can i run my pool pump without a filter cartridge

Can I Run My Pool Pump Without a Filter Cartridge?

by | Jun 16, 2023

Want to know more about pool filter options? Contact your nearest Classic Marcite team today!

Most pool owners know that the key pool pump function is to distribute chlorine evenly, remove debris, and keep your pool safe and clean for swimmers. Filters play an essential role in removing particles and algae, which leads many people to wonder, “Can I run my pool pump without a filter cartridge?”

While the short answer is “yes, you can,” there are plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t do it very often. 

What Exactly Does the Cartridge Filter Do?

Cartridge filters work similarly to sand filters to remove debris from pool water. However, unlike sand filters that require the occasional backwash, you need to remove the cartridge from the pump and clean it manually. 

Running your pump without a filter means that there is nothing to remove debris. As a result, cycling the pump without a filter will eventually lead to poor water conditions and cloudy water, as the algae multiply and other organic materials start to rot. Even if you add loads of chlorine, this increase in organic matter will result in potentially unsafe swimming conditions. 

Reasons to Run a Pool Pump Without the Filter Cartridge

While the answer to “Can I run my pool pump without a filter cartridge?” is yes, you should only do so in certain situations, such as:

  • You’re waiting for a replacement: While most cartridge filters can last for years, poor maintenance or excessive use can cause damage that restricts water flow to the pump. You can still run your pump without the filter while you wait for a replacement as long as you ensure the filter housing is secure and clean. 
  • Your filter housing needs repair: Large objects can occasionally damage your filter’s housing, which will require repair or replacement. If this happens, you’ll need to bypass the entire filter unit by using temporary hoses to allow your pump to keep operating without going near the filter unit. 

Keeping Your Filter Cartridge in Good Shape

Typically, you can manually clean filter cartridges ten to 15 times before needing to replace them, and doing so will only take a couple of minutes. 

To clean a cartridge, simply remove it from the housing after turning the pump off and hose it down from top to bottom. If it’s especially dirty, soak it in a suitable filter cleaner before hosing it off. 

Once you’ve washed it, put it in the sun to dry for about 24 hours before putting it back into the pool pump. Doing so ensures you kill all the germs, bacteria, and algae that could affect your pool water quality. Once dry, replace it in the housing and run your pool pump like normal. 

If you’re unsure whether a cartridge filter is the right move for you, check out our blog post on a sand filter vs. cartridge filter for more information. Otherwise, contact our experts at Classic Marcite. We are happy to answer all your pool questions like “Can I run my pool pump without a filter cartridge?” and “Should I repair the filter pump?”

Now Serving Maitland

We’re excited to announce that Classic Marcite now extends its pool maintenance and renovation services to the Maitland area. Residents in Maitland can now rely on our expert team for efficient and professional pool care, including the crucial task of changing the sand in your pool filter. Trust us to keep your pool in pristine condition.

About Mike Folta
Mike Folta has served the clients of Classic Marcite for more than 15 years. He has 20+ years in the pool industry servicing large hotels and theme parks in the Greater Orlando area, as well as expertly turning backyard pools into an island oasis.