Geez, I don't know where to start...except to possibly mention that I did not cover my pool last winter.
I have been fighting the good fight, armed with the knowledge that I have gained here. My Black/brown pool is now a lovely shade of light green and I am pleased with the progress. I have noticed a good deal of material going back into the pool from the return. I had a similar problem last year, but it seems insignificant to what I have now.
I cannot see the bottom of my pool yet, so I have been vacuuming blindly to remove the millions of pine needles. I vacuum and in less than a minute have to clean out the pump basket. Is that normal for pine needle removal? Unfortunately, my son is busy with end-of-school activities as he is about to graduate and hubby does a fine job of running the family business. The pool care however, seems to be a one woman show. Today when vacuuming and stopping to empty the basket, I noticed a clump of sand in the basket. On my second attempt, a great deal of sand in the basket and then I put my hand down into the housing and it was full of sand.
Alone and in a moment of desperation, I removed the cover from the filter and it was stuck on the center pipe, so in my effort to remove it, I moved the pipe out of place and couldn't get it back to where it belonged. I could see the laterals at this point, as I tipped the filter onto its side. I was able to pour off a good bit of water and sand and get the top disconnected from the center pipe. I tillted the laterals and was able to remove them and hosed them off. They look good, perfect, in fact. Now I am in over my head. With my filter on it's side, a ton of sand on the ground and laterals that look great, I don't know what my problem is.
I came here to search, but most answers to questions like mine seem to indicate broken laterals. My next step is to open the multi-port valve, but I cannot imagine that the amount of sand that I swept up could come from that unless it is a cumulative type of thing and I just happened on the spot it was accumulating to.
At this point, I am assuming that I will have to empty the filter of the sand completely and replace it. Darn, those filters are heavy... I tried to upright mine and failed. The mechanics seem pretty simple and even a novice like me knows that I will never clean my pool if my filter keeps spewing nasty stuff back into the pool.
Thank you for any ideas! (Oh... and I know covering the pool is the first good idea...but it just didn't work out that way for me this year)