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Thread: Sand, DE or Cartridge?

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    Sand, DE or Cartridge?

    I have a 20,000 gallon in ground pool, diamond bright in Florida. It is surrounded by trees and no screen so it gets very dirty. I was told that my cartridge filter is undersized and I should upgrade but that actually DE would be better. My sister says for my pool sand is best. It's tough to keep that cartridge clean.

    Which would be best and what size should I get?
    Winter Park FL
    10,000 gallons, 1.5hp pump, DE Filter, Marbletite Surface

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Sand, DE or Cartridge?

    Regardless of what kind of filter you get, you will be happier with a larger filter. Larger filters go longer bewtween backwashing/cleaning and are also more efficient.

    DE filters are the most work and give you the best water quality. Sand filters are the least work and give good water quality. Cartridge filters are in-between on both aspects.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Sand, DE or Cartridge?

    Thank you. That is such a concise and simple reply! You have been a huge help.
    Winter Park FL
    10,000 gallons, 1.5hp pump, DE Filter, Marbletite Surface

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    Re: Sand, DE or Cartridge?

    If the filter is still in good shape you can try using a skimmer sock for a bit to see if that works. Worth a try before going with a new filter anyway. You'd have to clean/replace the sock often but it's much less trouble than cleaning the cart filter.

    For a new filter, normally sand is the least trouble for a pool that gets a lot of junk falling in it because the filter can be easily backwashed. The disadvantage of sand (other than as Jason noted it's slightly less effective at filtration) is that backwashing uses a lot of water. In places where water can be expensive (like FL) you need to take that into consideration.
    25k gal Lazy-L, vinyl liner, poly walls, swimout spa, diving board, TurboTwister slide.
    Hayward 2HP 2-spd pump, Pentair 2HP spa pump, Hayward 30" 500lb sand filter.
    Goldline Pro Logic PS-8 automation/SWG. 2 LED ColorLogic 4.0. 8 Jandy deck jets. MX-8 cleaner.

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    Re: Sand, DE or Cartridge?

    Again, trying to not start a "filter war"...

    DE will cost more money up-front.
    DE filters finer... on a well kept pool, you may or may not see a difference between DE and cartridge.
    On restoring a poorly kept pool - DE will get it clearer, faster (but may need a few backwashes).
    DE filters, if needed, can be back-washed mid-season if the pressure rises too much (you let the pool go and get algae, or if you live in an area with lots of dust (farm-land)).
    Once you are familiar with (key phrase here) your DE filter, you can clean it almost as fast as a cartridge. While you're getting familiar with cleaning it, putting it back together is sometimes a frustrating puzzle.
    Always purchase the backwash valve if you go DE.

    Cartridge filters run about $100 less than DE.
    Cartridges work great on a well kept pool.
    On restoring a poorly kept pool - Cartridges will take a lot longer, and may need to be pulled and cleaned several times.
    Cartridges will need to be pulled and cleaned mid season if the pressure rises too much (you let the pool go and get algae, or if you live in an area with lots of dust (farm-land)).
    Tear down & re-assembly is very straight forward for a cartridge filter.
    You cannot backwash a Cartridge filter.

    I would never recommend a sand filter. Just a personal bias.
    ~45Kg Pool with attached Spa, NSP-72 DE, Minmax 400 Heater, Tahoe Blue Pebbletech, Jandy SWG via Aqualink RS-8, The Pool Cleaner (black)
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    Re: Sand, DE or Cartridge?

    A big, overrsized sand filter is my vote. DE and carts are too big of a hassle in my book.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: Sand, DE or Cartridge?

    Beating this dead horse until he has absolutely no sign of life, I would like to add that peoples' OVERWHELMING choice of filters is the one they have!!

    Don't bet against me when I bet that bk406 has a sand filter and taekwondodo doesn't.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Sand, DE or Cartridge?

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh

    Don't bet against me when I bet that bk406 has a sand filter and taekwondodo doesn't.
    You're right on my end

    I will say if i had to get a DE or cart, I'd get the cart. I've known several with a DE filter and they hated them. Not saying thats everyones experience, just my limited exposure to it.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    susa's Avatar
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    Re: Sand, DE or Cartridge?

    >>Which would be best and what size should I get?

    with a 22k pool, get a *large* filter (500-700 sq ft) AND get a robotic cleaner OR get a pressure side cleaner with it's own debris filter bag.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Sand, DE or Cartridge?

    Quote Originally Posted by susa
    with a 22k pool, get a *large* filter (500-700 sq ft)
    Wow! Can you imagine a 700 ft² sand filter? Ok. I was being a little facetious.

    Seriously, get as large a filter as you can afford in whatever your preferenced type.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    Re: Sand, DE or Cartridge?

    I have to say my preference is the DE filter. I have only used sand and DE personally, so I can not vouch for the cartridge style. What I can vouch for is that the DE filter does a great job at filtering and filtering fast. I have gone to bed with my pool green and or cloudy. By morning it is sparkling clear. They just work well. Yes you have to backwash at times, but to me that's just part of pool ownership.

    Doug

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    Re: Sand, DE or Cartridge?

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    Beating this dead horse until he has absolutely no sign of life, I would like to add that peoples' OVERWHELMING choice of filters is the one they have!!

    Don't bet against me when I bet that bk406 has a sand filter and taekwondodo doesn't.
    Well, I'm not going to play fair here...

    I have a dozen DE filters, forty cartridge filters, and one sand filter...



    [edit - and I just finished servicing ALL of them ]
    ~45Kg Pool with attached Spa, NSP-72 DE, Minmax 400 Heater, Tahoe Blue Pebbletech, Jandy SWG via Aqualink RS-8, The Pool Cleaner (black)
    Pumps: X3 Hybrid Pump (switches to SPA), 2HP Spa (additional, when SPA is on), and a 1HP For Waterfall
    8, 4x12 Solar Panels on the roof of the pool-house (~12' up)
    CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK: "I'M SORRY. I CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER THE SOUND OF HOW AWESOME I AM" (Thanks to TFP!)

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    mcoonan's Avatar
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    Re: Sand, DE or Cartridge?

    Taekwondodo,
    As time is money-
    What filter do you find is easyist/quickest to service?
    How do you clean the cart filters?
    Which has the least amount of problems?
    Thanks
    Mike
    Intex Ultra 18' x 52" AG 6,981 Gal.
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    Medota Heights,Minnesota

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: Sand, DE or Cartridge?

    Sand is quick to service if you don't need to replace the sand.

    I like DE, because I use perlite and it backwashes well.

    I've gotten to the point where I can do a full tear-down/cleaning/assy of a DE or cartridge in about the same amount of time. The challenge is getting the grids on a DE back in - tearing-down and cleaning it is easy. Sometimes they're a real pain to re-assemble... kinda like solving a rubix cube - just when you think you've figured it out, you find out that 7 grids you just put back in are in wrong... because the 8th one wont fit!

    But, DE, even with Perlite, can make a (lot bigger) mess - and plan to get dirty. Take a look around the pad area and see where DE is going to flow when you open the filter. This could be a reason to go cartridge instead of DE.

    Once you're a "TFP'er" and know how keep your pool in good shape, you could select any of the three and really not go wrong.
    ~45Kg Pool with attached Spa, NSP-72 DE, Minmax 400 Heater, Tahoe Blue Pebbletech, Jandy SWG via Aqualink RS-8, The Pool Cleaner (black)
    Pumps: X3 Hybrid Pump (switches to SPA), 2HP Spa (additional, when SPA is on), and a 1HP For Waterfall
    8, 4x12 Solar Panels on the roof of the pool-house (~12' up)
    CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK: "I'M SORRY. I CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER THE SOUND OF HOW AWESOME I AM" (Thanks to TFP!)

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