If you are considering an inground pool, you may be wondering which kind of filter to get to go with it. In general, there are three different types of filters used in inground pools: sand, diatomaceous earth (DE) and cartridge. Each has its own advantages and drawbacks. The type you choose will depend on your budget, the desired amount of maintenance and location-based factors.
The Role of Filters
A filter is installed into the pool’s plumbing network. When water pushes through, it passes through the filter, where dirt and debris are trapped. As a result, you get clean, filtered water, which flows through an outlet pipe back into the pool. This runs in a cycle, over and over until you shut the filter off. It’s recommended to run the filter between six and 12 hours per day.
This is a traditional option that also happens to be the least expensive of the three. Sand filters feature tanks containing sand, through which water moves from the top down. This filters out microns large enough to be caught in the sand. That dirt and debris will stay in the tank until you backwash it, after which the filtered water is sent back into the pool. You should replace the sand in the tank every three to five years to improve filtration capabilities.
This type of filter works similarly to sand filters, comprised of grids, or fingers, coated with a DE powder. This powder is made up crushed sea shells and diatoms. When water runs through this mixture, dirt and debris are trapped at a much lower micron level than sand filters. This means it catches smaller and finer particles, offering higher water clarity and safety. Every time you backwash, you must add more DE powder. Just be careful, as these particles can cause lung problems or skin irritation.
Cartridges filters are becoming one of the most popular types of filter, available in many varieties, from a single element to multi-element cartridge filters. The multi-element types contain up to four cartridges. Those cartridges are what trap the debris as opposed to sand or DE. Comprised of spun polyester, this pleated material encases a heavy plastic or PVC core bound with a rubber-like plastic. This type of system comes with the least amount of maintenance, needing cleaning about once a season. No backwashing is needed.
Deciding on the Best Filter for You
The type you ultimately go with depends on how much maintenance you’re willing to do, your budget, and your priorities. Think about your desired purification levels as well as long-term costs. DE and cartridge filters are currently the two most popular with new inground pools today. Sand is still popular with older models, as well as above ground because of the lower costs.