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Pool Filter Problems

A key factor for producing better water quality.
 
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Scroll down to browse through some archived SWIMMING POOL questions and answers.  Please click the Pool Problems 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!

 

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Filtration problems require the right kind of products and conditions.
A  lot of variables affect filter performance and the results show up in the clarity and quality of the pool water.  Filters require reasonable maintenance and cleaning, on a seasonal or as-needed basis.  If you have a cartridge filter, The Blaster Automatic Filter Cartridge Cleaner will make that chore much easier.  Fine particles can pass through many filters. A Magnetic Water Conditioner can help alleviate scale formation, which can interfere with filter performance and efficiency.  Some water sources contain heavy metals, which can lead to discoloration and staining problems.  Attaching a MetalTrap Filter, to the garden hose, will remove dissolved heavy metals, avoiding some potential staining problems.
Automatic Filter Cartridge Cleaner The 21st Century Pool and Spa Clarifiers Removes Heavy Metals, from  the water
Automatic Filter Cartridge Cleaners, for pools and spas. Magnetic Water Conditioner for scale problems. MetalTrap Fiters
Product and Ordering Information Product and Ordering Information Product and Ordering Information

If you have a pool or spa water testing need, we should have the product.
Scroll down to read through some Question & Answer information.
Water chemistry plays a big role, in preventing algae growth, keeping chemicals in solution and avoiding scale formation.  A ColorQ all-digital pool water analyzer is a convenient and easy way to do all of the common tests.  There's a model, for every testing need.  Debris blowing into the pool only adds to the work of the filter and, if it sinks, can cause staining.  A Solar-Powered Robotic Pool Skimmer/Cleaner will work autonomously to remove floating debris, before it sinks.  Better Circulation can be achieved, by simply replacing the existing return jet fittings.  The Circulator will dramatically improve circulation, by creating a spiraling return flow, that reaches throughout the pool.
ColorQ All-Digital Water Testers Robotic, Solar Pool Skimmer/Cleaner Circulation Boosting Return Jet Fittings
ColorQ PRO 7 all digital pool and spa tester. Solar-Breeze Solar, Robotic Pool Skimmer/Cleaner. The Ciruclater replacement return jet fitting improves pool water circulation.
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If you have a pool or spa water testing need, we should have the product.
Scroll down to read through some Question & Answer information.

 
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.  If you need to replace a pump, think in terms of a 2-speed or variable speed pump.  The electrical savings are substantial, even if you increase the hours of running time.  The Circulator is a replacement return jet fitting, that creates a spiraling return flow, that reaches throughout the pool and helps eliminate dead zones, that promote algae growth.  Better circulation helps make everything better.

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.     ▼

► Should I Upsize My Pump?

My 1.5 hp motor died.  Is there a better option? What are pros and cons of stepping up to a 2 HP?

Hill T., 8/23/2019
The Pool Circulator is a replacement return jet fitting, that dramatically improves circulation.
A better question would have been, should I get a 2-speed or variable speed pump. That answer is a definite yes!!! If you run the pump at
1/2 speed, you are using 1/8th the electricity. So even if you double the running time, the power usage is cut in half. That will pay for the new pump, over time. Periodically you should run it a high speed, to help avoid dead zones. Adding The Circulator, to replace the existing return jets, will create a spiraling return flow that will reach more of the pool, even at a lower speed.  Pump size is related to pool size. If the 1.5 HP pump was sized right, I don't see why you need to go to 2.0 HP.  I hope that this is helpful.

Sincerely.  Alan Schuster, 8/23/2019
 

► A 2-Speed Or Variable Speed Pump Will Reduce Costs?

How does a 2-speed or variable speed pump save money?  My electrical costs are high, due to the rates charged, and a savings would be of interest.  Thank you.

Andy G., Babylon, NY 6/14/2018

There is real money to be saved.  Enough to recoup the investment.  This may sound counter-intuitive, but this is how the physics work.  Let's assume, you run the pump, for 8 hours a day and switch to half speed, for same number of hours.  It wThe Circulator improves pool water circulation.ould seem logical, that you would cut the costs in half, but that is not the case.  You would reduce power usage, by 2 to the third power, and power usage would drop to 1/8.  If you reduce the speed, for the same 8 hours by 2/3, the savings will be 3 to the third power and electrical usage would drop to 1/27.  If you compensate, for the weaker return flow, by running the pump 24/7, the cost at 1/2 speed would be 3/8 of what it was at full speed.  At 1/3 speed, and operating 24/7, the electrical costs would be 1/9, as compared to 8 hours, at full speed.  I agree that this may seem to good to be true, that that is how the physics determine the electrical usage.  On the negative side, flow to some areas of the pool may be weaker and create a dead zone.  You could add The Pool Circulator, to each return jet and create a spiraling return flow, which will improve circulation, to all areas of the pool.  This can be very helpful, especially when operating on low speed.  You also have the option of running at full speed, a periodic basis.  There's another plus.  At reduced speeds, the flow through the filter is decreased and that increases the efficiency of the filter.  The source of this information were articles written in industry trade publications.  I hope that this suggestion works out for you.

Sincerely.  Alan Schuster, 6/14/2018
 

► Cartridge Filter Uncertainty?

I have an in-ground pool (approx. 15-18K gallons) with a new cartridge filter which as installed Oct. 2015. During this summer (2016), I noticed some air bubbles in the return jets along with some silt, but my water level has been holding steady. The pressure on the filter gauge has maintained at 15-17 PSI, since installation, and does not increase much, if any, over time. Any suggestions?  Thanks.

Steve S., Denton, TX, 9/29/2016
BlasterAutomatic Filter Cartridge Cleaners for pools and spas.

You didn't say anything about cleaning the filter cartridge or performing any routine maintenance.  Make sure that the pressure is within the manufacturer's recommendations.  High pressure results in poor circulation and low pressure is a sign of inadequate filtration.  I would start by cleaning the filter cartridge and inspecting it for any defects.  Silt should not be passing through the filter.  Cartridges do not last indefinitely, so inspection is a must, a the first signs of a problem.  Cartridge cleaning can be made easier and more effective, using an Automatic Filter Cartridge Cleaner.  If problems continue, you might try replacing the existing cartridge.  

Sincerely.  Alan Schuster, 9/29/2016
 

►  Vacation Schedule?

We have a new salt chlorine generator for our in ground fiberglass pool. Right now the chemicals are perfect and the pool is beautiful. But we are going to cover it and leave for 2 months, with our neighbor coming to check the water level once a week. We live in a HOT desert area. Do we need to run the filter as often as we do when we are using the pool (which is 5 hours a day) or can we run it for a shorter period of time while we are away and the pool is getting zero use. Thanks for your time. I have read a lot of the questions and answers and it seems like you would be the one to ask. Thanks.

Russ W., 5/18/2018Relaiant salt chlorine generators, 3-models, for all types of pools, up to 40,000 gallons.

Five hours a day is not all that much time, especially in hot, sunny locations. I would not reduce the time. If your salt chlorine generator is in-line, you certainly need the pump running time maintained, at a level high enough to meet the pool's chlorine needs.  An auto-filler will solve the water level product. However, all things considered, it might pay to have a pool service look after the pool.  It could help protect your investment.  I hope that the information provided was helpful.

Sincerely.  Alan Schuster, 5/18/2018
 

►  Single Speed, Two-Speed Or Variable Speed Pump?

My question concerns which type motor to use on the filter system for cost savings. I operate my pool different from most pools. I use an ionizer system I installed several years ago. My difference, I never close my pool for winter. This saves me close down and start up chemicals, but I do add some liquid chlorine every week. I cover the pool with a net to keep out leaves. I run my filter every day during the year but do vary some days in winter when algae should not be a problem. Which type motor should I use, single stage, double stage, or variable speed motor for cost savings? The ionizer has paid for its installation in chemical savings and I question if a more expensive motor would pay for itself in operating cost. Enjoy your Web Site and always look for any thing I need from your site.

Richard, 4/19/2016
The Circulator improves pool water circulation.
Either way, 2-speed or variable speed will afford you big savings on electricity. If you operate it at half speed, for twice as long, you can save 75% on the cost of electricity. The only down side is that the return flow will be weaker and some dead zones may develop, as a result of the diminished strength of the return flow. Adding The Pool Circulator should help make a dramatic difference, by creating a spiraling return flow.  This better eliminates dead zones and improves chemical distribution.  I hope that the information provided was helpful.

Sincerely.  Alan Schuster, 4/19/2016

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►  How To Replace Filter Sand?

We just bought a pool, with a pool, and we are new to pool ownership.  I understand the sand has to be periodically replaced and I prefer to start with a clean slate.  How do I replace the sand?  Thank you.

Frank N., 6/2/2014

The filter system should be turned completely off.   Rotate the control head to the closed position. Close all ball valves, if present, to minimize the water loss. Remove the neck clamp, which holds the control valve onto the tank. Slowly remove the filter head, off of the stud pipe, that runs the entire length of the filter tank.  Set aside and protect, from damage. The stud pipe should still be positioned, in the middle of the sand filter, while all of the sand is removed.  Use a cup or a shop vacuum, to remove all of the old sand filter.

Inspect the laterals.  Most sand filters will have 6-8 laterals.  Check to see, if the holes have expanded or cracked, as this could allow the fresh sand to get back into the pool.  If there are signs of damage, consider replacing all the laterals, at one time, to help avoid performance issues.  Make sure that the bottom-most lateral remains attached, to the stand pipe.  If unattached, you might require a new stand pipe.

Use only filter grade sand or sand replacement filter media.  When ready to add the fresh sand, cap off the top of the stud pipe, to make sure that sand does not get down into the middle of the pipe.  Allowing sand to get into the middle of the pipe, will allow cause sand to get into the pool, when filter operation is resumed. Use the sand cap grate that was supplied, with your filter. If you no longer have the piece, use a suitably-sized plastic cup, to close off the center pipe.  Distribute the new sand evenly, around the stud pipe and outside of the tank.  Try to evenly coat the bottom of the filter.  Add only the exact amount of sand, that your filter requires.  Do not over-fill or under-fill the sand filter, as this could cause improper filter performance.  Make note of how much sand is required, for future reference.  Reassemble the filter and turn on the pump.
Relaiant salt chlorine generators, 3-models, for all types of pools, up to 40,000 gallons.
Above ground sand filters typically hold between 100-200 pounds of sand. each. Inground sand filters typically contain between 325-900 pounds of sand.  Filters vary according to model and manufacturer, so make sure you are of the correct amount of sand, that is required, for proper performance.  Sand is typically replaced every 3-5 years, but will vary, based on seasonal usage and other factors.  Zeolites are a sand replacement media, that provides improved filter performance.  The correct amount of zeolite is typically 1/2 of the normal weight of filter sand.  The downside of zeolite is that it has to be regenerated, using salt solution, possible a few times year.  However, if you are using a Salt Chlorine Generator, regeneration is avoided, because of the salt content, in the pool water. 

I hope that this information is helpful.

Sincerely.  Alan Schuster, 6/2/2014
 

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 3/3/2015
Solar-Powered, Robotic  Pool Skimmer-Cleaner
There are several ways, but a Robotic, Solar-Powered Pool cleaner/skimmer is probably the easiest way to improve effectiveness.  The Solar-Powered Pool Surface Skimmer operates fully autonomously, throughout the day and into the evening.  It helps filter
out fine debris and improves circulation.  It will help eliminate 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, 2/3/2015


Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Or Sand?

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

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


There is general consensus that DE Filters are capable of removing smaller particles than sand filters. This 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 a zeolite 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 of last year 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 next year 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 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 a zeolite sand filter replacement media. Zeolites 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 Zeolite, instead of ordinary filter sand. Are there any issues that I should be aware of? Would the zeolites 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 zeolites: a sand filter replacement media. In a standard, chemically chlorinated pool, zeolites will attract combined chlorines and hold them to the media. In order to
Model SR salt chlorine generator, 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 Zeolite 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 zeolite, 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


How Much Zeolite Is Required?

If a pool filter system takes 6 bags of sand (300 pounds), how much zeolite does it require? What size packages are available? Is more better? My filter is 3.0 cubic feet. Will adding more zeolite 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 zeolite is much lighter than sand. Zeolite is conveniently is typically packaged in 25 and 50-pound bags. More is not better. Just impractical!  Each 50 pound bag of zeolite 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 zeolite. Have a good season.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 1/10/2005


Filter Cleaning With Zeolite Media?

I know that zeolite 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


A leading manufacturer of zeolites recommends cleaning the media with a soaking filter cleaner that removes scale and 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.  Zeolite, 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 Back Pressure?

I would like to add The Circulators to my pool. I have a 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.
The Circulator improves pool water circulation.
Frank M., Bonita Springs, FL., 3/13/2008


The Pool 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 and eliminate the dead zones that promote algae growth. I hope that you'll find the information helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster/ 3/13/2008


Zeolite 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 Zeolite? 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


Zeolite 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 Zeolite, because of the salt in the water. Zeolite will allow you to go longer between backwashes and produce better quality water. Occasionally, the Zeolite 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 Pool 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 Zeolite Filter Media?

Thanks for all the great info on your site! We just replaced our sand in our filter with zeolite 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 zeolite. 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 zeolite needs to be regenerated with salt water solution. How often is that necessary? Thanks again for the service you provide.
 
Annette, 6/16/2010


You should find less need to use clarifiers because of the improved filtration. If it necessary to regenerate the Zeolite at least once a season, in outdoor, residential pools. Zeolite 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. Relaiant salt chlorine generators, 3-models, for all types of pools, up to 40,000 gallons.
3. Open the filter vessel and pour the salt solution to completely cover the zeolite 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


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


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 zeolite. Sand filters can be very inefficient in removing fine particles. With zeolite 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
improve filtration is to replace the sand with a zeolite 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.   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.
The Circulator improves pool water circulation.
John. L. Clearwater, FL, 5/26/2005


A Robotic Pool Cleaner usually does a great job. Nonetheless, new debris will settle in areas, based on the flow patterns. The Pool 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?

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 a zeolite sand filter replacement media. Zeolites are 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 zeolites, 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


Zeolite'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 Zeolite remove calcium and manganese from the water? I have been using Zeolite 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, 12/27/2016


This statement refers to a manmade zeolite that has been modified to be used with water softeners. Zeolite 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, zeolite 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, 12/27/2016


► 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 a zeolite filter media. Since then all has been sparkly. What causes channeling? Is it possible that zeolite 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., 7/30/2012

There are a couple of situations where channeling can occur in zeolite. 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 calcium hardness is allowed to run too high. Since Zeolite 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, 7/31/2012


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?
Magnetic water conditioner help solve scaling and hardness problems.
Roy N., Chandler, AZ, 6/2/2005


Magnetic water conditioners contain strong permanent magnets, that are strapped on the return lines. 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 tThe Pool Circulator is a replacement return jet fitting, that dramatically improves circulation.he pool filter to remove these fine particles. Backwashing a sand filter doesn't damage the filter: it just lowers the 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.  The Pool 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%.  Improving circulation helps bring more dirt, sediments and silt, to the skimmer and onto the filter. 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!   I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 9/10/2010


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 th
The Circulator for all types of pools.e problem is still algae. Sand filters can be subject to such problems. If the sand has not been replaced in a long time, 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 a zeolite 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 and it might be a good time to replace the filter media. Better circulation usually leads to better filtration. The Pool Circulator is a circulation boosting device that can be easily installed in each return and it will dramatically improve the circulation, bringing more dirt, sediments and silt, to the filter. 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,
The Circulator improves pool water circulation. 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.  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. If you're interesting is some substantial savings, switch to a 2-speed or variable-speed pump.  You could double the running time and still save 75% on electricity.  If you want to get the most out of the filtering time, replace the existing return jets, with The Circulator.  It will create a spiraling return flow that will reach throughout the pool and improve chemical and heat distribution.   I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/1/2005


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 zeolite), 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
The Pool Circulator is a replacement return jet fitting, that dramatically improves circulation.

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 zeolite, 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.  Replacing the existing return jet eyeball fitting, with The Circulator, will create a spiraling return flow, that will help make the most, out of every hour of filter operation.   I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/10/2010


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


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


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

Solar-Breexe Robotic, Solar-Powered Pool Skimmer-cleaner.
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 Robotic Pool Surface Cleaner-Skimmer can reduce the time, as it acts as a second filter. 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 To Filter 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 remove silt that might otherwise settl
e to the bottom. Breaking up the filter run into 2 separate periods is a good idea. IOne of the ColorQ all-digital, pool and spa water analyzers.f 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 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


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
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.  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 a zeolite sand filter replacement media in place of sand. Zeolites are 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, When Adding Chemicals?

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/Zeolite 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 Zeolite really filter as well as DE with less maintenance? Thank you.
MegaChlor salt chlorine generator, for spas and swim spas.
Candice S., 10/31/2009


A sand filter filled with zeolite, 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 Zeolite. 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.  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


Pump Not Priming?

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 Leal Seals pool and spa leaks
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


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



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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