how does a salt water pool filter work


Author: Poolking - Swimming Pool Equipment Manufacturer

A salt water pool filter is a fundamental part of any saltwater pool system. The filter is designed to remove debris, impurities, and contaminants from the water, ensuring a clean and healthy swimming environment. In this article, we'll explore in detail how a salt water pool filter works, its different types, and maintenance.

Types of Salt Water Pool Filters:

There are generally three types of salt water pool filters, each having its own unique characteristics, benefits, and drawbacks. These include:

1. Sand Filter: A sand filter is the most common type of filter for a salt water pool. It contains a bowl-shaped tank filled with sand that traps impurities and particles from the water as it passes through. Sand filters are easy to maintain and offer strong filtration.

2. Cartridge Filter: A cartridge filter utilizes a replaceable filter cartridge to clean the pool water. It is commonly used for small to mid-sized pools and is relatively easy to maintain.

3. Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Filter: A DE filter utilizes a powder made from the fossilized remains of single-celled algae to filter the water. They provide the highest level of filtration but require more maintenance than the other types of filters.

How a Salt Water Pool Filter Works:

The basics of salt water pool filters remain the same. A pump circulates water through the system and pushes it through the filter. This process removes contaminants and impurities from the water, leaving it clean and safe for swimming. Here's how each type of filter works in greater detail:

1. Sand Filter: The sand filter system comprises a multi-layered bed of sand particles, ranging in size from coarse to fine. Water enters the filter through a diffuser and passes through the sand, which traps the contaminants. The clean water then exits through the outflow valve and flows back into the pool.

2. Cartridge Filter: Water passes through the filter cartridge and collects any debris, before returning to the pool. The cartridge is easy to remove, which makes cleaning and maintenance easier.

3. DE Filter: The DE powder is added to the filter and gets distributed evenly across a series of grids. The water passes through the grids, and the DE powder traps any impurities present. When the powder becomes clogged, it needs to be backwashed or cleaned.

Benefits of a Salt Water Pool Filter:

Salt water pool filters are a vital part of maintaining a healthy swimming environment. Here are some benefits of using a salt water pool filter:

1. Reduces maintenance: Salt water pool filters require less maintenance than traditional chlorinated systems.

2. Saves money: Salt water pool filters reduce the need for expensive chemicals and require less energy to operate.

3. Eco-friendly: Using a salt water pool filter reduces the impact on the environment, as it promotes water conservation and has fewer harsh chemicals.

Maintenance of a Salt Water Pool Filter:

It is important to maintain your salt water pool filter to keep it in good working condition. Here are some tips for filter maintenance:

1. Clean the Pool Regularly: Skim the surface of your pool regularly and remove any floating debris. This will prevent it from entering the filter and clogging it over time.

2. Backwash the Filter: Regular backwashing keeps the filter clean and operational. The backwash cycle needs to be performed when the pressure within the system rises to a certain level.

3. Clean the Filter Cartridge: If you use a cartridge filter, then it is important to clean it regularly. You can do this by removing the cartridge and washing it with a high-pressure hose.


A salt water pool filter is an essential part of maintaining a clean and healthy swimming environment. Understanding how it works and the different types available will help you make an informed decision when choosing a filter for your pool. Make sure to maintain your filter correctly, and it will provide years of trouble-free service.


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