What is a Cartridge Filter?

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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
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A cartridge filter is a filter that uses a barrier/sift method in order to clean sediments and harmful solids out of water. Some of these filters are made to stop it microscopic items and others are made simply to stop the major solids from entering a system. One of the most economic and versatile of cleaning methods, these filters are used in everything from drinking water purification systems to fish aquariums and swimming pools.

The cartridge filter is usually a cylindrical object, though in some cases it can look flat, much like an air filter. The shape of the filter is most dependent on its location. If located in a pipe or filter housing, it will, by necessity, be cylindrical. Flat filters are commonly used for home aquarium systems.

In a swimming pool, the cartridge filter is usually kept in a housing near the pump. In older systems, the pump and filter, at least for home pools, may have even been located in the same casement. Most filters have since become more powerful, capable of filtering out more material, but also in requiring more substantial room.


In many cases, the cartridge filter in a swimming pool may be re-used. This can save a substantial amount of money. To clean the filter, all that is usually required is removing it from its housing and hosing it off. In very rare cases, it may be possible to backwash the filter, which reverses the way the water runs through the filter and thus cleans it off. The water is discharged through another pipe and runs into a sewer or other designated area. This is usually not done with cylindrical filters because it would be only minimally effective. Eventually, however, the pool filter will become old and brittle and need replacement.

Many prefer to use a cartridge filter when drinking water from a home tap due to the number of additives often found in municipal water systems. Chlorine and other additives, used to make the water safe, can also leave an undesirable taste. A filter can be used to take some of these chemicals out of the water, leading to an improved taste.

Unlike pool filters, most drinking water filters are not meant to be used more than once. Therefore, many may wish to keep replacements on hand, as the filters may last only a few months or less. Usually, the manufacturer will recommend a replacement schedule, though many owners may determine their own replacement schedule by considering taste and looking for any other sediments that may be getting through.


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