your pool stays in the best condition.

Maintenance Tips for Pool Filter Cartridges

Maintaining your pool filter cartridges isn’t just about replacing them on a regular basis. It’s also about taking care of them to ensure their maximum efficiency and longevity. Below are some maintenance tips to keep your pool filter cartridges functioning at their best.

Regular Cleaning Routines

  • Inspect your pool filter cartridges every two weeks. Look for visible signs of wear and tear. A tear in the fabric of a cartridge can lead to unfiltered water returning to the pool.
  • Clean the cartridges regularly. Power wash them once a month to get rid of debris that can decrease their effectiveness.
  • Check the pressure gauge. High pressure readings indicate that the cartridge needs a thorough cleaning.
  • Store replacement cartridges properly. If you’ve a spare cartridge, ensure it’s clean and dry before storing it away, preferably in a cool, dark place.
  • Handle with care. Always handle your filter cartridges gently, especially while cleaning. Rough handling can damage the fabric and decrease their lifespan.
  • Use quality cartridge cleaning agents. Opt for cleaning agents specifically designed for pool cartridges. Regular detergents can leave a residue that decreases the filter’s effectiveness.
  • Rotate cartridges. If possible, buy multiple cartridges and rotate them. This gives each one time to dry out completely, increasing their longevity.
  • Schedule a professional inspection once a year. Having your pool system inspected by professionals ensures that it’s functioning properly and maximizes the life of your filter cartridges.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to not only extend the life of your pool filter cartridges but also improve the overall health and appearance of your pool. Remember, routine maintenance is essential for optimal pool condition.

Choosing the Right Pool Filter Cartridge

Selecting an appropriate pool filter cartridge ensures efficient filtration and extends your pool equipment’s longevity. This section delves into understanding different brands and their lifespans, and the aspect of compatibility with pool systems.

Different Brands and Their Lifespans

Brands offer different lifespans due to varying manufacturing procedures and materials. For instance, top-tier brands like Intex, Pleatco, and Hayward provide cartridges with lifespans that range from 2,000 to 2,500 hours. Mid-range and economy brands like Bestway and Summer Waves stand at 1,500 to 2,000 hours. Bear in mind that these hours reflect standard operating conditions. In high strain scenarios, a cartridge’s lifespan decreases noticeably.

BrandsNormal Lifespan (hours)
Intex, Pleatco, Hayward2,000 to 2,500
Bestway, Summer Waves1,500 to 2,000

Balance your budget and performance expectations, considering these lifespans. Prioritize a renowned brand for high usage and challenging conditions.

Compatibility with Pool Systems

Evaluate cartridge compatibility before any purchase. Not every cartridge works with all pool systems. Your swimming pool’s size, type, and equipment impact cartridge selection. Larger pools demand cartridges with higher filtration capacities.

Determine the compatibility through the manufacturer’s data, focusing on the filters’ model numbers. For instance, Pleatco’s PA90 cartridge replaces Hayward Star-Clear Plus C900, while Unicel C-8412 matches Jacuzzi CF-129. Even the smallest discrepancy in diameter or length can lead to inefficiency or damage.

Consider seeking a professional assessment to ensure the chosen cartridge complements your pool system optimally. They can analyze your pool’s specific attributes, providing tailored recommendations for the best filter cartridge match.


So, you’ve learned that changing your pool filter cartridge isn’t a one-size-fits-all task. It’s about understanding your pool’s unique needs and aligning them with the right cartridge type – be it Sand, DE, or Cartridge. Always keep an eye out for signs that it’s time for a change, and remember, the number of swimmers and frequency of pool usage can impact the cartridge’s lifespan. It’s not just about picking a brand; it’s about selecting a cartridge that’s compatible with your pool system. Whether you’re choosing a top-tier brand like Intex or an economy brand like Bestway, balance your budget with performance expectations. And don’t forget, professional assessments can provide invaluable insights into the optimal choice for your pool. Keep your pool clean, equipment running smoothly, and enjoy those refreshing dips without worry.

To keep your pool water crystal clear, it is vital to change your pool filter cartridge regularly, typically every one to two years, depending on usage and water quality. A clogged or old cartridge can reduce filtration efficiency, leading to cloudy water and increased chemical use. Regular inspection and cleaning of the cartridge can extend its life, but replacement is necessary once the material shows signs of wear or damage. Using a high-quality replacement cartridge can improve water clarity and reduce maintenance efforts, as noted by Swim University.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I change my pool filter cartridge?

Most manufacturers suggest changing pool filter cartridges every 1-2 years. However, other factors like number of swimmers, usage, and pool size could influence this schedule. Monitor signs like decreased water clarity and circulation to determine if a change is needed earlier.

What are the different types of pool filter cartridges?

There are three major types of pool filter cartridges: Sand, Diatomaceous Earth (DE), and Cartridge. They differ in filtration capabilities and thus affect water clarity and circulation differently.

What brands of pool filter cartridges are available?

Top-tier brands like Intex, Pleatco, and Hayward offer high-quality cartridges with long lifespans. Mid-range and economy brands like Bestway and Summer Waves provide affordable alternatives.

How important is compatibility when choosing a pool filter cartridge?

Compatibility is crucial when choosing a pool filter cartridge. Incorrect sizes or types can hinder performance and potentially damage pool systems. Consider your pool’s size, type, and equipment when choosing a cartridge.

Should I consult a professional when selecting a pool filter cartridge?

Yes, consulting a professional can be helpful in ensuring you choose a cartridge that optimally complements your pool system. They can provide assessments based on your pool’s specific needs and recommend brands that balance your budget and performance expectations.