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Thread: Which Filter to Get??? DE vs Cartridge???

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    Which Filter to Get??? DE vs Cartridge???

    Hi there,

    I'm in the process of building my pool and making some equipment choices...

    i'm going with all Pentair (intelliflo, heater, etc.)... Which filter should i get? Clean & Clear Plus Cartridge Filter vs. Quad D.E. Cartridge Style Filter???

    Any input would be great!!! It's a 20x40' salt water pool with a spa.

    Thanks for taking the time.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Which Filter to Get??? DE vs Cartridge???

    Personal preference. The cartridge has some advantage for a SWG pool in that you are not backwashing out the salt and CYA which would have to be replenished. Just be sure it is sized appropriately. What is the estimated volume?

    The disadvantage of a cartridge is in the cleaning if you get an algae bloom.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: Which Filter to Get??? DE vs Cartridge???

    I would consider it a personal choice really. Either filter works very well, they both prolly have their plus and minus, so figure out what is most important to you over the long run.

    - DE will probably require a little more time to clean the grids and its a bit messier.
    - DE has the added expense of replenishing the DE.
    - Most DE filter require back-washing, so cost of water and chemicals to replace that back-washed are of consideration
    - You may want to check with your local building code folks or PB, if you are inside the municipality. Many city codes now require a "hard line" backwash pipe installed permanently into the sewer system which means it will cost a lot more just for the installation.
    DE provides the clearest sparkling water - reportedly has considerably better filtering capability over cartridge or sand. Down to just a few microns.

    As a note: Hayward makes the "Bump" type filter and they say it doesn't require backwash, but I think DE replenishment is still required.

    Disclaimer: I have never had nor do I know anyone who has a DE filter,(the code here requires hard plumbing and permit = expensive, so not many folks have them) ..so.. the comments above are from what I recall learning when I was deciding which filter I would go with. Others opinion are respected and may differ from mine.

    - Cartridge filter requires replacement filter elements every few years at a price of a few (2-3) hundred dollars for a set. (depending on how large the filter is)
    - Cartridge does not require back-washing and does not have the added expense that goes with water or DE replenishment or possible extra install costs or permit issues.
    - Cartridge probably not as messy to clean.
    - Cartridges filter very well, in the order of 30 microns, reportedly not as good as DE, but still very very good clarity of the water.

    I'm sure there is more that can be added, as I am sort of biased towards cartridge.


    Others hopefully will also chime in.

    For more info, there are quite a few YouTubes of both types of filters, so you can have a look at the actual process of cleaning each type.

    hope this helps,
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
    www.tftestkits.net Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!

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    Re: Which Filter to Get??? DE vs Cartridge???

    We all tend to like what we have experience with. Cartridge, DE or a sand filter will all keep your pool crystal clear if they are sized correctly and managed properly.

    If one type was clearly superior, it would dominate the marketplace. They seem to be all just about equal in sales.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Which Filter to Get??? DE vs Cartridge???

    I just finished building a pool 5 months ago with a DE filter and backwashed it for the first time this weekend. About 10 years ago, I had a pool with a cartridge filter, so I'll give you my thoughts on the differences between the two.

    Some background....
    We are in Arizona with very hard water. I'v heard from many people in AZ to drain your pool every few years to "reset" the water. I am not sure I agree with that yet. I think that's mostly from people who use pucks and their CYA gets out of hand and they don't know how to manage their chemicals correctly. However, I may have to if my calcium levels get too high (I think I am at 600 right now)
    My pool with DE is salt water, the last pool with cartridge was pucks.
    I had no idea what I was doing 10 years ago with taking care of a pool.

    We went with DE for the current pool because I didn't really enjoy the cartridge filter on the last pool. I found cleaning the cartridges a very messy, wet, and time consuming chore (took a few hours of dissasembly, spraying, more spraying, reassembly). However, that might have been because I didn't know what I was doing or I was too OCD and trying to get the cartridges cleaner than necessary. Anyhow, I didn't like it and didn't want to be "constantly" (at least in my mind) cleaning cartridges or replacing them. I was also told that I should be repleneshing water by backwashing anyway, so that my TDS wouldn't get so high. I thought, if I still have to backwash to lower my TDS, then why not just get a filter that you backwash anyway. Enter the DE filter for this pool.

    When I decided on DE, I didn't realize you had to replenish the DE when backwashing. That was something I learned a littler later. I was not happy about that and thought it would be an annoyance. Turns out it's cheap and easy to do. I hesitantly backwashed this weekend expecting it to be difficult and take some time. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was. The only issues I had were running out of DE (I needed 6 lbs and the PB left me 5) and finding a good place to run the backwash hose to. I ran up to the store and bought DE ($10 for a 10lb bag) and will have some for next time, so problem solved there. For the backwash hose, I am thinking of running some PVC to my sewer cleanout, but that might be more hassle than it's worth. At least next time I will know how fast that water comes rushing out. Adding the DE was pretty easy as well, just mixed it in a bucket with some water and slowly poured it in to the skimmer. Probably took me an hour at most from start to finish.

    As others have said, we liked the DE because of how well it can filter (in theory). My wife isn't a fan of bacteria, viruses, and the like and hearing that DE can filter and even possibly "kill" some of that was a great selling point. Plus, knowing that I would probably need to "backwash" (partial drain and refill) for any filter I got, the DE made even more sense. Also, it looks like I will only need to backwash a few times a year, not every few weeks. I am also thinking that cleaning the grids won't be any worse than the cartridge filter and I will have to do it much less. As for losing salt, I am actually having a problem where my salt levels are going up (I am not adding salt, might be in my tap water already) so it's actually good to lose some of that water. Even then, salt is cheap. For the CYA, not too concerned about that, as it's not that much that you'll lose to backwashing and it isn't that expensive to add back.

    In the end, I think you would be happy with either type of filter. You just get used to whichever one you have and deal with the pros and cons.

    For me, it really was about the PITA of cleaning the cartridge filter every time the pressure gets high. There's no ifs, ands or buts about it, you have to do it. With DE, you only have to clean them occasionally, the rest is just backwashing, adding DE and being done with it.
    Bryan
    My Pool Build
    IG 16,148 gal (pool+spa), Mediterranean Pebble Plus, Noce Travertine Coping and Deck, Hayward ProLogic 8 with AquaPod, Hayward EcoStar VS Pump, Hayward 60 sqft DE filter, Hayward T15 SWCG, Paramount Clear O3 Ozone, Hayward 400k BTU NG Heater

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Which Filter to Get??? DE vs Cartridge???

    Bryan, just curious. How often did you clean your cartridge filter and what was it's size (sq-ft)?

    Often times, the reason that some do not like cartridge filters is mainly because the filter is too small for the pool so they end up cleaning it a lot which can be a PITA. But a properly sized cartridge filter should only need cleaning once per season for pools that close for the winter and up to twice per year for those pools that do not close.

    I clean mine once per year and I don't close the pool. It takes about 45 min to complete and admittedly not the most pleasant of jobs but I would prefer that over rolling out hose and backwashing every few weeks. A cartridge filter also saves water, salt and CYA plus head loss is much less because it doesn't have a backwash valve. With a SWG, I never had an algae bloom clean up so that really hasn't been an issue.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Which Filter to Get??? DE vs Cartridge???

    I have no idea how big it was (it was pretty big) and I only did it like once or twice a year, so it was probably properly sized. Like I said in my post, 10 years ago, I didn't even know to ask that question and didn't know what I was doing.

    I may have only cleaned it a few times (only had the house and pool for two years) but it left enough of an impression on me that I didn't want it again. I remember having algae problems, again, because I had no idea what I was doing and didn't even know what CYA was, etc. I suspect my problems were more about lack of knowledge than anything. I didn't find this website until I was in the process of building my pool and had already decided on a DE. At this point, I would still choose DE again.

    As for backwashing, I now have a 60 sq ft DE filter and after 5 months, I backwashed for the first time. That's after the AZ summer monsoon with dust storms and swimming all summer. I probably won't need to backwash again until next spring when we start swimming again. It's not like a sand filter where you backwash every few weeks. It really is about as often as cleaning the cartridge filter.

    So for the OP, make sure whatever filter you get is big (go as big as you can) and sized well. It will require less frequent maintenance.
    Bryan
    My Pool Build
    IG 16,148 gal (pool+spa), Mediterranean Pebble Plus, Noce Travertine Coping and Deck, Hayward ProLogic 8 with AquaPod, Hayward EcoStar VS Pump, Hayward 60 sqft DE filter, Hayward T15 SWCG, Paramount Clear O3 Ozone, Hayward 400k BTU NG Heater

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    techguy's Avatar
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    Re: Which Filter to Get??? DE vs Cartridge???

    I had a cartridge with my "sack pool" and hated it.

    I have a DE now on my 21 Round AG. I can bump my filter. If the pool stays clear (non-green) the DE filter I have lasts at least a month and almost 6 weeks with nothing more than an occasional bump. I can change my DE charge in less than an hour and I don't have a backwash drain pipe so i need to do it manually. This year, I used less than one 25# bag of DE, about $20. My season ran from early May until October 1. The one drawback it does have is if you let the pool get very green, it will require a couple changes to clean. Another alternative to DE is cellulose and for me, it worked great and removed any "hazardous" waste issues. DE dust can be considered hazardous to breathe, When it's wet, it would be very difficult to breathe DE (mud).

    A cartridge replacement for a filter of this size, can be very expensive for the new filter media. This cost should be figured into the operating expenses much like the ongoing costs of the DE.
    -- Guy --
    10K gallons in 21' Round 52 inch wall Aqualeader AG, Hayward Power Flow LX 1.5 HP pump motor, Hayward Perflex EC50AC DE filter w/Cellulose, Wide mouth skimmer, 2013 new Diver Dan (craigslist) to replace the faded old Hayward AquaBug. TF-100

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    Re: Which Filter to Get??? DE vs Cartridge???

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985
    I clean mine once per year and I don't close the pool. It takes about 45 min to complete and admittedly not the most pleasant of jobs but I would prefer that over rolling out hose and backwashing every few weeks
    I've only have had a DE filter so I cannot comment on the other types, but I can tell you that i never had to backwash my filter more than once per season ( 4 months) and that was before I saw the light of TFP. In the past, when I was hooked on pucks, I would have to backwash some time around mid way through the season; right around the same time that I found that I had to contentiously crank up the auto chlorinator to get rid of those green patches on the walls. Even with these occasional outbreaks of the green stuff, my water was always clear and sparkled. This past season, my first following the light, I never had to backwash as the pressure only increased around 2 psia over the entire season and the water was.... spectacular!
    When you do backwash, it only takes about ten minutes and the amount of water the you use is not that much. I actually have to pump out more after a rainfalls.
    30,000 gal, 20 x 40 ft vinyl, IG, installed 2006
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    Re: Which Filter to Get??? DE vs Cartridge???

    DE all the way... down here in the South pools are pretty much open year round and swimable from march - september, but heaters are common.. Cartridge too much of a pain and if you do ever get an algae bloom PITA to take it apart and clean them. DE just breakdown and clean once or twice a year depending on how much pollen, mud, dog hair, etc. you get in the pool. Get a multiport and it's easy as pie!

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    Re: Which Filter to Get??? DE vs Cartridge???

    Like jsb91010 said, DE all the way.

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    Re: Which Filter to Get??? DE vs Cartridge???

    Thanks for all the input and advice. Gonna get the DE...

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Which Filter to Get??? DE vs Cartridge???

    I have had DE at 2 houses. If it ever needs to be replaced, I think I will go with a big cartridge filter. The DE is just a mess, but it does work well.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: Which Filter to Get??? DE vs Cartridge???

    it also depends on what debris is getting in your pool. pools with not many leaves or oak pollen etc, do just fine with a quad cartridge. pollen and dirt or dog hair etc. DE's are better and easier IMO... just need to backwash real quick instead of opening up the entire filter and dissassembling like a quad cart.

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    Re: Which Filter to Get??? DE vs Cartridge???

    I have a cartridge filter and the pool gets leaves AND pollen AND seeds AND dirt AND dust AND worms, you name it. I still only need to clean once a year. The benefit of a large filter no matter what type.

    Based upon what I read on this forum, it seems like most DE owners clean their DE filter grids at least once a year and to me it is just as difficult to clean grids as cartridges so when it comes to maintenance I don't see much of a difference.

    But as I mentioned before, there is a pretty big difference in head loss. A typical 2" Multi-Port adds the equivalent of 80' of 2" pipe or the equivalent of 16 90's which is not insignificant.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Which Filter to Get??? DE vs Cartridge???

    i see it both ways for sure! it's preference I guess... one thing we can all agree on is sand filters suck lol... and yes definetely clean the de grids once a year or else they will start caving in on you.. especially since most people add too much DE and they just get caked up causing more problems

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Which Filter to Get??? DE vs Cartridge???

    There is nothing wrong with sand either. They are certainly the least maintenance and the easiest to have to clear a swamp. And they can get the water just as clear as a few members have proven with photos of coins on the bottom of the pool.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: Which Filter to Get??? DE vs Cartridge???

    one thing we can all agree on is sand filters suck lol
    That is completely incorrect and I assume was tongue in cheek but newbies don't know that.

    Millions of pools have sand filters and they are capable of maintaining crystal clear water. Mine has been doing so for nine years now with no issues.
    Dave S.
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    Re: Which Filter to Get??? DE vs Cartridge???

    yes, was a "joke"

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    Re: Which Filter to Get??? DE vs Cartridge???

    Had pools my whole life from the Midwest USA to sunny Southern California.
    Ive had every type of filter, and just switched back from perfectly working 4 year old quad DE60 to a big sand filter with Zeo media.

    Cartridge, and DE require them to be opened up and taken apart to be cleaned occasionally (definition of occasionally depends on many factors) especially in the advent of an algae bloom.

    Have you seen DE "muck" ? - the DE backwash procedure in itself is messy, time consuming, and you can run into O ring sealing issues even with magic lube and silicon spray.

    De filters can't really filter to waste so if you have a particularly bad dirt infusion from a storm you can't just vacuum the pool - you have to charge and clean the filter over and over again.

    Cartridge filters need to have the cartridge out and soaked in a garbage can full of TSP or some other cleaner at MINIMUM once or twice year which if you have spare isnt a big deal- but you cant get really big cartridge filters and if you have a dust problem or high influx of debris like I do- the dream of once or twice a year cleaning goes down the drain and you are inside the filter over and over.

    If you are running a variable speed pump and tuning the RPM down to save money a 1-2 lb rise in backpressure can effectively halt the flow leaving you with 2 choices - bump the RPM spending more money and forcing the flow, or backwashing which is a chore on Cart and DE filter. If you are just running a 1 HP pump it will force system even with 10 pounds of backpressure but you arent saving any money on electricity.

    Sand filters are a snap to backwash, can vacuum to waste, offer comparatively large surface areas of filtering and a greater degree of sizes, and when filled with zeo type media offer DE, or near DE filtering.

    True- With zeo media you need to clean it once a year which you can do with a 5 gallon pail of water biodex dumped into the pump pot and soaked overnight.
    Sand would be truly maintenance free.

    Been there, done that forever - sticking with a sand filter and zeo style media.

    Uncle Dave
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