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The U.S. Population has doubled over the past fifty years, while our thirst for clean water has tripled.  With a majority of our states anticipating water shortages by 2024 — as the EPA strives to integrate water management practices — the need to conserve water is critical.  A recent study for the California Urban Water Conservation Council that looked at the number of ways that water is lost from pools, including evaporation, leaks, splash-out and equipment operation.  It referred to filter backwashing as one of the largest single uses of water by pools.  Each year, billions of gallons of water are backwashed out of sand filtered swimming pools and seeps into sensitive farmland groundwater aquifers, waterways and oceans.



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“FILTER TYPES” and the importance of

The importance of filtering efficiently cannot be stressed enough, especially when swimming pools are subjected to extreme summer temperatures. The following information will help you understand the various types of filters available and the efficiency of each one.

Pools that have a tendency to turn green, especially when there is chlorine present in the water, can be directly related to the inefficiency of the filter. This means that your filter is not able to remove these small strains of algae from the water, even though you may run it 24 hours per day.

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Backyard Pool


The efficiency of pool filters are rated by how well they can remove Micron size particulates (algae and bacteria) from the pool.  Most particulates range from 0.1 to 15 microns in size.  


*Please note that the filter that can remove the smallest of micron size particulates is the more efficient filter.

AFM® ranks the BEST, filtering particles down to 1 micron, providing exceptional water clarity.  AFM resists biofouling, biocoagulation and transient wormhole channeling of unfiltered water and never needs to be recharged or replaced.

  • D.E. (Diatomaceous Earth) filters can remove anywhere from 3-5 microns in size 

  • Cartridge filters can remove anywhere from 10-15 microns in size

  • Sand filters can remove anywhere from 20-60 microns in size


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D.E. (diatomaceous earth)

ADVANTAGES: • Maintains the purest water with the highest clarity • Can remove virtually any and all bacteria from the water • Requires backwashing when pressure rises 10 lbs above normal reading, which generally takes several months, thus conserving hundreds of gallons of water • Will clear up green or cloudy pools overnight Must add D.E. powder through skimmer after backwashing DISADVANTAGES: •Diatomaceous earth has been classified as a carcinogen in the State of California •The powder leaves a white residue on the ground after backwashing, but will disappear after soaking or rinsing with water. It will not harm the grass or ground, but is against BMPs to allow it to enter storm drainage. • It is recommended by the manufacturer to remove the elements inside the ges: filter and clean manually

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ADVANTAGES: • Maintains good water clarity, but not as good as a D.E. filter • Removes several strains of algae in pool water but not all • Does not require backwashing • Cartridges only need to be cleaned when the filter pressure rises 10 lbs above the normal reading. This may take a few months depending on the pool. DISADVANTAGES: • Takes longer to clear up green or cloudy pools than D.E. filter • Since cartridge filters do not require backwashing, you have to remove them periodically and clean them. • To clean cartridges, top of filter must be removed, and each cartridge must be separately hosed off. It will take approximately 2-3 hours to clean all the cartridges. • When the cartridges need to be replaced they are expensive

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ADVANTAGES: • Ease of use and backwashing • Upgradable to AFMⓇ DISADVANTAGES: • Needs to be backwashed more frequently wasting hundreds of gallons of water. • Maintains the poorest of water clarity compared to the D.E. and Cartridge filters • Filter needs to run more hours per day to make up for its inefficiency • Removes very few strains of algae in water, allows biofilm & channeling to occur, thus allowing the pool to become infested with algae and turn green, even when chemicals are perfect • Sand needs to be changed about every three to five years



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