Sand Pool Filters v/s Cartridge Pool Filters

a couple of children in a pool.

The filter is central to the water circulation system for your in-ground vinyl liner pool. Your pool filter moves the water in the pool and catches particles and debris that will cause the water to be murky and unhealthy. This is important if you want to keep your pool looking new with clean and safe fresh water. When you are making plans to build an in-ground pool you will need to decide the type of filter to install–sand, cartridge or DE. In this article, Prestige Pools of NC will compare two of these – sand and cartridge – and include the advantages and disadvantages for each. Also, you can refer to these articles for tips in caring for your vinyl-liner pool and how to keep your vinyl-liner pool clean

The Purpose and Function of a Pool Filter

The purpose of the pool filter is to catch debris and microbial particles that are in the water. If unfiltered, these particles and trash will make the water murky and even unsafe for your pool users. All filters perform this function; it is only the material used inside the filter that differs. 

The Cycle of Water in Your Pool

All pools have the same cycle for cleaning the water. Your pool has skimmers and vac lines. As the filter pump is running, water is pulled into the skimmers and/or vac lines. From there, it travels through the piping and into the pump, and then through the filter and the material in the filter. At the final stage, the cleaned water goes back into the pool.

Two Types of Pool Filters

These two types of pool filters use either sand as the material inside the filter or a cartridge with a cloth-type material inside. Each has its advantages and disadvantages depending on what is important to you.

Sand Filter

A sand filter can hold 600 pounds or more of special filter sand. The pool water moves through the sand, which captures debris and small particulates that are in the water. Sand filters are less expensive to purchase and install than cartridge filters, easy to maintain, and don’t need to have the media inside changed for 5-7 years. Sand filters have an installed internal pressure gauge that you monitor. When the pressure in the filter rises 10 psi from when the filter was last cleaned, it is time to clean the residue out of the sand. This is called backwashing and is an easy and quick procedure performed by moving a lever on the filter. If you don’t mind doing your own maintenance, it won’t be a problem.

Advantages of Sand Pool Filters

  • sand pool filterEasy to use
  • Low maintenance
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Removes small 20 – 40 micron-sized dirt and debris
  • Backwashing is easy and the pool owner can do it
  • Less expensive initially
  • Only requires a sand change every 5 – 7 years

Disadvantages Sand Pool Filters

  • Backwashing lowers the pool water
  • Frequent backwashing can affect the chemical balance
  • If you don’t want to do your own maintenance, backwashing can be a disadvantage
  • Doesn’t catch all of the smallest particles as a cartridge filter does

Cartridge Filter

A cartridge pool filter uses a cloth-like material as the filtering media. The filter runs the water through the filter material and then pushes the clear water back into the pool. Usually, the cartridge needs to be replaced every 3 – 4 years, depending on your usage of the pool. The filter has a red marker that indicates when it is time to clean–usually it is at least twice a year. To clean, you need to open the cartridge filter and use a garden hose. You may need to do this cleaning more often depending on the usage and environmental factors. Both the filters and the cartridge elements are more expensive than sand filters. However, the cartridge material filters out smaller particles than a sand filter does.

Advantages of Cartridge Pool Filters

  • cartridge pool filterRemoves smaller particles than a sand filter
  • Has a low impact on the water chemistry
  • Has a larger surface area that screens more particles
  • Cuts energy costs by using lower pressure
  • Requires a simple maintenance schedule without backwashing
  • Causes less wear and tear on pool equipment

Disadvantages of Cartridge Pool Filters

  • Initial purchase and maintenance costs are higher
  • Not practical for larger commercial pools
  • Cartridges need to be replaced every 2 – 4 years
  • Cleaning requires opening the filter and washing the cartridges

Contact Prestige Pools of NC for Your Customized Swimming Pool

If you are considering building a beautiful in-ground vinyl liner pool, contact our experienced team at Prestige Pools of NC. We have the knowledge to look at all of your options for customizing your pool so that it is a unique backyard setting for fun and entertainment. We work with you to make your vision come to life by creating the private oasis of your dreams! Call us today at 919-779-1033 or fill out the easy-to-use form below to schedule a quote for a vinyl liner pool installation in Clayton, Raleigh, Coats, Garner, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Middlesex, Wendell, Zebulon, or the surrounding areas.