Pool Filter Cartridge Replacement 101

If you’re reading this article, I’m going to assume you own a pool. In fact, I’m going to also assume that you own a pool with a cartridge filter system. Questions on when or how replacing filter cartridges have been clouding your thoughts and you’re wondering, “When should I replace my filter cartridge?” You’ve come to the right place!

Changing a pool filter cartridge can seem like a daunting task. After all, you own a pool but may not consider yourself a pool expert. Don’t fret; owning a pool can be a breeze with the right tools and knowledge. One of the most important things you can do to keep a healthy and clean pool is ensuring that you’re cleaning out your filter cartridge regularly to lengthen the life of your filter cartridge. After all, you do have the best option in pool filter systems when it comes to energy efficiency and cost effectiveness. But there comes a time when you’ll have to replace your filter cartridge. We’re here to guide you on classic signs and symptoms that indicate it’s time to replace your filter cartridge.

Before I delve into how often you should be replacing your filter cartridge, it’s always a great idea to be proactive and maximize the life of your current filter cartridges with proper and consistent maintenance.

Cleaning Your Pool Filter Cartridge

Your pool filter should have a pressure gauge (typically located at the top) that ranges from 0 to 60 pounds per square inch (psi) that helps you determine how the pressure is holding (or not holding) in your pool. If your filter pressure gauge increases by about 8 PSI or more above the normal operating pressure, then it’s time for you to do a little filter cleaning. If you’re thinking to yourself, “this sounds like too much work,” then let me make this super simple. It’s recommended that a filter cartridge be cleaned every six months.

Cleaning your cartridge filter is a very important step in maintaining your pool and pool filter system. If you want to know more about cleaning your cartridge filter, our blog has a very informative article on how to do just that.

Replacing Your Filter Cartridge

As a general rule, filter cartridges should be replaced every two to five years. Why such a broad range? Let’s take a moment to think here. There are so many factors one must take into consideration when it comes to the cleanliness of a pool. Do you host pool parties twice a week? Once a year? Are you a family of seven? Family of three? Do your four-legged family members also enjoy taking a dip on occasion? All of this can affect how clean (or dirty) your pool is. Body oils (like sunblock lotion), animal hair, dirt particles, and all that fun stuff that makes it into your pool can determine the lifespan of your pool filter cartridge. Here are a few definite signs that it’s time to replace your cartridge filter.

  • Pool Water Quality
    If your water is still looking grimy and green even after you’ve cleaned out your filter cartridge and balanced the PSI to the appropriate number, this is a huge indicator that your filter cartridge is at the end of its life. After all, you’re doing everything you can to clean your pool. But if that’s not working at all, I’m afraid the Pool Gods are letting you know that it’s time to replace.
  • Frayed Fabric
    When you pull out the filter cartridge to do your usual cleaning and notice that the cloth looks loose, or if the cartridge itself looks cracked or frayed, that’s a definite sign that a replacement is necessary. Think about it. If your filter cartridge’s fabric has holes or is torn, then you’re giving dirt and debris an open invitation to make it back into your pool’s water. And if that happens, then what’s the point of having a filtration system?
  • Broken End Caps
    The plastic end caps on your filter cartridges keep the material in between tightly compacted. Most end caps are made of heavy duty plastic, making them pretty durable but unfortunately not invincible. These end caps are susceptible to standard wear and tear because of the harsh water chemicals that are constantly in contact. It’s bound to make your end caps look brittle and broken. If this occurs, I’m afraid it’s time to chuck and replace.
  • Crushed Cartridge
    A crushed cartridge occurs as a result of incorrect sizing or substandard quality. It’s important to properly replace the filter cartridge with the correct size. Unsure about the appropriate size of your filter cartridge? Head on over to our Replacement Filter Cartridges section to help you figure that out. You can also reach out to our fantastic Customer Service Help Center at (800) 772-0467 for any questions you might have. In the meantime, if you have a crushed cartridge, then that is certainly a sign to replace immediately.

As any pool owner knows, filter cartridges, and the rest of the pool for that matter, can be quite the investment—both in time and money. But with regular maintenance and upkeep, you have the satisfaction of knowing that you have a great way to spend those hot days with family and friends lounging by your picturesque pool.

Happy Swimming!

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