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A sand filter utilizes sand to filter out debris. They are considered one of the most cost-effective and commonly used filters when it comes to pool filtration. As the filter collects more dirt and debris, it is able to capture smaller particles. When that happens, the pressure will increase as with all filters. A sand filter requires you to perform a process called backwashing. This will reverse the flow of the water in the sand-bed to purge out the dirt and debris in the filter.
A cartridge filter contains a filter or filters that trap the particles and dirt in them and allow you to take them out and clean them off once they are full. This type of filter has the second-best in filtration capability out of the three and is considered the most environmentally friendly. Unlike sand and D.E. filters, they do not need to be backwashed as you remove the elements inside the filter and rinse them off when you need to clean them.
A D.E. (diatomaceous earth) filter contains filter grids inside using D.E. as a filter media to coat the grids. This provides the most in filtration capability out of all the filters used for pools. Like sand filters, they also require backwashing. This flushes out the dirt and debris that the coated grids collected. Then after you complete a backwash, you need to replenish the D.E. filter media to cover the grids inside again.
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