Which filter should I go with, Sand, Cartridge, or D.E.??

dubele

Well-known member
Jun 17, 2013
139
Southeast Pennsylvania
I never knew how many choices and how difficult it would be to decide on what to go with for my new pool!! LOL!!

I am pretty certain I am going with salt if any of that matters for this post. I know need to decide what kind of pool filter to go with....It seems D.E. is the best and that is what my builder is going to put in.....a Jandy 2HP model for a 400 s.f. pool (up from 1 1/2HP because of 2 decents will run off the pump). What do you recommend...sand, cartridge or D.E.??

Thanks!
Doug
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,260
Tucson, AZ
Re: Which filter should I go with, Sand, Cartridge, or D.E.?

Personal preference. There is an article in Pool School that discusses the different types of filters. They all have pluses and minuses.

You should seriously look into a 2 speed pump or you will be wasting a lot of electricity running that big pump even when the shears are off.
 

msgtdan

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2011
653
SW MO
Re: Which filter should I go with, Sand, Cartridge, or D.E.?

Some places have restrictions on dumping DE into the sewer or out onto the ground so you have to have a recovery system. Places with water restrictions sometimes do better with a cartridge because you don't backwash. Cartridge filters can be tall so can be difficult to clean under decks. Sand filters are slower in clearing dirty water. Like Jblizzle says mostly personal preference.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,782
Pleasanton, CA
Re: Which filter should I go with, Sand, Cartridge, or D.E.?

With an SWG I would lean more toward a cartridge because backwashing removes salt and CYA which will then need to be replaced each time you backwash. You don't have a location in your profile so do you close your pool in the winter?
 

chiefwej

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 12, 2011
3,395
Tucson
Re: Which filter should I go with, Sand, Cartridge, or D.E.?

I like my DE filter and have converted to using cellulose fiber media in it. You can't get better and clearer filtration. But it does require a bit more maintenance. I back flush (I do have a separation tank) and refill with fiber media a couple times during the season and do a full breakdown cleaning once.

Sand filter has the least, maintenance, but also doesn't filter near as fine. That can be overcome somewhat by adding cellulose each time you back flush. It also wastes the most water do to frequent back flushing.

Cartridge, predictably, has filtration not near as fine as DE, but better than sand. No back flushing,so less wasted water. But that means you have to do a break down to clean it. If you ever get an algae bloom, that can be a real PITA.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each type.
 

dubele

Well-known member
Jun 17, 2013
139
Southeast Pennsylvania
Re: Which filter should I go with, Sand, Cartridge, or D.E.?

mas985,

I updated my profile....I'm located in Southeastern, Pa. I am not sure I am worried about replacing salt as it is cheap....don't even know what CYA is at this point! How often would I backflush with D.E.?

Thanks,
Doug
 

JohnN

Well-known member
Jun 24, 2012
977
Howell, NJ
Re: Which filter should I go with, Sand, Cartridge, or D.E.?

That depends on what size filter you get and the size of your pool. I personally have a cartridge filter and wouldn't replace it with anything. My fill water is full of iron and very acidic, so minimizing water loss is my goal.
 

chiefwej

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 12, 2011
3,395
Tucson
Re: Which filter should I go with, Sand, Cartridge, or D.E.?

CYA=stabilizer.
How often you need to back flush depends on a number of factors. How much dirt and debris gets into the pool, how picky you become about water quality, pump run time, etc. but you should expect at least a couple times a season.

If you spend some time on this site, reading all the info in Pool School you will find that almost all of your questions are answered.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,782
Pleasanton, CA
Re: Which filter should I go with, Sand, Cartridge, or D.E.?

dubele said:
I updated my profile....I'm located in Southeastern, Pa. I am not sure I am worried about replacing salt as it is cheap....don't even know what CYA is at this point! How often would I backflush with D.E.?
Since you live where you would close the pool and probably only keep it open for 3-4 months, you might get away with one cleaning per season if you get one large enough (~48 sq-ft). But for a winterized pool, clean up is easiest with a sand filter, DE next, and cartridge is probably the hardest.
 

Isaac-1

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 10, 2010
6,711
SW Louisiana
Re: Which filter should I go with, Sand, Cartridge, or D.E.?

Like others have said each has advantages and disadvantages, but without knowing a lot more about your particular location it is hard to even make a suggestion, for example do you have a good location for running a backwash line , can you dump DE in the sewer system where you live? (this can be restricted for environmental discharge reasons , or it may clog the sewer processing plant filters.)
 

tmnt25

Member
May 28, 2013
24
Miami, FL
Re: Which filter should I go with, Sand, Cartridge, or D.E.?

brg88tx said:
I prefer a large cartridge filter. low maintenance. I only clean mine out once a year.
Holy cow that's amazing. I am cleaning mine every two weeks.
 

fireman00

Well-known member
May 2, 2013
55
Re: Which filter should I go with, Sand, Cartridge, or D.E.?

We've got a sand filter and LOVE IT! our pool is crystal clear, backwash once a month only because I feel better about it not because pressure has built up. Each spring I use the garden hose to float out any particles that aren't back washed out. We're on year 2 using the same sand. Until we start seeing a problem I have no plans on replacing the sand for the next couple of years.

Caveat.. I have no idea how a sand filter would do with a SWG system.
 

BoDarville

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 5, 2012
3,844
DFW, Texas
Re: Which filter should I go with, Sand, Cartridge, or D.E.?

fireman00 said:
We've got a sand filter and LOVE IT!
Me too.

fireman00 said:
We're on year 2 using the same sand. Until we start seeing a problem I have no plans on replacing the sand for the next couple of years.
With very rare exceptions, the sand should last the life of the filter without ever needing to be replaced. The sand in my filter is going through its 7th season and the water is still crystal clear.
 

fireman00

Well-known member
May 2, 2013
55
Re: Which filter should I go with, Sand, Cartridge, or D.E.?

BoDarville said:
fireman00 said:
We've got a sand filter and LOVE IT!
Me too.

fireman00 said:
We're on year 2 using the same sand. Until we start seeing a problem I have no plans on replacing the sand for the next couple of years.
With very rare exceptions, the sand should last the life of the filter without ever needing to be replaced. The sand in my filter is going through its 7th season and the water is still crystal clear.
That's what I heard and why I went with sand...thanks!

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2
 

dubele

Well-known member
Jun 17, 2013
139
Southeast Pennsylvania
Re: Which filter should I go with, Sand, Cartridge, or D.E.?

This may be one of those things where if I had three identical pools in my backyard and one had a sand, one had a cartrdge, and one had D.E. I would bet you couldn't tell the difference??

I am going to have the filter on the side of my house. I will be backwashing to the street and let it go down the street drain. This will go into a stream....but it is a long way to the stream....so, it is not going down my house drain and to the sewer processing plant. Who do I ask if there is a restriction for dumping this water in the street???.....and does it really matter? Is this stuff toxic? If it is not safe enough to dump water into the environment, do I really want to be swimming in it??

Thanks,
Doug
 

duraleigh

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In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
32,844
Sebring, Florida
Re: Which filter should I go with, Sand, Cartridge, or D.E.?

This may be one of those things where if I had three identical pools in my backyard and one had a sand, one had a cartrdge, and one had D.E. I would bet you couldn't tell the difference??
I completely agree. Filtration by each type is perfectly adequate as long as you have a large enough filter and you manage your pool water correctly.

If you swim in your pool, obviously you have nothing to be concerned about toxicity when you clean/backwash.

That said, local governing authorities may have some restrictions as to what goes in their sewer system.
 

ping

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 24, 2011
3,018
Long Beach, CA
Re: Which filter should I go with, Sand, Cartridge, or D.E.?

dubele said:
This may be one of those things where if I had three identical pools in my backyard and one had a sand, one had a cartrdge, and one had D.E. I would bet you couldn't tell the difference??

I am going to have the filter on the side of my house. I will be backwashing to the street and let it go down the street drain. This will go into a stream....but it is a long way to the stream....so, it is not going down my house drain and to the sewer processing plant. Who do I ask if there is a restriction for dumping this water in the street???.....and does it really matter? Is this stuff toxic? If it is not safe enough to dump water into the environment, do I really want to be swimming in it??

Thanks,
Doug
If this is the case, I would not go with DE as it will get everything coated white with DE and I would not put that stuff into a stream. Personally I would chose a large cartridge filter in this situation.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,782
Pleasanton, CA
Re: Which filter should I go with, Sand, Cartridge, or D.E.?

Remember that the OP closes the pool for the winter so a cartridge will be a PITA during opening.

If you do decide on a cartridge, just make sure they plumb in a filter bypass and a filter to waste function that is normally not part of a cartridge installation (i.e. cartridge filters don't have a multiport valve). That will be the only way to make a cartridge workable during an opening.