I've been lurking here since I bought a house with my first pool back in in August of 2012. Thanks to this forum, I have balanced my water, diagnosed and replaced my SWG, and learned a lot about how fast and how long to run my VS pump.
For a little background, we have a newer pool (2007) in an older neighborhood with lots of tall trees and lots of shrubs with small leaves. There is always something in the water. It doesn't help that the only skimmer is located on the upwind side of the pool. Even after I manually skim with a fine mesh net, there is a layer of small particles and things that look like 1/4" long white threads in the water. This year I finally have the time, energy & money to get the water as clean as possible. I bought a Poolskim and will be installing it after I am done aerating with my home made return fountain to lower TA. Hopefully this helps. I have not tried a skimmer sock yet.
I was cleaning the filter (Sta-Rite System 3) yesterday, and noticed a couple of the of the pleats had small tears at the top of the large element. The smaller element looks fine. I suspect these are the original filter cartridges from November of '07. I think the tears have been there since I bought the house. The filter pressure (3 PSI on low speed for general circulation, 6 PSI on higher speed for my automatic vacuum, 15 PSI with pump on 100%) seems low and has been the same since I bought the house and did a quick filter clean, among a million other things while remodeling and moving, and probably didn't notice the tears. Obviously I need new cartridges. I wonder if this contributes to the small particles remaining the water?
So the cartridges for my existing filter are about $350 shipped online. Ouch! I'm not much of System 3 fan. The clamps are annoying, cleaning it is a pain in the butt, and the cartridges are expensive. Since I have a little re-plumbing to do (adding a FlowVis on a check valve and hopefully getting ready for solar at the same time) this got me thinking: Why not replace the whole filter?
I'm looking at the Pentair Clean & Clear Plus. They seem highly regarded around here. I have the money saved to do this right but don't want to spend unnecessarily. I have a few questions that I would love some advice on:
Is the System 3 a better/same/worse filter than the Clean & Clear plus?
Are any other brands better?
Is the new filter or cartridges going to help get rid of the small stuff in the water?
Is there anything else I should be doing to get rid of the small stuff?
What size is the right size 240, 320 or 420?
Thanks so much for your help!