Out of all the different parts of your pool system, none is more important that your pool filter. Its main role is to keep debris, contaminants, and micro-organisms that can cause algae and bacteria to grow in your pool’s water is clean and safe for swimming. That’s why it’s very important to make sure that your pool filter is always working properly.


But of course, there will always come a time when you find that your pool filter is not working as it should. When this happens, it’s very important to find the problem with your pool filter and fix this right away. Otherwise, bacteria, algae, and other harmful micro-organisms will start to grow. A pool filter problem can also cause other parts of your pool system to start failing, which can add to your frustration and expense.


In this article, we’ve put together the common pool filter problems that you’re likely to encounter to help you spot them and fix these right away.


Pool filter leaks


Leaks are perhaps the most common problem you’re going to encounter. It’s also the easiest pool filter problem to fix.


When you notice that your pool filter system is leaking, the first thing to do is to carefully inspect the outer shell of your pool filter tank for any signs of rust or cracks. If you find any, it’s a good idea to replace the entire tank. Although you can quickly remedy these with patches, they don’t last too long.


If there are no signs of rust or cracks on the pool filter tank, the next thing to do is to check the inside of your pool filter tank. Turn off the pool pump and completely drain the filter by opening the air bleeder. Open the tank and get rid of all the debris collected inside your pool filter. If you’re using a cartridge pool filter, thoroughly clean the cartridge or replace this completely. Carefully inspect the filter clamp band and o-ring. Replace these if you find cracks or the rings are already deformed.


Pool filter materials leaking out into the pool


It is actually quite normal to find traces of sand or diatomaceous earth (DE) in your pool if you’re using sand or D. E. filters. While these materials can help trap debris, microbes, and other contaminants, they are also small enough for your pool water to carry them back into your swimming pool.


However, if you notice that the floor of your swimming pool is slowly being covered by these particles, there is a very good chance that there may be a crack or tear in the pipes and manifolds of your pool filter system that need to be replaced. Again, shut down your pool pump and carefully inspect the pipes and manifolds for cracks and tears. Be sure also to check that all the connections are properly aligned with each other and are tightly connected as loose and misaligned connections can also cause these particles to flow into your pool steadily.


Pool filter is running on short cycles


If you haven’t used your swimming pool for a long time, it’s quite normal for your pool filter to run on short cycles. But if you notice that your pool filter is continuously running on short cycles, it could be a sign of one of three problems.


First, your pool filter needs to be cleaned. Over time, algae, bacteria, and other kinds of debris can clog your pool filter, causing it to run on short cycles. Clean your pool filter and replace your cartridge or filtering particles.


Second reason for your pool filter to continuously run in short cycles is because it wasn’t backwashed long enough. When backwashing your pool filter, wait until the water in your sight glass becomes clear before stopping.


If your pool filter is squeaky clean but is still running on short cycles, it could be that your pool filter system is not proportioned to the size of your swimming pool. Having a small pool filter system connected to a powerful pool pump in a large swimming pool can cause your pool filter to get overworked, causing it to start running on short cycles. Have a professional pool technician take a look at your pool filter system to see if this is the right size for your swimming pool.


Pool filter pressure is too low


Normally, your pool filter’s pressure gauge should read anywhere between 8 and 15 pounds. If the pressure gauge is reading below this normal range, it could be that there is a clog or a leak in your pool system before your pool filter. Since this can literally be anywhere, it is best to get a professional pool technician to help you with this.


Pool filter pressure is too high


Having too high a pool filter pressure reading is one of the more serious problems faced by pool owners. That’s because the high pressure is caused by the water flow being restricted after it passes through the pool filter.


Once you notice that the pressure gauge reading is above 15 pounds, it is very likely that your pool filter is already very dirty and the cartridge needs to be cleaned or replaced. Backwashing your pool water can also help bring down the pool filter pressure back within the normal range.


However, if the pressure gauge starts reading 30 psi or higher, shut down the pool pump immediately since this pressure can easily cause the lids of your pool filter system to blow off. It can also cause other parts of your pool system to get damaged.


When your pool filter pressure gauge gets this high reading, it’s very likely that it’s the internal structure of your pool filter is damaged. Cracks and deformities in your pool’s return side valves and heater bypass can restrict the flow of your pool water as it passes through, which can easily cause a spike in your pressure gauge.


No pressure reading


Not getting any pressure reading in your pool filter’s pressure gauge can be just as dangerous as having a huge spike in your pressure reading.


One reason why the pressure gauge is not registering anything could be because of wear and tear. Over time, the face and dial of your pressure gauge can get warped, making it difficult for the needle to give an accurate reading. You can do a quick check if this is the case by lightly tapping the glass above the face of your pressure gauge to see if the needle pops up. If it doesn’t, it means that it’s time to replace your pressure gauge.


If the needle does pop up, then the problem could be in your pool filter’s air bleeder assembly. Shut off the pool pump and remove the pressure gauge using either a pair of pliers or a small wrench. With a stick or screwdriver, clear out any debris that may be blocking your air relief assembly. This should do the trick.


Not always the pool filter’s fault


Believe it or not, there are some problems with your swimming pool that you might think are linked to your pool filter are actually problems with other parts of your pool system.


For example, not all leaks that you find near your pool filter tank means that the leak is coming from your pool filter system. If the leak is coming from your backwash line, this is most likely caused by cracks and deformities on the gasket and rotor in your multiport valve.


A dirty and cloudy pool is another good example. Although this could be a sign that your pool filter may not be working properly, cloudy water in your swimming pool can also be caused by your pool water’s chemistry. Too much pool chemicals can cause the water of your swimming pool to become cloudy. Checking your pool water chemistry regularly and making sure that the readings of all your pool chemicals are within the normal range can help clear your pool water and keep it from becoming cloudy.