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Thread: DE vs. Cartridge Filter for New SWG Pool Build - spouse wants DE, I want cartridge

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    DE vs. Cartridge Filter for New SWG Pool Build - spouse wants DE, I want cartridge

    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.

    Thanks,
    Millty

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: DE vs. Cartridge Filter for New SWG Pool Build - spouse wants DE, I want cartridg

    I suggest you completely forget about the micron size difference. In the end, when everything is working correctly, the water ends up looking exactly the same.

    It is also important to realize that any of the filter types will work, and filter size makes a much larger difference than filter type. Energy efficiency has lots to do with size, larger is better, while type hardly matters.

    That said, sand filters are the slowest to clean up the water, and the least work to maintain. Cartridge filters are a bit more of a pain to clean, but a large one only needs to be cleaned annually. Cartridge filters also use the least amount of water, a big issue in water starved areas. DE filters are by far the most work, especially if you ever get algae, they are also the fastest at cleaning up the water.

    If you are looking at cartridges, I recommend the Clean and Clear Plus. For DE look at the quad DE.
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    JayBauman's Avatar
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    Re: DE vs. Cartridge Filter for New SWG Pool Build - spouse wants DE, I want cartridg

    If you start with TFP methodologies from the beginning and keep true to "the faith", you should have very few reasons to need to clean your water after initial start-up. Pick a big cartridge filter and plan on spending only about an hour per year cleaning the cartridges. Your wife will not have any complaints when she looks at your clean LED-lit water under the starry sky.
    23' x 37' IG 18.5k gallon SWG w/ raised spa, Build Thread -->Here
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    bobodaclown's Avatar
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    Re: DE vs. Cartridge Filter for New SWG Pool Build - spouse wants DE, I want cartridg

    I've only had a cartridge filter, so I'm bias. With that disclaimer, I say cartridge. It's a small issue, but when you back wash you'll have to add water, and you're throwing out salt and stabilizer that you've paid to add, in addition to other chemicals. You can add synthetic DE to a cartridge filter to improve filtering action.
    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

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: DE vs. Cartridge Filter for New SWG Pool Build - spouse wants DE, I want cartridg

    Having owned or cared for pools with all three filter types, I'll weigh in.

    DE gives about the best results, but is about the most time intensive filter. It needs to be disassembled for cleaning at least annually, requires the addition of DE after backwashing and can be a real problem if your water is very dirty such as when you have algae that you are trying to clear. The annual cleaning and backwashing are minor tasks, but if you ever lose control of the water it can require backwashing more than once an hour until the water is clear. This is because it does too much filtering to handle really dirty water without frequent cleaning. In some areas it is illegal to dump the DE backwash into a sewer system or drain.

    A cartridge is great for most things, but I always hated cleaning the cartridges. Go big on a cartridge filter and have a spare cartridge and you'll eliminate much of that problem.

    A sand filter is much easier to deal with than either of the others. A few times a year you spend 2 minutes watching water flow out the sight glass and turning a valve. You can drink a beer or cup of coffee while doing it. I chose sand after using all of them, and I can read the brand name on my drain cover in 8.5' of water while standing on my pool deck.

    Using water for backwashing in some cases is a positive. That's especially true when you live where the water is high in calcium and there isn't much rain as you do. Backwashing removes higher calcium water from the pool and then you replace it with lower calcium water from the hose. Not a big deal, but not entirely negligible.

    If you go with a sand or DE filter, plumb your backwash line underground to the sewer with PVC pipe if that is allowed. It's cheap and much more convenient than a hose. The salt level is very low, but in a low rainfall area you probably would be worried about long-term accumulation if you dump it in the yard.

    Finally, the sparkling water that many people seek is not a function of your filter. Almost every pool owner who has ever visited my pool comments on how clear the water is. All of them ask what kind of filter I have, and they are amazed to learn I have a sand filter. Many of them have DE filters and their water has the dull look that is typical of pool store water care. My water sparkles because the chemistry is perfect, not because of my filter.
    TFP Moderator
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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: DE vs. Cartridge Filter for New SWG Pool Build - spouse wants DE, I want cartridg

    I think JohnT has just excellently summed up all that can be said on filters. Thats the best post about filters - ever
    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.
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    Re: DE vs. Cartridge Filter for New SWG Pool Build - spouse wants DE, I want cartridg

    Great summary of filter types! One last suggestion: look for threads on here about adding a small amount of DE to a cartridge filter (must be done when filter is new) if you are really concerned about micron filter size.
    Replastered 2015: Sunstone Quartz Midnight Blue 16x32 rectangular gunite with in-pool spa....18,000 gallons. Autopilot Total Control System with SWG and acid pump. Pentair Clean & Clear 420. Auto cover. TF-100.

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    Re: DE vs. Cartridge Filter for New SWG Pool Build - spouse wants DE, I want cartridg

    JohnT,

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    Re: DE vs. Cartridge Filter for New SWG Pool Build - spouse wants DE, I want cartridg

    Look at the Pentair Quad filter, comes in various sizes. It is a hybrid DE and Cartridge filter, some of the best of each world. I use Aquapearl instead of DE in mine and have had good luck. Filters great and very easy to clean or backwash.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: DE vs. Cartridge Filter for New SWG Pool Build - spouse wants DE, I want cartridg

    Very nice post. If my filter ever blows up I'm getting a sand filter.

    I am happy with my cartridge filter. I lost control the first fall when it got cold enough to make my swcg stop making chlorine but not cold enough to stop algae growing in the pool. I had to clean my cartridges a lot. I was not happy!
    Now that I know to start using bleach as soon as the swcg stops it is all good. We have a TON of trees that drop lots of pollen and junk in spring that gets through the skimmer baskets and to the filter. I tried skimmer socks, psshhht, those jokers were completely stopped up in like an hour and sucking air. So, I have a spare set of filters and I have to clean the filters at least once, maybe twice, in spring then I am good for a whole year.

    Another note on filters. My favorite cartridges so far are my Pleatco second set. My original Pentair filters clog up a lot faster, even after a good TSP soak. No difference in pool sparkliness or dustiness with either filter set.
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    Re: DE vs. Cartridge Filter for New SWG Pool Build - spouse wants DE, I want cartridg

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolESQ View Post
    Great summary of filter types! One last suggestion: look for threads on here about adding a small amount of DE to a cartridge filter (must be done when filter is new) if you are really concerned about micron filter size.
    My understanding is that while you can add DE to a sand filter, you should never add it to a cartridge filter. You can however add some cellulose media (DE substitute). While DE is sharp and will permanently cut and bed itself into the filters cartridge, the cellulose can be rinsed off when cleaning the filter.
    chiefwej
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    Re: DE vs. Cartridge Filter for New SWG Pool Build - spouse wants DE, I want cartridg

    Thanks for the excellent information. Finally was able to talk the spouse out of a DE filter.

  13. Back To Top    #13

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    Re: DE vs. Cartridge Filter for New SWG Pool Build - spouse wants DE, I want cartridg

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT View Post
    Having owned or cared for pools with all three filter types, I'll weigh in.

    DE gives about the best results, but is about the most time intensive filter. It needs to be disassembled for cleaning at least annually, requires the addition of DE after backwashing and can be a real problem if your water is very dirty such as when you have algae that you are trying to clear. The annual cleaning and backwashing are minor tasks, but if you ever lose control of the water it can require backwashing more than once an hour until the water is clear. This is because it does too much filtering to handle really dirty water without frequent cleaning. In some areas it is illegal to dump the DE backwash into a sewer system or drain.

    A cartridge is great for most things, but I always hated cleaning the cartridges. Go big on a cartridge filter and have a spare cartridge and you'll eliminate much of that problem.

    A sand filter is much easier to deal with than either of the others. A few times a year you spend 2 minutes watching water flow out the sight glass and turning a valve. You can drink a beer or cup of coffee while doing it. I chose sand after using all of them, and I can read the brand name on my drain cover in 8.5' of water while standing on my pool deck.

    Using water for backwashing in some cases is a positive. That's especially true when you live where the water is high in calcium and there isn't much rain as you do. Backwashing removes higher calcium water from the pool and then you replace it with lower calcium water from the hose. Not a big deal, but not entirely negligible.

    If you go with a sand or DE filter, plumb your backwash line underground to the sewer with PVC pipe if that is allowed. It's cheap and much more convenient than a hose. The salt level is very low, but in a low rainfall area you probably would be worried about long-term accumulation if you dump it in the yard.

    Finally, the sparkling water that many people seek is not a function of your filter. Almost every pool owner who has ever visited my pool comments on how clear the water is. All of them ask what kind of filter I have, and they are amazed to learn I have a sand filter. Many of them have DE filters and their water has the dull look that is typical of pool store water care. My water sparkles because the chemistry is perfect, not because of my filter.
    What do you mean by "pool store water care"?


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    Re: DE vs. Cartridge Filter for New SWG Pool Build - spouse wants DE, I want cartridg

    Quote Originally Posted by drpepper68 View Post
    What do you mean by "pool store water care"?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Pool store water care is when you take your water into the pool store and they analyze it for you and then tell you what you "need" to care for your pool. At best it puts your pool chemistry in a state of not being a pond but not being as efficient or as clean as it could be. At worst, it could be downright misleading and harming your pool by adding tons of stuff you don't need (not to mention expensive).

    At least those are my thoughts on the phrase.
    NEW POOL: 11k IGP, Pebbletec, Hayward Pro-Grid 3620 D.E. Filter, 1HP Pentair?/Emerson
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