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Filter cartridges care and maintenance

Is there an easy way to know when to clean a cartridge filter?

Yes! Here's a simple tip: Cartridge filters work on the "clarification process." They utilize the debris they collect as an aid to improve filtration. As a result, cleaning too often does not allow the filter to work at optimum filtration efficiency, while not cleaning often enough will shorten the life of a cartridge element. So here's a tip. When you replace the element with a new one, note the start-up pressure on the tank gauge. This reading is the system's total pressure in "pounds per square inch" or psig (gauge). Mark this point with a drop of fingernail polish or a grease pen. Then add 8 pounds to the reading and place another dot. You now have the normal operating pressure for your cartridge in psid (differential). Allow the filter to operate between these two points and clean whenever the gauge reaches the higher pressure mark.

How can I tell when a cartridge filter element needs to be replaced?

With no moving parts or electrical switches to fail, cartridge elements do not have a defined termination point. Instead the fine interstices of the media matrix gradually plug up over time. In a typical spa, the culprit that plugs the media is perspiration and body oils combined with soaps, chemicals and very fine particulate. In a swimming pool, the loading is primarily debris along with sun tan lotions and organic matter such as algae. Assuming the filter is properly maintained and correctly sized to the pump, determining when the cartridge is exhausted depends primarily on three factors: 1) Shorter cycle time between cleanings; 2) Low water flow rate and high differential pressure; and 3) Catastrophic failure such as a tear in the media or centre core collapse. All three are dependent upon proper pool or spa water chemistry and following a routine maintenance schedule. Homeowners should be reminded that filter elements are plastic and should be handled and maintained accordingly.

  • To maximize the life of a cartridge: clean the elements per cleaning instructions
  • never use a stiff brush to scrub the media
  • maintain pool or spa water chemistry in proper balance
  • do not allow the differential pressure to go over 8psi between cleanings
  • alternate two sets of cartridges when cleaning
  • use an enzyme treatment to break down coils


  • Central Spa & Pool Supply Ltd.
    201 Bay Street, Midland,
    ON L4R 1M9
    Tel: 1.705.528.1052 1.800.678.7178
    Tél: Service en français 1.855.537.7727