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Thread: DE alternatives...need some clarity

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    DE alternatives...need some clarity

    I've been trying to research possible DE alternatives, both on this forum and across the wider internets, and haven't found a good solid recommendation yet, and am wondering if anyone might know of any further resources.

    I've got a DE filter but don't really like working with DE, because of its carcinogenic properties, and because it strongly irritates my skin when applying it to my pool (even when I try and cover up and not touch it).

    I did some searches on this forum and found a few threads here and there, but no real definitive "THIS IS THE BEST DE REPLACEMENT" kind of opinions. Across the internet, I see products like Aqua Perl, Fiber Clear, Zeo Fiber, Purifiber, and various forms of cellulose, but I read the reviews and for every one positive review, I read one strongly negative review that the product was useless. Leslie's seems to sell some cellulose fiber, but there's only 2 reviews.

    Anyone care to add to the discussion? Or did I miss a better resource on this site that already exists?
    Los Angeles (San Fernando Valley)
    15k gallon in-ground (IG) pool (I believe it's plaster)
    DE filter (Heyward), using cellulose instead of DE
    Jandy APURE1400 3-port salt cell

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: DE alternatives...need some clarity

    All of the "fiber" products are essentially interchangeable. For most people they work great, some say a little worse than DE, others say a little better. The largest difference between them and DE seems to be in how easily they backwash, but some people say better and some say worse, more or less at random.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    techguy's Avatar
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    Re: DE alternatives...need some clarity

    I have used both interchangeably. I like the cellulose better as it is easier to deal with as a waste product. I don't see much difference when the product is being used. Both clean the pool exceptionally well.

    I have mainly used the cellulose from HomeDepot but I think I used the Leslie's product once.
    -- Guy --
    10K gallons in 21' Round 52 inch wall Aqualeader AG, Hayward Power Flow LX 1.5 HP pump motor, Hayward Perflex EC50AC DE filter w/Cellulose, Wide mouth skimmer, 2013 new Diver Dan (craigslist) to replace the faded old Hayward AquaBug. TF-100

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: DE alternatives...need some clarity

    I've been using cellulose for a while and have no real complaints. It doesn't rinse off the grids 100% the way they claim, but it's no worse than DE for that.

    I backwash onto the front lawn. No white DE crust buildup. No water wasted.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
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    Re: DE alternatives...need some clarity

    Excellent...I appreciate all this input -- that helps a lot.
    Los Angeles (San Fernando Valley)
    15k gallon in-ground (IG) pool (I believe it's plaster)
    DE filter (Heyward), using cellulose instead of DE
    Jandy APURE1400 3-port salt cell

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    Re: DE alternatives...need some clarity

    Bought some cellulose at Home Depot...I'm looking forward to trying it in the next week, as it's time to clean the DE filter.

    The bag says 3 lbs of cellulose is = to 25 lbs of DE. But then I read a review that says "no way, they're lying, you need more." How does one know this? Only if I open up my filter (losing half the water inside) could I even get a peek at coverage.

    Last time I opened my filter and removed the blades, I noticed DE was only covering the top half of the blades, and I have no idea why. (I'm sure I put the recommended amount of DE in there.)

    How do I know how much cellulose is right? (Presumably too little and too much are not a good thing.)
    Los Angeles (San Fernando Valley)
    15k gallon in-ground (IG) pool (I believe it's plaster)
    DE filter (Heyward), using cellulose instead of DE
    Jandy APURE1400 3-port salt cell

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    Re: DE alternatives...need some clarity

    Quote Originally Posted by ddas
    How do I know how much cellulose is right? (Presumably too little and too much are not a good thing.)
    I'm curious about that as well... would it be reflected in filter pressure?
    18k Gallon rectangle IG concrete pool, Waterco S600 Sand Filter
    Current test kit: Taylor TF100

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    techguy's Avatar
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    Re: DE alternatives...need some clarity

    I have struggled a little to determine how much my Perflex needs. It is a Hayward EC50. I thought the EC50 had 50 cubic feet of filter area but i thinks the 50 means gallons per minute, not 50 feet of media.

    When I add too much, I clogs quickly and when I clean, it has lots of clean media inside the fingers. I read today that it can pack tighter than DE inside the filter and that seems consistent with my experience. I think I may be using too much cellulose. I am going to try less when I go back to cellulose, I found I had an extra bag of DE I have decided to use this summer.

    I also read when you change from DE to cellulose, the first charge or two may not last as long. I am not sure about that one. It implied it was cleaning better so it traps the stuff the DE had left. dE seems to clean so well already, I don't how it's possible.

    How are you measuring how much cellulose to add?
    -- Guy --
    10K gallons in 21' Round 52 inch wall Aqualeader AG, Hayward Power Flow LX 1.5 HP pump motor, Hayward Perflex EC50AC DE filter w/Cellulose, Wide mouth skimmer, 2013 new Diver Dan (craigslist) to replace the faded old Hayward AquaBug. TF-100

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    Re: DE alternatives...need some clarity

    Quote Originally Posted by techguy
    I have used both interchangeably. I like the cellulose better as it is easier to deal with as a waste product. I don't see much difference when the product is being used. Both clean the pool exceptionally well.

    I have mainly used the cellulose from HomeDepot but I think I used the Leslie's product once.
    What is it called at Home Depot?

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    Re: DE alternatives...need some clarity

    It's called Cellulose Fiber. You can't miss it. (There's nothing else like it.)

    I just put Home Depot's Cellulose Fiber in my pool last week, substituting for DE for the first time. I haven't noticed any difference at all. Water is very similar. Filter pressure is identical. I'm new here, so am not exactly sure what I should be looking for. But generally speaking...it's the same as it was with DE.
    Los Angeles (San Fernando Valley)
    15k gallon in-ground (IG) pool (I believe it's plaster)
    DE filter (Heyward), using cellulose instead of DE
    Jandy APURE1400 3-port salt cell

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    harleysilo's Avatar
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    Re: DE alternatives...need some clarity

    Quote Originally Posted by ddas
    It's called Cellulose Fiber. You can't miss it. (There's nothing else like it.)

    I just put Home Depot's Cellulose Fiber in my pool last week, substituting for DE for the first time. I haven't noticed any difference at all. Water is very similar. Filter pressure is identical. I'm new here, so am not exactly sure what I should be looking for. But generally speaking...it's the same as it was with DE.
    Do you recall what your water looked like at night in from of a pool light? How does it look now at night in front of a pool light?
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    Re: DE alternatives...need some clarity

    Unfortunately my pool light is broken so I can't answer that. Good question though. I'll fix it soon and take a look. (I replaced the bulb just last year and am sad it lasted less than a year; I barely use the light.)
    Los Angeles (San Fernando Valley)
    15k gallon in-ground (IG) pool (I believe it's plaster)
    DE filter (Heyward), using cellulose instead of DE
    Jandy APURE1400 3-port salt cell

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