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Thread: Needing to regenerate/bump DE filter daily - cloudy water

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    Needing to regenerate/bump DE filter daily - cloudy water

    Pool info is in signature.

    We opened the pool to mostly clear water, and got it nice for a couple weeks back in June. For most of the last month, though, it's been so cloudy you can't see the bottom (and it's not a large pool). I'm a new pool owner (got it off Craigslist last year, installed in late-summer), but dedicated last Friday to learning about the pool and how to maintain it. I downloaded the manual for my filter (a Hayward-Perflex EC40), and basically started over. After shutting off the supply and return valves, I bumped it about eight times, then opened the drain valve. Per the manual, I opened the suction valve for a few seconds to flush it, then closed it. After re-priming the filter and turning on the pump, I added 4lbs of DE, per the decal on the side of the filter. My pressure was about 15psi and I was getting great return pressure. I was hopeful for a clear pool Saturday morning.

    Instead, I woke up to hardly any return pressure out of the return. There was no air in the bottom strainer (the one with the clear cover), the pressure guage read 22psi, I had hardly any water coming out of the return, and obviously, zero water movement. It's almost like it was blocked somewhere in the filter or return line. I shut it off, bumped it a half dozen times, and the pressure out of the return came back, but only for a few hours. We didn't swim all weekend, which was a major bummer.

    As of right now, my chems are as follows (and forgive me for not including all of the ones you want, I just found this forum and only have one thing of test strips):

    pH: Low (6.2)
    ppm FREE CHLORINE: 1
    ppm TOTAL ALKALINITY: 40
    ppm STABILIZER: 0

    I'm not sure how much of this has to do with the filter not circulating. I spoke with my dad, and he suggested some clarifying product, but I figure until my filter is pushing water, chems aren't going to matter much. Any ideas? Could my pump be failing? Does the length of suction or return hose matter? Could I be adding the wrong amount of DE (I don't have a coffee can or scooper, so I weighed a cup I had. It was 8oz, so I added 8 of these cupfulls)?
    18' round above ground, vinyl liner, 48" deep (flat), Confer Step1 steps. Approximately 7600 gallons. Waterways/Proline FC075 cartridge filter. 75GPM (71 minute complete cycle), 75 sq ft filtration area.

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Needing to regenerate/bump DE filter daily - cloudy wate

    I think you have it backwards. Your chemistry problems are causing your filter problem. DE filters are so good at removing debris from the water that they require frequent cleaning if the slightest hint of algae shows up.

    With no stabilizer, it's virtually impossible to operate an outdoor pool unless you constantly add chlorine. You need to get your chemistry right, and then when your filter removes the debris it will stay clean. Here are a couple of articles from Pool School to get you started ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry
    Recommended Levels
    Additionally, if you haven't disassembled the filter for internal cleaning or if you have ever operated the filter without adding DE, you really need to open it up and clean the grids. Dirty grids can make your filter operate like a very small filter that clogs quickly.
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    Re: Needing to regenerate/bump DE filter daily - cloudy wate

    Welcome to TFP!

    This isn't really a filter problem. Your numbers are way off, and you almost certainly have algae. It is the algae that is clogging the filter, and that will stop being a problem as soon as you get things back into balance.

    The first thing to do is to get your PH back into range. You should never allow PH to go below 7.2. At this point you want to raise PH up to around 7.5 to 7.8. That should also take care of your TA being too low. Do you use trichlor chlorine tablets? They are the most likely cause of low PH and low TA. Trichlor tablets are acidic and you need to be constantly adding soda ash any time you are using trichlor tablets.

    Then you need to raise your stabilizer/CYA level up to at least 30. And then you need to shock the pool. See the directions in pool school on how to shock your pool.
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    Re: Needing to regenerate/bump DE filter daily - cloudy wate

    Thank you both for the help. At least I'm on the right track now, not blaming the pump. I did take the cover off the filter last winter, and it was clean at the beginning of the year. But I bet it needs another cleaning now. I'll get to that this week.

    As for the chems, this is what I have in my posession:

    -A 75# tub of no-name 3" chlorine tabs. Says it's 95% trichlor.

    -A smaller tub of Sustain Shield Energizer. They are smaller tablets.

    Both were given to me by the pool's previous owner. I've been adding the 3" pucks when the chlorine is low, but haven't done anything with the Sustain tub.

    I've read the ABC's of Pool Chemistry link, and now understand that I can use borax or soda ash to raise the pH. Unfortunately, money is a factor these days (wasn't when we got the pool...long story), and so I'd like to avoid a $200 trip to the pool store if I can help it. If I use borax, how much and how should I add it?

    As for the stabilizer, is the only way to increase that to purchase the cyanuric acid? I understand the solid is cheaper. Is a pool store the only source for that?

    Thanks again for all the help. Feel free to tell me to go search. I will, but then I'll likely be back before I purchase anything just to make sure I have it right.
    18' round above ground, vinyl liner, 48" deep (flat), Confer Step1 steps. Approximately 7600 gallons. Waterways/Proline FC075 cartridge filter. 75GPM (71 minute complete cycle), 75 sq ft filtration area.

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    Re: Needing to regenerate/bump DE filter daily - cloudy wate

    Sorry, just found this article in the Pool School, will read it now. Wish I found this site earlier!

    pool-school/recommended_pool_chemicals
    18' round above ground, vinyl liner, 48" deep (flat), Confer Step1 steps. Approximately 7600 gallons. Waterways/Proline FC075 cartridge filter. 75GPM (71 minute complete cycle), 75 sq ft filtration area.

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    Re: Needing to regenerate/bump DE filter daily - cloudy wate

    I apologize for continually updating my own thread, but I just found www.thepoolcalculator.com. Amazing! Here's what I'm hoping to do:

    -Purchase a legitimate water test kit
    -Purchase a jug of Clorox
    -Purchase borax and baking soda
    -Use www.poolcalculator.com to figure out how much of each to add.

    Anything to worry about with this approach? I cannot BELIEVE it's possible to keep up a pool without pool store chemicals. This is the biggest secret ever kept!
    18' round above ground, vinyl liner, 48" deep (flat), Confer Step1 steps. Approximately 7600 gallons. Waterways/Proline FC075 cartridge filter. 75GPM (71 minute complete cycle), 75 sq ft filtration area.

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    Re: Needing to regenerate/bump DE filter daily - cloudy wate

    You're on the right track!
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    Re: Needing to regenerate/bump DE filter daily - cloudy wate

    One question: I can go out to Target and get all three chemicals, but I won't have a test kit until next week if I order it now. How should I proceed knowing that my testing will be limited to these stupid strips?
    18' round above ground, vinyl liner, 48" deep (flat), Confer Step1 steps. Approximately 7600 gallons. Waterways/Proline FC075 cartridge filter. 75GPM (71 minute complete cycle), 75 sq ft filtration area.

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    Re: Needing to regenerate/bump DE filter daily - cloudy wate

    I would go ahead and adjust the PH right away. The test strips will be good enough to get PH somewhere in the right range, which is also important to do soon.

    However, I don't trust test strips for CYA readings, which is their least reliable test. I would wait on adjusting CYA until you get a more reliable CYA test result.

    Shocking before or after is more of a judgement call. If the algae is just getting started and you can catch it early it is often worth adding chlorine right away. But if the algae is already fully developed it is better to wait until you have everything just right and take care of it all at once.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Needing to regenerate/bump DE filter daily - cloudy wate

    Great, thank you. I'll head out and pick up some Borax this afternoon. Using poolcalculator.com, it says to go from a pH of 6.2 to 7.5, I'll need 183oz of borax by weight. That's over 11lbs. Does that sound right? Looks like they come in 4lb boxes...I'll pick up a few.
    18' round above ground, vinyl liner, 48" deep (flat), Confer Step1 steps. Approximately 7600 gallons. Waterways/Proline FC075 cartridge filter. 75GPM (71 minute complete cycle), 75 sq ft filtration area.

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    Re: Needing to regenerate/bump DE filter daily - cloudy wate

    Last question for the day (maybe): which of these issues is causing the cloudy water? That's to say, which chem will need to be resolved for us to see clear water and possibly swim? Or is the answer "all of the above"?
    18' round above ground, vinyl liner, 48" deep (flat), Confer Step1 steps. Approximately 7600 gallons. Waterways/Proline FC075 cartridge filter. 75GPM (71 minute complete cycle), 75 sq ft filtration area.

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    Re: Needing to regenerate/bump DE filter daily - cloudy wate

    The clouding is most likely algae. The shock process is what will clear that up.

    But even if clear, you wouldn't want to swim in water with that pH.
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    Re: Needing to regenerate/bump DE filter daily - cloudy wate

    I think my question got lost a bit above. Do you think 11lbs of Borax is the right amount? Going from 6.2 to 7.5 in a 5300 gallon pool...poolcalculator says so. If that's right...slowly add it to the skimmer?
    18' round above ground, vinyl liner, 48" deep (flat), Confer Step1 steps. Approximately 7600 gallons. Waterways/Proline FC075 cartridge filter. 75GPM (71 minute complete cycle), 75 sq ft filtration area.

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    Re: Needing to regenerate/bump DE filter daily - cloudy wate

    Quote Originally Posted by rjproulx
    I think my question got lost a bit above. Do you think 11lbs of Borax is the right amount? Going from 6.2 to 7.5 in a 5300 gallon pool...poolcalculator says so. If that's right...slowly add it to the skimmer?
    You need to change your TA level in the pool calculator. It defaults to 100ppm. With yours at 40ppm, you get 87oz. to go to 7.5. I'd put in about half that and see what happens, then maybe consider adding some baking soda to get your TA up into a better area, then going back to borax for pH.
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    Re: Needing to regenerate/bump DE filter daily - cloudy wate

    Sorry JohnT, didn't see this in time. I ended up putting one whole box of Borax into the skimmer last night. Bumped and ran the filter all night, and just now I got these results (still using the stick):

    pH: 7.2 (was 6.2)
    ppm FREE CHLORINE: Between 0 and 1 (was 1)
    ppm TOTAL ALKALINITY: ~60 (was 40)
    ppm STABILIZER: 0 (was 0)

    So what next? The pool is still very cloudy but I'm happy to be making progress, even if it's just getting the pH up.

    I imagine I need to still bump up the TA, but what about the Stabilizer (that's the same as CYA, right?) Are we ignoring that for now? I have some baking soda, but I don't have any cyanuric acid. And what about chlorine? I bought three jugs of Clorox (6%) the other day.

    Still holding out hope we can swim this weekend...but need to clear up the cloudiness so I can vacuum and make it look like a nice pool again. Thanks so much for all the help thus far!
    18' round above ground, vinyl liner, 48" deep (flat), Confer Step1 steps. Approximately 7600 gallons. Waterways/Proline FC075 cartridge filter. 75GPM (71 minute complete cycle), 75 sq ft filtration area.

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    Re: Needing to regenerate/bump DE filter daily - cloudy wate

    I'd get some chlorine in right away, then start adding CYA/stabilizer to get to about 35ppm.
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    Re: Needing to regenerate/bump DE filter daily - cloudy wate

    I wouldn't put the borax in the skimmer. I add mine directly to the pool, but most suggest mixing it with pool water in a 5 gallon bucket THEN adding that to the pool. But not the skimmer.

    I do not see any way you have 0 stabilizer (CYA) if you have been using trichlor tablets. That's most likely a testing error, you need a good test kit!
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    Re: Needing to regenerate/bump DE filter daily - cloudy wate

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT
    I'd get some chlorine in right away, then start adding CYA/stabilizer to get to about 35ppm.
    Perfect timing. Just came back in after adding 22oz of Clorox (6%), which the poolcalculator said should raise my FC from 1 to 3. I'll test again shortly.

    Am I correct when I say that CYA/stabilizer actually needs to be purchased at a pool store? Where I have the 3" trichlor pucks, would it hurt to toss one of those in the skimmer even though I just added bleach? I believe I read that would help with CYA (knowing that I'd have to keep an eye on the pH dropping as well).

    FWIW, the pool "feels" nicer, not as slippery as prior days. Still cloudy though. Filter is chugging at the same pressure it was four hours ago.
    18' round above ground, vinyl liner, 48" deep (flat), Confer Step1 steps. Approximately 7600 gallons. Waterways/Proline FC075 cartridge filter. 75GPM (71 minute complete cycle), 75 sq ft filtration area.

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    Re: Needing to regenerate/bump DE filter daily - cloudy wate

    Quote Originally Posted by RobbieH
    I wouldn't put the borax in the skimmer. I add mine directly to the pool, but most suggest mixing it with pool water in a 5 gallon bucket THEN adding that to the pool. But not the skimmer.

    I do not see any way you have 0 stabilizer (CYA) if you have been using trichlor tablets. That's most likely a testing error, you need a good test kit!
    I definitely need a new test kit. Ordering it later this week. That said, I haven't been great about chlorinating, so it's not like I've had the pucks in there for weeks. I let the pool go for a bit which is why it's in its current state.
    18' round above ground, vinyl liner, 48" deep (flat), Confer Step1 steps. Approximately 7600 gallons. Waterways/Proline FC075 cartridge filter. 75GPM (71 minute complete cycle), 75 sq ft filtration area.

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    Re: Needing to regenerate/bump DE filter daily - cloudy wate

    It is OK to put pucks in the skimmer if your pump is running 24/7. Otherwise, you'll get a big concentration of chlorine in the skimmer when the pump is not running, eating at the skimmer parts, then it'll shoot that high concentration through all your equipment when the pump fires up.

    If you know your CYA is low, you can use the pucks, I suggest in a floater, to help maintain FC.
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