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Pool Info: Pool Filters - Page 3

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Filters (cont.)


skeletons of Diatoms, an ancient, sub aquatic creature. Under the microscope, these skeletons appear to be tiny sponges. This is where the dirt gets trapped in your filter. The powder, which is added at your skimmer, dissolves in the pipe on its way to the filter tank. When it reaches the grids, which are covered with a nylon type of fabric, the powder stops, coating the grid. Grids are also called Elements or Septums. The water continues to pass through, first through the powder, then the fabric covered grid. As the water passes through the D.E. and enters the grid it leaves the dirt, trapped in the D.E. powder "cake" or coating.


The D.E. powder is what filters your pool water in a D.E. filter. Do not operate your pump without having the D.E. powder coating the grids, or you will see your pressure rise very quickly, and if left in this manner the grids could become damaged. As the pressure gauge on a D.E. filter increases, flow rate decreases. Eventually the flow rate will allow the water quality to suffer. You will need to backwash the filter to remove the D.E. that is clogged up with the dirt. After backwashing thoroughly, add new D.E. powder to the filter through the skimmer. If using biguanides (Soft Swim or Baquacil) you will need twice annual, very thorough cleaning to prevent it from gumming up. All D.E. filters should have this done at least once per year. Thorough cleaning is accomplished by turning the pump off and draining the filter. Remove the tank top half, and remove the grid assembly. Hose the grid assembly thoroughly. If you want to do an extra good job, after hosing, soak the assembly in a trash can filled with water and a filter cleaner product. (or use TSP {trisodium-phosphate} from the hardware store). Rinse thoroughly before reinstalling grids into tank.


When backwashing a D.E. filter, do the "process" several times. That is, backwash until water runs clear, move the multiport valve to FILTER and run it on filter for a 5 - 10 seconds, and backwash again until it runs clear, etc...do this 2 - 4 times. Remember to always shut off the pump before turning your multiport valve or your push-pull valve. Each time you go through the cycle of filter/ backwash/ filter, you will get more dirt/ D.E. out of the filter, giving you a better, more thorough backwash.


Also important in ensuring an effective backwashing is to make sure skimmer baskets and pump baskets are clean to allow for full flow entering the filter


How do I Backwash my DE Filter?


When the pressure gauge is reading 8 - 10 lbs above the clean, starting pressure (after backwashing), it is time to backwash the filter. This process involves turning a valve so that the water will flow through the filter backwards, flushing out the dirt. Hence the name "back-washing." Sand filters can have either a push-pull valve (also known as slide valves) or a multiport valve. The multiport valve has multi-ports on the valve, usually 6 positions:

  1. FILTER: Keep it here 99%, except when backwashing, rinsing or wasting

  2. RINSE: Use this setting for 20 seconds after backwashing to rinse tank

  3. RECIRCULATE: Use this if the filter's broken; at least you're circulating.

  4. BACKWASH: Use this setting to reverse the flow in the filter and send water out of the waste line. Make sure valves are open or hoses rolled out

  5. CLOSED: Put here to close off flow from the pool, usually to work on the equipment. Do not operate pump with valve in closed position

  6. WASTE/ DRAIN: Another filter bypass setting, but this one sends the water out of the waste pipe (hose), instead of returning it to the pool. Used to lower pool water level or to vacuum to waste

So, to backwash a D.E. filter with a multiport valve;
  • Shut off pump motor

  • Press down on valve handle, rotate valve from FILTER to BACKWASH position

  • Roll out any backwash hose or open any waste line valves

  • Open air bleeder assembly on filter, and turn pump on.

  • Watch pressure gauge for backpressure and hose for kinks. Be prepared to shut off pump quickly

  • After hose fills with water, run for 2 - 3 minutes or until water runs clear

  • Shut off pump motor and move multiport valve handle to RINSE position. Run on rinse for 5 - 10 seconds. Shut off pump again, and move handle back to BACKWASH. Turn on pump again until water runs clear. Continue in this fashion 3 - 4 times, alternating between Backwash & Rinse,  to ensure a thorough backwash.

  • Shut off pump motor and move multiport valve handle to FILTER position

  • Turn pump back on and note lower pressure. Roll up backwash hose

  • Add 1 lb D.E. powder per 10 sq ft of filter area. Look on filter tank

To Backwash a DE filter with a slide valve:
  • Shut off pump motor, roll out backwash hose (if you have it)

  • Twist to unlock plunger T-handle, pull/ twist plunger upwards 2 - 3"

  • Open air bleeder assembly on filter, and turn pump on

  • Watch pressure gauge for backpressure (+ 40 PSI) and hose for kinks. Be prepared to shut off pump quickly.

  • After hose fills with water, run for 1 - 2 minutes or until water runs clear. Shut off and push handle back down. Turn pump on and run in filter position for 15 seconds and then shut pump off and  backwash again for 1 min. Filter again for 15 seconds and another 30 second backwash.

  • Shut off pump motor and push T-handle back down into locked position

  • Turn pump back on and note lower pressure. Roll up backwash hose

  • Add 1 lb D.E. powder per 10 sq ft of filter area. Look on filter tank.

A properly sized D.E. filter should, in most cases,  be able to operate continuously for a period of 4 weeks between backwashings. A "Filter Run" of less than 4 weeks may indicate grid problems (or sizing problems). Filter grid fabric can become clogged with Calcium deposits or oils. After removing the grids from the assembly, you can soak in TSP (trisodium-phosphate) and warm water to remove oily deposits. If you use Baquacil or SoftSwim, and you can soak the grids in a 10% muriatic acid solution for a few minutes followed by a full rinse. TSP soak and Rinse will remove mineral deposits such as Calcium.


D.E. powder in the pool?


You either have holes in the fabric of the grids, or a crack in the manifold that the grids attach to. It can also mean a broken air bleeder tube or assembly. Finally, D.E. in the pool can mean that the multiport or push-pull valve is allowing powder to bypass the filter. You will notice this most......         (continued........)

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