Sand or Cartridge

Headbanger783

Active member
Aug 16, 2020
39
Pa
First time pool owner here. We are having a Latham Valencia installed this year and originally went with a sand filter because PB said they are the easiest and most economical to maintain. I know a lot of people here love their cartridge filters...so I was curious the real world maintenance on each. Our pool will be approx 10,000 gal. So how often do you backwash (I know it’s relative) replace sand, clean filters or replace them...and which is truly better cost wise. It doesn’t cost me any extra for a cartridge over sand initially. It’s my choice of sand, cartridge or DE.

thanks!
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Sand is easier only from the standpoint that when the filter pressure increases by about 25% to indicate a time for cleaning, all you do is move a valve to backwash (then rinse) to clean residue from the sand. Then you're basically done. Some potential downfalls from sand filters would be the loss of water during that process if you find yourself doing lots of cleaning. Over time, things like broken laterals or multivalve components can be a challenge, but nothing a home DIY'er can't handle. Just letting you know.

For cart filters, yes, you do have to remove the top to gain access to the cartridge(s) and rinse it off, but that's about it. You do not have a backwash to waste option which can be nice to have, but most cart owners don't think much of it. Water clarity is usually not much of a comparison between the two if the water is maintained properly. So in the end, it's really a personal preference. I'm sure others will reply with their thoughts. Happy shopping.
 

Pool_Medic

In The Industry
Apr 1, 2018
1,444
Bangor Maine
From a user stand point imo sand is easier, use skimmer socks and most sand filters only need backwashing every 3-4 months.

From a reseller I love Cartridge because if the profits, from a user it’s a tedious job if cleaning is required.

Remember that filters filter out fine sediments, they do not clear or keep your water clear, that job is the chlorine’s.
 

Headbanger783

Active member
Aug 16, 2020
39
Pa
Thanks. I should add that we are getting SWCG and our season would be roughly May-Sept. so about 5 months give or take.
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
13,011
Houston, Texas
Check and see if your city has any restrictions on water use or how to dispose of pool water. Some places require waste lines be plumbed to city sewer, some places forbid it, and you have to know whether or not it is likely to run onto a neighbor's property and cause them problems. If water use and disposal is not an issue then a sand filter would be a good choice.

Cartridge filters are good when there are restrictions on water use and disposal, as they waste very little water. If you want the option of being able to by-pass the filter or vacuum to waste on occasion you can easily do that with plumbing. Just add a T and valve between the filter and pump for a waste line, and another T and valve at the filter with a line that connects to the return to give you an option to by-pass if desired.

DE filters are the most labor intensive of them all. DE filters must be backwashed when dirty, then fresh DE powder added. Some cities require a collection tank for the spent DE, and it can leave a mess in your yard if you don't have a collection tank. At least once a year you must open up the filter and do a thorough cleaning of the grids. No matter how often you backwash you will never clean out all the old DE and it will accumulate on the grids. You have to keep DE on hand or you will ruin the grids if you try to use the filter without any DE powder.
 

Pool_Medic

In The Industry
Apr 1, 2018
1,444
Bangor Maine
Up east our pools run the same time frame, any pool over 10+ years has sand, newer have cartridge. The main reason is builders can make more profit off cartridge filters. Imo they are only needed where municipalities restrict dumping of waste water. Maybe they get backwashed twice a season. Sand filters are easily half the cost of cartridge filters.
 

Headbanger783

Active member
Aug 16, 2020
39
Pa
Cool thank you! We are on two acres so I don’t see that water ever running on to a neighbors property. We also have a well but public sewer.
I’m leaning towards staying with sand but with so many people liking cartridge filters I just wasn’t sure
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
6,837
NY
I liked my cartridges enough to consider nothing but on my next build soon.

That being said, there are 70 years worth of clean pools out there using sand filters this whole time.
 

Kjp300

Gold Supporter
Jul 18, 2018
157
Canfield ohio
I am in Ohio so the weather is about the same. I keep my pool open from end of April through September. I like my cartridge filter and only have to clean it twice a year. Once in July and when I close the pool. And even in July when I clean it the pressure has not risen enough to clean it just do it because it is mid season. So it really is not that much work.
 
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zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
13,011
Houston, Texas
Another consideration with a well is the replenish rate and the iron content of the water. If your well operates very slowly your going to want to avoid having to top off the water as much as you can, so in that case long backwashes/rinses should be avoided. If there is significant iron content then you may need a sequestrant to prevent iron stains. Sequestrant needs to be topped off regularly to keep the iron in solution, and you would want to avoid adding more iron to the pool.
 

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Headbanger783

Active member
Aug 16, 2020
39
Pa
Luckily, or not so, we had to drill a new well last year, but we learned there is PLENTY of water down there. And we have hard-ish water, that runs through a softener, luckily it doesn’t have a lot of iron in it. I’ve seen some that stains toilets and sinks etc, we don’t get that though.
 

Pool_Medic

In The Industry
Apr 1, 2018
1,444
Bangor Maine
a Sand filter shouldnt need to be backwashed more than 5 minutes, that’s not a lot of water lost for 2-3 backwashes a season. There is no way a cartridge filter is easier. I charge to clean cartridges and enjoy the extra money.
 

Carnut12

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 2, 2013
266
Forsyth, GA
I’ve had a cartridge for 6 years, pool open early May until late September. I’ve never had to clean it, my PB takes it when he closes my pool and replaces it when he opens it. Doesn’t get much easier then that, I got the larger one so it lasts all year. I think they charge $50 well worth it for me.

I will be building a pool in GA, I’m thinking I will be sticking with a cartridge but I’m open to thoughts since I won’t be closing the pool.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
21,153
Bedford, TX
A lot has to do with where you live...

Most of the cities in the DFW area require that DE, or Sand filters, be back washed to the sewer..

Depending on your pool's location, it might be difficult to run a backwash line to a sewer connection.

That is the main reason that I have a large cartridge filter at my house.. I was initially disappointed because I wanted a DE filter.. Seven years later, there is just no way that I will ever, ever go back to a DE or Sand filter.. The dirt simple plumbing, not having a MPV, no DE to mess with, and the lower filter pressure, is enough reason for me..

But then again, I kind of enjoy pool maintenance.. :mrgreen:

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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