What’s a MultiCyclone Pre-Filter and Do I need One?

How does backwashing only twice a year sound? Or replacing your filter cartridges once every couple of years? Or maybe just reducing the amount of maintenance needed for your filter media? If your answer to any of the questions is “heck yeah that sounds great!” then maybe it’s time to consider a MultiCyclone Pre-Filter from Waterco.

What is a Pre-Filter?

If you haven’t guessed from the name, a pre-filter is exactly what it sounds like. It filters your pool water before it reaches your filter. There are different kinds pre-filters but the most popular one is the Waterco MultiCyclone pre-filter and for good reason. It doesn’t use any type of filter element (more on that down below), it has no moving parts, and it just works!

How Does a MultiCyclone Pre-Filter Work?

We won’t get into the technical nitty-gritty or how the science works (who’s interested in that anyway) but we’ll just lay it out in an easy-to-understand way (which in our opinion is the best way) so that you can make the best decision based on your understanding and not being brow-beaten by technical words and savvy salesmen!

Where is a pre-filter installed?

Just like the name states, a pre-filter is installed just before your filter or after the pump. It can be easily retrofitted into existing systems and is extremely DIY-friendly so you don’t have to worry about expensive plumbing costs or hiring someone to install a pre-filter for you.

Spinning Out the Dirt

Basically a MultiCyclone Pre-Filter diverts the water from your pump and sends it through multiple chambers creating mini “cyclones” of spinning water. This spinning motion separates sediment and dirt from the water, throwing them against the side of the chambers, allowing them to sink to the bottom and leaving clean (or relatively cleaner) water to flow upwards toward your filters.

The Science behind the MultiCyclone Pre-filter

If you’re not interested in the science behind the pre-filter then feel free to scroll down to the next section (I know I have on multiple occasions, but if you’re interested in the technical aspects then read on!) The pre-filter works by harnessing centrifugal force to separate dirt and sediment from the water. Dirt, sediment, and other particles are heavier than water so in perfectly still water, they would sink. But once water is agitated they get suspended in the water causing cloudiness and turbidity.

Centrifugal force acts on the particles (since they’re heavier than water) and pushes them to the outside of the vortex, in the case of a MultiCyclone pre-filter, it pushes the suspended particles against the sides of the pre-filter so that they can settle down into the collection base of the unit, leaving only the ultra-fine particles for your sand or cartridge filter to deal with. To clearly illustrate this point let’s take two really easy examples of this principle in action.

  • Have you ever seen those Dyson bagless vacuum cleaners? They work on exactly the same principle! Of course the vacuums work with air instead of water but the principle is the same. The Dyson spins the air, pushes the particles against the side of the chamber and collects the particles on the bottom.
  • Another example, since I just realized that not everyone is keen on getting a Dyson, is something that we all have experienced at least once in our lives. Have you ever ridden a merry-go-round or those spinning swing things? The further you are from the center, the more you feel it. You know that feeling of being thrown outwards when on a merry-go-round? Yep! That’s the centrifugal force in action. Now in a pre-filter, multiply that force by a factor of two thousand and you can imagine how it can effectively separate particles from the water.

How effective is a pre-filter

A Cyclonic pre-filter can effectively spin out anywhere from 80% to 90% of dirt, sediment, and debris from your water before they even reach your filters. In fact, we’ve tested the Waterco MultiCyclone on a couple of different systems and found that it greatly improved the filtration quality of our current filters. We reduced the need to backwash our sand filter from once every few weeks to six months apart! We checked our filter cartridge after 6 months and it still looked relatively new when compared to the cartridge that didn’t have a pre-filter installed.

Nothing to replace

As we mentioned earlier, a pre-filter doesn’t use any kind of filter element and it has no moving parts so there’s nothing to replace, nothing to break, you just drain out the collected sediment and it’s as good as new. And the great thing about the Waterco MultiCyclone pre-filter is that the collection base is transparent! You can see it actually working and collecting dirt on the bottom. To clean it out, it has a valve that you open to drain and once the sediment is gone, shut it off and you’re good to go!

Doesn’t affect flow rates

Since it doesn’t use barrier-style filtration, a cyclonic pre-filter will not affect your flow rates! So the water being pushed through your filter will still have as much pressure as if there wasn’t anything there to begin with!

Benefits of Having A MultiCyclone Pre-Filter

Aside from the obvious benefit of extending the life of your filter elements, a multicyclone pre-filter will also save you up to 7,000 litres of water per year from reducing backwash/filter cleaning tasks as well! Not only is this good for the environment, but this is good for your wallet as well! On top of that, since you won’t be flushing water out that much, you’re also saving money on pool chemicals which would wind up down the drain when you backwash.

Who needs a MultiCyclone Pre-Filter?

Everyone! Let me rephrase that, everyone who wants to reduce their filter maintenance tasks, everyone who wants to save on water and pool chemicals, and everyone who wants clearer pool water should get a pre-filter. Oh, and before I forget, anyone who has had troubles with an undersized pool filter will find that a pre-filter will greatly help with their filtration problems! If you’re invested in your filtration system (yeah, it’s really hard to sell 2nd hand pool filters) we suggest getting a pre-filtration system to supplement your current undersized filters.

Interested in getting a MultiCyclone Pre-Filter for your pool? drop us a line down below and we'll hook you up!

Do you have any questions about this topic or the featured products? No worries, we're here to help! Drop us a question down below and we'll get back to you ASAP.

Happy swimming :)

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Post author:

Tom Hintze

Head of eCommerce & Operations at Mr Pool Man,
Co-Founder at Water TechniX

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