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The Real Facts About Filtration
The Real Facts About Filtration

Sand, DE, Cartridge makes a huge difference.

Eric W. avatar
Written by Eric W.
Updated over a week ago

Pool Filtration – Facts and Fantasy

There are almost as many types of Swimming Pool filters on the market as there are people selling them. The multitude of choices can be overwhelming especially if you are not a “pool expert”.  Here are a few SIMPLE FACTS to help navigate between what is filtration fact and what is salesperson fantasy.


Fantasy.  The common misconception has always been that the higher the horsepower the more water is being pumped, and the more water that is being pumped the better the filtration. The reality is that higher horsepower does not mean more water is being filtered.  In most cases higher horsepower just translates into a higher electric bill.

Filtration on the other hand benefits from SLOWER moving water.  No matter what type of filter you have, they all benefit from lower gallons per hour. When you pump water through your filter at a high rate it either blasts through the filter media or finds a path around it. Either way- you filter less water. Slow moving water pass through the filter media and enables your filter to perform at its peak efficiency.  This is why both 2 speed and variable speed pumps are so popular, they save you a lot of money in operating costs and do a tremendous job filtering your pool water.


Fantasy. Consider this. Sand filters use actual sand to filter pool water. The sand is packed into a canister (tank) and water is pumped through the tank. The sharp edges of the sand  catch the dirt as it passes. But sand particles have a lot of space between them and this allows for much of the dirt and debris to actually bypass the sand and head straight back into the pool. In fact sand filters have a limited cleaning potential and can only remove dirt particles as small as 16 microns, everything smaller also goes right back into the pool.  This filter inefficiency results in the use of additional chemicals (clarifiers) as well as more frequent vacuuming. So while a sand filter is simple to operate it does create a lot of additional maintenance for the pool owner. In the end Sand filters spread around as much debris as they remove from the pool.

DE FILTERS ARE A LOT WORK – Fact or fantasy

Both. Saying DE filters are a lot of work is a lot like saying all dog bite. The fact is SOME DE filters are a lot of work, others are very easy to maintain. Keep in mind that what filters the pool water is diatomaceous earth. All DE filters use the same white powder as a filter media. The popularity of DE stems from its ability to filter out dirt and debris as small as 2 microns in size. This gives DE a tremendous advantage over sand and is also why many pool owners put up with a tremendous amount of maintenance.  The real difference in DE filters isn’t in the DE they use but in the system that supports the DE inside the filter. DE filters use only a small amount of DE at a time. This DE is spread out in the filter tank and coats the cloth covered support system. The type of support system dictates the maintenance required. Support systems that rely on small tubes or fingers as well as flat grids generally require the most maintenance and often need to be disassembled throughout the summer and manually cleaned. DE systems that rely on once piece elements require very little maintenance mainly because of their exceptional surface area and the rigid material the DE element is made of. In fact many require a quick rinse with a garden hose a few times a summer. That’s it.


Both.  Paper cartridge filters are designed for “kiddie” pools and are designed for small volume “temporary “pools. Cartridge systems that have Remy elements are designed to efficiently handle up to the very largest of in ground pools. In fact most resorts, water parks and public pools relay on cartridge filters to provide filtration. The secret to the popularity in cartridge filters are their ability to not only filter debris as small as 2 microns in size but to also filter out algae. This allows them to provide a sparkling clear pool no matter what. The one drawback to cartridges has been the need to combat pleat grouping and bunching that is common. This effect cuts the filter area requiring a larger filter than whet normally would be used. This common problem was solved with the development of the Black Diamond Filter. The Black Diamond filters have a NASA inspired chain link webbing inside each and every cartridge pleat. This not only eliminates the pleat bunching and grouping – it allows 100% of the fitter area to be used. This extends the filter cycles and eliminates most of the in season maintenance.  The chain link webbing not only increases the filter efficiency close to 100%, it makes cleaning the filter quick and easy.


We all know the answer to this…

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