You either have a pool that has been newly installed or you are an old expert in the pool business at this point. The tips and tricks to maintaining your pool have been told and you have taken note, but what about your pool filter? Are pool filter socks worth the investment?
Pool filter socks are an accessory that many pool owners unfortunately overlook. These are made of a fine mesh that catches any and all types of small debris and random particles. This helps to keep those items from entering into your filter- thus extending your filter’s life. Yes, they work!
A pool filter sock is an inexpensive investment that can save you big money when it comes to the life of your filter. Although a bit of an unknown accessory, it can afford you clean water, a clean filter, and longer filter life at a very small cost to you. Continue reading to see what exactly a pool filter sock is, why owners like and dislike them, and a few alternatives to them if you find that this specific accessory just isn’t for you.
What is a Pool Filter Sock?
There are so many accessories out there for pools that the options can be almost overwhelming. You have different hoses, cleaning contraptions, modifiers, and don’t even get started with the multitude of chemicals. It is no wonder that some of these accessories end up slipping under your radar. Still, do not get yourself into a sweat because you are about to discover one of the greatest pool accessories to even hit the market: pool filter socks.
A pool filter sock is the backup support that your skimmer basket has always wanted. It is made of an ultra-fine mesh that goes right over the top of your skimmer basket. It then works to make your skimmer ultra-efficient as it catches even the tiniest of debris like hair and fine pieces of dirt.
With any pool, there is going to be a skimmer basket that works to grab all of the bugs, sticks, hair, dirt, leaves, and even a frog or two. The skimmer basket is the stopping point for debris, but what happens to all of those smaller items that make it past your skimmer basket or are broken down enough to get through its sieve? They end up in the filter. This may seem like no big deal – they are tiny – but this can be a recipe for disaster for your filter.
Instead of large leaves being broken apart and pushed through or bugs being degraded enough to make their way past the skimmer basket, those items are then locked in tight due to the fine mesh that a pool filter sock is made of. Although your filter is able to handle debris coming through it, the more debris that a filter has to process, the more strain that it encounters, thus leading to its eventual replacement over time.
Your pool filter is not done-for if you are not using a pool filter sock, but this accessory will help to extend the life of your filter and consequently save you money in the short-term and long-term. Filters are designed to handle debris, but the less debris they encounter, the less wear they experience and thus, the longer they are able to last.
Pool filter socks also help to extend the time in between your backwash cycles. Backwashing is necessary in order to clear your filter of any debris that slipped through your skimmer basket. If there is less debris coming through the basket, that means that there is less that is accumulating within your filter. With less build-up in the filter, your water pressure remains stronger and backwashes are needed less often.
Why Do Pool Owners Like Pool Filter Socks?
For every pool accessory, there is going to be a list of why people like them and why people may not be so included to endorse them. Although there are some naysayers out there concerning pool filter socks, there are plenty of reasons why pool owners continue to buy them over and over again.
Settle in for a few of the biggest reasons that pool owners keep pool filter socks on their pool supply shelf.
Pool Filter Socks Trap Even the Smallest of Contaminants
For many owners, their biggest praise is that the pool filter sock was able to trap contaminants that their skimmer simply could not get ahold of. When this happens, that contaminant passes through the skimmer and settles into the filter.
Once it reaches the filter, it can be so small that it simply makes its way through the filter and is pushed right back into the main pool area. Thus, creating an endless cycle of trying to rid your pool of the item.
To be even more clear, consider how pollen can plague your pool. It is minuscule, but, after a bit of time, it begins to lump together and will settle on the surface of your water as well as accumulate on the bottom. It is so small that when you try to skim it from the surface, it passes right through and it can also be very difficult to vacuum.
It passes easily through the skimmer basket and bleeds right through your filter. It is then spit back into the water. You then are left with a never-ending problem trying to constantly rid your pool of pollen that can make its way into your pool all season long.
A pool filter sock has a mesh that is fine enough to trap even the smallest particles of pollen though (along with other types of particles). This is a huge relief for pool owners who can’t seem to rid themselves of this problem. The mesh of the pool filter socks works overtime to catch the tiniest of contaminants to keep your pool sparkling clean.
Pool Filter Socks Extend the Life of Your Filter
Many owners have seen a huge difference in how their filter performs and for how long that optimal performance goes on. A filter is designed to take on debris, trap it within its medium, and push out the cleaned water back into your pool. It is not that a filter cannot handle debris, but the less debris that you allow into the filter, the longer it is able to retain pressure, and the less it is worn down due to debris passing through the medium.
Owners were able to tell a huge difference in how long good pressure was maintained from their filter due to the pool filter sock catching a plethora of debris that their skimmer basket would not have otherwise caught. Pressure is then maintained well and less wear occurs within the filter. Owners are then very aware of the longer amount of time in between having to change the medium of their filters- which is no small task!
To talk further about how the medium is affected in your filter (for example, a sand filter), if you have copious amounts of debris passing through, the sand is worn down and loses its ability to catch debris. It can also become very compacted due to a large amount of debris that stays within it and therefore no longer even works as a filtration system. A pool filter sock helps to aid in that filtration process to keep your filter running sharp.
Pool Filter Socks Allow More Time In Between Backwashes
If you own an above ground pool, you know the processes of backwashing. You have to get hoses out, have to prep your filter, and have to stand there while all the gunk is removed from the medium of your filter.
It is not a huge task, but it also is not one that people prefer to do more often than not. Many pool owners have been absolutely thrilled with how a pool filter sock extends the time in between how often they have to backwash.
To go even more in-depth, a filter, as described above, accumulated debris over time. This accumulation of debris builds up within your filter medium and begins to slow the pressure that your pool puts out. As time goes on, more debris builds up, pressure is decreased, and your filter’s ability to filter decreases slowly. This is why regular backwashing is imperative: to ensure that your filter is clean and that as much debris as possible is expelled from the medium.
When a pool sock filter is used, less debris piles up in the filter and thus, fewer backwashes are required in order to clean the filter and to keep the medium from hardening. Owners then go longer periods in between having to backwash because their filters are staying clear of debris. Therefore, they do not have to fuss with the process as often and can enjoy their pool a little longer in between maintenance sessions.
Why Do Pool Owners Dislike Pool Filter Socks?
Now that you know all the reasons why pool owners love pool filter socks, there are a few reasons that make pool owners a bit leery of them. The reasons are relatively small, but you can never understand the potential of a product without first understanding in what ways (if any) it can improve.
Every owner is going to have a different experience with any given product and it is your job to weigh those benefits and downfalls before purchasing. Thus, to bring light to a few cons of pool filter socks, here are why some pool owners dislike them:
Pool Filter Socks are Difficult to Fit on Some Skimmer Baskets
Not all skimmer baskets are made alike. There is a wide variety of baskets designs out there and each has its own unique characteristics, regardless of its universal purpose. For some pool owners, they have a filter basket that either contains a metal bar across the center of it or has a plastic piece that juts straight up from the middle of the filter. With the design of pool filter socks, these baskets make it nearly impossible to fit them.
Pool owners with these baskets can sometimes work around the metal bar that some of their filter baskets have, but for those with a piece in the middle that extends vertically, the pool filter socks will not work. Owners who have purchased the socks with these types of filters share in their frustration and have asked multiple companies to come out with designs to accommodate all filters because they know the benefits of a pool filter sock!
Pool Filter Socks are Not Durable
Some pool owners have noted that their pool filter sock is not as durable as they expected it to be. The material is a fine mesh that should be relatively strong, but some have had different experiences. Due to the constant exposure to chlorine or salt, the material has been found to break down quicker than expected and thus does not perform the way it should due to rips or expansions of holes within the sieve.
However, it is important to focus on quality when it comes to this type of product. There are plenty of knock-off brands out there whose goal is to sell more products rather than give you something that is going to withstand heavy use and last for a reasonable amount of time. Consider purchasing a pool filter sock in a brand that is more reputable but is also backed by reviews. A brand such as Impresa is a great product with plenty of customer support.
Pool Filter Socks Reduce the Flow of Water to the Filter
A few pool owners have praised the effectiveness of the pool filter sock in catching any and all debris, but are discouraged by how it disrupts the flow of water to the filter. These owners express that due to the minuteness of the holes within the pool filter sock, the rate of water flow is drastically reduced to the filter and thus their water pressure is subsequently reduced.
Some owners noticed that air was getting trapped within their filtration system once they started using the pool filter sock and once they removed the sock from the basket, their issue was resolved. If air is present in the filter, pressure can be greatly reduced which means a slowing in the rate of filtration. If your filter is not able to work properly, then a pool filter sock would be futile to use due to its effect on the filter.
Alternative Options to a Pool Filter Sock
After reading the different pros and cons associated with pool filter socks, you may be on the fence when it comes to purchasing this accessory. If that is the case for you, consider looking into a few of the different alternative options to pool filter socks that work just as well, but may cost a bit less considering how much they are used when compared to the same amount of use as a standard pool filter sock.
Use a Paint Strainer Instead
Some pool owners scoff at having to pay the price of pool filter socks for how much they must be changed out. Although the price may be low ($10-$12 for 20-30 socks), this can add up over time, especially with frequent use. However, owners can be stuck between a rock and a hard place trying to find a more affordable alternative that will work just as effectively as the pool filter sock: in walks paint strainers.
This may seem like an outlandish secondary option, but many pool owners have used these seamlessly without any trouble. Even more, they have noted their ability to filter small contaminants and debris without tearing or wearing out quickly. These can be purchased at a paint store or any home improvement store.
Use a Hair Net
The suggestion is almost laughable, but pool owners everywhere are using hair nets to get all the little specks of dust, pollen, tiny bugs, rotten leaves, and everything else in between out of their water. Fine hair nets like these work wonders when it comes to keeping your pool and filter free of any unnecessary contaminants. Even more, they are super affordable and come in packs big enough to last you multiple seasons.
Pool owners have said that they are able to use one hair net every 2-3 weeks during the peak summer months and when you have a pack of 100 or more at a price of $11.99, you have a solution that is more affordable than most. Hair nets may seem like they belong in the kitchen, but when it comes to adorable pool upkeep alternatives that actually work, the hair net is the way to go.