Pool Filters For Above Ground Pools
Below we have the 3 basic types of filter system used on above ground pools. I have added some details about each design to illustrate the differences as well as pros and cons of each style. Hopefully this will make choosing the filter system for your above ground pool easier.
A sand filter is large tank which is filled with sand. As the pool pump forces the water through tank it passes through the sand and particles like hair, bugs and other things are trapped in the sand and removed from the pool water. Periodically the sand needs to be rinsed out to be effective again, this process is called back-washing. Cleaning the sand in the tank in done by using a valve on top of the filter called a multi-port valve. By selecting different placements on the valve water is sent back through the sand the other direction stirring it up and removing the trapped debris. The dirty water and debris and sent out of the tank and into the yard. Once clean water runs from the tank the valve is moved back into position again and pool filtration resumes. The length to clean the filter is only a couple of minutes and the tank is typically clean weekly.
Advantages of sand filters are quick easy maintenance, no sand is lost and nothing is added. Disadvantage is the least effective at removing debris and the hardest to system used to turn a green pool clear again.
The cartridge filter system is a large tank with a finely pleated cloth cartridge inside. The filter cartridge looks like a automotive air filter or a home air-conditioner filter. The dirty pool water enters the tank and is forced across the filter inside before leaving the tank and heading back into the pool. In much the same way a strainer works, the debris from the dirty water is trapped on the filter cartridge. Over time the filter gets clogged up so it’s simply removed from the tank, washed with pressured water from a garden hose and fitted back in the tank again. This type of filter has no moving parts, rarely breaks and is easy to inspect for any other maintenance needs.
Advantages of the cartridge filter are lack of moving pieces and very effective cleaning. Disadvantages are maintenance takes longer than a sand filter and it’s a little messier. Hands down my pick for best filter system by far.
De filter get their name from a component used in them called the Diatomaceous Earth. DE is a fine form of the hardened algae which proves to be a very appropriate filter as it stops even the smallest microscopic particles. DE filters are a combination of the design of Sand and Cartridge Filters. It is basically a container which has fingers with little holes like the ones in sand filters. Except those fingers are coated with a filtering material and which is eventually coated with the DE powder. Having to go through many filters, the cleansing process is more than guaranteed. It is the most efficient filter used for above the ground pools.
Advantages of DE are the best in filtering but only marginally better than a cartridge filter. Disadvantages are many expensive internal parts, messy and longer maintenance and toxic DE powder that must be added each time the filter is cleaned. Great filter but too much work and not much better than a quality cartridge system.