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It's that time of year. We trade schools for pools, don swimsuits, and hit the water. And pool filters explode.

Every summer, I receive calls about exploding swimming pool filters and the injuries they cause - a crushed skull; a ruptured eye; death. Pool filters can pose a danger if they are not made right. And the results can be horrific. 


A swimming pool filter cleans water. A pump forces water from the pool to the filter. Pump pressure causes the water to circulate inside the filter. As the water circulates, cartridges (or sand) in the filter remove dirt from the water. Pump pressure then forces clean water back to the pool.

The filter operates under pressure. How does it stay together?

The filter consists of a tank with a base and a lid. Many filters use a clamp to keep the lid closed on the base. The clamp wraps around flanges on the lid and base to seal them. A single nut on the clamp holds everything together.

Pool Filter

Filter Clamp

Exploding Pool Filters

Because a filter operates under pressure, a clamp failure can cause catastrophic injuries. For example:

  • Husband died when filter exploded in his face;

  • Father lost eye when clamp nut broke and filter exploded;

  • Pool service technician's skull crushed in filter explosion;

  • Father's brain damaged when weld broke and filter exploded

In these cases, I represented clients against major filter manufacturers, such as Pentair, Hayward, and Waterway. They sold filters that depended on a clamp or single nut to hold them together. The clamp-based design allowed a single failure - a faulty weld, a defective nut, a misplaced bolt - to have catastrophic results.



If a pool filter explodes and injures you or someone else you know, follow these tips:


  1. See a doctor. Getting immediate medical treatment is more important than preparing for a legal case.

  2. Call me. I've handled lawsuits against major pool filter companies, including Pentair, Hayward, and Waterway. They may try to avoid responsibility for their negligent conduct or blame you for their defective products. They may try to hide evidence. But they can't get away with these tactics against me. I know where the bodies are buried.

  3. Preserve evidence. Before allowing anyone to touch the damaged filter, take lots of photos of the filter and its parts. Take more photos than you think are necessary and from every possible angle without touching the filter or its parts.


  1. Do not touch the filter. After the filter has exploded, do not touch it or any of its parts. Do not allow anyone to touch the filter. Cover the filter with a tarp to protect the filter from weather until an expert can remove the filter.

  2. Do not tell the filter company what happened until you have spoken with me. In one case, a victim told the filter company about an explosion before she called an attorney. The company then sent agents to her house, trespassed into her backyard, and destroyed evidence. Keep your damaged filter safe from the filter company.


  1. Use a fail-safe filter - one with multiple connections to close the lid;

  2. When the pump is on, stay away from the "danger zone"; this means do not stand over or near the filter system while it is operating; and,

  3. Hire a pool maintenance technician to clean your filter system, if possible.

What To Do If You Are Injued


The Vallejo Law Office

1523 26th Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94122

(415) 722-2173

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