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Filter media choice correlates with region

By Marcelle Dibrell

In the pool and spa industry, filters are available in one of three types:  those using some type of cartridge media, those using diatomaceous earth (D.E.) or a suitable alternative and those using sand or a suitable alternative as the filtering medium. 

There are plenty of good reasons to pick one filter type over another including concerns about up-front and long-term costs, filtering capabilities, size, maintenance, lifespan and climatic conditions. 

For example, D.E. filter media filters the smallest-sized particles. According to the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals, sand filters remove particles from 20 to 50 microns in size. Cartridge filters remove particles from 15 to 25 microns. D.E. filters remove the smallest size particles: from 2 to 5 microns. But while they are well known for producing great water clarity, some people dislike dealing with D.E. due to both health concerns and maintenance issues. 

Meanwhile, cartridge filters are a popular choice for spa applications because they tend to take up less space on the equipment pad. They are also fairly low maintenance: no backwashing and the attendant problem of where to dispose of the waste. Because of this, they are considered environmentally friendly, especially for areas experiencing drought conditions.

Sand filters are also low maintenance, requiring an occasional backwash to clean the sand and infrequent sand replacement. 

As in past years, this year’s Service Industry News survey revealed that filter preference seems to vary by region. 

Service technicians from both Southern California and the Southwest region of the country indicated that the majority of the pools that they service incorporate D.E. filters.

Professionals from both Florida and Northern California reported that most of their pools use cartridge filters. 

Sand filters are equipped on the majority of the pools serviced in the Southeast, Northeast and the Midwest regions of the country.

Meanwhile, when it comes to filter use in spas, cartridge filtration is the dominant filtration method reported in every region of the country.

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