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How to Clean a Pool Filter: The Complete Guide

How to Clean a Pool Filter

Cleaning your pool filter should be an essential part of your pool maintenance routine, it is vital that you check the state of your pool filter on a regular basis. This is because your filter is one of the primary components keeping your swimming pool clean and free from excess dirt and debris. Being aware of exactly how to clean a pool filter is a crucial part of being a swimming pool owner. Yes, you can hire an expert or a pool maintenance guy to do it all for you but learning how to do it yourself could save you money in the long term. 

In this article, you will learn exactly how to clean a swimming pool filter to ensure that your filter is always working at its optimum level. 

How To Clean Your Filter Will Depend Largely on The Type of Filter You Use 

As you probably already know, there are different types of filter therefore, a one method fits all approaches simply will not do. How you clean your pool filter will really depend on the type of filter that you currently use for your swimming pool. 

The most important thing is having the correct tools and allocating a certain amount of time to get the job done effectively and efficiently.

Whether you have a cartridge filter, a sand filter or a diatomaceous earth (DE) filter, there will be a few different steps that you will have to take to achieve your desired goal of a clean swimming pool filter. 

How to Clean a Cartridge Filter 

Cartridge filters are not too difficult to clean, it usually just requires a few simple steps. Those steps often include taking the cartridge out, cleaning it and then putting it back. The main thing to focus on is making sure you have the correct equipment to clean it and ensure you take the necessary steps to clean it properly. 

Below are some instructions on the best way to clean a cartridge filter 

The Tools: 

  • A water hose 
  • Spray gun or nozzle 
  • Pool filter cleaner 
  • Bucket 
  • Lubricating spray 
  • New O-ring 
  • New filter cartridge 
  • Cartridge filter instruction booklet if necessary 

Time to Clean! 

Gather all your materials and tools, bear in mind that you might have to continue the process the next day. It really does depend on how clean or dirty your swimming pool filter actually is. If the filter is only moderately dirty, then you will not have to take a couple of days to finish the cleaning process. 

The Process: 

  1. Switch the swimming pool pump and filter off 
  2. Release the air from the filtration system by switching the air valve gently to release the air 
  3. Open the filter by removing the clamps or components that fit the filter together. Unsure of how to do this? Read the instruction booklet that came with the filter. 
  4. Take the filter top off 
  5. Gently take out the cartridge and put it down safely. Check to see if it has been damaged, if the cartridge is looking like it needs replacing, then do so. If not, start cleaning 
  6. Using the spray gun or nozzle attachment on the water hose, douse the cartridge with water 
  7. You might need to utilize a filter cleaner to ensure that the filter gets cleaned effectively 
  8. You might need to totally immerse the cartridge in filter cleaner for 24 hours. This is where you would need the bucket. 
  9. Place the cartridge in the bucket with water and filter cleaner( check instructions on the packaging) 
  10. Take a look at the O-ring on the tank to check it is in good condition. Use lubricant spray to clean it up a bit. If it is looking old and damaged, fit a new one. 
  11. Use the hose again to remove any excess dirt or filter cleaner from the cartridge 
  12. Put the cartridge back inside the filter 
  13. Put the filter top back and secure the clamping components 
  14. Switch the pump and filtration system back and get rid of any unwanted air by opening the air relief valve. Let the valve remain open for a while to allow water to continuously run through
  15. Examine the system pressure to ensure that it is correct. If the pressure is looking a little off, you might need to take the cartridge out and fix it back in again. 

Cleaning a Sand Pool Filter 

Cleaning a sand pool filter is slightly more laborious than cleaning a cartridge filter but you should try and clean it regularly to reduce the amount of work you have to do when it is time to get it done. There are two ways of maintaining your sand filter, firstly backwashing is an option when it gets to more than 10psi above the optimum level. Also, if you notice that your swimming pool water is no longer looking clear and fresh, the pool is looking somewhat cloudy, then it is the perfect time to clean your filter. 

Bear in mind that you should really be cleaning your sand filter with chemicals annually. 

Here is a list of the things that you are going to need:

The Tools 

  • Backwash hose 
  • The sand filter cleaning solution
  • Sand filter instruction booklet 

Start cleaning! 

Sand filters are pretty simple to clean actually, the key to cleaning a sand filter is ensuring that you stick to a regular cleaning schedule, simply clean it when it needs to be cleaned. 

The Process

  1. Backwash the filter for about 4 minutes to get rid of any excess dirt 
  2. Shut down the pump and rotate the valve to Filter position 
  3. Take the pump’s strainer cover off 
  4. Add sand filter cleaner into the strainer and put the cover back on 
  5. Power up the pump again for around 15 to 20 seconds 
  6. Shut the pump down and let it sit for about 10 hours or overnight. 
  7. Repeat the backwashing process for around 4 minutes to get rid of dirt  
  8. Fire up the filter 

Cleaning a DE Filter 

Cleaning a DE filter is similar to cleaning both cartridge filters and sand filters. 

You can clean a DE filter using filter cleaning chemicals just like you would do with a cartridge filter. You can also backwash a DE filter just like you would with a sand filter. Backwashing is necessary when the meter starts reading 10 psi over the optimum level of operation. Also, if your water starts to look murky and off-color, it might be time to clean the filter. Despite the obvious signs that your filter needs cleaning, you should really be cleaning your filter on a monthly basis. 

Here is a list of some of the tools that you will need to clean a DE filter. 

The Tools 

  • Backwash hose 
  • Water hose 
  • Filter cleaner 
  • Lubricant spray 
  • Bucket 
  • DE powder 
  • Muriatic acid (might not be necessary) 
  • Goggles (wear them if you use the muriatic acid) 
  • Gloves(specifically for use when using acid) 
  • Filter instruction booklet

How to clean your DE Filter Using Filter Cleaner 

This way of cleaning your DE filter is the safest and most convenient way of cleaning it. Opt for this method if you are afraid of using muriatic acid. 

The Process 

  1. Backwash the filter to get rid of any excess dirt 
  2. Shut the pump down 
  3. Take the drain plug out to release the water 
  4. Open the filter by taking the clamp components off(if you don’t know how to do this, consult the instruction booklet that came with your filter) 
  5. Open the tank 
  6. Take the manifold out and take the grids out too 
  7. Use the water hose to clean out the tank 
  8. Wash the manifold by using the water hose and the spray gun attachment, clean the manifold really well to remove all dirt. 
  9. You might have to utilize a DE filter cleaner to clean the manifold properly. You can soak it overnight in the filter cleaner to get rid of baked-on dirt. 
  10. Spray water all over the filter grids to remove dirt 
  11. Put the grids into the filter tank 
  12. Pour DE powder on to the filter (read your filter instruction book to get the right quantity) 
  13. Take the strainer basket lid off 
  14. Pour water into the basket 
  15. Use lubrication spray to lubricate the O-ring 
  16. Put the filter lid back on and secure the clamps properly
  17. Get rid of unwanted air by opening the air relief valve 
  18. Switch the pool pump on 
  19. Shut the air relief valve when you see water running out 
  20. Now prepare the DE powder by mixing it with water 
  21. With the pump on, pour the mixture inside the pool skimmer 
  22. Let the pump continue to run for about half an hour. 

Cleaning Your DE Filter with Muriatic Acid 

Using muriatic acid is only necessary when the filter is extremely dirty. You should only clean your filter with muriatic acid once a year. 

Caution: Muriatic acid is a dangerous chemical and it can damage your skin and eyes. Wear gloves and protective goggles to prevent injury. 

The Process 

  1. Backwash your filter for approximately 4 minutes to get rid of excess dirt 
  2. Shut the pump down 
  3. Release the air relief valve 
  4. Take the drain plug out and allow the water to flow out 
  5. Take the clamps off to open the filter 
  6. Remove the filter tank cover 
  7. Take the grids out and the manifold 
  8. Clean the tank using the water hose 

Wash the manifold 

1.Wash the manifold by using the spray gun nozzle on the water hose 

2. Wear the goggles and protective gloves, protect all parts of your body by wearing long sleeves and long trousers and boots if you have to. 

3.Mix the muriatic acid with water according to the instructions on the packaging- use the bucket for this 

4. Put the manifold in the bucket with the diluted muriatic acid solution 

  1.  Let it sit overnight.
  2.  Clean the grids using the hose and rinse off any dirt 
  3.  Put the grids back into the filter 
  4.  Pour DE powder into the filter 
  1. Take the strainer basket lid off 
  2. Pour water into the basket 
  3. Using lubrication spray, lubricate the O-ring 
  4. Put the filter lid back on and secure the clamps 
  5. Remove unwanted air by opening the air relief valve 
  6. Fire up the pump 
  7. When the water starts flowing, close the valve 
  8. Create a mixture using the DE powder and water
  9. With the pump on, pour the mixture into the pool skimmer 
  10. Let the pump stay on for about half an hour 

Cleaning your swimming pool filter is vital, we hope this step by step guide will facilitate the process of keeping your swimming pool clean and fresh. 

Posted in pool maintenance

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