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Thread: What filter to buy?

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    What filter to buy?

    Hello everyone,

    I've been reading this site for help with my pool for a little over a year now and I've found lots of great information to get me going on getting things right!

    I'll start off with some information about the pool:

    Year: 1997 (owned by me since 2011)
    Size: Approximately 17,000 gallons, plaster
    Shape: Free-form, a little like a dog bone with an attached, slightly elevated hot tub that uses the same pump/filter/heater as the pool
    Returns: 2 fan fountains, 3 in-wall and 6 in-wall in the hot tub

    The filter and pump appear original
    Filter: 150sq.ft. Hayward Canister
    Heater: Jandy LRZ Natural Gas
    2" PVC plumbing throughout

    Location: Orlando, FL
    Pool temp through the summer - around 80
    Winter Pool temp - around 65 except when heated for swimming a few times a month

    My cartridge filter keeps the pool very clean, as someone else stated on these boards I can toss a quarter in the deep end and tell you if it's heads or tails. But what I don't like is the level of maintenance the cartridge needs. I clean the cartridge pretty much weekly and I spend about a half hour just spraying it out with a hose as carefully as I can. When the filter is clean the pressure gauge reads close to zero and I clean it when it gets a little above 20. When the pressure increases the pool heater gives me a "No Flow" error and the flow from the returns, especially the fountains, is a trickle.

    I replaced the cartridge hoping I'd get away with fewer cleanings but it really didn't help much and now, a little less than a year later, the cartridge goes from close to zero on the pressure gauge, up to 25 in a matter of a few hours of use. I'm not interested in purchasing another $100 cartridge and would much rather put that money towards a filter that takes less time to maintain.

    I've done lots of research and I'm leaning towards a sand filter. I think I can live with the 20 - 30 micron range of filtration in exchange for ease of use.

    The pool supply store suggested a Hayward 24" sand filter (Model S244T)

    Here's the issue, it uses a 1.5" valve and I've got 2" plumbing. The pool supply store looked at alternatives but thought they were a lot more filter than I needed and suggested using a down-size 1.5" - 2.0" pipe to connect it. My gut tells me this is a terrible idea but she insists it would be fine.

    Would the S244T work? If not, what would be a better fit for my system? I'm open to DE but I'm not thrilled about the price, maintenance of adding DE, muriatic soaks and the mess it apparently leaves in the yard.

    I know you guys are good and I look forward to your help on this!

  2. Back To Top    #2
    bobodaclown's Avatar
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    Re: What filter to buy?

    I've only used a cartridge filter so I can't really comment on the others, but some of the pro's of the cartridge, no back washing. Your chemicals stay where they need to be, your not adding chemicals then losing them due to backwashing.
    Have you tried TSP then muriatic acid washing of the filter? (see this link: re-how-to-clean-a-cartridge-filter-t4465.html )

    You're waiting way too long between cleanings 8 PSI should be the max.

    I've got 2 cartridges and swap them out when I clean them. So far it's working pretty well. You're going to get some pressure increase from the valve, but it shouldn't be a big problem overall.
    17K Kidney Shaped Pool Concrete (Diamond Bright) Pool, 3/4 hp 2 speed 115V Sta-rite Duraglas PEA5D-180L/P2R5D-181L (Impeller C105-92PS Diffuser C1-216P), 1.5 piping, Pentair CC100 Filter , Heat Siphon 100K BTU Heat Pump Pool Heater, Flow meter Blue White Flowmeter Model No. F-30150P, Hayward Astrolight SP0581N, SWCG CalimarTitanium Edition TE45 , Dolphin Nautilus Plus with CleverClean, Lakeland Florida

  3. Back To Top    #3
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: What filter to buy?

    First thing is that a 150 sqft cartridge filter isn't big enough for that pool. Something larger than a 300 ft2 would be much better and require a lot less maintenance. Also a S244T sand filter won't be much better and may introduce the added issue of what to do with the waste water. You'll also have to replace all the water you backwash out with a sand filter. It may be a minor issue but it needs to be considered.

    I'd personally go for a 400+ sqft cartridge filter to replace what you have now.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: What filter to buy?

    Welcome to TFP!

    +1 for what Bama said.

    Get the largest cartridge filter you can afford and have room for. A 400+ sqft filter should be able to go an entire season without being cleaned.

    The 1.5" vs. 2" plumbing is not ideal but it really isn't much of an issue (1% or 2% efficiency difference).

    Yes, a 24" sand filter will work, and it will be a little less work that what you have now, but you will still be backwashing frequently and system efficiency won't be as good as getting a larger cartridge filter.

    By the by, DE filters are the most work to take care of, but do not routinely give them an acid wash. Acid washing the grids is almost never a good idea and is really only suitable for situations with unavoidably extremely high CH levels.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  5. Back To Top    #5

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    Re: What filter to buy?

    In general - using ANY filter - it's almost impossible to get "too big" of a filter, whether you you use cartridge, sand (I'm using this - a 30 inch model), or DE - bigger filter (provided you have the space for it / can buy it / get it plumbed in) is almost always better.

    The other comments on when to clean / backflush a filter - the consensus you'll find is that an increase of 25% in PSI is the generally accepted level of "when to clean" - this would mean for a clean PSI of 11 PSI - clean it when it gets to 14 PSI - it's kind of hard to say on yours since you said the pressure is almost zero on a clean filter. I have pretty good luck with my sand filter - cleaning it about every 2-3 weeks or when I vacuum the pool - I backflush until the water in the sightglass is clear, then rinse for 30 seconds, then go back to normal filter operation.

    You should be able to find a sand filter with 2 inch plumbing, but if you can't it won't hurt too much to use the reducers.

    Edit - I'm using an S244T filter with 1.5 inch plumbing - but all my plumbing is 1.5 inch.
    16x32 IG 19,000 gallons, Pentair 1.5 hp Energy Efficient Superflo pump (348024),vinyl liner, Chlorine dispenser, Hayward S-244T sand filter

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    Re: What filter to buy?

    Thank you all for your input and insight. I've never soaked my cartridge to clean it but I must say I'm a little skeptical of how much it would help with the situation I'm experiencing. Even with a brand new filter cartridge I was back up to over 20psi in less than 2 weeks. I can't imagine the overnight soak would buy me more time than a new cartridge and I just couldn't justify the time and expense of giving it a shot for experimental purposes.

    On a side note, I may have unintentionally misrepresented filter pressure. A clean filter is near zero for the first several hours of operation but a normal operating pressure is a little over 10psi.

    About the filter being undersized; I had long suspected that may have been the case. That said, I hate to say this, but I'm not positive it's a 150 sq. ft. model. From my description at the pool shop today, and pointing out the model it most closely represented on her sales floor that was her best guess. I'm sure there are some Hayward experts among you, it's about 4 ft tall and a little under a foot wide. The cartridge is about 2.5 - 3 feet tall, it's the one that runs a hundred bucks at every pool store. The filter itself appears original and no stickers or identifying markings remain on the exterior; in fact, it's old enough that every time I handle it I end up with the fun of invisible fiberglass fibers stuck into any skin that was lucky enough to touch the exterior. When I clean it again tomorrow or Monday I'll check the cartridge for markings to verify size.

    If it indeed is only 150 sq. ft. I'm cautiously interested in what those of you are telling me about a 300 - 400 sq ft. model as a replacement. I must say I'm very cautiously interested as I pretty much despise my current cartridge and it's constant time-consuming cleanings. By cleaning once a season, about how many times a year would you gamble on for a 12 month Florida season?

    I'll be spending some quality time doing research on what you guys have told me so far. Initial google results for "400 square foot hayward cartridge" pull up the 40 sq. ft. model . . . I'll be needing a little bigger than that.

    Thank you so much for the expert help! Any suggestions for specific models that you feel would suit my needs best would be very much appreciated.

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    Re: What filter to buy?

    I sell the hayward 244t all the time. It's an ideal size for 80% of pools. If The pool is larger than 20x40 then I will use a larger size.
    Anyways I've installed that filter on 2" plumbing and just reduced it into the filter. It doesn't have any adverse effect.

    Now if you are REALLY concerned about that size down issue you can always use a SP071620T. This multiport valve is 2".
    Also, someone did mention to me that even though you can buy the SP071620T and get 2" plumbing the center stand pipe is still 1.5"

    I believe if you want all 2" including the center pipe you will be looking into pentair.


    Anyways I love sand filters. It's a pain cleaning cartridges. I vacuum pools on a weekly basis and clean the filters after each vacuuming (even though sometimes it's not really needed it's better safe than sorry, especially when you come back to the pool next week and it's barely chugging along since it's so clogged up.) It got to the point that we wouldn't take cartridge filters on the route anymore so they would have to switch to sand or DE to be on the route.
    -Kevin
    X-Pert Pool Service
    x-pertpool.com
    X-Pert Pool on Facebook and @XPertPoolServic on Twitter
    22,000 gal / 16' x 32' / Vinyl / Hayward s244t /Pentair SuperFlo 1 hp

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Re: What filter to buy?

    I agree with Kevin and the OP about cleaning cartridge filters when you can clean a sand or DE filter in less than 5 minutes. Before you pick the size of sand or DE filter you should consider the size of your pump before you select the filter. IMO its very important they be matched to maximize performance and longevity. You can get a side mount multiport in 2 inch which also allows easier access to the internals of the filter.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: What filter to buy?

    There are several different things going on. For example, it is essentially impossible for the filter pressure to be zero for the first several hours and then go up to 10 without something being broken. The most likely candidate for what is broken is the pressure gauge. Gauges tend to break frequently. I don't believe that is really central to what is going on, but it does confuse the situation a fair bit.

    Likewise, it doesn't completely make sense that you should need to clean the filter you have quite as often as what you describe. My expectation would be cleaning the filter every two or three weeks, and that after a smaller pressure increase. There are several things that might cause that, some easier to solve than others. For example, there are some water balance issues that can lead to needing to clean the filter way too often, though they aren't common. If you are running the FC level a bit too low and have a fairly high CYA level you can have a low level algae problem, perhaps not even visible, that could clog up a filter much more quickly than normal.

    It is also worth pointing out that standard industry practice is to have a filter about the size of the filter you have. Meanwhile, around here many people much prefer to have a very large filter and clean it much less often. The larger filter also improves the electrical efficiency of the entire system. Cartridge filters are the best ones to use when going with a large filter. The Pentair Clean and Clear Plus 420 and Hayward SwimClear 425 are two of the good large filters. There are others just as good, I just picked two easy to find examples. In a typical pool your size in Florida you should be cleaning a 400+ sqft filter at most twice a year, probably just once a year.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  10. Back To Top    #10
    bobodaclown's Avatar
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    Re: What filter to buy?

    In searching I found a 250 sqft filter for $270 delivered. Here's the link with the info:
    looking-for-comments-on-this-cartridge-filter-250-sqft-270-t55040.html
    17K Kidney Shaped Pool Concrete (Diamond Bright) Pool, 3/4 hp 2 speed 115V Sta-rite Duraglas PEA5D-180L/P2R5D-181L (Impeller C105-92PS Diffuser C1-216P), 1.5 piping, Pentair CC100 Filter , Heat Siphon 100K BTU Heat Pump Pool Heater, Flow meter Blue White Flowmeter Model No. F-30150P, Hayward Astrolight SP0581N, SWCG CalimarTitanium Edition TE45 , Dolphin Nautilus Plus with CleverClean, Lakeland Florida

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Re: What filter to buy?

    As I come back inside, wet, cold, and dirty, from a half hour "quick" clean of my filter for the third time this week, I must say I'm not a big fan of cartridge filters. At least cartridge filters this size.

    The cartridge is a Hayward 120 Sq. Ft.

    I owe a big thank you to everyone for your insight and expertise.

    I was very tempted by the high-end cartridge filters that were suggested. But, after putting up with this one for about two years I'm thinking I'd like to try a different style.

    The invisible algae problem Jason suggested has crossed my mind after reading this board too. My CYA is indeed too high and I'm working on bringing it down but it's a huge work in progress. My main floor drain doesn't work so I can only pull water down to the bottom of the skimmer and these small water changes seem to have a VERY gradual effect on CYA. Thanks to the information on this board I switched to liquid chlorine from the packets and auto-feed tablets some time ago. This is another reason I'm hesitant about the big cartridge filters, a minor algae problem like this could do a pretty good job trashing $200 worth of cartridges.

    With the S244T's low $300 price I'm going to give it a shot. If I'm not happy with it I can always replace it after a few years and go for one of the big cartridges next time. Conversely, if I bought the big cartridge filter and wasn't happy, I'd feel obligated to hang onto a $750 filter for awhile.

    On a related note, I live near Disney and I've chatted up a few of the maintenance guys there and had an opportunity to check out their equipment. All of their pools use sand filters (huge multi-step sand filters). Combined with the info you guys have provided, I figure if it's good enough for the Mouse, it's good enough for me.

    One final question seems especially pertinent for the experts here as it's been brought up that pumps and filters should be paired correctly. My pump is a 1.5 HP Blue Haven - looks original but it still sounds fine when it runs. I'm sure I'm running on borrowed time and when it finally dies I'll pick up a new one. When it's time for a new pump, does 1.5hp sound appropriate for my set up or would any of you suggest something different? What about variable speed pumps?

  12. Back To Top    #12
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: What filter to buy?

    I would go with a two speed pump, instead of a variable speed pump, unless your electric rates are above about 15 to 20 cents per kwh. With lower electric rates your payback time on a more expensive variable speed pump gets to be very long, perhaps longer than you will own it. A two speed pump provides most of the savings of a variable speed at a much lower initial cost.

    Since the pump runs the spa as well as the pool, adjust the pump size based on how you like the spa jets. If the jets are currently fine, get the same size pump. If they are weaker than you might like, get a larger pump. Overly strong jets, then get a smaller pump. Getting a two speed pump allows you to run on low speed for the pool, to save money, and high speed for the spa so the jets feel right.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: What filter to buy?

    Good information, thank you for your help!

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: What filter to buy?

    I just wanted to give everyone a quick update and another thanks for the help.

    I've got the S244T plumbed in and so far, so good! After a couple of weeks of use the water still looks crystal clear.

    It was a pain to get the thing plumbed due to the huge size of the new sand filter and the fact that the inlet and return are on the top of the new filter instead of at the bottom as they were in the old cartridge filter but, in the end, it's just PVC and nothing's too terrible I guess.

    I also like the new waste valve this filter has added to my pool. I'm looking forward to vacuuming straight to waste for that super fine dust at the bottom of the pool that always sneaks past the filter. That new waste feature can also lower the water level a lot more quickly than the old garden hose spigot on the other filter too.

    I suppose I may be going through a little bit of a honeymoon period though. Only time will tell how much I like sand vs. cartridge filters after a few years of ownership.

    Thanks again for the help from the experts on this board!

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