Whether you are a current pool owner or interested in building or purchasing a swimming pool to enjoy with your family, keeping your filter cartridge in good condition is a crucial part of pool maintenance. Knowing the signs that it’s time to replace your pool filter cartridge will help you keep your pool clean, safe, and in top condition year-round.
Filter cartridges are an easy and safe alternative to using sand or DE filters, otherwise known as diatomaceous earth, to clean your pool. With relatively low maintenance required, the flexibility of using pool filter cartridges has made it one of the most popular methods of home pool maintenance.
The Importance of Your Filter Cartridge
Filter cartridges are an essential part of pool maintenance and cleaning because they keep your pool free of hazardous dirt and grime build-up.
Made of man-made materials like polyester, these filter cartridges are located in your pool’s tank system. As water passes through the tank filter cartridges, it becomes clear of unwanted particles and bacteria, therefore effectively becoming clean enough to enjoy.
Without a properly working filter cartridge, your pool is susceptible to the build-up of unwanted materials and even dangerous germs.
The Best Way to Clean Your Cartridge
If you have recently purchased a filter cartridge that has begun to slow down its cleaning potential, you may consider cleaning it. You need to clean your filter whenever its PSI, or pounds per square inch reading, goes up anywhere from around eight PSI to ten PSI.
Alternatively, pool owners who prefer to operate on a precise yearly schedule can choose to clean their filter cartridges every four to six months to avoid clogging.
When to Replace Your Filter Cartridge
Though cleaning your filter cartridge can help the pool filter be more effective during use, it cannot elongate its actual lifetime.
Hesitating to replace a used-up or broken filter cartridge can put your family unnecessarily at risk. Instead, pay close attention to your filter’s state and make sure to understand the signs that you need to replace your filter cartridge. Here are some of the most common signs that you need to replace your filter cartridge.
Your Cartridge Looks Crushed
One significant sign that you need to replace your filter cartridge is your cartridge looking crushed. This can typically happen during a big collapse of your cartridge’s inner core. The part of the cartridge that supports the filtering pleats called the reinforcement cage is supposed to maintain its shape and hold the filter up. If that reinforcement cage fails, the filter cartridge will effectively deflate and end up looking like a crumpled tin cup or crushed beer can.
If you notice that your cartridge looks crushed, this is a sign to replace it. To avoid it happening again, make sure to purchase the proper size cartridge for your pool. One that is too small will likely become crushed again.
The End Caps Are Cracked
If you notice cracks in the end of the cartridge, it’s time to replace your filter cartridge. The end caps on your pool filter cartridges are important structural pieces that press the cartridge together from both signs. This offers support to your cartridge from two heavy pieces of hearty plastic.
If these plastic pieces begin to crack or deteriorate in any way, the integrity of your pool’s filtering process will become compromised by chipping pieces of plastic.
The Pleats Are Flattened
Typically, your filter’s pleats should resemble folded pieces of paper or the side view of the pages in a small book. If this isn’t the case, there’s a chance that your pleats have become flattened.
Flattened pleats are a sign that you need to replace your filter cartridge because they can no longer capture the floating debris from your pool. Since the pleats usually appear straight and uniform, it is easy to see when they have become distorted from overuse or clogging. Don’t forget to check your band if you notice flattened pleats, as a broken band can be a cause for pleats flattening prematurely.
Torn or Ripped Fabric
Over time, your filter fabric, otherwise known as Remar fabric, will experience wear and tear from large dirt particle blockages, water pressure, and chlorine content exposure. This can create torn, ripped, or tattered fabric.
While some tears are easy to see due to large holes or pieces of fabric hanging off, others are microtears that are not as easily noticeable. These microtears can manifest in the form of uneven fabric texture or even a fuzzy appearance. If you notice ripped or tearing fabric, that means it’s time completely to replace your filter cartridge.
There’s A Spike in Pressure
A high PSI, otherwise known as the amount of pound-force per square inch of water in your pool, can be another good indicator that you need to replace your filter cartridge. A high PSI can suggest that your filter tank is having a hard time processing debris, and your cartridge is beginning to overexert.
When you notice a PSI, take a look at your filter cartridge. If it’s newly purchased, try giving it a soak with an overnight application filter cleaner. If this deep cleaner doesn’t help lower your pool’s PSI, it’s time to replace your filter cartridge.
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Your Pool is Dirty
The last sign that you need to replace your filter cartridge is if your pool appears dirtier than usual. A very dirty pool is a common sign that your filter cartridge is not working properly, therefore not filtering out dirt, debris, and unwanted floating materials.
If your family’s pool is commonly dirty, don’t hesitate to take a look at your filter cartridge today. The odds are that replacing it will drastically improve the cleanliness and safety of your pool, allowing you and your loved ones to enjoy it with peace of mind.
How Often Should You Replace Your Filter
So, how long do pool filter cartridges last exactly? Even if you don’t experience any of the above issues, you should be swapping out your filters at least once a year. Otherwise, it won’t work as well, and you run the risk of bacteria growth in your pool.
For more filter recommendations and advice, head over to my article on the best swimming pool filters.
And that’s about it. Questions? Let me know.