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Thread: Sand filter vs Cartridge Filter

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    Sand filter vs Cartridge Filter

    I had an in ground pool built last year and it came with a cartridge filter. I have had a lot of problems opening the pool this year and one of my complaints has been that the cartridge filter gets dirty and I have to wash it out daily. The builder has offered to come out and exchange the cartridge filter and install a sand filter and pump at no charge.

    So my question is...which one is better, sand or cartridge?
    14x28 IG Rectangular vinyl liner pool
    PermaSalt System
    Black Diamond Cartridge Filter
    1.5hp 2 speed pump

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Sand filter vs Cartridge Filter

    Oh my, this is one of those questions that come down to personal choice. The problem I see with most cartridge filters is that they are generally too small for the pool. The folks who have those huge 4 cartridge jobs seem to love them.

    Now the key question, could something be growing in the water and the filter is doing its job and filtering stuff out? Have you conducted an OCLT to see if anything is growing? Using a PermaSalt system I would not be surprised if something was in the water.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: Sand filter vs Cartridge Filter

    Looking at your other post, your problem is with your chemistry and needing to get that in check. I have a cartridge filter that I clean about once a month because my chemistry is balanced using the TFPC methods. A sand filter is easier to clean but does not clean your water as quickly as a cartridge. However, the sand almost never needs replaced where you need to occasionally replace a cartridge. So both have their ups and downs, neither is really overall better than the other. You can change it out, but it is not going to change the problems you are having with your water.
    JD - 28' Round Above Ground Pool, 17,000 Gallons. Dual speed Jacuzzi pump with cartridge filter. Dual speed 1 HP pump, Hayward S210T sand filter
    Pool School - PoolMath - HIGHLY Recommended Test Kits

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    Re: Sand filter vs Cartridge Filter

    Here is an article that is in Pool School, Pool School - Pool Filter Comparison. It has a short write up on the three filter types and will give you a better understanding of the filter types.

    If you need more insight after reading this please ask for more input.
    16k gal plaster with raised spa, Jandy DEV60 filter, 2 HP 2-speed SHPF Jandy Stealth pump
    Hayward Aqua Rite T-15 SWCG, Jandy LXi 400k BTU NG heater, 350 sq.ft. of Sun Star solar panels, TF-100 Test Kit, Dolphin s300i Cleaner
    Test Kits . Pool Math . Chlorine/CYA Chart . The SLAM Process

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Sand filter vs Cartridge Filter

    After reading Donldson's post I went and looked - I am more convinced that you have a chemistry problem, not a filter problem. The pool builder did you no favor selling you the PermaSalt.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: Sand filter vs Cartridge Filter

    The reason the builder is offering to install a sand filter is because it is supposed to be easier to operate and I am nowhere near a pool expert! But mainly because we don't have an automatic cover for the pool, so there is a lot of debris in it each morning. I've been vacuuming the pool for a week trying to get the gunk of the floor and each time I make a little progress but the water gets so cloudy I can't see the bottom. I really haven't done much with the chemicals in the last few days, I've been running the pump and vacuuming a couple times a day and I have to clean the cartridge at least twice a day..

    They have also shown different options if I want to switch from permasalt to either a chlorinator or salt water system. But I haven't decided about that yet..
    14x28 IG Rectangular vinyl liner pool
    PermaSalt System
    Black Diamond Cartridge Filter
    1.5hp 2 speed pump

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Sand filter vs Cartridge Filter

    Well, if they are offering that, I would take a SWCG in a heartbeat.

    This is going to sound harsh, but I really don't mean it that way. You are trying to fix a chemistry problem with filtration. It will never work. The stuff growing in the water can double in size in less than a day. You can't beat it with a vacuum. You have to use chlorine, lots of it.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Sand filter vs Cartridge Filter

    Please take them up on the SWCG! You will LOVE it and your pool will be SO much easier!

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Sand filter vs Cartridge Filter

    Quote Originally Posted by tim5055 View Post
    Well, if they are offering that, I would take a SWCG in a heartbeat.

    This is going to sound harsh, but I really don't mean it that way. You are trying to fix a chemistry problem with filtration. It will never work. The stuff growing in the water can double in size in less than a day. You can't beat it with a vacuum. You have to use chlorine, lots of it.
    Well said tim5055, I couldn't agree more.
    16k gal plaster with raised spa, Jandy DEV60 filter, 2 HP 2-speed SHPF Jandy Stealth pump
    Hayward Aqua Rite T-15 SWCG, Jandy LXi 400k BTU NG heater, 350 sq.ft. of Sun Star solar panels, TF-100 Test Kit, Dolphin s300i Cleaner
    Test Kits . Pool Math . Chlorine/CYA Chart . The SLAM Process

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    Re: Sand filter vs Cartridge Filter

    Also, opening with a cartridge filter takes special consideration. You don't really want to start filtering the water until all the algae is dead or as you found out, you will be cleaning the filter quite often (unless you have a very large filter). A filter bypass can be really useful during this period so you can SLAM and recirculate the water without filtering. Once the algae is dead and sinks to the bottom of the pool, you can vacuum to waste, if you have the capability (another good idea), or you can start using your filter to remove it.
    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: Sand filter vs Cartridge Filter

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985 View Post
    Also, opening with a cartridge filter takes special consideration. You don't really want to start filtering the water until all the algae is dead or as you found out, you will be cleaning the filter quite often (unless you have a very large filter). A filter bypass can be really useful during this period so you can SLAM and recirculate the water without filtering. Once the algae is dead and sinks to the bottom of the pool, you can vacuum to waste, if you have the capability (another good idea), or you can start using your filter to remove it.
    Sorry for bumping an old thread, didn't want to start a new one as my question isn't different.

    I currently have a 4-cartridge filter and despise having to take it apart, lug out the pressure washer, and spend half an hour spraying the filters down, even if it's only every few weeks. I noticed one of the main arguments against a sand filter is the fact that it can throw chemistry off due to the required backwashing. But whenever it rains, wouldn't a cartridge filter user be forced to purge to waste, causing the same issue? And in the same vein, do sand filter users use rain events to backwash?

    I'm considering switching to sand next season now that my cartridges are about spent. Has anyone that switched from cartridge to sand have any regrets? I'm imagining, and maybe this is just 'grass greener syndrome', that I'll love it because I'll be doing beneficial backwashing instead of just draining to waste after each rainstorm.
    18K IG vinyl 36'x17' Grecian style pool with stairs, 3.5' shallow to 8' deep end. Single skimmer & single main drain ~~> Jandy 1.25 THP pump ~~> Jandy CL340 (340sqft) cartridge filter ~~> Jandy AE2000T Air Energy 103k BTU HP ~~> AutoPilot Digital SWG ~~> Paramount Vanquish in-floor pop-up returns. TF-100 test kit.

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    Re: Sand filter vs Cartridge Filter

    personally - When I have enough rain to require draining the pool down - I backwash it out, along with the 30 sec rinse afterwards. My thinking is that I'm dumping water out anyway - so might was well cleanout the filter while I'm at it.

    Filter type - all 3 types have their pluses and minuses. However - one general thing you can say is that you should get as big a filter as you can afford / fit in the space. The bigger the filter - the less often it needs cleaned.

    I've only ever used a sand filter, so I'm comfortable with that. Other people will say that DE or cartridge filters can remove more smaller particles.

    Good luck.
    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: Sand filter vs Cartridge Filter

    No regrets here. Over the years I've had cartridge, DE and sand filters. I currently own two homes with IG pools. 12,000 gallon and 30,000 gallon. Both have sand filters. They save me time and money over the other two choices and the filtration has never been an issue using basic #20 grade pool sand. I have suction-side cleaners in both pools so my sand filters get all of the fine vacuumed debris as well.
    Dave in Phoenix, AZ, USA
    12,000 gallon IG (5' max depth) , Pebble-tec,
    Hayward SP2303 Maxflo 1.65 HP, Triton TR60 sand filter, 1 skimmer, Pool Devil skimmer, 3 returns, 1 aerator port, Navigator suction-side sweep, Hayward valve actuator, Rainbird sprinkler timer used for valve automation and chlorine injection. Softened water used for makeup.

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    Re: Sand filter vs Cartridge Filter

    I'd take a sand filter that I would have to pay for over a free cartridge filter.

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    Re: Sand filter vs Cartridge Filter

    Quote Originally Posted by Cowbell View Post
    I currently have a 4-cartridge filter and despise having to take it apart, lug out the pressure washer, and spend half an hour spraying the filters down, even if it's only every few weeks
    What size cartridge do you have? I only clean mine once per year even though I never close the pool.


    I noticed one of the main arguments against a sand filter is the fact that it can throw chemistry off due to the required backwashing. But whenever it rains, wouldn't a cartridge filter user be forced to purge to waste, causing the same issue?
    Yes but I think in most cases, backwashing for filter cleaning is far more frequent than lowering pool levels but it does depend on where you live. I hardly ever need to lower the pool level.


    But before switching make sure your city doesn't require separation tanks like ours does. Cleaning the separation tank is pretty much the same as cleaning a cartridge filter.
    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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