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How Often Should You Clean Your Pool’s Filter Cartridge?

How To Guides - Pools

A commonly asked question amongst our customers is, “when should we clean our pool's filter cartridge?”  Typically, we recommend that your cartridges inside your filter be cleaned every 3 months for longevity of your cartridges, as well as for better pool filtration and water flow.

However, this may vary based on your equipment set up as well as the surrounding environment, for example heavy tree cover, as more frequent cleaning may be required.  On average, a pool filter cartridge's pressure reading, in PSI on the filter gauge, should read between 8 – 15 PSI. If you are experiencing an 8-10 PSI increase in pressure, somewhere up around 25-30 PSI or higher, this means that it is time for you to clean your filter!

Additional signs that indicate that you need to clean your filter cartridge include any decrease in pressure coming out of your return jets, your pump not filling up completely or a full prime, or full bowl, through the sight lid due to back-pressure created by flow restriction from dirty filters.

How To Clean A Pool Filter Cartridge

STEP 1: Turn off your filter pump. If you have an automation system it is recommended that you turn off the breaker to the filter pump so no scheduled programs turn on.

STEP 2: Release the air valve on the top of the filter to relieve the pressure from the filter. Once this is completed, you can then remove the drain plug located on the bottom of the filter to completely drain out the filter.

STEP 3: To gain access to the filter cartridges, turn the locking knob counter clockwise until the top of the filter is loose and removable. On many filters you will need a wrench to loosen the clamp around the filter.  A Jandy cartridge filter for example, will require and 9/16” socket, while a Hayward cartridge filter will require a 5/8” socket. Once this clamp has been loosened, you can then remove the bolt and remove the C-clamp to gain access for removal and cleaning of the filter cartridge(s).

STEP 4: Remove the top of the cartridge filter.

STEP 5: Lift the cartridge filters straight up to remove them from the filter body inside. Typically, cartridge filters have 1 or 4 filter cartridges depending on the size of the filter associated with your pool.

STEP 6: Place the cartridge filters in your desired cleaning area. Use a full spray nozzle to clean the filters until they are as thoroughly clean as possible. It is important to start at the top of the cartridge and work the debris towards to the bottom of the cartridge, usually rotating the cartridge to ensure a proper clean (rinsing between the folds of the cartridge from top to bottom).  *It is important not to use a pressure washer as using a pressure nozzle that is too powerful can damage the pleated folds of the filter and create unnecessary wear/damage to the cartridges themselves.*

STEP 7: Once you are satisfied with the cleaning of your cartridges, place them straight down onto the filters support located at the bottom of the filter. On a majority of cartridge filters you will need to install the manifold assembly on the top that holds and supports the cartridges on top. When installing the manifold assembly on the top of the filter, make sure that the manifold is also connected to the white outlet tube.

STEP 8: Ensure the filter O-ring is sitting flush in the filter canister channel and remove any debris that may be located around the O-ring itself for a proper fit/seal.

STEP 9: Slowly re-install the top of the filter while making sure that the O-ring has not moved during the reinstallation of the top of the filter.

STEP 10: Install the filter clamp and tighten bolt (if required). It is common practice to tap the clamp with a mallet to make a snug fit prior to tightening the bolt.

STEP 11: Tighten the locking knob or use a ratchet and appropriate size socket to tighten the locking bolt. *DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN*

STEP 12: Turn on power to the filter pump and re-pressurize equipment pad. Ensure that the air relief valve is still open to bleed all air out of the filter prior to closing the air relief valve. Once water starts to spray out of the valve, you may then close the valve (you should hear air hissing out just before the water starts to shoot out of the relief valve prior to closing).

STEP 13: Check the pressure gauge to ensure that your filter pressure is reading the appropriate and recommended level between 8 – 15 PSI.

Congratulations, you have successfully cleaned your pool's filter cartridge!  

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Longevity Of A Filter Cartridge

Filter cartridges typically last between 3-5 years depending on usage and maintenance of the cartridges themselves. If you have followed all of the steps outlined above, but your cartridge filters are still reading above the recommended PSI level, you may either require a chemical additive to assist in the cleaning of your filters, or replace them all together.

When using a cartridge cleaner, place the cartridges in pail of water (or tub) and leave them soaking for 24 hours submerged in the water/cleaner solution.  A cartridge cleaner will break down the organic compounds that are imbedded in the fibres of the filter that restrict flow and create higher pressure. Ask us about our cartridge cleaner in store!

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