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Thread: Is sand leaking from my sand filter???

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    Jul 2011
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    Is sand leaking from my sand filter???

    I have been useing the Intex 1600 sand filter all season without any problems. Last week I hooked a fafco 4x20 solar panel to my pump. All week I have had silica sand in my pool. I assume it has something to do with the solar panel as all was well before it's install.

    Details: pool has been vacuumed to filter many times over the past week. Yesterday all was vacuumed and a thorough back wash/rinse with a small amount of DE was added. This afternoon pool looks the same as yesterday. Maybe a 1/4 to a 1/2 cup of silica sand on the pool bottom after the pump/solar panel ran 6 hours.

    PSI with the solar on is in the "green zone" of the pressure gauge, around 4 PSI.

    Is there anything I can inspect on the filter to see if it is failing?

    Could pressure from the panel cause the sand to leak? From the small amount of sand in the pool it looks like it is just leaking sand on start up of pump. If it was leaking sand for 6 hours there would be much more than the 1/4 cup or so there is on the pool bottom.

    I will have time to trouble shoot it this weekend. With a clean pool bittom I will run the pump without the panel and again with the panel but just for a few minutes. Maybe this will help show what the culprit is and when it is occurring.

    Any suggestions for trouble shooting or fixing the problem would be appreciated. Thank you.
    3500 gallon 14x42 Intex Ultra Frame
    1/2 HP Intex 1600 sand filter/pump - Intex SWCG
    Two 4x20 Fafco solar panels.
    Taylor K-2006
    Marquis spirit hot tub - Grill Dome ceramic grill/smoker

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    Re: Is sand leaking from my sand filter???

    I would first confirm beyond any doubt it is coming from the filter by placing a nylon over the return and capturing the sand in the nylon stocking. If it is, then you can start to inspect the parts that could be the issue. does it have a multiport valve? When you backwash, do you see much sand in the sight glass (if it has one)?

    Unrelated, but a presuure of 4 psi is much too low (I think) for your set up. What was the psi prior to installing the solar?
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Is sand leaking from my sand filter???

    Thanks Dave. I will try the stocking this weekend.

    The filter has a multport valve.

    I do see a few grains of sand when backwashing.

    I believe the newer intex sand filters are calibrated differently. With no solar, after backwashing PSI would read 2. Now with solar PSI jumps to 4. I know that can't be the actual reading but anything under 5 PSI is in the green zone of the PSI gauge and should be ok.

    After initial instal of the solar I did get dirt in the pool. I had that vacuumed out in two days. What is on my pool bottom is so fine and light colored it is silica sand. I keep a solar cover on it so I don't think it is dust or pollen but I will try the sock.

    Maybe I will call intex today to see what there customer support is like. I sure would like to change that PSI gauge out.
    3500 gallon 14x42 Intex Ultra Frame
    1/2 HP Intex 1600 sand filter/pump - Intex SWCG
    Two 4x20 Fafco solar panels.
    Taylor K-2006
    Marquis spirit hot tub - Grill Dome ceramic grill/smoker

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    Re: Is sand leaking from my sand filter???

    Just talked to intex customer support. They were very helpful. They recommended I check the center pipe and laterals for damage. They said if it was the multiport valve more sand would likely be in the pool. If there is anything wrong with the filter intex will replace it. It's nice to have a 2 year warranty for a $60 sand filter.

    I will take Dave's suggestion to ensure the sand is coming from the filter before I remove the sand from the filter and inspect for damage.

    I guess I will need to buy a shop vac to get the sand out. Any other tips for getting the sand out? Will enough water drain from the sand tank if I open the drain valve over night?
    3500 gallon 14x42 Intex Ultra Frame
    1/2 HP Intex 1600 sand filter/pump - Intex SWCG
    Two 4x20 Fafco solar panels.
    Taylor K-2006
    Marquis spirit hot tub - Grill Dome ceramic grill/smoker

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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    Re: Is sand leaking from my sand filter???

    I do see a few grains of sand when backwashing.
    That's pretty normal.

    I have only emptied the sand from a filter once. I found it easiest to disconnect it, roll it on it's side and "wash" it out with a hose. Others will have a better plan, I'm sure!
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Is sand leaking from my sand filter???

    Thanks Dave, I only have 50 lbs of sand in there. $10 to replace the sand will be cheaper and easier than buying a shop vac to get it out.

    I will try the stocking tonight. If there is sand on the pool bottom tomorrow I will then empty and inspect the filter.
    3500 gallon 14x42 Intex Ultra Frame
    1/2 HP Intex 1600 sand filter/pump - Intex SWCG
    Two 4x20 Fafco solar panels.
    Taylor K-2006
    Marquis spirit hot tub - Grill Dome ceramic grill/smoker

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    FloridaSolarPro's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
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    Fort Myers, FL
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    Re: Is sand leaking from my sand filter???

    Did you install a check valve in the system between the pump and the filter? If not, water from the feed line may flow backward through your filter and pump and back into the pool through the suction lines. This happens when the solar diverter valve is on and the pump turns off. The panels drain out through the feed line.

    I suggest you replace your sand filter with a cartridge filter anyway. Sand filters have high back pressures. When you add the pressure required to operate a solar pool heating system, you may not get the flow desired.

    Removed links. Butterfly
    Jason Szumlanski
    Vice President
    Fafco Solar

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