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Pool Filter Problems

A key factor for producing better water quality.
 
The Pool and Spa Informational Website
askalanaquestion.com

The Quest For Crystal Clear Pool Water.
 

 
 

Scroll down to browse through some archived SWIMMING POOL questions and answers.  Please click the Pool Topics Link, on top of every page, to access a complete listing of Pool Problem subjects, an alphabetized Website Table of Contents, Pool Equipment Information, About Alan Biographic Material and a Pool Glossary. Use the other links to access additional subject information. More information about some new and unique products, for pools and spas, can be found by visiting The Website Store. You'll never know what you'll find and that's always fun. Be better prepared and avoid costly problems!

 
BlasterAutomatic Filter Cartridge Cleaners for pools and spas. ZeobriteXtreme salt filter replacement media. Nano-Stick Clarifiers, forall types of pools and spas.
Solar-powered salt chlorine generator and mineralizer, for all types of pools. POOL REFRESH eliminates phosphates and heavy metals.
Blue Diamond Robotic Pool Cleaner RC Amongst the common types of pool filters, sand filters can be one of the least effective.  By replacing the ordinary filter sand, with ZeobriteXtreme, you can transform a sand filter, into one of the most effective.  It's that easy. Click the Zeobrite image for more Product Information. Remote Controlled Pool Surface Skimmer.

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How to solve pool filter problems and improve efficiency? Pool filter problems are actually mechanical in nature, but manifest themselves in ways that can make them appear to be chemical problems. An inefficient or ineffective filter can lead to cloudy, hazy, dull pool water - just like a chemical problem!!! Inadequate filter cycles can add to difficulties in controlling algae. Ultimately, it should be the filter that removes particles from the pool water. Chemicals can decompose or destroy byproducts, dead algae and debris, but it is the pool filter that may have to remove them. Some chemicals can help make pool filters more efficient. Some filter systems are more efficient than others and help the chemicals work better. Crystal clear water and optimum swimming pool water quality are not possible without the meshing of pool filtration and chemical treatment. Clarifiers may be able to help some filters perform better, but are not usually recommended, for use with D.E. Filters. However, a NanoStick, adds no chemicals to the water and is safe with all types of pool filters. If problems arise, refer to the Pool Problems Page, as a source of problem-solving information, broken down into various categories.  Scroll down the page and click on the linked keywords, catch phrases or images, in the archived answers below, to access additional information, on that topic or product.

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▼     Helpful, Problem-Solving Information, in a question and answer format.     ▼

►  The Right Clarifier To Use With ZeobriteXtreme?

What clarifiers on the market are compatible with Zeobrite filters?

Jack .C., Greenwood, SC 2/7/2014

Virtually all of the clarifiers, used in this industry, are based on a polyelectrolyte.  They work by causing fine particles, that mNano-Stick Clarifiers, forall types of pools and spas.ight otherwise pass through some filters, to adhere to one another.  This makes them larger and easier to filter out.  The problem is that they can cause filter media, to do the same.  This includes sand or D.E. filters, as well.  The only type of clarifier that is 100% safe to use, with any type of filter and with all pool chemicals is the Nano-Stick.  It doesn't add any chemicals to the water.  Instead, it oxidizes and destroys fine particles, using Nano-Titanium Technology, as particles enter the Nano-Stick.  It is 21st century technology.  All you have to do is hang the Nano-Stick, typically from a ladder, and it will work 24/7 and last 3-4 months.  There will be no interaction with the Zeobrite, so it would positively have no ill affects on the filter media.  I hope that you will find this information helpful.

If this website was helpful, in providing an answer, please consider joining our E-Letter Mailing List.  You'll receive 1-2 E-Letters a month, with helpful information, product updates, helpful suggestions and sale announcements. I hope that this suggestion works out for you.

Sincerely.  Alan Schuster, 2/7/2014
   

►  Choosing A Single Speed or A Variable Speed Pump?

I am looking to replace my existing pump and am trying to decide between a single speed or a variable speed model.  They claim big savings are possible with a variable speed model.  Is that true?

Don P., Lakeland, FL, 11/1/2013

Yes, it is true!  Just like driving at a slower speed increases the MPG, operating a pump, at a lower peed, produces significant savings on electrical usage.  Even though you will have to operate the pump for many more hours to turn over the same volume of water, the savings are worth the investment.  If you cut the RPM's in half and double the length of the filter cycle, you will still reap major savings and benefit from keeping the water moving, for longer periods of time.  In some states, it is already mandatory that a multiple or variable speed pump be installed, in all new construction.  This is the way to go, as it will pay for itself, with energy savings and you should get better results, as well.  I hope that this information makes the decision easier.

Sincerely.  Alan Schuster, 11/1/2013
 

Help The Filter With Skimming and Cleaning?

Any suggestions about how to reduce filter cycles?  I would like to reduce my electric bills.  Thanks.

Mike G., Macon, GA 3/3/2013
Solar-Powered Pool Surface Cleaner
This are several ways, but a robotic pool surface cleaner/skimmer is probably the easiest and most effective.  The Robotic Pool Surface Skimmer operates fully autonomously and independent of the pool filter system, throughout the day.  It helps filter out fine debris, improves circulation as even acts as a tri-chlor feeder.  It will eliminates dead zones and allows you to shorten the filter cycles.  It keeps the pool cleaner, for longer periods of time and that translates into time and money saved.  I hope that this information is helpful.

Sincerely.  Alan Schuster, 2/3/2013


Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Or Sand?

Are earth (DE) filters as good or better than sand filters?

Bill M., Columbus, OH, 8/31/2012

ZeobriteXtreme sand filter replacement media.
There is general consensus that DE Filters are capable of removing smaller particles than sand filters. Th
is usually translates into better water quality and fewer water clarity problems. However, there are other considerations to consider, in choosing a filter. You might want to consult with a local pool professional about the best choice for your area. The efficiency of a sand filter can be improved by substituting ZeobriteXtreme sand filter replacement media for the filter sand. It will remove particles, as small as a few microns, which is far better than ordinary sand filters and most other types, as well. This product is modestly priced, lighter in weight and longer lasting. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely, Alan Schuster, 8/31/2012


How Often To Replace The Sand?

I have some questions about replacing the sand in our pool filter. We purchased the pool in July 2001 so it has been in use for 1 and 1/2 summer seasons. The pool is an above ground pool, 52 inches deep, and 18' round. We have not had any filtering problems but I thought that I read somewhere that the sand should have been replaced after the first season of use. Should I replace the sand in the filter before I use it for the summer of 2003 or is it okay to use the same sand again this year? Under normal operating conditions, how often should the sand in the filter be replaced? Thanks for your response.
 
The Grays, 6/7/2009


Simple enough question! But no simple answer! This is a very subjective area. Ask multiple people and you'll get multiple
Zeobrite Sand Filter Replacement Media. answers. Unless the filter manufacturer, instructs to the contrary, I don't see the need to replace the sand every year or two. Much will depend upon the filter and pool conditions. If things are working properly, I am inclined to go as long as 3-5 years. Consider that the pool is in operation for only part of the year. If there are problems with the pressure readings, loss water clarity or any signs of channeling, I would consider replacing the sand. Always use a filter grade sand or ZeobriteXtreme sand filter replacement media. ZeobriteXtreme can be used as a sand replacement and will produce much better results, reduce filter cycles, save on chemicals and the frequency of backwashing. A modestly dirty sand filter actually works better than a clean one and it is a mistake to backwash or replace sand with too great a frequency. I hope that I have been helpful. Enjoy the season.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/7/2009


Zeolite Use With A Salt Chlorinator?

I have a salt water chlorination system with a sand filter. I am investigating the possibility of using ZeobriteXtreme, instead of ordinary filter sand. Are there any issues that I should be aware of? Would the ZeobriteXtreme still need to be recharged with a more concentrated salt water solution periodically, since there shouldn't be any issues with chloramines? Regards.

Terry T., Austin, TX, 6/2/2012


Good question! Pools with salt chlorinators work extremely well with ZeobriteXtreme: a sand filter replacement media. In a standard, chemically chlorinated pool, Zeobrite will attract combined chlorines and hold them to the Zeobrite. In order to
Solar-powered salt chlorine generator and mineralizer, for all types of pools. release the combined chlorine, an eight to ten percent sodium chloride solution is used to reverse the adherence of the combined chlorine, restoring and improving the filtering performance. A follow up shock treatment will probably be required to get the combined chlorine level to under 1 PPM. Chloramines collecting on the surface of the Zeobrite should not be an issue with the salt chlorinating systems, since the pool water will already have around 3,000 ppm of salt content. This negates the need to regenerate the Zeobrite, with a high sodium chloride solution. The effectiveness of the chlorine, produced by the salt generator, should destroy any ammonia-based by products or chloramines, that are introduced into the pool, at normal, typical levels. All of the water, passing through the salt chlorinator, will be free of ammonia-based byproducts and chloramines, when the salt chlorinator is working within its limits.  Use a filter bed cleaner, at the end of the swimming season, to remove any mineral scale, oils, scum or organic matter that may cling to the media. These two products work well together to produce better water quality and better chlorination. Enjoy the season.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/3/2012


High Cartridge Filter Pressure?

I got an inground pool last year. A few weeks ago, I started my pump and began adding chemicals. My pump is running at the max pressure 30 lb. I was told that the pressure should only run between 15-20 lbs pressure. It is a cartridge filter. What do I need to do to get the pressure down?

Stacy J., 4/5/2005


Your pressure is probably too high because of all the debris, dead algae, etc., that has been removed. It simply needs some routine servicing. You have a cartridge filter and you need to remove it and thoroughly clean it with a garden hose. This procedure should be performed on a periodic basis, usually every week or two. There is an easy way to clean cartridge filters, that you might look into. The BLASTER Automatic Filter Cartridge Cleaner uses a simple garden hose connection and there's nothing to install. I hope that I have cleared things up and gotten on the way to better water quality.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/5/2005


Cleaning A Cartridge Filter?

We just had a new pool installed and it has a cartridge filter. How often should it be cleaned and how? Thanks.

Mike M., 6/24/2009
BlasterAutomatic Filter Cartridge Cleaners for pools and spas.

There is no set rule and it will vary with the season. Usually, every 1-2 weeks or when the pressure rises to the point where
the water flow has diminished. Use a garden hose and spray the cartridge from the top down and it is being rotated on one end. Simple enough, but a little on the wet side. Depending on water chemistry the cartridge should be soaked in diluted acid or chlorine solution, according to the manufacturer's instruction. If you would like to clean the filter cartridge better and with less effort, the Blaster Automatic Filter Cartridge Cleaner is the right product.  I hope this information will help. Enjoy the pool.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/25/2009


Not Quite Clear Enough?

I have an inground pool with a supposed high-end cartridge filter. I use a salt chlorine generator and I still think the water is not at its best. I maintain the pH at 7.4-7.8 and the free chlorine at 1-3 PPM. Any suggestions?

Adam S., Jupiter, FL, 2/1/2010


A filter cannot always remove everything, especially organic wastes, body oils, cosmetic residues and many dead microorganisms. Traditionally, it would be suggested that a liquid clarifier be added. However, it may be OK with your filter,
Nano-Stick Clarifiers, forall types of pools and spas. but not with a DE filter. There is an alternative to adding more chemicals to solve this problem. There is an effective non-chemical means of destroying the organic wastes, byproducts and various particulates. The Nano-Stick is a clarifier that uses 21st century technology to improve water clarity and quality, without contributing anything to the water. The "stick" is suspended from a ladder or rail. Light activates the Nano-Titanium ceramic media inside and. as water passes through the porous material, oxidation and decomposition occurs, powered by nothing more than the catalytic effect of the light upon the Nano-Titanium. This will help you better looking and feeling water.  The Nano-Stick for pools is 32 inches long and less than 3 inches in diameter. Each stick treats up to 10,000 gallons of water and lasts 4-6 months. I hope that this information will help you to a clear solution of the problem.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 2/1/2010


How Much Zeobrite Is Required?

If a pool filter system takes 6 bags of sand (300 pounds), how much Zeobrite does it require? What size packages are available? Is more better? My filter is 3.0 cubic feet. Will adding more Zeobrite better improve the performance? Thank You.

Richard B., 1/10/2005


You should require one-half of the weight of sand, given the fact that ZeobriteXtreme is much lighter than sand. Zeobrite is conveniently packaged in 25 and 50-pound bags. More is not better. Just impractical!  Each 50 pound bag of ZeobriteXtreme is approximately 1 cubic foot. This makes the calculation very easy. In your case, you require 150 pounds or 3 cubic feet, which comes out to 3 of the 50-pound bags. Clearly, the water quality will be greatly improved, by simply adding the recommended amount of ZeobriteXtreme. Have a good season.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 1/10/2005


Filter Cleaning With Zeobrite Media?

I know that ZeobriteXtreme has to be regenerated with a salt solution at least once a season, but does it also have to be cleaned? Thanks.

Ron C., Texas, 6/20/2008


The manufacturer of ZeobriteXtreme recommends cleaning the media with a soaking filter cleaner that removes scale and
ZeobriteXtreme sand filter replacement media. organic oil build-up at least once per year, as a good maintenance practice.  This is addition to the regeneration with a salt solution, that should be done at least once a year. Other situations that would warrant cleaning the media would be after plaster dust is removed on a new in-ground gunite pool and in extremely high hardness conditions.  Zeobrite, being somewhat of a natural water softening mineral, will remove some calcium carbonate in high hardness conditions. The cleaning will remove any scale build-up from these conditions. A “Cleaning and Regeneration” product, specifically formulated for use with zeolite filter media is available at many pool professionals. I hope that this information will prove helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/20/2008


Effect On Backpressure?

I would like to add The Circulators to my pool. I have a Sunheater solar system and I don't want to cause the backpressure to rise. Can I add The Circulator, to each of the three returns. Thanks for the chance to ask questions.

Frank M., Bonita Springs, FL., 3/13/2008


The Circulator will not increase the backpressure to any great extent, as determined by a leading pump/filter manufacturer.
Adding The Circulator Circulation Booster, to each of your returns (3) will help get the most out of your Solar Heating System, assure better distribution of chemicals an d eliminates the dead zones that promote algae growth. I hope that you'll find the information helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster/ 3/13/2008


Zeobrite Media and Salt Chlorinators?

I have an in ground pool (76,000 Liters) with a salt water chlorinator and a gas fired heater. I have been reading your site and using your knowledge for some time now. I am interested in a couple of issues. The first is the discussion around “cleaning” the sand in my filter. I have struggled with cloudy water this summer which seems to be a result of the wet weather we have had. It seems that every time we get a good rain fall my pool goes cloudy and develops and algae problem. My water chemistry has been good. I will be closing the pool in a month or so and I might as well use the heater! and I am interested in knowing more about the need to “clean” the sand in the filter due to the problems I have been seeing this summer. Why is this done? When is the best performed? Is it something that should be done on a regular basis and if so how often? My second issue is the filter media itself. What are the benefits of me switching my media from sand to Zeobrite? Does the salt water system I have make this type of media more beneficial or are we simply comparing apples to apples? If it was beneficial when the best time is to make this change, when I close the pool or when I open it in spring? As always. Thanks for the help.

Mark H., Toronto, Ontario, 9/13/2006


ZeobriteXtreme sand filter replacement media can help you remove those small particles that might, otherwise, pass right through a sand filter. The fact that you have a salt chlorine generator, makes it even easier. You will never have to
The Circulator for all types of pools. regenerate the Zeobrite, because of the salt in the water. Zeobrite will allow you to go longer between backwashes and produce better quality water. Occasionally, the Zeobrite filter media will need to be cleaned, like any sand filter: once a season should be more than adequate for a pool like yours. I suggest that you test the water for free chlorine and determine that a level of 1-3 PPM is being maintained. Test the salt level, to make sure that it is in the proper range. Your cloudy water and algae problems may more related to the free chlorine level and not totally related to the filter performance. Areas of poor circulation create dead zones that promote algae growth, even when the water tests out well.  Better circulation assures better distribution of the sanitizing chemicals and makes algae problems less likely. The Circulator is an easy-to-install device that will dramatically improve circulation and eliminate any dead zones. I hope that I have been helpful.
 
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 9/13/2006


Regenerating Zeobrite Filter Media?

Thanks for all the great info on your site! We just replaced our sand in our filter with Zeobrite media. The immediate improvement in water clarity was amazing! I am wondering if there is anything we need to do different with pool care, chemicals, etc now that we are using this. Each spring when we open our pool, we use a super floc. (we have a mesh security cover). Will we still be able to use this or would that not be advisable now with the Zeobrite. Just asking to be prepared for next year. Also should we still be using a clarifier weekly, as we have been for the past several years. We have read that the Zeobrite needs to be regenerated with salt water solution. How often is that necessary? Thanks again for the service you provide.
 
Annette, 6/16/2010
Solar-Powered salt chlorine generator, for all types of pools.

You should find less need to use clarifiers because of the improved filtration. If it necessary to regenerate the ZeobriteXtreme
at least once a season, in outdoor, residential pools. ZeobriteXtreme helps remove chloramines from the pool water and regeneration restores the ability of the filter media to perform this important function. Individual pool circumstances can vary greatly and regeneration should be considered, whenever shock treatment to control the combined chlorine level becomes more frequent. Regenerate as follows:

1. Drain the existing water from the filter, then close the inlet and outlet valves.
2. Mix the salt solution, 3 pounds of salt in five gallons of water, in a plastic container.
3. Open the filter vessel and pour the salt solution to completely cover the Zeobrite filter media.
4. Allow the salt solution to stand in the media bed for a minimum of four hours.
5. Backwash the salt solution out the discharge drain with a backwash cycle.
6. Resume normal filtration of the pool water.
If you have ever given thought about getting a salt chlorine generator, you might be interested to know that it will totally eliminate the need to regenerate the zeolite media. I hope that the information will prove helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/16/2010


Zeobrite Regeneration And Ozonator?

I switched to ZeobriteXtreme this year with great improvement in pool clarity. I use an ozonator with low level chlorine: 0.6 ppm. Ozonators claim to minimize chloramines. What would you recommend for year end maintenance cleaning of the zeolite filter?

Al P., 9/5/2010

Zeobrite Sand Filter Replacement Media.
I would clean the ZeobriteXtreme at least once a year, in order to help keep peak performance. This should be a regular
maintenance item performed at least once a year in a residential pool and more often, in a commercial pool. The ozonator will reduce chloramines and that is a plus. Still, during the course of the season, some chloramines will be formed. In areas where pools are filled with high mineral/hard water, cleaning the media for scale build-up once every six weeks is good maintenance. I hope that this information is helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 9/6/2010


Will "The Circulator" Cause Pressure Rise?

Was wondering what kind of back pressure these would cause in my pump system. I would require three. Thanks.
The Circulator improves pool water circulation.
Mark, 5/23/2008


There should be no noticeable increase in the pressure, but The Circulator will make the water come alive and the dead zones
will be eliminated. You will have fewer algae problems, better heat distribution and more effective chemical usage.  I hope that this information is helpful. Have a fun holiday weekend!
 

Sincerely.  Alan Schuster, 5/23/2008


Bumps And Clumps?

What is bumping the filter mean? I've read it in a few of your answers. Also, when we backwash, the little spyglass never clouds up, but does have white chunks swirling in it. Does this mean my DE is chunked up? If so what causes that? Thanks.

Catherine, 5/29/2009


Some DE filters have a handle that allows you to "bump" or redistribute the filter media, instead of backwashing. These filters
are usually not backwashed. It doesn't sound like your filter can be "bumped" and needs to be backwashed instead. The "clumping" doesn't necessarily mean anything. "Clumps" can occur from the removal of dead algae and debris, the use of biguanide sanitizers or "quat" algaecides or the overuse of clarifiers.  If you do have a D.E. and want to avoid the problems, that liquid clarifier cause, you should consider the use of a Nano-Stick Clarifier. This 21st century product has no negative effect on the filter media. Enjoy the season.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/30/2009

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Sand Vs. Zeolite: operating costs?

Thanks for all the advice on the web site. I have a small above ground pool (18' x 4') and I am using the biguanide chemicals. I have a sand filter that has been great but now in it's third season I am finding I need to run the pump about 3 times longer than last year to avoid cloudy water. I am very tempted to switch to the zeolite, but I was wondering, all other things equal, if it will require more electricity to operate per gallon filtered than the sand? My intuition tells me that if the filter works better, the pressure will be higher and the flow rate will be lower (for a given pump), thus requiring more time to filter the entire pool. Is this true? Has anyone ever compared the cost of electricity of sand vs. zeolite?

Kevin W., 7/8/2004
ZeobriteXtreme sand filter replacement media.

I don't know if studies have been done on operating costs, but I would hazard a guess that you will get better water quality
with less filter time using ZeobriteXtreme. Sand filters can be very inefficient in removing fine particles. With ZeobriteXtreme you will have effectiveness that is comparable to a DE filter,. without a lot of the DE problems. There will less need to run the filter for extended periods of time to clear up the water. You should be able to run the filter on a more predictable cycle, so long as proper water sanitation is maintained. I hope that I have cleared things up a bit. Enjoy the season.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/8/2004


Still Cloudy?

Hi Alan, first of all, thanks for spending the time to perform this service. Many of your responses to others have already helped us. We are new pool owners: came with the house. It's a 20 yr inground, 25,000 gal concrete pool. We hired a company to "open" the pool that provides this service to others in our area. They started by shocking and adjusting water chemistry - got rid of the green, but cloudiness remained. Then more chlorine shock ~ 5 days later. Another 4 days, and it's still cloudy. I noticed the pressure reading on the new instrument was ~ 25 over this entire period, and never really changed that much (even after backwashing) - but outflow back into the pool always decreased with time, suggesting something was retained by the filter. Next, they tried a quart of that clarifying agent you recommend, which improved the cloudiness somewhat You could see the bottom of the shallow end. After 2 more days ~ 1 lb of DE powder was added to the skimmer, which plugged the filter, so we had to backwash out.  At this point, I suggested we investigate the filter. It's not new, and the fact the pressure doesn't change suggested channeling to me; but they wanted to trying shocking 1 more time, so we did so today. By the way, water chemistry was fine, except for today, we had to acidify to get back within the normal range. We also have been backwashing 2x daily. Alan, what is your diagnosis and recommendation? Thanks much.

J. and C., Dayton, OH, 6/4/2010

From your letter, it is safe to assume that you have a sand filter and it is very possible that channeling is part of the cloudy pool water problem. A defective pressure gauge is another possibility. If you have a sand filter, an excellent way to greatly
Nano-Stick Clarifiers, forall types of pools and spas. improve filtration is to replace the sand with ZeobriteXtreme: a sand replacement filter media. You mentioned that you added several doses of shock, but did not state any chlorine readings. If you are unable to maintain a Free Chlorine reading for a reasonable period of time, it could be that there is still algae and debris in the pool. This will consume the chlorine and cause a continuing clarity problem. The key to your problem is to maintain a stable chlorine reading of 1-3 PPM for an overnight period and maintain a properly working filtration system. The high pH reduced the effectiveness of the chlorine, decreased the solubility of calcium minerals and may have contributed to the problem. You could use an algaecide, follow the label--more is not necessarily better.  Rather than use a one-time only clarifier, which might interfere with filtration, use a Nano-Stick Clarifier. It hangs in the pool, works 24/7. lasts up to 6-months and does not adversely affect filters. I hope that I have been helpful. Good luck.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/4/2010


Rapidly Rising Filter Pressure?

We have a 20'x40' inground pool, 1-1/2 hp pump and a D.E. filter. We have fantastic water pressure immediately after bumping or flushing the filter, but the pressure builds quickly and soon the water pressure slows way down, usually within 15-30 minutes. We are starting this season with poor water quality and we really need constant circulation to get it cleared up, but the pressure builds so quickly that the filter is not doing any good. The high pressures have also caused water to seep around the seal of the filter. I've cleaned the filter thoroughly and added D.E., nothing seems to help. The filter is plumbed according to the manufacturer's specs, but there is no filter bypass. Should I add one? Should we switch to a sand filter? This thing is just too restrictive to do any good. HELP!

Shelly and Tia, 4/12/2009


It seems apparent that your problem is due to the clogging of the filter. The poor water quality is causing debris and algae to slowly reduce the water flow, raising the pressure. If you are using biguanide, it may be part of the problem and will require an alternate treatment. If you are using a clarifier or a quat algaecide (dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride or similar) stop the use, at least temporarily. Add shock to the pool to boost the Free Chlorine reading to 5-10 PPM and keep it there. Retest the water every few hours and add more product, as needed. Keep the pH at 7.2-7.6. Bump the filter and, if after the Free Chlorine level has be elevated, the problem continues, you should consider cleaning the filter and replacing the DE. A DE filter can produce excellent water quality, but can be overwhelmed by too much material in the water. That's where I think you are. The chlorine will change all that. If you are using biguanide, get back to me. I hope that the information will prove helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/12/2009


Dirt In The Corners?

I have a few spots, that seem to collect dirt and debris. I guess it follows the natural water flow in the pool. I use a Robotic Pool Cleaner every other day and while it does a great job, there is dirt accumulating in a few spots. Any suggestions.

John. L. Clearwater, FL, 5/26/2005

Moidel SP-9i Robotic Pool Cleaner.
A Robotic Pool Cleaner usually does a great job. Nonetheless, new debris will settle in areas, based on the flow patterns. The
Circulator is a circulation boosting device that can be easily installed in each return and it will dramatically improve the circulation, by as much as 1500%. This should help prevent dirt from accumulating in any particular spots. And as a bonus, you'll get better chemical distribution and be less likely to have chemical dead spots. I hope that this information will prove helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/26/2005


Replacing Sand With Zeobrite?

Alan, my husband and I purchased a home with a pool last year. We have had some "issues" getting good, reliable help with our pool and have resolved that we are going to have to learn to care for it ourselves and with the help of friends and people like you. I have been searching the internet for 2 hours now to find detailed directions for replacing the sand in my sand filter (30,000 gallon pool) and adding ZeobriteXtreme. Can you help? We have been told that the best time to replace the sand is prior to opening as the sand is the driest. We were hoping to work on it this weekend. I really appreciate your help!

Kara G., Utica, OH, 5/8/2009


It definitely is easier to handle dry sand. You need to remove all of the sand. While the filter is empty, clean and inspect everything. Now you're ready to add the ZeobriteXtreme. You will need 1/2 the weight of sand. That is, if your filter required 300 pounds of filter sand, you will need 150 pounds of Zeobrite. Otherwise, you operate the filter in exactly the same way as with sand. The difference will be in the water quality. It will be much better. Enjoy the season.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/8/2009


Replacing Sand?

We have an inground pool and after shocking and putting in other chemicals needed to get the pool ready for summer, the water is a beautiful color, but we cannot see the bottom of the pool. We've taken in 3 water samples to our pool supply store and they have suggested that we might need to change the sand in our filter. How expensive is this and is it easy to do ourselves or would we be better off hiring someone? How much does the sand cost and where do you buy it?

Bobby L., 5/15/2009


Sand should be replaced every 3-5 years. Cost is modest and only certain types of sand is suitable. Pool dealers should carry the right kind. Even better than sand would be using ZeobriteXtreme sand filter replacement media. ZeobriteXtreme is modestly priced, weighs 1/2 as much as sand and produces much better water quality. Sand filters can become channeled and lose their efficiency. There is some work involved. The sand has to be removed and the filter cleaned and inspected. Most pool owners do it themselves. Some points to remember! Backwashing too often is a common mistake. Generally, the filter should be backwashed only when the pressure is too high. With ZeobriteXtreme, you will get better results, using fewer chemicals and shorter filter cycles. I hope that this information will be helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/15/2009


Zeobrite's Effect On Hardness?

Reading through a California Contractors study guide I came across a statement in their glossary regarding Zeolite. In it they state: " Zeolite filter: Filter used to soften water. Filter medium is zeolite, a substance which will remove calcium and magnesium from water, replacing them with sodium. Does not remove suspended matter from water." I live in an area that has very soft water, with little or no calcium, we experience very aggressive water conditions. We add Calcium Chloride to our water on a regular basis. The question that concerns me is, does Zeobrite remove calcium and manganese from the water? I have been using Zeobrite exclusively for all my commercial sand filter installations for years. I use it on heavily abused resort spas in conjunction with ozone, bromine and ORP controls. The media backwashes easily and the water is clear all the time. My clients have reduced their water consumption, especially their draining and refilling by an easy 75%. The savings in heating a freshly filled spa is enormous. It's a great product and worth the extra expense. I am concerned about the Calcium statement!

Stan Z., Mammoth Lakes CA, 12/27/2006


This statement refers to a manmade zeolite that has been modified to be used with water softeners. ZeobriteXtreme is a natural mineral and can be used in pools and spas with hardness, in the normal ranges, without any problem. If the hardness is above 400 PPM, Zeobrite may lower the levels and that would be of benefit to the overall water chemistry. I hope that this has cleared up the mystery.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 12/27/2006


DE and Zeobrite?

I have a sand filter and recently it filled with Zeobrite. When I used sand, I used to add some DE to increase the efficiency or so I thought. Is this practice worth continuing? Thanks.

Edward H., 4/22/2005


ZeobriteXtreme in a sand filter produces much better water quality than just sand alone. Using DE as a filter aid, with zeolites, is not necessary or recommended. With ZeobriteXtreme, adding filter aids should no longer be required, as it can remove the finest particles. Hopefully this answers the question.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/22/2005


► Channeling Causes?

Last fall, after weeks of struggling with cloudy water, I saw your website and concluded that the sand in my filter was probably channeled. I replaced the sand with Zeobrite. Since then all has been sparkly. What causes channeling? Is it possible that Zeobrite could also become channeled? How does one prevent channeling? Once it has happened, is replacing the filter media the only solution? Thanks for your help!

Niki P., 7/30/2004

There are a couple of situations where channeling can occur in ZeobriteXtreme. The most common occurrence happens when
mineral scale builds-up in the media. This can occur when dealing with a high mineral water source, such as well water. It can also occur when calciuZeobrite Sand Filter Replacement Media.m hardness is allowed to run too high. Since Zeobrite is a natural water softening media to some degree, it can remove and bond calcium carbonate when concentrations are high. It is suggested to keep calcium hardness below 250ppm in pool water. A common mistake that some pool builders make after plastering a gunite pool is to allow the plaster dust to build-up in the filter without cleaning the media. Plaster dust contains a high concentration of calcium carbonate. The combination of the two can create a hard layer of media and result in channeling. The media should be cleaned with an acid based sand filter cleaner or a muriatic acid solution, after the first couple of week’s operation to correct this problem. Another situation where channeling can occur is with the use of biguanide. This material can cause sand, zeolite and D.E. filter media to coagulate. It can not be backwashed from the filter and can result in diminished efficiency. Some of the biguanide manufacturers suggest monthly cleaning of the media, when used with this chemical. I hope that the information proves helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/31/2004



Backwashing With Zeobrite?

I recently purchased a sand filter. Instead of using sand, my dealer suggested Zeobrite. I was told to backwash the filter whenever the pressure rose 10 pounds above the initial pressure. I was told this would be about once a week. However, this is what I observe: If the filter runs non-stop for several days, the pressure gradually rises, say about 6 pounds. However, if I stop the pump after, say 5 days, to add chlorine, or maybe because we have a stretch of cold weather and the pool doesn't need filtering 24 hours a day. When the pump restarts, the filter pressure returns to its initial start-up pressure and rises slowly again over a period of several days. The result is the pressure never rises close to 10 pounds above its start-up pressure. Should I backwash once a week whether or not the pressure has risen? This is what the dealer says to do. I'm reluctant to backwash, if its not necessary because a good backwashing drops the water level 0.5" to 1", so I usually have to add water before or after backwashing.
 
Colin T., St. Louis, MO, 5/25/2009


The dealer was knowledgeable enough to suggest ZeobriteXtreme, as it will provide better water quality. He seems unaware that ZeobriteXtreme decreases the need to backwash, because of in-depth filtration. Backwash when the pressure is too high or a few times a season. Once a week is totally unnecessary for your pool. I hope that this information will help clear things up.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/25/2009


Scaling And Cloudy Water?

My pool is located in a very hard water area and I have some scaling and cloudiness issues. The pool maintenance company has mentioned something called a magnetic conditioner. What is this?

Roy N., Chandler, AZ, 6/2/2005

Magnetic water conditioner for pools and spas.
Magnetic water conditioners are strong permanent magnets that are strapped on the return lines. It is reported that pool
water passing through the return lines is subjected to a magnetic field, causing micro-changes in some of the water content. In short, the magnets are said to cause some beneficial changes: reduction and elimination of calcium scale, improvement in sanitizer efficiency and some positive effects on the overall water chemistry, clarity and filtration. In very hard water situations, this type of product can make a substantial improve in the water quality. No power is required and installation should be a simple. I hope that I have been of assistance.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/2/2005


Lack Of Filter Efficiency?

I emailed you a few weeks back about cloudy pool water (despite good water levels) and you told me to add DE to my sand filter and I must say it worked like a charm. I now know I was backwashing too frequently, which no one told me before. Recently, I had a HORRIBLE algae attack (I’m guessing due to a vacation) which made my pool the prettiest and brightest green I have ever seen! I have since shocked the dickens out of it and it is now finally a bright cloudy blue. This actually looks good to me since it was so green for the last 10 days! Now I know I have to just get rid of the cloudiness. It seems to me that if I add DE to my sand filter it works better, but what can I do to not have to go out at 3am and make sure the pressure is not too high and the filter is not working at all? I fear something is wrong with my sand filter because I used to backwash too much. I live in Wisconsin so there is not much swim time left but I would like to get my filtration system to the point where not only is it working the best but I know what to do for next season. The pool is not even a year old and is 18 X 4. Thankful.

Julie, 9/10/2010

PS I have been told to only use sodium based chlorines as opposed to calcium ones. Is it fair to say that I can stick with that general rule?

Dead algae can pass right through some sand filters. Adding an occasional dose of a blue clarifier can help improve the ability of the pool filter to remove these fine particles. Backwashing a sand filter doesn't damage the filter: it just lowers theBlue Diamond Robotic Pool Cleaner RC efficiency by opening up the spaces between the sand grains. Adding DE helps to reduce the spaces and improves efficiency. Think of it as clean dirt. Don't add so much DE that the pressure will rise towards the upper end of the operating range. Another means of increasing the efficiency of a sand filter would be to replace the sand with a sand filter replacement media, such as ZeobriteXtreme. Another effective means of improving the water quality is with a robotic pool cleaner. It acts as a second, moving filter, as it vacuums the underwater surfaces. And it will save you lots of time! Sodium hypochlorite is popular in many areas. The only reason not to use calcium hypochlorite would be because your calcium hardness is already high enough or should not be increased beyond its present level. Another effective means of improving the water quality is with a robotic pool cleaner. It acts as a second filter, as it vacuums the underwater surfaces. And it will save you lots of time!  The Nano-Stick is a clarifier than is hung in the pool, usually from a ladder. It helps oxidize and decompose ultra-fine particles and eliminates some wastes, as well. It does not interfere with any type of filter and can last up to 6-months, while working 24/7.  I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 9/10/2010


Little Filter Pressure?

Hi, Alan! Love your website. I opened my pool and decided to change the sand in my pool filter - something that I never tried before. Anyway, it all went well but I have very little pressure. I tried backwashing, etc. but nothing helps. I was thinking that perhaps one of the lines got clogged with sand but then I read one of your responses and perhaps I have one of those channels. You mentioned a NANO-STICK Clarifier, but I have no idea what this product is. Do you sell it? If it doesn't correct the problem, do I start all over again? Thanks so much!

Barry N., 6/17/2006


You may not have done anything wrong. A freshly filled sand filter is not as efficient as a somewhat dirty one. If you used a
ZeobriteXtreme sand filter replacement media. filter grade sand, it may just take a while for the pressure to rise. Backwashing will achieve just the opposite effect. In the future, backwash only if the pressure is too high. Try this. Add 1 pound of D.E. to the skimmer with the filter operating. This will help increase the pressure: think of it as clean dirt. The next time that you replace the sand, give some thought to using ZeobriteXtreme instead of the sand. This sand filter replacement media will produce consistently better water quality that ordinary filter sand. You didn't mention anything about cloudy pool water. If the water is clear, I would play it by ear. The Nano-Stick Clarifier, that I referred to, is a new breed of pool clarifier, that can be used in all pools and with all types of filters. It is hung, from a ladder and uses Nano-Titanium to remove fine particles and oxidize wastes. It works 24/7 and can last up to 6-months. Just hang and start improving your water quality.  Enjoy the summer.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/17/2006


No Water Flow?

My problem is that the filter is not pulling any water. What could be the problem? Thank You.

B. K., 11/27/2009


There could be several reasons: clogged filter, clogged pump strainer, loss of prime, broken pump impellor, clogged line or valve, closed valve or an air leak. Check to see that the valve is in the correct position. Backwash the filter to waste. Resume filtering. If the water is still not flowing, shut off the filter and open the pump basket cover. Pour water into the basket (clean it out first), in attempt to manually prime the pump. If none of these things work, you will have to check the lines, impeller and valves: the answer is there, it is a matter of elimination. If you have a filter operating manual, check to see if it has a trouble-shooting guide. It might help solve the problem. Good luck and I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 11/27/2009


Green Water Won't Clear Up?

Hi, Alan, your web questions and answers are very helpful and informative. Thank you. I have a problem with my pool water. About 2 weeks ago, my pool water started to get green, cloudy and ugly. I realized I had slipped and ran out of chlorine. I figured, no problem, I'll just shock with a couple pounds of chlorine granules, and it will clear up as it had in the past. However, it is 2 weeks later, the water is still bright green and I cannot see the bottom. I have added at least 8 lbs of chlorine and tried something recommended by the pool store - a chemical that binds to chlorine to clear up/kill algae better. I have run the filter for 12 hours here, 24 hours there, etc. Here is some other information. The pool water is about 4 years old without being completely flushed and re-filled--and now it is too hot outside (I'm in Arizona) to risk cracking the pool finish (I understand you should not empty your pool if the temperature outside is above 80 degrees F). The pool is about 18,000 gallons with a sand filter. In the past, a little shock and an extra 12 hrs of filtering always cleared up the problem. Do I need to change my sand? Is it possible to run out of sand in the filter? I'm thinking it is a filter problem, and not a chemical problem - my chlorine level is off the charts on my test kit (it goes up to 10ppm), I'm guessing it is 30ppm or higher based on the quantities of chemicals I used. Do you have any suggestions to help? Thank you.

John U., Arizona, 5/15/2009


You told me a lot, but still not enough. If you're testing for Free Chlorine and the level is as high as you state, it is not likely that the problem is still algae. Sand filters can be subject to such problems. If the sand has not been replaced in a long time,
Zeobrite Sand Filter Replacement Media. it might be a good place to start. Sand filters can become channeled and that prevents proper filtering efficiency. If you are going to replace the sand, you might consider using ZeobriteXtreme sand replacement filter media. This product is modestly priced, weighs one-half as much as sand and provides much better filtering efficiency. This will help increase the efficiency. If your filter pressure was low, it could be an indication of channeling. Try adding a NANO-STICK Clarifier. It will help remove the fine particles, works 24/7, lasts up to months and is safe to use with all types of filters and pool chemicals. Thereafter, backwash only occasionally or when the pressure is too high. Have you considered a Robotic Pool Cleaner? With a built-in micro-filter, it can remove dead algae and help prevent future growth by improving the water circulation across the pool bottom. For information on this product visit the Website Store. The green color could be minerals such as copper or iron - have the water tested for their presence. I hope that this advice proves helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/15/2009

Wow - great advice!  I can see the bottom of my pool for the first time in 2 weeks after just 16 hours of using the DE and Blue as you suggested.  I had to backwash about 3 times during that period because of all the green gunk that was being cleaned out of the pool.  Still a little cloudy, but I should have it licked today.  Thanks again, Alan.

John U., 5/17/2009


It's worked for a lot of people. Enjoy the summer.

Alan, 5/18/2009


Pump Motor Size?

How do I know the hp of a motor, I need to replace, if the old one has no data on it?

J. R., 2/27/2004


The pump size will be determined by the size of the pool, filter and pipes. Bigger is not necessarily better. Depending upon the type of pump in place, you might be able to use a smaller pump. I suggest that you visit a local pool professional with the following information: pool size in gallons, filter type and model number and the size of the pipes (measure the diameter - they will be able to relate that to pipe size). I hope that I have been of some assistance.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 2/27/2004


How Long To Run The Filter?

We have a 24' above ground pool. I replaced the liner this past weekend, and so far, everything seems good. My question is about the length of time daily that the filter should run. I have a 1 HP pump with a 16" sand (100 lbs) filter. I've heard that the electrical costs are not that much different to run it 24/7 - but the previous owners only ran it about 8 hrs a day. We have minimal leaves, bugs, etc that fall into the pool, but my thinking is that it the surface of the water is constantly being skimmed and cleaned, it will lead to less debris getting to the bottom (then having to vacuum, etc). What is a good rule of thumb, and are the pumps designed to run continuously? Thanks in advance.

Mark C., Kentucky, 5/31/2005


How long a pump should run does, in part, depend of the pump size, pipe size and the type of use the pool receives. In essence, it is pool size and pumping rate. A turnover rate of every 4-6 hours is reasonable. Pumps are designed for long running periods, but that does make it necessary.  To run it 24/7, as compared to 8 hours daily, will cost you exactly 3 times as much. This is not air conditioning! If the pump is running, so is the electric meter.  In your case, 8 hours daily should be quite adequate. The skimmers will never get all the debris and some will inevitably reach the bottom. Better in invest in a Robotic Pool Cleaner, instead of operating the pump continuously. It will act as a moving main drain and as a second micro filter. hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/1/2005


Using A Timer?

Thanks for your great pool service website... it is much appreciated. We have a home in Gulf Breeze that is a rental and is/has been sitting empty for a couple months now. Our electric bill seems a bit high, due to the fact that we have turned off the hot water heater and adjusted the air conditioner up considerably. We suspect that the drain on power is coming from the main pump for the pool that runs continuously. The pool is gunite and is about 33 feet long by 15 feet wide. We have pool maintenance about twice a month. Can we put a timer on the pump that will allow it to run less time but still filter the pool properly? Aloha and regards.

Robert B., 11/15/2006


The pump does not have to run 24/7. Timers are routinely used to control time and duration of filter cycles.  I suggest that you try filtering for 8 hours a day. During peak seasonal use, you might have to up it a bit. During periods of reduced use, you might be able to scale back on the filter time. No pools are alike, so some common sense needs to be applied. How well you maintain the water chemistry and the pool's surrounding can play a role. Pump size can make a difference. Ideally, you want the water to turn over about 1-2 times a day. I hope that this information has been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 11/15/2006


How Big A Pump?

I need your honest, impartial answer! I have a 20,000-gal, inground, gunite pool that is currently running a sand filter (which I want to convert to ZeobriteXtreme), but my main problem is with the MOTOR. It has a 1.0 hp motor and I have some people (current and prior pool owners) tell me that that is NOT enough - that I need to run 2.0 hp to really circulate the water (the water is NOT moving well). Others - including the pool store who COULD talk me into a bigger motor and make money - tell me that 1.0 hp is sufficient. It's not a question of money. I can handle it. But WHAT is the truth? HOW big of a motor do I need? Can I compromise and get a 1.5? Thanks!

Dayle V., Orange Park, Fl, 5/9/2010


No simple answer. Pump size is related to pool size, filter performance and pipe size. Still 1 HP does seem on the small side. I
suggest that you replace the sand with ZeobriteXtreme, as you planned. If the water flow is not adequate to turn the pool over every 4-6 hours, you might consider something bigger. Biggest is not always best. I would move up to 1.5 HP. Have you ever considered a Robotic Pool Cleaner. It acts as a moving filter and is independent of the pool pump? I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/10/2010


Under No Pressure?

Hi Alan, Pool type: inground. Problem: In starting up the pool this year we are unable to maintain pressure when on "filter". The backwash, rinse and waste cycles work fine but as soon as we switch to filter we lose pressure. Thanks.

Michael, 6/8/2009


It would have been helpful to know the type of filter, but it sounds like a sand filter. That being the case, it appears that the filter media has become channeled. That means that the water has carved a tunnel through the sand and is, in effect, by passing the filter media. The sand will have to be removed and replaced with fresh filter grade sand or, even better, ZeobriteXtreme sand filter replacement media. Lose of pressure can occur if the pump is sucking air in the filter position: check all the connections. Other than this possibility there are only mechanical causes such as: a bad valve or some plumbing problem. If you have an instruction manual, check the trouble-shooting guide. I hope that I have been helpful. Good luck.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/9/2009


Cleaning The Filter Parts?

Is there a way I could give my in ground pool filter an acid bath myself? Is it just matter of taking the filter tubes and submersing them in let's say a muriatic acid solution. Do you know the name of the type of acid used for this purpose, where I can buy it, what the dilution rate is, how long it needs to be soaked, rinse with water afterwards, etc? Thank you.

Vince G., 5/1/2004


The disassembled plastic parts should be placed in a suitably sized plastic container. Add water and about a quart of muriatic acid for each 5-gallons of water. If you don't want to use muriatic acid, you can add two pounds of pH reducer, instead. There are products formulated for this purpose that contain other ingredients, to help with the cleaning. Soak at least a few hours - overnight or until clean. Rinse off. Use rubber gloves and eye protection. This is not for metal parts!!! I hope this information proves helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/2/2004


Is It A Filter Or Chemistry Problem?

Within the last few weeks we have been having problems keeping our pool clean. The beginning of the season we had no problems. The pool water remains milky-cloudy and there always seems to be sand on the bottom of the pool. We have a sand filter and I have been vacuuming daily and backwashing daily without results. The pool chemistry is within normal limits. The sand in the filter has not been changed in two years. Is this a filter problem? I need help! Thanks.

Lisa, Patterson, LA, 6/21/2009


The sand could be from the filter or could be tracked into the pool on the bottom of swimmer's feet. The pool filter pressure should help indicate if there is a filtration problem. If the pressure starts off normal after backwashing and rises over a period
Nano-Stick Clarifiers, forall types of pools and spas. of a few weeks, that would be typical of most sand filters. Sand filters should not be backwashed daily: that will decrease the efficiency of the filter and could result in cloudy water. Normally, a sand filter should be backwashed whenever the pressure rises too high. Sand, from the filter, should not be getting into the water. If that is truly the case, it is indicative of a problem and, perhaps, you should seek advice on servicing. It is not uncommon for sand to be in the filter for longer than 2 years. The cloudy water can be due to inadequate chlorination or inadequate filtration. You might consider a NANO-STICK Clarifier. It can be used with all types of filters and pool chemicals. It will work 24/7 and is simply hung from the pool ladder. It only needs to be replaced every 6 months, on average. The next time your sand is replaced, consider using ZeobriteXtreme sand filter replacement media. It will produce much better results. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/22/2009


Sand Filter Problem?

Hi Alan, we have opened our above-ground pool this year, and so far everything has been ok. BUT, my husband has tried to connect the vacuum and it seems as though when the vacuum is connected, sand is being blown through the water return. The return seems ok, and the volume of water is strong so I don't think it is dirty already. All the hoses seem ok, fittings ok with no leaks. The pressure reads ok. Everything seems fine until we try to use the vacuum, and then we see sand being returned. The pool is only one year old, and at the closing last season we were advised by our pool company to empty the sand filter and clean it; which is what we did. My husband did not experience any problems when he connected everything, and we haven't noticed any problems in the two weeks we have had the pool opened. We considered emptying the filter and doing it over, just to make sure. Any suggestions? Thanks.

The Wife, 5/9/2008


Unless I am missing something, all you should have to do hook up the vacuum is to close off one skimmer (if there are two) and connect the hose to the skimmer intake. Sand should not be coming into the pool just because the vacuum is being used. Something is not right. Sand filters do not have to be emptied every year. In addition, a sand filter should not be backwashed too frequently, as doing that will reduce the effectiveness. I suspect that something was done correctly during the replacement of the sand. You might as well do whatever is necessary to check that everything is in its proper place and in working order. Speak to the dealer. He may have a trouble-shooting guide and should be familiar enough with that pool filter make and model to offer you the proper remedy. Good luck with the problem.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/9/2008


Passing On Through?

The bottom of our pool is covered with a white substance that we cannot get rid of. When we vacuum, it clouds up and re-enters the pool, making the water too cloudy to see through. The pool & equipment are all brand new and the sand filter has already been replaced. Now, I've been told it could be from the powdered shock treatment we used, having something to do with the calcium and that flock should take care or it. That didn't work either. The pool is a 24' X 52", above ground with normal chemical readings.

R.D., Bloomfield, NY, 7/2/2003


This clearly sounds like a situation where the filter is not operating properly. The sediment on the bottom, could indeed, have come from the shock treatment. The fact that it is not being removed by filtration and returns to the pool, is very suggestive of channeling in the sand filter. Freshly filled sand filters, new or old, can become channeled. This means that the water has formed a channel through the sand and, by doing so, has eliminated much of the filtration. The water is only being recirculated. The pressure levels are usually low, if the sand is channeled. The filter should be inspected to make sure that the sand is in the proper quantity and type. Is it pool filter grade? If you choose to replace the sand, consider using ZeobriteXtreme sand filter replacement media, instead. This type of filtration media can produce better results than ordinary filter sand and is used in exactly the same way. I hope that the information proves helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/2/2003


Filtration Boredom?

I am a new pool owner and want first of all to thank you for your very helpful web page! I have a 29K gal. pool/spa with a 48 sq. ft. DE filter. The pool has been opened about three weeks. I have been testing my water and maintaining a good balance. The water appears clean and clear. The initial start up pressure on the gauge was 13. The pool company told me that I should backwash at 23. Is it normal that the gauge has not gone over 15 since we began operating the pool? Am I just "bored" and looking for something to do or should I backwash after a certain period of time, regardless of the pressure gauge? Thank you.

Ken D., Freehold, NJ, 6/30/2004


You must be doing an exceptional job maintaining the proper chemistry and that, in turn, is preventing the growth of algae. Algae growth is the usual cause for the pressure to increase. The fact that the pressure has not increased very much, over the past few weeks, is due to the fact that there has apparently been very little material for the filter to remove. If you read through the archives, you will notice that pools requiring pool filter backwashing, usually have algae or clarity problems. Don't backwash unless necessary. A mid-season backwash might be reasonable, if not done for any other reason. Keep up the good work. Golf, tennis, fishing or swimming are good hobbies.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/30/2004


How Long To Filter?

We have been told many different options on how often to be running our filter for our 21,000 gal inground pool. In order to save energy costs everyone seems to have their own little quirk about how often or when to run their filter. Some say every other day, for two days straight after a busy weekend, nighttime only, etc. What is your best recommendation?

Julia H., 4/30/2005


Start with 8 hours a day. When the pool is not being used, perhaps, you might get away with 6 hours. During peak use, you might need more. How well you maintain the water, how much bather usage, how powerful the pump, exposure to wind-blown debris and other factors all contribute. Depending upon the sanitizing method, you might need to have the filter operating for more or less time.  Having a Pool Surface Skimmer or Robotic Pool Cleaner can reduce the time, as it acts as a second filter and as a moving main drain. If you can, operate the filter while the pool is being used. Have fun and I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/30/2005


How Long and When?

I live in South Florida and have a new pool of three months. I’ve been told that a pump should run at least 8-12 hours a day. I have a timer and a pool pilot salt chlorine generator. My question is should I run the pump continuously for that amount of time or break it up throughout the day? I know the most important time is during the hottest part of the day. I was also told that by running the pump for several hours at night might reduce algae buildup, which I’ve noticed has popped up around the tile. Thanks.

Robert, Florida, 5/9/2005


This is a gray area. Running the filter for 8-12 hours should be enough. Times will vary based on pump size, pipe size, filter performance, bather load, location, etc. It is always a good idea to operate the filter during periods of use, as this helps
One of the ColorQ all-digital, pool and spa water analyzers. remove silt that might otherwise settle to the bottom. Breaking up the filter run into 2 separate periods is a good idea. If your pool is being maintained with a chlorine feeder, chlorination only occurs while the filter is operating. By splitting the time, the pool is not more than 6 hours away from a chlorine addition. In your case, the algae is developing because you are probably failing to maintain a sanitizer level adequate to carry the load throughout the day. You need to focus on the free chlorine level and keep it at 1-3 PPM, for as much of the time as possible. Using the right tester can help. The ColorQ All-Digital, Water Analyzer will provide the right information with reliability and convenience. Check the pH and stabilizer level to assure optimum chlorine performance. Your Pool Pilot salt chlorine generator can maintain proper free chlorine levels much better than a chlorine feeder or manual additions of chlorine products. Keeping your filter cartridge clean will improve water flow and circulation. In turn, this makes algae growth less likely and improves the water quality. Usually cartridge filters are cleaned weekly, especially in the peak of the season. You can use The BLASTER automatic filter cartridge cleaner and save yourself the weekly chore. It requires no installation and is worth looking into. I hope that I provided some help with your question.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/10/2005


D.E. In The Pool?

I have a gunite pool with a D.E. filter.  There was a tear in one of the filter grids and about 10 pounds of D.E. found its way into the pool before I realized it. Will the D.E. be removed from the pool under normal operation after fixing the grid?

Richard R., 6/10/2003


Your filter should be able to remove the D.E. The problem will be to get all of the D.E. into the main drain or the skimmers. Adding a dose of a "Blue" Clarifier might be a consideration. If you have an automatic pool vacuum, it might be a good time to make use of it. If it is a suction-side cleaner, at least it will get the D.E. off the bottom and into the filter intake. I hope that I've been helpful. Enjoy the pool season.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/10/2003


Staying Cloudy And Green?

Thank you for the great web site. We just bought a house and it has a 27' diameter X 52" high pool. The water has never been quite right. The water is green. The algae level seems to rise and fall. We shock, a lot. We figured out that we need stabilizer and calcium so that the chlorine level seems to have started to level out. Now we have a huge algae problem. I know the pool is 3-5 years old. I also know the sand in the filter has never been replaced. I am told that this may be a part of the problem. How hard is it to change the sand and is there a guide we should use? I am getting frustrated with the situation as I have been working at it for 3 weeks now and have yet to see non-green water. We backwash, we run the filter all the time, we vacuum and skim. We have a chlorine floater, as well as, all the shocking we do. Any help you could offer would be appreciated. Thanks.

Jeanette W., 6/5/2009


The problem all centers around the lack of an adequate level of free chlorine. Adding the stabilizer and calcium probably did little to help control the algae. You must keep adding shock at the rate of 1-2 pounds per 10,000 gallons, until a Free Chlorine readings is established and last thru the night. The longer it takes - the more chlorine will be required. At this point the water should clear. Adding a NANO-STICK Clarifier should help, as it will remove fine particles and oxidize debris, using NEW 21st Century technology. All you do is hang it from the ladder. Safe in all pools and with all types of chemicals. It adds no chemicals to the water. It might be a good time to replace the sand and start with a clean page. Visit a local pool professional with the make and model number. They will have replacement sand or, even better, ZeobriteXtreme sand replacement filter media and should be able to tell you how to go about making the change. Contrary to common sense, a sand filter should not be backwashed too frequently. A slightly dirty filter works best! The key is the chlorine: add it every few hours, keep the pool filter running and make sure that you are testing for Free Chlorine. It will all clear up for you. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely.  Alan Schuster, 6/5/2009


Diatomaceous Earth Filter And Floc?

Alan, is there any problem using floc with DE filters? I thought that I heard not to do this somewhere. Thanks.

Frank K., 6/17/2008


I've never been a big fan of floc. However, it does work. It clears up water by creating a gelatinous precipitate that, as it falls
Nano-Stick Clarifiers, forall types of pools and spas. to the bottom, attracts suspended matter and takes it to the bottom. The end result is that you have a bigger amount of sediment to remove, by vacuuming. The problem with DE pool filters is that if you get too much of the gelatinous sediment into the filter, it can clog the filter. Inasmuch as it is impossible to vacuum all of the gelatinous material to waste, without leaving a small quantity behind, you may end up with a clogged filtration system. DE pool filters are very efficient and are usually able to deal with suspended matter, in the course of normal operation. If you would like to use an additive to help the water quality, I suggest that you try a NANO-STICK Clarifier. This product is highly effective at removing fine particles and, unlike liquid clarifiers, it does not coagulate the D.E. Safe with all types of chemicals. Just hang it from the pool ladder and it will work 24/7, for up to 6 months. I hope that I have been of assistance.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/17/2008


Which Filter To Choose?

I am in the process of replacing a tired old sand filter. My pool is approx. 20000 gallons and I see a lot of ads for cartridge filters. How do they compare to sand filters for effectiveness, etc? They don't seem to be as popular in Canada as down south. Thanks for any info that you may have.

Ed L., Osoyoos, B.C. Canada, 4/2/2008


I am not an expert on pool filters. However, based upon the questions that have been submitted to me, over many years, I would conclude that you are more apt to be satisfied with the water quality, if you elect to utilize a quality cartridge filter or a modern sand filter, using ZeobriteXtreme sand filter replacement media in place of sand. Zeobrite is modestly priced, longer lasting and can produce results rivaling a D.E. filter. Speak with some of the local builders. Good luck with your decision.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/2/2008


Sudden Filter Problem?

We have an in-ground, 30 mil, vinyl pool with 17,400 gallons. This summer we had a sudden onset of yellow-green silt looking stuff that goes right thru the filter. It is an older style, (20 years) 102 square foot, paper cartridge in a stainless steel bullet looking thing. Up until now it has worked fine. When the problem came on we suspected the cartridge so we replaced it. No help. The filter base had a small internal crack so we replaced it too. No help. I even fell for the "worn out filter pump" story and replaced the old 3/4 horse with a new 1 HP pump. It moves a lot of water but it didn't cure the problem. Actually, the old motor and pump were making some noise. Earlier in the summer the pool cleaner booster pump went bad and we just plugged it off to continue using the filter pump. I don't know if there is a connection or not. We have used a variety of clarifiers to no avail. Last summer I put some D.E. in it and it worked fine, but now everything just goes thru the filter as if it wasn't there at all. We are at the end of our rope. All I get from the locals is to replace the entire filter with a newer, high dollar system. Is that what I'm facing? I find it hard to believe that this is an isolated problem. We have also totally replaced water twice after other attempts turned sour. We have quizzed neighbors with similar pools and they have no problems. What's up?

Rick P., Bakersfield, CA, 8/14/2009


From your description it sounds like you have "Yellow Mustard Algae." While it is possible that you might have had a filter problem, pool water filtration alone will not remove yellow mustard algae. Changing the water will not solve the problem. To control this type of algae, proper chemical treatment is required. Please refer to the archives, Yellow-Mustard Algae Problems, for more complete information on treatment. Good luck!

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 8/14/2009


Filter On Or Off?

The filter must be on while adding chemicals to the pool? Is this correct? I was doing the opposite.

Luis S., 6/2/2005


The filter should always be operating while adding chemicals, unless specifically directed otherwise. Generally, you do not want chemicals to remain on the bottom for prolonged periods. Always follow the manufacturer's directions and never mix different chemicals together!

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/3/2005


Too Much For The Strainer Basket?

A Southern Magnolia tree which is flowering this time of year (May-June) overhangs the pool. If the leaves weren't bad enough, tiny flower parts (stamens, I believe) fall into the pool by the thousands, get past the strainer basket, and clog the impeller. I've had someone come out and clean the impeller twice now (very expensive) but it clogs up again within days. Should I try to get a basket with finer holes? Wrap the strainer basket in a nylon stocking? Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

Brian D., 6/2/2004


Good idea!!! Although, it has already been invented. Local pool dealers should have something that can be fitted into your skimmers, to act just as you described. They are sock-like, cover the strainer baskets and act as a pre-filter. If only they were all this simple! Enjoy the season.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/2/2004


D.E. Filter Or Sand/Zeobrite Filter?

What is the best filter type for a plaster finish gunite pool and attached spa with salt water chlorination system? Does a sand filter with Zeobrite really filter as well as DE with less maintenance? Thank you.

Candice S., 10/31/2009


A sand filter filled with ZeobriteXtreme, in place of ordinary sand, will provide filter efficiency similar to that of a DE filter. Having a salt chlorine generator will even make it easier, as it will not be necessary to ever regenerate the Zeobrite. You'll get the water quality you want, with the ease and convenience of a sand filter. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 11/1/2009


A Cartridge Filter Or A D.E. Filter?

I'd like your opinion on Cartridge Filters. I had my above ground pool for 7 years and it came with a D.E. filter. I never had a problem with it. Last year, we had a built in pool installed and I was torn between getting a D.E. or Cartridge filter. I decided to get the cartridge filter because it's easier to maintain (according to the sales rep). I noticed a few things with this filter. It does not keep the water as clear as the D.E. filter. Why? Is it because it's not able to filter out the small particles like the D.E.? Is there anything that I can do to keep the water clearer? Are these cartridge filters OK?

Charlie W., Hemet, CA, 7/23/2010


Bull's Eye!!! You hit it right on the head! DE Filters can remove smaller particles than cartridge filters. For people who neglect
their pool maintenance, a DE filter can be a chore. For those who take care of the pool, a DE filter provides better water quality. Adding a NANO-STICK Clarifier should help, as it will remove fine particles and oxidize debris, using NEW 21st Century technology. All you do is hang it from the ladder. Safe in all pools and with all types of chemicals. It adds no chemicals to the water. It might just become your next best friend. I hope that I have been helpful. Enjoy the summer. I'm sure that you will come to terms with your new filter.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/23/2010


No Prime?

I just opened my pool. I blew out the lines, plugged them as I normally do. This is my second inground pool and 15 closing/opening. My current pool only two years old is giving me a problem. I can not get a prime. I can not locate any air leaks. The pool store said since I closed the pool myself, I probably did it wrong and the lines underground are cracked. After 15 years of doing this I have a hard time believing I have both a skimmer line and main line crack. I am going to pool the pump and check the impeller, seals, etc. Is there anyway to check the lines, pressurize them etc? I use a compressor to blow out the lines out. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Phillip M., 4/28/2005

Fix A Leak is available in pool and spa sizes.
I agree that it would be highly unlikely for two separate lines to crack at the same time. Most likely the problem is in a seal or
gasket. If disassembly and repair does not solve the problem, you might have to resort to having the lines pressure tested. Some pool service techs have the necessary equipment and expertise. If there is a leak, I would suggest that you give Fix A Leak a try, before tearing up the concrete or decking. You might even try it before the pressure testing. This products works well to seal suction side leaks up to 1/8" in diameter. Good luck and I hope that I have been of help.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/29/2005


Trying To Decide On Filter Type?

We are trying to figure out what type of filter to use. We are leaning toward the DE for the water clarity but the installer told us that he has replaced them because people found them too high maintenance. He is recommending either a sand filter or cartridge filter, but will install whatever we want. The installer also informed us that DE can only be used with chlorine because biguanide will cause it to clog. Is this true?  Also, what are the required maintenances for the DE, sand and cartridge filters? Thank you for your assistance.

Laura M., Central PA, 7/13/2009


DE should give you the highest water quality, but is can be difficult for those that do no take care of
Solar-Powered Mineralizer for pools. the pool water chemistry and sanitation. Biguanide will interfere with DE filters. A sand filter, with ZeobriteXtreme sand filter Replacement media in place of ordinary sand, can provide water quality rivaling DE, with simple maintenance. Cartridge filters have simple maintenance and reasonable water quality. If you're set on biguanide, go with sand or cartridge. If you are trying to be chlorine free, there is a better way. The combination of an ozonator and a mineral sanitizer or solar-powered dual-ion mineralizer is chlorine free, highly automated and can be used with all types of filters. You still should try and maintain a low free chlorine level. Good luck with your choice.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/13/2009


Adding Some D.E. To A Sand Filter?

I was wanting to know about putting a small amount of DE in a sand filter.

Frank G., 2/23/2009


You could add a small amount to the skimmer as the sand filter is operating. Providing that there is no channeling, this could help improve the filter efficiency. However, there is another and better option. Instead of using ordinary filter grade sand, you could use ZeobriteXtreme: a natural mineral that can be used as a sand filter media replacement and will make a noticeable improvement in the water clarity and quality. It is very reasonably priced and the amount that will be required will only one-half as much by weight. It will last longer than ordinary sand and can be used with all types of pool chemicals. I hope that the information will prove helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 2/23/2009


No Water In Pump Basket?

Your website is extremely informative. Recently bought a house with an outdoor inground concrete pool. A few days ago I found that although the pool pump was turned on, no water could be seen in the filter window and also the needle in the pressure gauge does not move. I checked the basket near the pump for leaves etc but there were no debris. What do you think is the problem? Thank you.

Elizabeth, Birmingham, U.K., 1/23/2007


There is no water flow and that is why the gauge is reading zero. The pump has lost its prime. The question is why?  Check all the seals. Shut off the pump. Clean out the strainer baskets. Make sure the valve to the skimmers and main drain, if present, are open. Use a garden hose and fill the pump basket with water. Do it for a minute or until it remains filled. Quickly close the lid to the pump strainer and turn it on. Hopefully, the pump will re-prime and the water will start circulating. If this does not work, you may have a blockage. Remove the lines going in the pump and use a shop vacuum to blow them out. If bubbling occurs the lines are clear. I hope that this information proves helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 1/23/2007

I carried out your instructions and while re-circulating the water I discovered a leak under the pump. An engineer came out and found a crack in one of plastic pipes near the ball valve next to the pump. It's sorted. Thank you so much for the invaluable advice. I discovered your website last year whilst trying to learn more about pool maintenance etc. It's good to read about other people's experiences with their pools. Thanks and Have A Nice Day!

Elizabeth, Birmingham United Kingdom, 1/24/2007


Concerns About DE?

We are getting an in ground pool this summer and considering A DE filter over sand as cost is about the same and better efficient, but our pool sales guy says he heard that when the DE is backwashed it can be toxic to pets and will kill the grass. Doesn't seem true, is it? Could you suggest any pro's and cons of the DE filters? Thanks.

Dave, Chandler, Arizona, 3/25/2008


There is no question that a DE filter can produce better quality water than a sand filter. There are some health questions,
ZeobriteXtreme sand filter replacement media. regarding DE, that may be exaggerated. While it can be harmful, over a long period, to inhale DE particles (manufacturers and packagers), I don't believe there is significant risk when used, as directed, in a swimming pool. I have heard nothing about toxicity towards pets, but DE is suggested as being useful in insect control. DE filters are more efficient and capable of removing smaller particles. On the down side, they are more prone to clogging, especially if algae problems are frequent. There is another alternative that you may be unaware of. You can use ZeobriteXtreme, a sand replacement filter media, in place of ordinary filter sand. The result is that the filter efficiency is greatly enhanced and comes close to that of DE. Otherwise the filter is operated in exactly the same way as a sand filter. Good luck with your choice. Enjoy the pool!

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/25/2009


Need To Replace The D.E.?

Just had the pool resurfaced. A lot of muriatic acid was used to take off white powder on the pool walls. My question is after backwashing, do I have to refill the filter with D.E.?

Jerry, Homosassa, FL, 5/12/2005


If you have the type of filter that allows for backwashing, you must replace the DE, after every backwash. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely, Alan Schuster, 5/13/2005


Sand In The Pool?

I have an in-ground pool that is approximately 15 years old. I have noticed these past 2 years that, after rinsing the filter, sand returns into the bottom of the pool. While draining the pool, for the winter, I placed the controls back into the filter position and, after a short while, there were piles of sand on the bottom near all 3 return lines. What is causing this? Is it because the filter is too low on sand or is some thing broken?

Richard R., Granite Falls, MN, 6/17/2008


Something is definitely wrong with the filter. Sand should not be getting into the pool, as you are describing. Exactly, what is wrong is beyond the scope of my knowledge (Too many filters and models). I'm sure that a local dealer, that sells or services pool filters will be able to help you to trouble-shoot the problem. Good luck.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/17/2008

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