Pool filter is as important to your pool as your kidney is to your own body. We know that sounds kind of gross, but it’s true. Though chlorine and other sanitizers work to kill bacteria and other contaminants, the pool filter is what actually removes them from the water. Without it, your pool water would grow cloudy and fill with debris. Not exactly fun for swimming.
So how do you choose the best pool filter? It’s not about which one is the least expensive, though cost is certainly a factor. You want a filter that will trap contaminants, be easy to clean and maintain, and last more than just a few seasons. In order to make the best selection for your pool, first get a handle on your options.
If you’re on a budget, and you want to spend minimal time on maintenance, a sand filter is the best choice for you. It’s also optimal for large pools because it won’t clog as easily as other filters.
Your pool pump sucks water in from the skimmers, then pushes it through a large filtration tank full of sand. The standard media used inside the tank is #20 silica sand. It grabs particles that measure 20 microns and larger.
Each grain of sand is, for lack of a better word, prickly. If you could look at it under a microscope, you’d see it has lots of little rough edges all around it, which is how it grabs contaminants and debris that pass through the pool filter.
As weeks and years pass, and more water flows through the pool filter, those rough edges are slowly worn down by erosion, eventually becoming smooth surfaces that aren’t able to capture anything.
At the same time, the particles trapped within the sand will build up over the life of the filter. This can actually help trap smaller particles, even as the sand itself begins to smooth out. But eventually, it will prevent proper water flow through the filter, reducing the filter’s efficiency.
A pressure gauge on the side of the filter will alert you to increasing internal pressure-a sign that it’s time to backwash the filter. This easy cleaning method the filter reverses the water flow, flushing all the debris to waste.
Because the silica captures particles of 20 microns or larger, you’ll really need to stay on top of your pool water chemistry. If there’s not enough sanitizer in your pool to kill those tiny, 2-micron bacteria, a sand filter isn’t going to catch them either, and they’ll be floating around in your pool with you.