A Complete Guide to Improving Pool Filtration


A pool owner pouring sand in to their pool's sand filter 


Your swimming pool should be a welcoming, crystal-clear oasis in your backyard that offers relaxation and an escape from the hectic schedule of your daily life. However, your pool can sometimes evolve into a chore that is labor-intensive and less than relaxing when water clarity isn’t up to par. Your filter isn’t always to blame when your water is cloudy or stained, but it is the culprit in more than a handful of cases. A regular schedule of pool filter maintenance can help keep your filter running smoothly. Even then, however, your pool and filter may require the attention of a professional pool maintenance service in Buford, GA.


Not all pool filters are created equally, as there are three primary types of pool filters that go about clarifying and cleaning water in different ways. Those three types of filters are sand filters, diatomaceous earth filters, and cartridge pool filters. Regardless of which type of filter you have, when you get water clarity that is less than satisfactory, there are some things you can do to improve the performance of your filter. Read on to learn a few tips.


Sand Filters

Sand filters are the simplest type of filter available. They use sand as the filtration medium. Simply put, the sand filter works by forcing pool water through a sand bed, which catches and traps detritus and dirt. The filtered dirt is then backwashed out of the filter by reversing the water flow. To improve the performance of sand filters and avoid some of the common problems associated with them, make sure to use sand filter cleaner before backwashing the sand bed. A great tool in the toolbox of anyone with a sand filter is alum, also known as aluminum sulfate. Alum can be added to the pool water. After coming in contact with water, it becomes a gel-like substance that bonds with dirt and allows it to be trapped more efficiently in the filter’s sand bed. Finally, you can install a mesh wall return bag that acts as a secondary sieve to remove extra fine particulate and allow algae to accumulate before reaching the filter.


Cartridge Filters

Cartridge filters are extremely convenient because they use premanufactured cartridges that are filled with pleated fabric as the filtration medium. The filter forces water through the cloth pleats, which in turn trap the particulate and dirt in the water. The pleats fill over time with filtered material and must be moved from the filter and washed out. Cartridge filters are susceptible to calcium deposits in areas with hard water, so it’s important to add a water softener if you know the water in your area is hard. You can revitalize your cartridge filter by soaking cartridges in a filter cleaner overnight before washing out deposits the next morning. Be sure to use a clarifier product in conjunction with your cartridge filter. It can help your filter operate at maximum capacity by coagulating dirt and debris into clumps that are easier to filter. Try adding pulp fiber into the skimmer as well. It can help with the removal of dirt without damaging your filter pleats. It’s important to note that cartridges wear out after about 20 rinse cycles, so you can improve your filter’s performance by changing the cartridges at the proper intervals.


Clean, sparkling blue pool water that has just been filtered through a diatomaceous earth (DE) filter  


Diatomaceous Earth Filters

Diatomaceous earth, or DE, filters are extremely efficient because they can filter out small particles more efficiently than any other filter type. Diatomaceous earth is made up of the sharp, crystalline shells of plankton and diatoms from the sea. Because DE filters use a superfine fabric for the filter grid, they are particularly susceptible to fouling from oil. It’s important to add a pool enzyme that can help break down the oil and prevent it from ending up adhered to your filter grid. You can also supercharge your DE filter by switching the medium from diatomaceous earth to perlite, a volcanic substance that can provide superior performance and easier maintenance.


Poor filter performance can be improved if you know a few tricks that apply to the type of filter you use. To learn more about improving your pool filter performance, contact Sunrise Pool Services at (678) 804-0050.