So I thought I knew what I was doing. I evidently did not. Mea culpa to my poor pool equipment.
I have thought that the basket filter poolside plus the two at the equipment pad were THE filters. But my pool has a whole mess of dirt at the bottom that wasn't going away so I got out the manuals and looked through everything carefully. When pool and equipment were installed last summer, I was given a quick pool school and since I'd managed a pool before (albeit a long time ago) I thought I knew what was what. After reviewing the literature closely I realized I had not been cleaning out the actual filter. So today I followed the instructions, drained the casing and pulled the filter cartridges out. Ick! What a filthy mess. I tried to hose them off and clean between the folds to no avail. It would take hours, a lot of water, and they are possibly damaged beyond usefulness. So I'm going to spring for a whole new set of the filters.
My questions... Is it possible to rent a piece of equipment to vacuum all the silt and dirt from the bottom of the pool so that it does not have to get run through my filter system? I'm worried that I'll just ruin the new filters because there will be so much dirt to process. If I can't rent the equipment, would a professional pool cleaner have something that would clean the water without passing it through my filters? Perhaps it would be worth hiring someone for a one-time grand cleaning.
I hope this is making sense. Going forward, I expect a lot less dirt to get into the pool because I've had a garden put in and the dirt next to the pool is now covered with plants and mulch.