How Does a Pool Filter System Work?

person removing pool filter

A pool filter system is vital to the overall health of the water in your pool. Used in conjunction with certain pool chemicals the pool filter system will keep your pool fresh and clean.

Parts of the Filter System

There are several basic components of a pool filter system.

Skimmer - this directs the water from inside the pool into the filtration system. Within the skimmer, there is a basket that is the first stage of the pool filter system. It removes any large debris from the water before sending the water on to the filtration system.

Secondary Basket - There is another basket in the system that will collect any debris that made it through the skimmer. It then sends the water on down the line to the filter cartridge.

Filter Cartridge - The filter cartridge may be round or square. This cartridge is made of cloth fiber materials. With the use of chlorine tablets, the tiny debris is filtered out of the water while the chlorine tablets further sanitize and treat the water. Your pump will either have this type of filter, or it may have the sand filter.

Sand Filter - With the sand system, the water passes through and debris is filtered out of it. These systems may or may not make use of the chlorine tablets here. If it does not, then the chlorine must be added directly to the pool. The pump must be active before adding the chlorine directly to the water.


looking down into a pool filter

The pool filter system is most often operated with an automatic timer. If there is no timer on the system, then the pump must be manually operated in order for the system to work properly.

Maintenance of the Pool Filter System

Regardless of which type of pool filter system is in place, it must be cleaned periodically in order to operate efficiently and effectively.

With the filter cartridge system you must clean the primary and secondary baskets on the skimmer. You must then remove the cartridges and using a garden hose, spray them off until all dirt and debris have been removed from them. If you cannot remove all of it, then you may have to replace the cartridge.

With the sand filter system, you must also clean the primary and secondary baskets in the skimmer. Then you must perform a backwash process that will remove the dirt filled diatomaceous earth. New diatomaceous earth is then introduced into the system by putting it directly into the skimmer. It will then go to the filter in order to do its work.

This maintenance should be performed on a monthly basis. If the pool gets a lot of use however, you should perform this maintenance more often. Taking good care of your pool filter system will enable the pump to service your pool for many years without failure. Make sure to follow all recommendations as outlined by the pump manufacturer for any special procedures that must be followed during this routine maintenance.