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Thread: Filter advice needed (Sta-Rite System 3): Replace the cartridges or the whole thing?

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    Filter advice needed (Sta-Rite System 3): Replace the cartridges or the whole thing?

    Hi everyone!

    I've been lurking here since I bought a house with my first pool back in in August of 2012. Thanks to this forum, I have balanced my water, diagnosed and replaced my SWG, and learned a lot about how fast and how long to run my VS pump.

    For a little background, we have a newer pool (2007) in an older neighborhood with lots of tall trees and lots of shrubs with small leaves. There is always something in the water. It doesn't help that the only skimmer is located on the upwind side of the pool. Even after I manually skim with a fine mesh net, there is a layer of small particles and things that look like 1/4" long white threads in the water. This year I finally have the time, energy & money to get the water as clean as possible. I bought a Poolskim and will be installing it after I am done aerating with my home made return fountain to lower TA. Hopefully this helps. I have not tried a skimmer sock yet.

    I was cleaning the filter (Sta-Rite System 3) yesterday, and noticed a couple of the of the pleats had small tears at the top of the large element. The smaller element looks fine. I suspect these are the original filter cartridges from November of '07. I think the tears have been there since I bought the house. The filter pressure (3 PSI on low speed for general circulation, 6 PSI on higher speed for my automatic vacuum, 15 PSI with pump on 100%) seems low and has been the same since I bought the house and did a quick filter clean, among a million other things while remodeling and moving, and probably didn't notice the tears. Obviously I need new cartridges. I wonder if this contributes to the small particles remaining the water?

    So the cartridges for my existing filter are about $350 shipped online. Ouch! I'm not much of System 3 fan. The clamps are annoying, cleaning it is a pain in the butt, and the cartridges are expensive. Since I have a little re-plumbing to do (adding a FlowVis on a check valve and hopefully getting ready for solar at the same time) this got me thinking: Why not replace the whole filter?

    I'm looking at the Pentair Clean & Clear Plus. They seem highly regarded around here. I have the money saved to do this right but don't want to spend unnecessarily. I have a few questions that I would love some advice on:

    Is the System 3 a better/same/worse filter than the Clean & Clear plus?
    Are any other brands better?
    Is the new filter or cartridges going to help get rid of the small stuff in the water?
    Is there anything else I should be doing to get rid of the small stuff?
    What size is the right size 240, 320 or 420?

    Thanks so much for your help!
    Will
    11,200 gallon in-ground pool with PebbleFina, Pentair Easy Touch 4, Intellipro VS pump, System 3 300SF cartridge filter, Intellichlor IC-40, and Hayward Vac XL suction side cleaner.

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    Charlie_R's Avatar
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    Re: Filter advice needed (Sta-Rite System 3): Replace the cartridges or the whole thi

    Best bet would be for you to look into a sand filter. I'm not sure what size you would need, but others here will be able to help with that.
    15'x48" 4500 gallon Intex pool, buried 1.5 ft. Pac-Fab Dynamo 3/4 hp pump. Hayward S180T sand filter, bought used. Taylor K-2006 test kit. Rocket mass heater based wood fired pool heater.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Filter advice needed (Sta-Rite System 3): Replace the cartridges or the whole thi

    Welcome to TFP!

    Cartridge filters are fairly similar from brand to brand. There are of course some differences, but they aren't different enough for it to matter much to most people.

    For what it is worth, I have a C&C+ and like it.

    If your filter cartridge has been torn for some time, getting a new one (or new filter) will make a significant difference. Even a torn filter will filter out some of the debris, but not nearly as well as an intact filter.

    I recommend getting the largest filter you have space for and can afford. Larger filters last longer between cleanings and are just slightly more efficient.
    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: Filter advice needed (Sta-Rite System 3): Replace the cartridges or the whole thi

    Thanks for the answers! There are so many choices.

    I have a couple of follow up questions.

    Charlie - Why do think the sand filter would be better? I was under the impression that cartridge filters did a better job capturing small particles.

    Jason - Is there some point where diminishing returns come into play? On a small pool like mine, would I notice a big difference by going to something huge like a 520? I don't mind spending money if it will help but I hate wasting it!

    Thanks again guys!


    Will
    11,200 gallon in-ground pool with PebbleFina, Pentair Easy Touch 4, Intellipro VS pump, System 3 300SF cartridge filter, Intellichlor IC-40, and Hayward Vac XL suction side cleaner.

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    Charlie_R's Avatar
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    Re: Filter advice needed (Sta-Rite System 3): Replace the cartridges or the whole thi

    Sand filters, according to what I've read here, can filter out the fines as well as a cartridge type, it just takes a bit longer to do it.

    Personally, I'm planning on buying one for my pool sometime this year.

    Maintenance of carts appears to be costing me as much water for cleaning as refilling after backflushing a sand filter, so that is one reason I'm planning on doing this.

    Check out some of the expert's posts concerning the differences.
    15'x48" 4500 gallon Intex pool, buried 1.5 ft. Pac-Fab Dynamo 3/4 hp pump. Hayward S180T sand filter, bought used. Taylor K-2006 test kit. Rocket mass heater based wood fired pool heater.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Filter advice needed (Sta-Rite System 3): Replace the cartridges or the whole thi

    There are many differences between filter types, but no clear "winner". Each has pros and cons, which tend to be weighed differently by different people. If you are comfortable with the kind of filter you have, I recommend sticking with the same kind of filter. Only if you really don't like the kind of filter you have should you change.

    In the size range under discussion there is no issue with diminishing returns. If they made filters around 1000 sqft, there wouldn't be any point in buying one. But 500 is still worth having. And of course, if you especially enjoy cleaning filter (some people actually do, mostly kids) then you might want a smaller filter.
    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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    pwrstrk's Avatar
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    Filter advice needed (Sta-Rite System 3): Replace the cartridges or the whole...

    I agree with what Jason said above. It is mostly a personal choice of what you like or dislike about a certain type of filter. I have a DE filter and I'm happy with it. Somebody else might not want anything to do with a DE filter.
    They are all very capable of filtering your water. Your water chemistry also has a lot to do with how clear your water appears.
    Just my 0.02 😎
    Jeff
    24'x54" AG Morada RTR (by wilbar) 13'500 gal. Hayward Powerflo Matrix 1hp 2 speed. Hayward Perflex EC65 DE filter.

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    Smykowski's Avatar
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    Re: Filter advice needed (Sta-Rite System 3): Replace the cartridges or the whole thi

    I have a sand filter and like it, and I want nothing to do with a DE filter.

    Water clarity is a mixture of chemistry and filtration. You can get crystal clear water no matter the filter if you take care of both parts of the equation.
    33' round, 23,000 gal AG vinyl , 1HP 2spd PowerFlo Matrix downsized with 3/4HP impeller (X2), Hayward S180T 150# sand filter (X2), Hayward H250 NG heater Pool Store year 1 - $850 for 2 months; Pool Store year 2 - $440 for 2 months, TFPC year 1 - $170 for 4 months; TFPC year 2 - $95 for 4.5 months
    The most important article on this site - The ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

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    Re: Filter advice needed (Sta-Rite System 3): Replace the cartridges or the whole thi

    I think I will get a big C&C+ and hopefully rarely need to clean it. Back washing sand or DE doesn't sound appealing to me.

    Chemistry wise I have been pretty good except the high TA which I am fixing. The small particles are weird. I hope the filter fixes it. Is there something you can add to the filter like adding DE to sand?

    I am not going to give up. It's going to be a great summer!


    Will
    11,200 gallon in-ground pool with PebbleFina, Pentair Easy Touch 4, Intellipro VS pump, System 3 300SF cartridge filter, Intellichlor IC-40, and Hayward Vac XL suction side cleaner.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Filter advice needed (Sta-Rite System 3): Replace the cartridges or the whole thi

    Fiber based filter media can be added to cartridge filters to get an effect similar to adding DE to sand filters, however the difference is much smaller since cartridge filters are already close to DE filters without any help.
    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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