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Thread: Buy a fancy cleaner or just switch from sand to DE?

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    Buy a fancy cleaner or just switch from sand to DE?

    I have a new pool that is just waiting on the final concrete pad to be finished so it can be closed. There is a lot of fine silt that settles out on the bottom. I don't mind taking the time to vacuum it but the it just comes back thru the return lines.

    I could vacuum it to waste but I wouldn't gain much as my well water is ****. Should have city water next year but not sure its much better. The pool was filled with it and it was very dirty.

    Can someone recommend something that will vac up very fine stuff without using the pool's sand filter? My main concerns would be reliability and being able to collect the very fine stuff. The reliability of robots worry me and I don't mind doing the vacuuming myself.

    Would swapping to a DE filter be a good option? They filter so much finer than sand and I think I could get one for the around the same money as a fancy robot.
    20x40 IG Vinyl Sand
    Pentair Superflo pump 1.5 hp, Pentair SD-80 Sand Dollar Filter

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Buy a fancy cleaner or just switch from sand to DE?

    Most cleaners aren't good on very fine dust. I suggest trying a skimmer sock first. That will probably help a lot. If your problem is ongoing then switching to a DE filter will help but you'll be cleaning it pretty regularly.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Buy a fancy cleaner or just switch from sand to DE?

    Welcome to TFP!

    If you can see it on the bottom, your sand filter should be stopping it when you vacuum. I'd suspect you have a filter problem or an oversized pump for your filter.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Buy a fancy cleaner or just switch from sand to DE?

    You could try adding a little bit of DE to your sand filter and see if that catches the silt.

    This link has instructions: pool-school/add_de_to_a_sand_filter
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    Re: Buy a fancy cleaner or just switch from sand to DE?

    I saw the link for adding DE to a sand filter, I will try that.

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT
    If you can see it on the bottom, your sand filter should be stopping it when you vacuum. I'd suspect you have a filter problem or an oversized pump for your filter.
    I was wondering if something could be wrong with my filter. When the pool was filled the deep end was dark brown, which I think was either dirt/silt or rust. I'm in a rural area, a new water tower is going up, the old tower is rotting away, and they are putting in several miles of new water line so I think that is why the initial fill was dark. The filter ran all night, the next day it was a lot clearer but lots of it had settled out on the bottom. I vacuumed the whole thing and it looked much better, when i pulled the vac hose out of the skimmer, the returns started spraying a steady stream of brown water for about 30 secs. That was painful to watch. I thought there was a problem with my filter but after much googling it seemed like it was not uncommon for sand filters to not filter the tiny stuff and return it back to the pool. I have vacced a few more times and the water is still clear until I unhook the vac hose from the skimmer. Then it runs dirty out of the returns for about 10 sec and its not as bad but still dirty. There is no use telling this to my contractor, they have 90% of their money and have become uninterested. The water has cleared up, the chemistry is good except for a high TA (240ppm), and pH is 7.8. I'm not sure thats much to worry about for now.

    I found the info on here about checking for channeling by thumping the sides and using a garden hose to overflow the filter. I'll try that later today.

    Thanks for all quick responses.
    20x40 IG Vinyl Sand
    Pentair Superflo pump 1.5 hp, Pentair SD-80 Sand Dollar Filter

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Buy a fancy cleaner or just switch from sand to DE?

    The stuff that sand lets through compared to DE is usually only visible at night with the light on. It's not a difference you can usually see in daylight.

    I'm not sure of your particular filter, but I suspect 1.5HP is more than your filter is rated for.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Buy a fancy cleaner or just switch from sand to DE?

    Do you "rinse" your sand filter after back-washing it? ZeoSand and other similar sand filter media also have excellent ability to filter out dust.
    ZeoSand is green-colored zeolite. It offers a unique three-dimensional-honeycomb structure and rough, pitted surface. ZeoSand’s crystal structure, irregular shell, and high surface area make it a highly effective trap for fine particulates and ammonium ions. I have used it in a friend's pool who had a problem with oxidizing paint causing cloudy water. Also important is that there are no air locks or pressure build up in the system that causes the water to rush back into the filter when the pump shuts off. In the case of my friend's pool we fixed this by correct sizing and design of the plumbing and pump and filter systems and making sure there were no air leaks on the suction side causing cavitation of the pump and resultant ineffective surging. You don't need a fancy pool cleaner but you need a cleaner that covers the pool well. The quickest way to get the dust out once your system is cured, is to use a suction cleaner that will send the dust through the filter and trap it. A flocculant available at pool stores will also take the dust out but if it is a recurring problem I would opt for the zeosand or similar product

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    Re: Buy a fancy cleaner or just switch from sand to DE?

    cleaner designer, zeo products get way too many complaints for me to recommend them. Sometimes they work great, but all too often there are problems. The whole "ammonium ions" stuff is nonsense. Zeo can do that under some conditions in completely different applications, but never usefully in a swimming pool filter. Air locks and surging are indeed annoying problems, but they have nothing to do with any of the symptoms valve wrench described. There is no need to get any kind of pool cleaner. Many people like to have a cleaner, but there is no sign that it would help in this situation.

    This situation sounds like an oversized pump on an undersized filter causing channeling and thus allowing dirt to go right through the filter.
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