Diatomaceous, Cartridge, or Sand Filters?
If you are a pool owner, you have the choice between 3 different types of filters. Having a properly sized filter is very important in the maintenance of your pool. The three types of filters include Diatomaceous Earth (DE) , Cartridge, and Sand. Many will have a preference as to which is better, but there are advantages and disadvantages of each of them.
Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Filters: – Filtration range 2-6 microns. (8 microns= 1 Red Blood Cell) – The smaller the filter range micron, the finer the particle that is pulled out of the water)
DE filters can either consist of grids or fingers. DE is put through the skimmer, and then coats the inside elements of the filter. The DE powder is what will be extracting the dirt from the water passing through. The dirt gets trapped in the de coated grids or fingers. As the dirt builds up, the pressure builds up, which can be read on the pressure gauge, indicating it is time to clean out the dirt and DE. After it is backwashed, and new DE is replaced.
Routine maintenance is required on the filter as well. Aside from regularly rinsing the grids or fingers, they also need to be chemically cleaned yearly. This process required a special filter cleaner which you can either spray on or soak in, allowing oils and other organics to be removed from the elements. Never use muriatic acid first, instead it will just set in the oils. Grids or fingers should be routinely checked for rips or tears, which would require the replacement of that part.
Paradise highly recommends DE filters. They take out the finest particle, and work well in our climate.

Cartridge Filters: Filtration range 10-25 microns
Cartridge filters consist of pleated polyester in a circular form. These pleats trap the dirt from the water passing through, allowing the filtration. Cartridge filters do not take out as fine of a particle as a DE filter, however there are chemicals such as filter aid or water clarifier that can help assist in the filtration.
Cartridge filters are popular due to their easy process and up keep. Once filter becomes dirty, and the pressure on the gauge rises, one simply opens the tank and rinses the cartridge and is set and ready to go. The Cartridges should also be chemically cleaned regularly and as needed to remove the oils and greases that water cannot extract from the filter. The filters should also be replaced every one to two years.
Paradise recommends these second to a DE filter for aboveground. They are easy to take care of for those smaller pools.

Sand Filters: Filtration range 25-100 microns.
Sand filters use sand as its filtration system. As the water flows through the filter, the sand in the tank captures the dirt passing through. When the sand is already slightly dirty, as the water passes through less dirt is able to slip by. However, it is important to make sure that the sand gets changed every three to four years. As the sand ages, the sharp edges of sand that trap the dirt become round and it no longer traps the dirt. Be sure to use white filter sand which have more angular edges, therefore trapping more dirt.

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