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Source Code: WYAARUNK | December 22, 2014
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Pleatco filter FAQ's

Filters And (Your) Questions About Them

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1. What options are available for Pool or Spa filtration systems?
2. How will I know it is time to replace Pleatco filter cartridge?
3. What can I do to extend the effectiveness of a Pleatco filter cartridge?
4. How do I clean my Pleatco filter cartridge?
5. How do I clean my Pleatco filter cartridge if I use chlorine in the water?

1. What options are available for Pool or Spa filtration systems?

When it comes to picking the best filter system for your pool or spa, the choices alone can be confusing, but when you factor in the opinions of other people, the choices can become downright overwhelming. We would like to make the decision a lot easier for you by offering some straight forward information, without confusing personal bias or technical talk, to explain the differences between swimming pool filtration systems that use a) Filter Cartridges, b) Sand or c) Diatomaceous Earth.

a) Filter Cartridges are low maintenance economy-priced filters that capture and trap debris as water passes through the filter. While most cartridge filters range between 50 and 100 square feet of filtering area, they are designed to run with less pressure than a sand filter system, putting less strain on the pump and giving improved water flow. Filter cartridges only need to be cleaned once or twice a season, and cleaning them is as simple as hosing them off.

b) Sand Filters are one of the original and least efficient methods for cleaning debris out of a pool's water. Water is pumped through a bed of sand, which filters out debris, releasing relatively clean water through the drain tubes on the bottom of the filter, though smaller particle debris will not be filtered out. As the filter becomes plugged with debris, more pressure is required to push the water through the sand, effectively reducing the filter's ability to clean. Cleaning the filter requires a process called "back washing", where the flow of water is reversed. Once the dirty water is dumped, the filter is placed in "rinse" mode to allow the repacking of the sand. Cleaning of a sand filter needs to take place every few weeks. A benefit of a sand filter system is the low cost of replacing dirty sand with clean sand when required.

c) Diatomaceous Earth Filters are a low-usage option for pool filtration. The fossilized exoskeletons of diatoms are coated on the filter grid to remove debris. Being the diatoms are extremely tiny, they can filter out particles as small as 5 microns, much smaller than the human eye can see. The filterable area of a Diatomaceous earth filter is somewhere between the area of a filter cartridge system and a sand filter system, commonly about 60 to 70 square feet. Cleaning of a DE system is like cleaning sand filters in that a backwash process needs to be implemented, followed by a "recharge" of more DE powder. Due to DE filters needing more pressure than cartridge filters, flow loss and inefficiency is to be expected.

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2. How will I know it is time to replace Pleatco filter cartridge?

On the assumption you properly maintain the filter cartridge regularly, when filter cleanings are becoming more and more frequent, it is a good time to change the filter cartridge. As well, when the water flow drops and the filter cartridge has a high differential pressure, it is time to change the filter. Of course, in the event the filter fails due to a rip or center core collapse, it is most definitely time to replace the filter. The filter cartridge can plug up when used in a spa due to perspiration, body oils, soaps, other chemicals, and debris such as algae and mold. In swimming pools, the main problems plugging up the Filter cartridge tend to be suntan oil, algae and mold. Proper care to maintain the required chemistry of the pool or spa water will ensure a longer filter cartridge life.

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3. What can I do to extend the effectiveness of a Pleatco filter cartridge?

The basic steps to ensuring a long filter cartridge life are to follow the manufacturer's cleaning instructions for element cleaning, never using a stiff brush for the cleaning, maintaining a proper balance of the pool or spa's chemicals, and to alternate between two sets of filters.

For pool specifics, keeping track of the filter canister pressure and cleaning the filter when there is a rise of about 8 PSI will help keep the filter cartridge functioning properly. When it comes to spas, cartridge cleaning must be figured out based on how often the spa is used.

If you use a product called Baquacil for water sanitation, be certain to clean the filter cartridge using Baqua Clean before using any other cartridge cleaner.

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4. How do I clean my Pleatco filter cartridge?

a) Follow the manufacturer's instruction for removing the filter cartridge from its housing.

b) Spraying from top to bottom at a 45 degree angle, wash all the pleats with a garden hose using a straight-flow nozzle.

c) Continue rinsing until all debris is cleaned out of the pleats.

d) If suntan lotions, perspiration or other oils are present in the pool or spa, be certain to first soak the element for at least one hour, but preferably overnight, in a commercial filter cleaner, or in one cup TSP (tri sodium phosphate) mixed into 5 gallons of water, or in one cup of dishwasher detergent mixed into five gallons of water.

e) Rinse to remove oils and cleaning solutions from the cartridge.

f) Soaking the cartridge in a mixture of one part muriatic acid to twenty parts water until the bubbling stops will remove any algae, calcium carbonate, iron, and other minerals that may have coated the element.

g) Perform a final cleaning rinse and put the filter back together.

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5. How do I clean my Pleatco filter cartridge if I use chlorine in the water?

When the pressure of the filter canister rises by 8 PSI, or the flow of water visibly decreases, it is time to clean out the filter cartridge. Follow the manufacturer's guidelines to safely remove the element from the filter housing. Using a garden hose, pressure wash the inside and outside of the housing, and between the filter pleats. Removing fine particles from the filter pleats is easier when the filter is dry, so after the initial rinsing, let the filter dry, then lightly brush (do not scrub) the pleats with a soft bristle brush, or blow out the filter using compressed air.

Oils, algae and even suntan lotions will plug up the filter pleats and may not be cleaned by a simply hosing it down. To remove algae, soak the filter in a commercial filter cleaning solution. Allow the filter to soak for at least one hour, but the preference would be to soak it overnight. After it has soaked, use the garden hose to pressure wash the pleated element thoroughly before reassembling the filter. If there is still an issue with algae or oils plugging the filter, it is most likely a water chemical issue that needs to be adjusted.

For calcium and mineral deposit buildups on the filter, soaking the filter in a muriatic acid solution of 1 part muriatic acid to 20 parts water will help clean the filter. As muriatic acid can be harmful to the eyes and skin, be extra careful when handling it and be certain to use a plastic container, as muriatic acid will damage glass. After soaking the cartridge, rinse the filter with water and safely dispose of the acid solution.

Keeping a second Pleatco filter set on hand to swap during cleanings is a smart investment, as it keeps the filtering happening in your pool while giving you ample time to properly clean the soiled filter.

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