Pool technician spraying off pool filter cartridge

When to Clean Your Pool Filter Cartridge vs. When to Replace it

As a pool owner, making sure your pool filter is clean and functioning properly is important for overall pool health. Keeping up with proper maintenance of your pool filter is important, and while maintaining its cleanliness is a key element of pool maintenance, the cartridge will eventually need to be replaced. Here’s how to tell if your cartridge needs to be cleaned, or if it’s time to toss it and get a new one.

When to Clean the Pool Filter Cartridge

  • The pool filter cartridge needs to be cleaned whenever the filter pressure gauge increases by around 8 PSI, or pounds per square inch, above the normal operating pressure.
  • Another rule of thumb is at the very least to clean the cartridge every six months. Keeping a schedule is an easy way to make sure the cartridge cleaning gets taken care of.
  • Outside of these two factors, if there’s a change in the water quality you’ll want to inspect the filter cartridge. It may just be in need of a good clean.

If your cartridge does just need to be cleaned, there are a few easy steps to take to get your cartridge as good as new. After removing any larger debris from the cartridge surface, you’ll need to soak the cartridge in a pool filter cartridge cleaning solution to remove built up grime and oils. Once it has soaked in the cleaning solution for a minimum of 6 hours, rinse thoroughly and allow to fully dry before putting back in the filter tank.

When to Replace a Pool Filter Cartridge

The time frame for how long a cartridge lasts can range, typically about 3 – 5 years. There are other determining factors though to keep an eye on to know if it’s time to replace your pool filter cartridge. Here are a few of the tell-tale signs it’s time for a new cartridge.

  • Changing Water Quality: If the pool water remains cloudy or green even after balancing chemicals, it’s time to check the filter cartridge. Each time a filter cartridge is cleaned, the cartridge’s fibers wear down and separate a bit more, allowing finer dirt and debris to pass through.
  • Increased Cleaning Frequency: Once you notice the pressure gauge rising above 8 PSI more often, it’s most likely time for the cartridge to be replaced. Make sure to keep note of when you last cleaned your cartridge so that you can monitor the frequency of when it’s cleaned. A good rule of thumb is when it needs to be cleaned in about half the time it used to be, it’s time to replace.
  • Damaged Filter: Each time you clean your filter, you should inspect it for any tears or damage in the fabric. If damaged, the filter can’t properly filter debris out, leaving you with a dirty pool.
  • Check Filter Bands: Cartridge filters have horizontal bands around them to keep the pleats spaced correctly. If the bands are loose, falling off or missing, the filter should be replaced.

If you don’t want to deal with the upkeep of cleaning your filter cartridge and monitoring when it needs replaced, Pool Scouts is here to do it for you! Pool Scouts offers filter inspections and a filter cleaning service to ensure your filter and filter cartridge are up to date and doing their job to keep your pool clean.

Visit the In the Swim blog for additional information on pool filter cartridge maintenance.