I know there is a ton of information on this site and elsewhere explaining the difference between the pool filter options: Sand, DE, Cartridge. I have read a ton of articles/forums/etc. including this site's excellent article and I know the particle micron size they filter, the many pros and cons, yet somehow my spouse and I still cannot decide which filter to buy with our new pool build. We currently getting bids from PBs and researching DIY or using BYOP Arizona.
My spouse wants DE because a friend has it and it cleans the smallest micron size. I want cartridge because it filters smaller particle size than a sand filter but without the backwashing. I know the DE does even smaller particle size but my understanding is you still have to backwash with a DE filter like you do a sand filter. We are getting a SWG pool and although so far there are no regulations in our area about backwashing saltwater, it could change and I have plants in the vicinity of where the filter will go and I would prefer not to backwash saltwater onto our property. I know I can roll a hose to the front yard sewer cleanout hole, but that seems like a lot of work. Also, I read (and was told by a PB) that backwashing water out of pool, makes it more difficult to maintain the pool chemistry with a saltwater pool.
I originally wanted sand because it is so easy to maintain, and easy is HUGE in our busy household, but again the backwashing issue and also the micron size is significantly bigger. We are getting the LED pool lights, and I know that at night with the lights on is when you can see the clarity difference with DE or cartridge over sand, so I do like the DE or cartridge for this reason, but I also heard that in AZ there is so much dust that you will see it in the lights anyway. Reading about the DE, it just seems complicated to maintain with getting the DE distributed across the filters...and the mess of the DE powder around the equipment area. And I also know that DE is a carcinogen but only if inhaled, and you have to wear a mask when adding the DE. I don't like the idea of messy, carcinogenic powder around the equipment where the kids may get into and the dog may go sniffing around. The PBs all seem to NOT like DE and the last one said sand wasn't an option since we are getting SWG and he said definitely go with a cartridge and if we get a big enough filter we will only need to clean it 2 times a year--open and close pool time. Could that be true? Are any of them cheaper to run from an electricity wise? It almost seems like DE is going by the wayside based on PB feedback. Is this because it is a carcinogen or because they are messy and high maintenance?
Also, model recommendations are appreciated too. So far the PBs have quoted mostly Pentair Clean and Clear but one PB said, we should get he StaRite because it has one large filter, making it easier to clean than the 3-4 filters of the Clean and Clear. I know that Pentair bought StaRite but not sure which is better.
The current new build pool plan is:
L-shape ~24,000 gallon SWG pool, with a play pool area and a deep end. Play pool section is 3'2" to 4' deep at 25'x15' including a 9'x5' baja shelf, steps, and two 12-13' long benches. Deep end is 24.5'x13' 4' to 8' deep, no diving board but safe for deck side diving--I believe. A 7'x10' natural gas spa. Pentair equipment. No in-floor cleaning system. Suction line with robot. Quartz plaster finish, travertine pool coping and decking. I have a Sketchup 3-D of it but don't think it is needed for this question. Oh, and we have a neighbor's tree (Australian Bottle Tree) that hangs over where the pool will be that drops big leaves year round and large, hard seed pods (bigger than acorns and 5-6 per bunch) all year too. Don't think that affects the filter as much as the skimmers, robot, etc.