5 Signs you need to replace your pool cartridge

5 Signs You Need to Replace Your Filter Cartridge

Welcome to the wonderful world of Pool Cartridge Filters and all the fun it entails. Their relative low cost and maintenance comparative to DE and the better water purification compared to sand filter are huge selling points. The only catch of cartridge filters is the sticky situation of replacing the cartridges. One of the hard parts for pool owners is knowing when to replace these cartridges, and that is why we are here to help.

Cartridge maintenance can be broken down into two categories, “Saving it” or “Chucking it.”   The saving it category will contain the weekly maintenance chores of checking water pressure, light cleanings and the occasional deep clean.  The “chucking it” category involves determining if the cartridge is worth saving or if it should be binned and replaced.  This guide will give you a few key symptoms of a cartridge that should be replaced.

a pressure gauge showing high pressureA High PSI

A spike in your pressure reading is a sign of mounting strain within the filter.  A common cause of a high PSI reading is a dirty cartridge, which is usually remedied with a quick hosing off. If a quick clean does not fix the issue, try a deep clean, using an overnight soak with a cleaning agent such as Leisure Time Filter Clean. If the treated cartridge still spikes at a high PSI, it is due to be replaced.

Cartridges are made out of polyester material called Remar. When the Remar material becomes oversaturated, it restricts water flow and requires cleaning. Eventually the material becomes so caked with dirt particles a simple hose down or chemical soak will not unclog the fabric. At that point the only recourse is to replace the filter cartridge.

**Consult your owner’s manual for your cartridge cleaners optimal and critical service readings.**

Cracked End Capscartridge cracked

The plastic end caps on your cartridges act as bookends sandwiching the material into a tight compact form.  End caps are made of a heavy duty plastic but can be susceptible to harsh water chemistry making them brittle.

Once an end cap begins to crack or chip, it it best to replace the cartridge right away. If a cartridge with a broken end cap is repeatedly used, a piece of the broken material may circulate through the filter system causing equipment damage.

Flattening Of Pleats

When Remar becomes over-saturated with dirt particles the pleats will deform. This deformation is called flattening and greatly restricts water flow and cleaning capability. A broken or missing band will also cause pleat flattening.

Tattered, Frayed or Ripped Fabric

UUQuHzSThrough the natural wear and tear of water pressure, chemicals and dirt particles blasting the Remar, the cartridge material may begin to fail. Holes in the material will provide dirt a clear path to recycle back to your pool, making efficient filtering virtually impossible.

The sign of fraying or micro-tears in the fabric is usually a “furry” look to the surface. This furriness is caused by the tiny fibers ripping apart and standing straight on end. When this is noticed, be prepared to replace the filter cartridge because the micro-tears will eventually turn into one big rip.

Crushed Cartridge

These failures are normally caused by a catastrophic inner core collapse. The inner core of your cartridge is the plastic reinforcement cage that backs the pleats, preventing collapse.  A failure of this type will cause the cartridge to resemble a crumpled soda can with pleats.

The likely suspects for this issue are an already cracked inner core, sub-standard cartridges, or a cartridge that was too small. The latter commonly occurs when a pool owner buys the incorrect cartridge size but installs it anyway.

Well that is the dirt on old cartridges, if yours suffer from any of these symptoms it is time for replacements. If you need help tracking down the correct filter cartridge or have other pool related questions, do not hesitate to give us a call at 877-372-6038

16 thoughts on “5 Signs You Need to Replace Your Filter Cartridge

  1. I would really like to look at my pool filters and see how they are working. I have been noticing that it doesn’t seem to be doing as well as it used to. Last time I cleaned them out, I did notice that the fabric was a bit worn and tattered. This may be the issue, so I should probably look into getting some new filters that have new fabric. Then I can be sure that all the water is being cleaned properly!

  2. I have questions about my PAP150-M4 filter. I have noticed a few weeks after purchasing and installing a new filter, the bottom of the filter will start to collapse. I have been told by my pool store several different reasons, which I don’t agree with. What causes the bottom of the filter to start folding/collapsing? Also, how long should my filter last if taken care of?

    1. To much water pressure or weak inner cage would be the leading caused for cartridge collapse. There is no set time for a cartridge replacement, as it depends on the size of the pool, size of cartridge, location, and use. The cartridge should be replaced when cleaning and chemical baths no longer work in lowering filter pressure.

      You can try contacting the manufacturer to see if there is a warranty.

      1. Have your water tested and post the results. You may be adding shock, but it may not be enough for your CYA levels. Or you aren’t maintaining a high enough level chlorine after shocking.

        Take a sample of your pool water to a pool store for a free test, and post the results below.

    1. I had the same problem, buy an 8 lb bucket of ALUM from the pool shop, clean your filters first then sprinkle the entire bucket around the pool and circulate for 2 hours. Let it sit for 12 hours overnite and vacuum. It says to vacuum to waste but I just cleaned my filters really good again and presto! You have clear blue water. The alum attracts all the green organic matter in the pool and drops it to the floor. Some of it will sit on top of the water but while you vacuum it will eventually sink as well!

  3. Living on a golf course causes alittle extra time with cleaning my Cartridge and that’s OK. How ever this past 4 Months I have noticed Small ” Black particles laying on the bottom of my pool mostly in the shallow end very close to on of the jets. I have solar panels that work fine however were put on the home in the late 90’s. I’m getting two conflicting answers to my issue. One is the cartridge is old and breaking down as wits the material coming apart and unable to hold in the dirt, the other is that the solar panels are breaking down ( The black fabric). When running the pool the gauge is always right were it should be.. What’s you take on this.? Thanks for taking the time to read this … Mrs. Gracie Russo

  4. If filters have been subject to excessive pressure, it’s a good idea to check the manifold also. It is not uncommon to find large holes or wide cracks in them.

  5. Backwashed and cleaned my Anthony 52-2 DE pool filter grids. Put the correct amount of DE through the skimmer. Pool pressure was 12 psi before cleaning. Now it is around 5 psi. Pool has been running great for two weeks. However, I have not watched or seen this direct, but the filter is blowing through the pressure relief valve either during the high speed or low speed cycle. Not home or around to see, but pool water is everywhere and can tell it is coming from the pressure relief valve as the water is dripping from the palm trees and over the fence. Again, never see it happening and when I run the pump it seems fine and pressure is at 5psi when I check on it during either of the two cycles – 12am to 6am (3450 rpm) and 12pm to 3pm (1725 rpm). I

    1. That’s a good question that I do not have a solid answer for. It could be a pressure gauge that needs some Teflon tape or a crack in the stem of wherever the pressure gauge screws in.

  6. Hi Matthew, if the white strips of fabric running around the filters break do I need to replace the filters? Everything else looks fine and they are quite new. Thanks

  7. I purchased a set of 4 Pleatco advance cartridges for my Hayward C3025 filter 8 months ago. Everything was great until about a month ago. Since that time I’ve noticed the cartridges don’t come as clean as before. They seem to have a dark stain over them. Also, the pressure of the filter system goes way up after just a few days. Should I buy new filters or is there another option?

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