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Manufacturers recommend backwashing or cleaning the filter when pressure reaches 10psi above normal operating pressure. Normal operating pressure is what is shown on the gauge after a cleaning or the starting pressure after new filter has been installed. I recommend backwashing a D.E. filter a minimum of once a month and cleaning a cartridge filter a minimum of twice a year (quarterly at best). For sand filters I recommend they are backwashed weekly. However a sand filter is more efficent once it gets a bit dirty so in some cases it is best to wait to backwash you sand filter until the pressure gauge is 10psi above normal operating pressure.
The best way to achieve this is to put the proper amount of D.E. into a bucket & fill the bucket with water. Mix the D.E. powder in the water until you have a slurry of D.E. Using this method will ensure you get an even coat of D.E. on the filter grids.
With the pump running & the backwash valve set to the Filter position. Slowly and gradually pour the D.E. slurry into the skimmer (it does not matter what skimmer you choose). Sometimes you will have to mix 2 buckets to get the proper amount of D.E. into the filter to properly coat the filter grids.
Amount of D.E. required for your filter using a 2 pound scoop:
- 36sqft = 7 scoops
- 48sqft = 9 scoops
- 60sqft = 12 scoops
Backwashing Instructions for a diatomaceous earth (D.E.) filter with a dial valve.
- Turn off the pump & rotate the valve to the Backwash position.
- Turn on the pump for approximately 1.5-2.0 minutes.
- Turn off the pump & rotate the valve to the Rinse postion.
- Turn on the pump for another 30 seconds.
- I recommend this be done anywhere from 1-4 times or until the site glass is relatively clear.
- Turn off the pump & rotate the valve to the Filter position.
- Turn on the pump & make sure the pool is circulating.
- Add the D.E. slurry mix to the skimmer with the pump on.
Q: What should the pressure read on my cartridge filter?
A: It is important to take a normal pressure reading with new cartridges present in the filter or filters cleaned with a product like Powder Blue D.E. & Cartridge Filter Cleaner to obtain the best cleaning results.
After inserting the clean or new cartridges into the filter, the reading on the pressure gauge is your normal pressure reading. All swimming pool systems are unique and in turn have unique normal running pressures.
Once the pressure on the gauge reads 10 psi above that of the normal pressure recorded with the clean filters its time to clean the filters again.
It is good practice to clean the cartridge filters every 6 months or even every 3 months for best performance.
There are several issues a swimming pool can have that will cause it to be cloudy. Here are some troubleshooting tips you can use to help find a solution*:
- Make sure the pump is running a minimum of 8 hrs a day.
- The filter must be clean and have no internal damage like torn or broken D.E. filter grids for example. For Sand Filters it’s important that your sand is in good working order and that there is not internal damage to any of the laterals, hub, etc.
- Water Chemistry:
- Your swimming pool water should be tested and balanced.
- Make sure your levels are as follows: CL 1.0-3.0ppm, pH 7.4-7.6, Alkalinity 80-120ppm, Calcium Hardness 200-400ppm, Cyanuric Acid (Stabilizer) 30-80ppm.
- Using a swimming pool water clarifier is also recommended.
*Always remember: Pump, Filter, Water Chemistry makes for a crisp, clean, crystal clear, brilliantly blue & sparkling swimming pool.
The best way to test if your pool has a leak is to do a evaporation “bucket” test.
If you are loosing more water from your pool than you lost in the past you have a leak & it’s time to call the professionals. If both the water in the bucket and the water in the pool are equal, you have NO LEAK!
If the bucket is lower than the pool then have a talk with your dog and ask him to STOP DRINKING OUT OF THE BUCKET!
Here are some instructions you can follow to backwash your sand filter:
- Make sure the pool is full of water before you begin the backwashing process.
- Turn off the pump & rotate the dial valve to the Backwash position.
- Turn on the pump, watch the sight glass until the water is clear.
- Turn off the pump & rotate the valve to the Rinse position.
- Turn on the pump for 30 seconds or until water in the sight glass is clear.
- Turn off the pump and rotate the valve back to the original filter position.
- Turn on the pump & make sure the pool is circulating as expected.
- The Waste position option on your multiport valve will divert the water coming from the pump away from your filter and straight out the waste line. This can be used with caution to drain some water from your pool or vacuum heavy debris from the bottom of the swimming pool. But remember, you are draining water from the swimming pool and it may need to be refilled to the proper levels if to much is drained.
I used to fight black algae when I used acid. Then I had pool re-plastered 3 years ago & don’t use acid any longer (only use chlorine). No more algae problems without acid. What are drawbacks of not using acid?
Acid is used to lower the pH in a swimming pool.
If you are using 3 inch tablets to chlorinate the swimming pool, you will not use as much acid as the pH of the tablets is approximately 3.5.
If the pH is too low it can damage your plaster, equipment and increase your swimming pool’s chlorine demand.
If the pH is too high it will cause scaling on the plaster and equipment. Also,the chlorine is no longer as effective as it needs to be which can then lead to problems.
It is important to understand that the use of acid plays an important role in maintaining a proper pH level which in turn is crucial to maintaining a balanced swimming pool.
The use of acid did not cause your black algae problems. Use acid as required to maintain a pH range of 7.2-7.8.
Q: Why does my spa drain about half way when my pumps are switched off? My spa is elevated above the pool and serves as the return for the pool. We used it as a spa a week and a half ago and made sure to adjust the suction and return valves back to their original position.
A: There is a Check Valve in-line to prevent the water from flowing out of the raised spa once the pump is switched off. It is this Check Valve that has most likely failed causing the water loss to your spa. Some systems have a Check Eyeball Return Fitting inside the spa that will only allow water to go to the spa when the pump is on. When this fails, gravity takes over and drains the spa water into the pool stopping only when the spa water has reached the same level as your swimming pool.
Most systems have the Check Valve back at the equipment and should be located in the pipe that goes to the spa placed after the valve to turn it from pool to spa on the return side (after the heater). Most are black with a clear lid that you can see through while some older models are grey with a screw on cap.
It is best to speak with your insurance agent about what coverage is best to protect both you and your family.
Once you have emptied the pump basket put the basket back in the pump pot, leave the lid off then open the air relief valve on top of the filter. Water will flow from the filter into the pump pot where the basket is located filling the volute with enough water to prime the pump. This should take less than 30 seconds to achieve. Make sure the lid o-ring is clean and on the pump lid then securely put the lid back on the pump pod. Once the swimming pool water starts shooting out the air relief, close the relief valve. You can also use a hose or a bucket of water to prime the pump. Remember it only takes a few gallons of water to prime the pump & the pump pot will never fill to the top and that’s okay, it doesn’t need to.
My pump is sucking air. Do you have any suggestions on where to look for leaks? The pump basket keeps water overnight and we do not see any water around the pump. The problem seems to have gotten worse after the resent cold spell. Please help.
Answer: Check the pump lid o-ring and replace it if it is over 2 years old. If you have control valves before your pump, at the suction side, you may want to replace the stem and cover plate o-rings in each valve as well. Finally, the male adapter that is screwed into the pump pot (where the basket sits) may also be leaking. Get some 100% silicone glue and while the pump is running put a bead of silicone where the male adapter meets the pump pot. If there is an air leak the pump will suck in the silicone and seal it.