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How to Clean Your Pool Filter – Tips for Sand or Cartridge Filters

Like any product you buy for your home, a pool filter requires monitoring and maintenance to maximise its lifespan. If you need some advice on which filter to have installed on your pool, please first see our article “Sand VS Cartridge Filter- Which is Right For You?”.

It’s very exciting once your pool builder has handed back the keys and left your brand new fibreglass pool or spa sparkling and glistening without a worry in the world… But you must keep in mind that you do need to continue to look after the filtration system that has been initially setup by your pool or spa installer. This will ensure the longevity of your filter and allow it to work efficiently and effectively for years to come. Below we have some guides on how to keep your sand filter or cartridge filter clean and running efficiently after your handover.


Sand Filter

All sand filters require backwashing, whether the media is sand or glass. Backwashing involves releasing the dirty water from the waste line and resetting the sand/ glass bed. It is ideal to backwash your sand filter after vacuuming approximately once a week, to remove any remaining debris that has been left behind. Cloudy water may also be an indication that it is time to perform a backwash. For instructions on how to backwash your filter please see below.

How to Backwash your Sand Filter:

  • Turn off the pool pump
  • Turn the valve handle to “BACKWASH”
  • Start the pool pump
  • Backwash until water in sight glass is clear (approximately 2-3 minutes)
  • Turn off the pool pump again
  • Turn the valve handle to “RINSE”
  • Start the pool pump and operate for 30 seconds to one minute
  • Stop pool pump
  • Turn the valve handle to “FILTER”
  • Start the pool pump to return to normal filtering
  • Check the chemistry levels. Sometimes extra water and/ or chemistry may need to be added to the pool to replace what has been lost

To prevent damage to the pool pump and filter and for proper operation of the system, clean the pump strainer and skimmer baskets regularly.

The sand or glass itself needs to be changed every 3-5 years depending on the circumstances. The sand or glass may look okay from a distance, but the edges do become worn and don’t catch contaminants as easily after some time.


Cartridge Filter

Maintaining your cartridge filter is easy! To get the most out of your cartridges and cartridge filter, ensure you stay up to date with cleaning your cartridges and maintaining balanced pool water chemistry. The gauge on the filter will tell you when it is time to clean them (most have a red marker). At the least a minimum 2-4 times a year would be required depending on the pool size. It is also important to give the cartridges a hose down after a big storm or when there have been a lot of people in the pool. Whenever you think that your cartridge filter has been working overtime, it’s a good idea to give it a quick clean! For instructions on how to keep your cartridge filter clean please see below.

  • Turn off the pool pump
  • Check that you do not have an automatic timer on the pump that may interrupt your cleaning cycle
  • Remove the cartridge from the filter via the easy grip handles
  • Check the cartridge for any rips or tears and if so, contact your local pool shop or service person to see if you require a replacement
  • Use a normal garden hose to wash away debris, by hosing top to bottom
  • If your cartridge appears to have a lot of remaining debris or algae you can soak the cartridge for between 1-8 hours in a simple solution that you can purchase from your local pool shop or service person. This will then require rinsing again as outlined in step 5
  • Once the cartridges are clean, return them to the filter and secure the lid firmly

Cartridges should last approximately 18 months to 3 years depending on the amount of usage and debris in the pool. At this point it is best to completely replace the cartridges to ensure the best health for both the filter and the pool.

Always check your manufacturer’s manual for the most up to date warranty and maintenance information.

Although filters do require some maintenance, they are the key to keeping your pool clean and clear all year round, so it is important to stay up to date with your routine cleaning. You may also find that if you do not look after your pool equipment, it will not last as long as it was made to. To ensure that they are operating as effectively as possible, keep them as clean as you can! Should you need more information on pool filters one of our friendly Master Pools staff can help, simply contact us here or call us on (03) 8787 8873 make an appointment to visit our Fibreglass Pool and Spa Display Centre, Cranbourne West.

Have you recently completed a pool construction in South East Melbourne and don’t have time to worry about filter maintenance? Is your pool builder on the Mornington Peninsula and doesn’t provide an after-care solution? Whatever the situation, we can recommend pool service in Brighton, Moorabbin, Dandenong, Pakenham and Sorrento, as well as surrounding suburbs. To find out more please click here.