Robotic pool cleaner filters have a finite lifespan of, on average, two to three seasons. But the main problem most users have is not knowing when to replace the filter but rather, what filters should a robotic pool cleaner have? In this brief guide, we’ll cover the basics—cartridge filter types and which parts to replace.
Filter Cartridge Types: Spring Cleaning vs. Ultrafine
Generally speaking, users can decide between two filter cartridge types: one for spring cleaning and another for ultrafine particles.
Spring-Cleaning Filter Cartridge
This type of filter cartridge is designed to trap large particles—i.e., dead leaves, twigs, acorns, flower petals, and so on. The large gaps in the mesh grid measure between 150 and 300 microns, allowing large quantities of water to move more freely through the cartridge. However, the holes are small enough to trap most, if not all, large contaminants.
As its name suggests, this type of filter works best in the springtime, where your pools become littered with the remnants of dead foliage. This is also the generally accepted filter type for pools installed underneath large trees or nearby plants.
Ultrafine Particle Filter
An ultrafine particle’s mesh grids are made to trap tiny contaminants with near 100% effectiveness. The 30-micron mesh grid will come in handy for general-purpose cleaning. This filter will come in handy when dealing with algae, sand, dirt, silt, and broken-off bits of large debris.
What robotic pool cleaner owners tend to do is use a spring-cleaning filter at the start of the swim season. Then they’ll swap the spring-cleaning cartridge out for an ultrafine particle filter to keep their pools swim-ready throughout the swim season.
Doing this ensures twigs and rocks don’t break through the ultrafine mesh grid while preventing algae and other fine particles from escaping the large pores of the spring-cleaning cartridge.
Replacing Cartridges vs. Replacing Grids
Now, users have two options when it comes to swapping out worn-out filter cartridges for new ones, regardless of what filter type they have. There’s option A) Replacing the entire cartridge, and B) replacing the mesh grids. Let’s go over their differences.
The mesh grids need to be replaced a lot more frequently the cartridge filter. These are filter “sheets” or “trays” that slide in and out of the cartridge filter.
The mesh grid, which can have either a spring cleaning or an ultrafine filter, has a maximum lifespan of around one season, though your mileage is dependent on how often you run your robot, how long you let it run for every cleaning cycle, and what sort of debris your robotic pool cleaner has to deal with.
As for the filter cartridge, it can be good for up to two seasons on average, though you can squeeze an extra season or two based on how clean your pool is.
In terms of convenience, users typically find that swapping out the entire cartridge—mesh and all—is a lot more convenient. Instead of meticulously shopping for compatible grids for your robotic pool cleaner, it’s a lot easier to find cartridge replacements with built-in spring-cleaning or ultrafine particle mesh grids.
While it can be more convenient to replace the entire cartridge every two swim seasons, it’s also a lot less cost-efficient. Mesh grids are cheaper than filter cartridges, so if you’re looking for ways to save money on pool maintenance, replacing the individual mesh grids is the better route.
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