Here in the Fort Myers area, it’s almost impossible to live without a pool, and in our sweltering hot summers, it’s a wonderful thing to be able to plunge into the sparkling, cool water of a pool and let the stress of the day melt away. However, as any pool owner knows, having a pool is not all peace and tranquility. When it comes to taking proper care of your pool to keep it sparkling clean, it might seem like you’re fighting a never-ending battle, struggling to keep ahead of your pool’s constant tendency to want to turn green. Here at Grand Slam Pool Cleaning and Maintenance, we are firm believers in the fact that quality pool service doesn’t just involve delivering impeccable results. It also includes educating our customers on pool best practices, because the more you know, the less you’ll feel like you’re always getting behind on what’s needed for your pool.
One of the ways that educating yourself can not only increase your knowledge, but also help your pool maintenance to run more smoothly, is in the area of your cartridge filter. The humble cartridge filter often escapes notice because it slips into its housing and gets forgotten, but once it gets old, it provides several disadvantages to your pool, making maintenance a little harder on you. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at what these disadvantages are and what a difference it can make if you replace your cartridge filter on time.
Disadvantages of an old cartridge filter
1. An older cartridge filter restricts flow
If your cartridge filter is older than a year old, it will be slightly clogged. Its constant work of filtering all your pool’s water day in and day out results in a gradual buildup of tiny particles. It’s the filter’s job to catch these particles, but over time, the more particles that get trapped, the more restriction there will be on the water flow through your filter. Think of a vacuum cleaner bag that’s full. When you change to a new bag, your vacuum cleaner suddenly has more suction power and pulls dirt out of your carpet better. The same principle holds true with your cartridge filter, and a clogged filter results in a chain reaction that you’ll see in the following points.
2. Restricted flow increases the chance for algae growth
No one wants a green, algae-filled pool. It’s unappetizing to look at and even more unappetizing to swim in, not to mention the fact that it’s a lot of work to get it back to a beautiful clean pool. The more your water flow is restricted through your filter, the more favorable the conditions are for algae to grow. Think of the difference between a stagnant, green pool of standing water versus a sparkling, flowing brook. The moving water resists the buildup of algae, and it’s the same way in your pool. If you have a pool where algae seems to be building up faster than it used to, or if you always feel like you’re falling behind the algae production no matter how much you try to keep up, you should check the age of your cartridge filter and change it if it’s more than one year old.
3. A clogged filter is unable to filtrate smaller particles and bacteria
It may seem counter-intuitive to realize that the more your filter gets clogged, the less it is able to filter out the smallest particles, but it’s true. When your filter is new, it has high-tech filter material that is able to remove particles and contaminants as small as one micron. For comparison, one human hair is approximately 40-50 microns in diameter, while one micron is one-thousandth of a millimeter, and is a size too small to see with the naked eye. Once the filter has aged, it has been bombarded with so many particles of so many different sizes that the quality of its delicate, fine net gets degraded, and larger and larger particles start getting through. Again, more bacteria and other contaminants getting returned to your pool water translates into more work for you to successfully keep the pool in its best condition.
4. An older filter puts a strain on your other equipment.
No one wants to be hit with repair or maintenance of vital pool equipment earlier than they were expecting to, but letting your cartridge filter get too old can put you at the risk of just that. For instance, your pool pump is programmed to process a certain number of gallons per minute, but all that water leaves the pump and immediately has to go through the filter. If the filter is restricting the flow due to buildup of particles, the pump has to work harder to keep the same volume of water circulating through the pool. This creates a strain that is slightly larger than the optimal level that the pump was designed to handle, putting your pump at risk of giving out early. (If this has happened to you, we recommend replacing it with the Intelliflo Variable Speed pump, our favorite product that also saves you money on energy costs).
5. Having a clogged filter inadvertently costs you more in electricity.
Because your flow is restricted and all your systems are working harder to compensate, they consume slightly more electricity as well. This incremental energy cost is on top of the cost that you can incur if you have to replace other pieces of equipment earlier than you meant to.
For all these reasons, it just isn’t worth it to try to stretch the life of your cartridge filter. Your friendly pool experts at Grand Slam Pools are here not only to save you from the inconvenience of cleaning your pool yourself; they can also make sure that your pool cartridge filter gets replaced once a year. This only costs $95 per year and can save you and your pool from all the unnecessary headaches we’ve detailed here. For all your pool cleaning needs in the Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and Naples areas, count on the pool cleaning and maintenance professionals at Grand Slam Pools. Contact us today to set up your first pool service, and get your first two weeks of cleaning free. No contracts, no obligations! Call now: (239) 321-5392.