How Long do Pool Filter Cartridges Last? A Complete Guide

Nothing brings joy to pool owners’ as much as crystal clear waters on a hot summer day. Yes, pool owners are obsessed with the clarity and purity of the water in their pools (and they very well should be).

To ensure that your pool remains crystal clear throughout the summer season, you need to clean and maintain your pool’s filter system. While pool filter maintenance is a year-round process, it takes the front seat during the peak summer season.

Whether you have a DE Pool Filter Grids or a cartridge filter, you have to follow the right maintenance procedures to ensure that your pool’s filtration system is working without any issues.

At Pool Filters, our clients often ask us two questions repeatedly. The first one is “what is the best swimming pool filter system?” The other one is, “How do I know it’s time to clean (or replace) my pool filter cartridge?” Today, we’re focusing on the second question.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question. In fact, the schedule for cleaning or replacement depends on an array of factors like filter type, pool usage frequency, water quality, and more.

Worry not! In this post we’ll give you the complete guide to pool filter cleaning and maintenance. So, without further delay, let’s get started!

Filter Cartridges – The Key to Crystal Clear Water

Filter cartridges keep the water in pools and spas clean. They can be used for pools of all sizes, from small home pools to large commercial pools with over 30,000 gallons of water. Generally, the filter cartridge is made of corrugated paper or polyester cloth. This is the media that traps and removes small particles from the water.

If the filter cartridge is clogged or dirty, it cannot filter out the small particles and the pool or spa water will stay dirty. Keep on reading to find out how often you should clean, or if it’s time to replace the filter cartridge.

How Long do Filter Cartridges Last?

With normal usage, filter cartridges last up to 2000 operation hours. This means if you use your pool or spa regularly, you’ll have to replace the filter cartridge once every 1 or 2 years. However, the lifespan of the cartridge will decrease if it is not maintained regularly or there is an increased presence of deodorants, suntan lotions, hair care products and other chemicals in water.

Should you Clean or Replace?

This is one of the biggest dilemmas faced by pool and spa owners. Should you clean it or replace it? Here are some signs that indicate it’s time to replace your Hayward, Pentair or Jacuzzi pool filter cartridge.
Signs that it’s Time to Replace your Pool Filter Cartridge

1. A High PSI Reading

Sudden spikes in your pressure reading indicate that your filter cartridge is under strain. One of the main causes for a high PSI reading is a dirty and clogged cartridge. A simple remedy is to hose the dirt and accumulated debris off. If a quick clean doesn’t resolve the issue, you may need a deep clean. Soak the cartridge in a cleaning solution overnight after hosing it down, and then do another rinse after soaking.

If this doesn’t bring down the PSI reading, it’s time for Hayward, or Pentair pool filter cartridge replacement.

2. Cracked or Broken End Caps

A pool filter cartridge has plastic caps on either end. These act as bookends binding the cartridge material (paper or polyester) into a tight, compact form. Generally, end caps are made from heavy-duty plastic and last long. But subsequent washings and exposure to harsh cleaning chemicals can make them brittle and cause them to break or crack.

If you notice signs of cracks or chips on the end caps, then it’s time to replace the cartridge. If you continue using a cartridge with a broken end cap, parts of the plastic may get circulated through your pool’s filtration system, which can cause extensive damage to the system.

3. Flat Pleats

When your pool filter cartridge gets over saturated, the accumulated dirt particles end up deforming the pleats. This process is called as flattening of pleats. When pleats become flat, they lose their cleaning capability. Another cause for pleat flattening is a missing or broken band.

4. Frayed, Tattered or Ripped Cartridges

While cartridges are made of a long-lasting material, the natural wear and tear, water pressure, weight of the dirt particles, and the action of harsh chemicals can cause the material to fail. Fraying of material makes the cartridge look furry and ripped.

If you notice any fraying or holes in the cartridge material, then it’s time for a replacement.

5. Crushed Cartridge

As the name implies, there are times when the entire cartridge collapses. A pool filter cartridge has an inner plastic core that acts as a reinforcement cage for the outer pleats. When your cartridge collapses or crushes, it will resemble a crushed soda can with pleats on the outside.

The reasons for this issue could be the wrong cartridge size, poor-quality replacements, or a dirty cartridge that can no longer filter the water, causing the pressure of the filtration system to crush the cartridge.

Final Thoughts

We’ve covered all that you need to know about identifying if you need to clean or replace the pool or spa filter cartridge. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s time for a replacement. Make sure to follow regular cartridge maintenance and cleaning schedule, to extend the life of your pool filter cartridge.

Clean or Replace your pool or spa filter cartridge & Enjoy crystal clear water!