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Thread: Diagnosing DE filter/cellulose problems & solutions

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    Diagnosing DE filter/cellulose problems & solutions

    I have a Hayward DE filter/pump rigged to my ABG Intex pool (see signature for details) that has had nothing but FiberClear fed through it as a medium. I bought it brand new and it's been in service for three seasons, and it seems as though every season it has become progressively more difficult to keep at an optimum operating pressure and cleanliness. In the beginning, I charged the filter with 10 oz. of the FiberClear (1/8th the recommended weight of D.E. my filter normally is charged with, as per FC instructions) and the pressure settled in at 13-14 psi. It did a fantastic job that first summer staying clean and keeping the water clear.

    After disassembling and cleaning it for the winter it went back into service the second season, this time with a Hayward NG heater in-line after the pump/filter. That's when I began to pay much more attention to the pressure, and how the filter becoming dirty would affect water flow, because low flow and my gas heater don't go well together. A the pressure crept up toward 18 and 20 psi, the heater would sometimes make a squealing noise, so I frequently was bumping it and even disassembling it once or twice in-season in order to keep the pressure down and the flow up.

    And this summer has been even more of the same; frequent bumps and occasional disassembly and hosing down the tubes, which all seem fine and in good shape, but brown and dirty looking, even after hosing them off. Now, at the end of Season 3, I can barely get the pressure down to 16 or 17 at startup immediately after taking it apart and hosing it off.

    My question for anyone using cellulose in a D.E. filter is, is there some process I need to go through this offseason to do a better job of cleaning the elements, in order that it will perform closer to that first season? What am I missing? Thanks.
    18'x4' AG Intex Ultra Frame, 6,700 gal., assembled new 2013; Mods: Hayward EC50C90 Perflex filter & 1 h.p. PowerFlo Matrix pump, Fiber Clear cellulose D.E. substitute, Hayward H100ID1 100,000 BTU NG heater, a pair of 2'x20' Sungrabber solar heaters via the original Intex 635T pump, grey Hydro Tools through-the-wall skimmer, Confer steps/ladder system & Cover Free chemical pool cover. The Summer of Mods!

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Diagnosing DE filter/cellulose problems & solutions

    I have a standard grid type DE filter. I generally open it up and blast the grids clean in place with a hose nozzle after a brief backwash and then backwash again after that. My grids are not discolored at all. My pressures always return to the same spot.

    Discoloring sort of points to metals in the water. Rapid loading up during normal operation hints at insufficient chlorination and algae growth. Not cleaning off well could point to calcium buildup. Do the fingers feel stiff?

    You might need to try an acid bath. There are directions for chemical cleaning in this thread
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Diagnosing DE filter/cellulose problems & solutions

    I also have a DE filter and have only used Fiber Clear. I have found that backwashing does not work as well with fiber as it would with DE. As a result I take the filter apart and remove the grids and clean them individually, however if you do backwash make sure to only add 80 percent of the recommended fiber clear when done.

    I have also noticed a discoloration of the grids, also a brownish color. However I have a very large amount of tree debris that goes through my system and my discoloration is most likely from organic material. That being said the grids are made from cloth and can be soaked in a mild laundry detergent when you close or want to do a deeper cleaning of the grids. I soak overnight and make sure to rinse thoroughly to remove all soap. Hope this helps.
    25,000 gallon in ground white plaster- 1 1/2 HP Pentair SuperFlo pump - 60 sqft FNS DE filter (with FiberClear), 1999 Sundance Optima 850 hot tub.
    Manassas Park, VA

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    Re: Diagnosing DE filter/cellulose problems & solutions

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    Discoloring sort of points to metals in the water. Rapid loading up during normal operation hints at insufficient chlorination and algae growth. Not cleaning off well could point to calcium buildup. Do the fingers feel stiff?
    [/URL]
    I will concede that my using softened well water to refill is probably adding a bit of iron oxide to the mix, although I rarely need to use sequestrant to clear it up. I have been faithful in maintaining chlorine levels and this summer algae has never been a problem, other than at spring opening, when it took me 2-3 days to clear up my mildly annoying winter mess. I don't test for calcium but my "fingers" are no stiffer than the day they were new. I will check out the acid bath. Thanks.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Rocco View Post
    I also have a DE filter and have only used Fiber Clear. I have found that backwashing does not work as well with fiber as it would with DE. As a result I take the filter apart and remove the grids and clean them individually, however if you do backwash make sure to only add 80 percent of the recommended fiber clear when done.

    I have also noticed a discoloration of the grids, also a brownish color. However I have a very large amount of tree debris that goes through my system and my discoloration is most likely from organic material. That being said the grids are made from cloth and can be soaked in a mild laundry detergent when you close or want to do a deeper cleaning of the grids. I soak overnight and make sure to rinse thoroughly to remove all soap. Hope this helps.
    Yeah, I sometimes backwash, but it has become mostly futile, so I quickly break it down for a by-hand cleaning. Tree debris is a big, big issue for me too, as is dust and dirt from a nearby yard that won't grow grass! I'll look at soaking in laundry detergent as well. Would that exclude something like OxyClean or even bleach?
    18'x4' AG Intex Ultra Frame, 6,700 gal., assembled new 2013; Mods: Hayward EC50C90 Perflex filter & 1 h.p. PowerFlo Matrix pump, Fiber Clear cellulose D.E. substitute, Hayward H100ID1 100,000 BTU NG heater, a pair of 2'x20' Sungrabber solar heaters via the original Intex 635T pump, grey Hydro Tools through-the-wall skimmer, Confer steps/ladder system & Cover Free chemical pool cover. The Summer of Mods!

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    Re: Diagnosing DE filter/cellulose problems & solutions

    The reason for using laundry detergent is because it is able to remove small particles of dirt from fabric so OxyClean should be ok, I do not think bleach can do this so I would stay away from it for now.
    25,000 gallon in ground white plaster- 1 1/2 HP Pentair SuperFlo pump - 60 sqft FNS DE filter (with FiberClear), 1999 Sundance Optima 850 hot tub.
    Manassas Park, VA

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Diagnosing DE filter/cellulose problems & solutions

    You want detergents or TSP because they will break down any oils that may be there.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Diagnosing DE filter/cellulose problems & solutions

    Thank you both!
    18'x4' AG Intex Ultra Frame, 6,700 gal., assembled new 2013; Mods: Hayward EC50C90 Perflex filter & 1 h.p. PowerFlo Matrix pump, Fiber Clear cellulose D.E. substitute, Hayward H100ID1 100,000 BTU NG heater, a pair of 2'x20' Sungrabber solar heaters via the original Intex 635T pump, grey Hydro Tools through-the-wall skimmer, Confer steps/ladder system & Cover Free chemical pool cover. The Summer of Mods!

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