How to Backwash a Pool With a Cartridge Filter


Because Cartridge Filters are not built for reverse water flow, these pool filters can’t be “backwashed” simply by reversing the water flow in the pool’s filter system like their counterparts the Sand Filter. There are special instructions that are used for cartridge pool filters. How to Backwash a Pool With a Cartridge Filter?

  • Turn off the pool pump
  • Release pressure from the filter system
  • Open the filter housing
  • Remove the cartridge
  • Rinse the cartridge with a garden hose
  • Soak in filter cleaner solution if needed
  • Rinse again thoroughly
  • Reassemble and restart the pump

Introduction:

Maintaining a sparkling clean swimming pool requires regular upkeep, including the proper care of your filtration system. Cartridge filters are a popular choice for pool owners due to their efficiency and ease of use. Unlike sand or DE filters, cartridge filters do not require traditional backwashing. However, they do need periodic cleaning to ensure optimal performance. In this article, we’ll explore the steps and tips for effectively cleaning your cartridge filter, ensuring your pool remains a refreshing oasis all season long.

How to Backwash a Pool With a Cartridge Filter

Unlike sand or DE filters, cartridge filters do not require traditional backwashing. Instead, they need periodic cleaning to maintain optimal performance. To clean a cartridge filter, start by turning off the pool pump and releasing the pressure from the filter system.

Open the filter housing, remove the cartridge, and rinse it thoroughly with a garden hose, ensuring you clean between the pleats. For a deeper clean, soak the cartridge in a filter cleaner solution as per the manufacturer’s instructions, then rinse it again thoroughly.

Inspect the cartridge for any damage, and replace it if necessary. Reassemble the filter housing, restart the pool pump, and check for proper operation. Regular cleaning of the cartridge filter helps maintain clear water and efficient filtration.

Tools and Materials Needed

To clean your cartridge filter, gather the following tools and materials:

  • Garden hose with a spray nozzle
  • Soft brush (optional)
  • Bucket or large container
  • Filter cleaner solution (optional)
  • Replacement cartridges (if needed)
  • Rubber gloves (optional)
  • Protective eyewear (optional)

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Your Cartridge Filter

Because they were not built for reverse water flow, cartridge filters can’t be “backwashed” simply by reversing the water flow in the pool’s filter system. These filters must be cleaned by hand when they are dirty. A good cleaning with the garden hose is often enough to restore filter function, but a chemical cleaning is required if you find yourself having to clean your filter every 3 or 4 days. Although pool pump construction varies slightly, accessing and cleaning the filter is essentially the same on all equipment.

1. Turn Off the Pump and Release Pressure

Clean or Replace Pool Filter Cartridges ...
Clean or Replace Pool Filter Cartridges …

Before starting, ensure the pool pump is turned off to prevent any water flow through the system. Locate the air relief valve on top of the filter and slowly open it to release any built-up pressure. This step is crucial for your safety and to prevent damage to the filter housing.

2. Remove the Filter Housing

Depending on your filter model, you may need to unscrew clamps or remove bolts to access the cartridge. Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions for removing the filter housing. Once the housing is open, lift out the cartridge(s) and inspect them for any visible damage or excessive wear.

3. Rinse the Cartridge

Using a garden hose with a spray nozzle, thoroughly rinse the cartridge to remove loose debris. Start at the top and work your way down, ensuring you clean between the pleats. Avoid using a pressure washer, as the high pressure can damage the filter material. A soft brush can help dislodge stubborn debris if the cartridge is heavily soiled, but be gentle to avoid damaging the pleats.

4. Soak the Cartridge (Optional)

For a deeper clean, especially if your cartridge has a buildup of oils and fine particles, consider soaking it in a filter cleaner solution. Fill a bucket or large container with water and add the appropriate amount of filter cleaner, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Submerge the cartridge and let it soak for the recommended time, usually several hours or overnight. This step helps dissolve oils and grime that rinsing alone may not remove.

5. Rinse Again

After soaking, thoroughly rinse the cartridge again with the garden hose. Ensure all cleaning solution is washed out and the cartridge is free of any remaining debris. This final rinse is crucial to prevent any residual chemicals from returning to the pool.

6. Inspect and Reassemble

Carefully inspect the cartridge for any signs of damage, such as tears or flattened pleats. If the cartridge is excessively worn or damaged, it’s time to replace it with a new one. Otherwise, reinsert the cleaned cartridge(s) into the filter housing, ensuring they are properly seated. Reassemble the housing according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

7. Restart the System

With the filter housing securely in place, close the air relief valve and turn the pool pump back on. Check for any leaks and ensure the system is running smoothly. Monitor the pressure gauge; a significant pressure drop indicates the filter is clean and functioning efficiently.

Maintenance Tips for Cartridge Filters

To keep your cartridge filter in optimal condition and extend its lifespan, follow these maintenance tips: Regularly clean the filter every 4-6 weeks during the swimming season, adjusting as needed based on pool usage and environmental factors. Periodically inspect the filter cartridges for signs of wear and tear, such as tears or flattened pleats, and replace them as necessary—typically every 1 to 2 years. Use a filter cleaner solution occasionally to remove oils, lotions, and other contaminants that simple rinsing might not eliminate.

Maintaining proper water chemistry is also crucial; regularly test and balance pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels to prevent scale buildup and reduce the filter’s workload. Adhering to these practices ensures effective filtration, improved water quality, and a longer-lasting filter.

Before diving into the cleaning process, it’s important to understand how cartridge filters work. A cartridge filter uses a replaceable filter element made of pleated polyester fabric or paper. Water from the pool passes through the cartridge, where dirt and debris are trapped, allowing clean water to return to the pool. Over time, the filter becomes clogged with debris and needs cleaning to maintain water clarity and proper flow rates.

The Right Filter Cartridge: Key to Easy Cleaning and Happy Customers - PoolMagazine.com - Get The Latest Pool News
Filter Cartridge

To keep your cartridge filter in optimal condition and extend its lifespan, follow these maintenance tips:

Regular Cleaning

How often you need to clean your cartridge filter depends on several factors, including pool usage, the surrounding environment, and water quality. A general rule of thumb is to clean the filter every 4-6 weeks during the swimming season. However, if you notice reduced water flow or increased pressure on the gauge, it’s time to clean the filter.

Inspect Cartridges Regularly

Regularly inspect the filter cartridges for signs of wear and tear. Replace them as needed to maintain effective filtration. Typically, a cartridge should last between 1 to 2 years, but this can vary based on usage and maintenance.

Use a Filter Cleaner

Periodically using a filter cleaner solution can help remove oils, lotions, and other contaminants that rinsing alone might not eliminate. This step is especially important if your pool sees heavy use or is located near trees and plants that can introduce organic debris.

Maintain Proper Water Chemistry

Balanced water chemistry is essential for the longevity of your filter and overall pool health. Regularly test and adjust the pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels to prevent scale buildup and reduce the load on your filter.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

When maintaining a cartridge filter, you might encounter a few common issues that require troubleshooting. Reduced water flow, even after cleaning the cartridge, often indicates clogs or blockages in the plumbing or pump.

How To Clean Your Pool Sand Filter and Cartridge Filter
How To Clean Your Pool Cartridge Filter

Check the pump basket and skimmer basket for debris and clear any obstructions. Persistently high filter pressure typically signals a dirty or clogged cartridge; cleaning should resolve this, but if high pressure continues, inspect the cartridge for damage and consider replacing it.

Cartridge damage, such as tears, holes, or flattened pleats, necessitates immediate replacement, as compromised cartridges cannot effectively filter the water, leading to poor water quality. By addressing these issues promptly, you can maintain efficient filtration and ensure your pool water remains clean and clear.

Reduced Water Flow

If you notice a significant reduction in water flow despite cleaning the cartridge, check for clogs or blockages in the plumbing and pump. Ensure the pump basket and skimmer basket are free of debris. If the problem persists, it may indicate a need for a new cartridge.

High Filter Pressure

Consistently high filter pressure can signal a dirty or clogged cartridge. Cleaning the cartridge should resolve this issue. However, if high pressure persists, inspect the cartridge for damage or consider replacing it.

Cartridge Damage

If you find tears, holes, or flattened pleats during inspection, replace the cartridge immediately. Damaged cartridges cannot effectively filter the water and can lead to poor water quality.

Conclusion:

Proper maintenance of your cartridge filter is essential for keeping your pool water clear and inviting. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure your cartridge filter operates efficiently and extends its lifespan. Regular cleaning, routine inspections, and balanced water chemistry are key to a trouble-free swimming season. With a little effort and attention, your pool will remain a refreshing retreat for you and your family to enjoy. By incorporating these practices into your pool maintenance routine, you’ll not only enhance the performance of your cartridge filter but also enjoy crystal-clear water all season long. Happy swimming!

JimGalloway Author/Editor

References:

Hunker- How to Backwash a Cartridge Filter

1. How often should I clean my cartridge filter?

  • Answer: It is recommended to clean your cartridge filter every 4-6 weeks during the swimming season. However, this can vary based on pool usage, surrounding environment, and water quality. If you notice reduced water flow or increased pressure on the gauge, it’s time to clean the filter.

2. How do I know when to replace my cartridge filter?

  • Answer: Inspect your cartridge filter regularly for signs of wear and tear, such as tears, holes, or flattened pleats. Generally, a cartridge should last between 1 to 2 years, but if it shows significant damage or does not clean effectively after rinsing, it’s time to replace it.

3. Can I use a pressure washer to clean my cartridge filter?

  • Answer: No, using a pressure washer can damage the pleats of the cartridge filter. Instead, use a garden hose with a spray nozzle to thoroughly rinse the cartridge, ensuring you clean between the pleats without causing damage.

4. What is the purpose of soaking the cartridge in a filter cleaner solution?

  • Answer: Soaking the cartridge in a filter cleaner solution helps to remove oils, lotions, and fine particles that rinsing alone may not eliminate. This deep cleaning step is especially useful if your pool sees heavy use or is exposed to significant organic debris.

5. What should I do if the filter pressure remains high after cleaning the cartridge?

  • Answer: If filter pressure remains high after cleaning, check for any clogs or blockages in the plumbing and pump. Ensure the pump basket and skimmer basket are free of debris. If the problem persists, inspect the cartridge for damage and consider replacing it.

6. How can I maintain proper water chemistry to prolong the life of my cartridge filter?

  • Answer: Regularly test and balance your pool’s pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels. Proper water chemistry prevents scale buildup and reduces the load on your filter, helping to extend its lifespan and maintain efficient filtration.

Recent Posts