I've been reading this site for help with my pool for a little over a year now and I've found lots of great information to get me going on getting things right!
I'll start off with some information about the pool:
Year: 1997 (owned by me since 2011)
Size: Approximately 17,000 gallons, plaster
Shape: Free-form, a little like a dog bone with an attached, slightly elevated hot tub that uses the same pump/filter/heater as the pool
Returns: 2 fan fountains, 3 in-wall and 6 in-wall in the hot tub
The filter and pump appear original
Filter: 150sq.ft. Hayward Canister
Heater: Jandy LRZ Natural Gas
2" PVC plumbing throughout
Location: Orlando, FL
Pool temp through the summer - around 80
Winter Pool temp - around 65 except when heated for swimming a few times a month
My cartridge filter keeps the pool very clean, as someone else stated on these boards I can toss a quarter in the deep end and tell you if it's heads or tails. But what I don't like is the level of maintenance the cartridge needs. I clean the cartridge pretty much weekly and I spend about a half hour just spraying it out with a hose as carefully as I can. When the filter is clean the pressure gauge reads close to zero and I clean it when it gets a little above 20. When the pressure increases the pool heater gives me a "No Flow" error and the flow from the returns, especially the fountains, is a trickle.
I replaced the cartridge hoping I'd get away with fewer cleanings but it really didn't help much and now, a little less than a year later, the cartridge goes from close to zero on the pressure gauge, up to 25 in a matter of a few hours of use. I'm not interested in purchasing another $100 cartridge and would much rather put that money towards a filter that takes less time to maintain.
I've done lots of research and I'm leaning towards a sand filter. I think I can live with the 20 - 30 micron range of filtration in exchange for ease of use.
The pool supply store suggested a Hayward 24" sand filter (Model S244T)
Here's the issue, it uses a 1.5" valve and I've got 2" plumbing. The pool supply store looked at alternatives but thought they were a lot more filter than I needed and suggested using a down-size 1.5" - 2.0" pipe to connect it. My gut tells me this is a terrible idea but she insists it would be fine.
Would the S244T work? If not, what would be a better fit for my system? I'm open to DE but I'm not thrilled about the price, maintenance of adding DE, muriatic soaks and the mess it apparently leaves in the yard.
I know you guys are good and I look forward to your help on this!