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Cleaning Filter Cartridges
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Cleaning Filter Cartridges


Cartridge style pool filters require manual cleaning on a regular basis. Cleaning a filter cartridge means spraying all the dirt and debris out of the filter cartridge with a garden hose. Never use a pressure washer as this can force very fine particles deep into the fabric preventing efficient circulation.

When to Clean Filter Cartridges

Most cartridges should be cleaned every few weeks, but this can vary depending on the size of the filter and the amount of dirt and debris that falls into the pool. You can use the pressure gauge on the top of the filter as a tool to determine when the cartridge needs to be cleaned. Make a note of what the filter pressure is when the pump is running and the filter has just been cleaned. As dirt is collected in the filter, it becomes more difficult for the pump to push water through the filter. This results in an increase in the pressure. It is time to clean the filter when the pressure increases to about 5-7 psi above what it was when the filter was clean. If the filter pressure does not increase by this much within a month, you may want to check the cartridge anyway, as there may be a problem with the pressure gauge itself.

How to Clean a Filter Cartridge

  1. Turn off the pool pump. Make sure that the timer will not turn the pump back on while the filter is open. You may want to turn off the circuit breaker just to be safe.
  2. Remove the drain plug from the bottom of the filter. If the pool filter is below the water level of the pool you will need to close the valves on the plumbing to keep water from flowing out of the filter when you open it.
  3. Open the air bleeder on top of the filter. This will let air in from the top of the filter so that the water inside can come out of the drain plug.
  4. Let all the water run out of the filter.
  5. Open the filter tank. Some filters have locking rings that unthread to open the filter. Other filters require a wrench to remove a bolt that holds the filter clamp together. One style of filter has many nuts around the middle of the filter that have to be removed one at a time.
  6. Remove the cartridges from the inside of the filter. Some filters have one cartridge, others have as many as four. If there are plastic pieces holding the cartridges in place, take note of their position so that you can put them back together when you are finished.
  7. Spray the cartridges out with a hose and a spray nozzle. Do not use a pressure washer as it will damage the cartridge. Filter cartridges have many pleats, each one of these pleats needs to be sprayed out individually for the cartridge to be truly clean. Simply spraying the outside until it looks clean will not remove the dirt that is deep within the pleats.
  8. When all the cartridges are thoroughly cleaned, hose out the inside of the filter tank. Cleaning the o-ring that seals the tank together will help to keep the filter from leaking.
  9. Replace the cartridges and other internal pieces.
  10. Replace the top of the filter and seal it back together tightly. Replace the drain plug.
  11. Open any valves that you closed before you cleaned the filter, then turn the pool pump on.
  12. Open the bleeder valve on the top of the filter to let the air out of the tank. When a steady stream of water comes out, close the bleeder valve.
  13. Check to be sure the filter is sealed properly and is not leaking from any of the o-rings.