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How To Select an Above Ground Pool Filter System

Above Ground Pool Filter Systems Canada

There are several factors that need to be taken into consideration when choosing the right filter system for an above-ground swimming pool. You can typically purchase the pump and filter as one unit, but you can also buy them individually if you like. The pump/filter systems typically come built onto a single base which makes them more economical than the individual pump and filter options. Below are the steps you should consider when in the market for an above ground pool filter system.

The Right Pump Size

The size of the pool will basically determine the size of filter system needed and the horsepower of the pump. In general, for a pool that is up to 24 feet in size you’ll need a one-horsepower pump. If the pool is bigger than 24 feet round you should be using a 1.5-horsepower pump. The more horsepower doesn’t necessarily mean the better as the water will pass too quickly through the filter if there is too much power. This will result in inadequate sanitation. In addition, if the pump offers more horsepower than your pool needs it will end up costing you more in energy bills.

Matching the Pump with the Filter

Since the pump and filter can be bought as a single unit it makes things much easier for Canadian pool owners as the manufacturer will match them up for you. This way you don’t have to worry about having the wrong size pump or filter as they’ll both be correct for your pool. As long as you have measured your pool properly you won’t have a problem finding a filter system to match it. If you need to just replace the pump, be sure to look for an above ground model as they’re different than inground pumps. In general, an above ground pump sits below the pool’s water line as it’s usually placed near the pool on the ground. An above ground pump is designed to force the water upward, which makes it different than an inground model.

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Pump Speed

Above ground pumps can be found in both single and dual-speed options. A single-speed model will operate at the same speed all of the time whereas a dual-speed pump features two speeds as a way to conserve energy costs. A dual-speed pump enables you to operate it at a lower speed when circulating the pool water and a higher speed for things such as vacuuming the pool and backwashing the filter. A dual-speed pump is also considered to be more environmentally friendly than the single-speed option and is quieter.

Type of Filter

If you’ve determined the size of your pool and the horsepower of the pump needed, you’ll then have to decide which type of filter you’d like. There are three types to choose from which are D.E., sand, and cartridge filters. The most common and oldest option is the sand filter. These contain a special type of filter sand which can separate and capture small particles of dirt due to the sharp edges of the sand. These are typically the least expensive filters, but they’re designed to filter particles which are between 20 and 40 microns in size. Smaller particles aren’t always caught by the sand, but they’re fine for above ground pools. Sand filters need to be backwashed from time to time to keep them working properly. Cartridge filters have also been around for some time now and are growing in popularity. The filter tank can hold one or more pleated, replaceable cartridges which feel and look like paper, but they’re actually made of polyester fibers. The surface of the filtration area is increased by the pleats and the filters themselves are categorized by square footage. The cartridge element’s surface catches the particles of debris when the water flows through the filter. This type of filter can trap particles as small as 10 to 20 microns and the cartridge can be taken out and cleaned with a simple garden hose. However, a cartridge filter typically costs more than a sand or D.E. filter. A D.E. filter is also known as a diatomaceous earth filter. This type of system can catch and remove smaller dirt particles than a sand or cartridge model. Diatomaceous earth is a powder-like substance which comes from the fossilized remains of hard-shelled algae known as diatoms. The powder contains sponge-like microscopic openings. The pool water flows through the opening and particles and they can catch very small particles of debris from one to three microns in size. The D.E. powder coats the internal elements of the filter and the elements can be cleaned by backwashing them to the waste line. The D.E. powder is relatively inexpensive, but a D.E. filter generally needs a little more maintenance than a sand or cartridge model.


As you can see, Canadian swimming pool owners have several options when it comes selecting an above ground pool system. The type you choose is entirely up to you as long as it’s suited to your size of pool. Sand is the least expensive type of filter, but D.E. and cartridge models can filter smaller particles of debris. We have several types of pump/filter systems to choose from at Discount Pool Supply including different sized models by Game and Waterway. Discount Pool Supply is the leader in online pool supplies in Canada. We offer fast and free shipping across Canada at prices lower than your local pool store.

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