Your swimming pool filter is just one component of your overall pool system, but it’s certainly an important one. The filter’s job is to keep the pool water clean, so a dirty or clogged filter can quickly lead to a grimy pool. Since it’s always better to prevent a problem than be tasked with solving one, keeping up with your pool filter’s changing schedule is a must.
General rules. Most swimming pool filters are expected to last about 2,000 pump hours, which translates into one to two years (depending upon how much you run the pump). But it’s best not to rely on averages, since some situations can differ from the norm. If you and your family tend to use a lot of suntan lotions, hair products, and other substances that need to be cleaned from the water, your filter might wear out more quickly.
Other factors. Other factors can impact the lifespan of your pool filter. Larger pools, and those that are used more often, will need their filters replaced more frequently. The quality of your water also matters.
Signs that your swimming pool filter needs to be replaced. Obviously, the easiest way to determine when you should change your filter is to inspect it. Signs of a filter nearing the end of its lifespan include:
- The center of the filter cartridge is worn, tearing, or collapsing
- Water flow is reduced (this indicates a clogged filter)
- Pressure in the canister reaches 8 psi or above
- You know the filter has been used for the maximum amount of recommended pump hours
Regular care can extend the life of your swimming pool filter. As with any other component of your home, proper care and maintenance of your pool filter will help you get more bang for your buck. Once per week, clean your filter and inspect it. You might also wish to use a product, such as diatomaceous earth, to reduce clogs. Using an oil-absorbing sponge in your pool can divert most oily products away from the filter, helping it to stay clean longer.
Call a professional. If you have any questions about your swimming pool filter, or about pool maintenance in general, give us a call. We can tell you how to determine when your pool filter needs to be change, and assist you with anything else that you might need.
If you’re thinking of installing a pool, or renovating the one you have, you will face a series of decisions along the way. One of your choices will regard saltwater versus chlorine; which type of pool is best for your preferences and needs?
First, let’s clear up a common misconception: Saltwater pools do contain chlorine! The chlorine is produced at steady levels, rather than added to the water. Instead, you will add salt to the pool, and a saltwater generator will produce hypochlorous acid for sanitation of the pool. So, there is chlorine, but you don’t have to add it yourself. And again, we’re talking about a much lower level of chlorine, which you might find preferable for several reasons:
- It can be gentler on a swimmer’s skin (particularly good for those with allergies) – no itching or burning
- Reduced fading of swimsuits
- No need to store potentially hazardous chlorine sticks or tablets, which can be dangerous if you’re exposed to the fumes. Storing salt on your property carries no risks.
Just one more note about saltwater pools: Despite the name, the salinity (concentration of salt) is about one-tenth that of ocean water. You shouldn’t notice any harsh effects upon your eyes.
What is the difference in maintenance? With both saltwater and chlorine pools, you will need to monitor and potentially adjust the amount of chlorine. However, with saltwater pools you can do this by simply adjusting the controls on the generator and adding more salt, and the water will remain sparkling and clear a bit longer than that of chlorine pools. With chlorine pools, of course, you need to add more chlorine periodically (usually about once per week). Chlorine pools also need more intense “chlorine shocks” occasionally, to kill off any algae and to adjust chlorine levels. With a saltwater pool, the need for these shocks is much less frequent.
While saltwater pools are generally easier to maintain, in the event that a problem does arise, it can be more complicated to diagnose and repair. You will also need to remove, inspect, and clean the saltwater generator cells at least once per year.
What is the difference in cost? Generally speaking, the installation cost of a saltwater pool is higher, but the cost routine chemical maintenance will be lower. You should also consider the cost of running the generator, which is on average 36 to 48 dollars per year higher than running a pump for a chlorine pool. Additionally, some swimming pool features (lights, masonry, the lining, and even landscaping around the pool) might respond badly to saltwater, and need to be replaced more often. Consult with a pool professional about the exact cost of installation versus maintenance, to get a more clear picture of both scenarios. Give us a call and we can help you evaluate your options.