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Thread: Pool difficult to keep clean. Do I need a new filter?

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    Question Pool difficult to keep clean. Do I need a new filter?

    Looking to improve my pool situation, but not sure which way to go so could use some advice. This will be my 3rd year opening it up, so still pretty new to this stuff.

    Background:
    • Small ~10,000 gallon pool
    • Little to no service done by original owners of 35years (!)
    • Has no bottom drain, just skimmer and one return line

    Problems:
    • The vacuum (kreepy krauly) will work great for around 2-5min, then slowly start to lose suction power - as indicated by very slow movement. Typically this is fixed by doing a quick backwash and then putting it back to filter. This is attached to the inlet line.
    • I also get what looks like sand collecting on the bottom of the pool, I assume from the filter. I've been told the laterals on the bottom of the filter crack and need replaced from time to time.

    Is this a common symptom of a bad filter? Pressure wise it seems to be decent, usually around 25psi and doesn't fluctuate much. I don't want to throw down the money on a new filter if it won't resolve my issues so hoping to hear others chime in. Would really love to be able to keep this thing clean without the hassle.

    Things I have done:

    • Replaced old pump with one with more horsepower (2012)
    • Replaced sand in existing filter (2011 - this sucked btw)
    • Tried different vacuums etc.

    Pictures are here:
    http://imgur.com/a/q3VKE

    I know, kind of a janky plumbing setup. I originally had a chlorinator hooked up but the threads got stripped so I had to macgyver something together for the time being.

    Any thoughts? Thanks in advance!

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pool difficult to keep clean. Do I need a new filter?

    Welcome to TFP!

    Normally the filter pressure goes up and the cleaner slows down because it is catching a lot of debris. Is your water cloudy or full of algae? Or is there a lot of debris on the bottom of the pool?

    Probably not any help at this point, but more HP isn't usually what you want. Larger pumps cost more to run and reduce the cleaning efficiency of the filter. What size pump do you have? Actually, it would be a big help if your could put a summary of your equipment in your signature line.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Pool difficult to keep clean. Do I need a new filter?

    Dollars to donuts says your issue is pool water chemistry and not the filter. You are simply sucking up stuff into the filter at a high rate and the filter is plugging up.

    I would suggest you start reading "The ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry" up in Pool School. That'll give you some basics and you can start clearing your pool from there.

    Actually, your filter and pump look fairly recent.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Pool difficult to keep clean. Do I need a new filter?

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion View Post
    Welcome to TFP!

    Normally the filter pressure goes up and the cleaner slows down because it is catching a lot of debris. Is your water cloudy or full of algae? Or is there a lot of debris on the bottom of the pool?

    Probably not any help at this point, but more HP isn't usually what you want. Larger pumps cost more to run and reduce the cleaning efficiency of the filter. What size pump do you have? Actually, it would be a big help if your could put a summary of your equipment in your signature line.
    It doesn't seem to matter in my experience. It occurs when the water is crystal clear or with a very small amount of debris on the bottom (sand?). I believe the pump is a 1.5hp? I actually replaced it that year when I was troubleshooting a different issue, which ended up being completely un-related to the pump after I got it installed (big surprise).

    I'll try and update my signature this week.

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    Re: Pool difficult to keep clean. Do I need a new filter?

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    Dollars to donuts says your issue is pool water chemistry and not the filter. You are simply sucking up stuff into the filter at a high rate and the filter is plugging up.

    I would suggest you start reading "The ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry" up in Pool School. That'll give you some basics and you can start clearing your pool from there.

    Actually, your filter and pump look fairly recent.
    Interesting. Admittedly, I don't do a great job of balancing my water and need to be better about it. I try and keep up on it, but during water testing it seems I can't seem to keep the PH balance in their proper levels no matter what I try.

    Just to clarify, the water is more or less crystal clear throughout the summer and the vacuum still has problems. You are implying it could still be water chemistry related?

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    Re: Pool difficult to keep clean. Do I need a new filter?

    You are implying it could still be water chemistry related?
    Absolutely. As JasonLion says,
    Normally the filter pressure goes up and the cleaner slows down because it is catching a lot of debris.
    What we teach on this forum is the absolute necessity of good water chemistry....everything else falls into place when you get that.

    Your need to backwash confirms you are catching debris and then blowing it out when you backwash. You are certainly seeing an increase in psi as the vacuum slows and then a decrease when you backwash.

    So, yes, I am pretty convinced it's your chemistry that is causing your filter to clog. That's why I suggest "ABC's" as a beginning. Next, you will need to spend some money on a good test kit so you can manage your pool chemistry.

    This forum is made up of pool owners just like you who are willing to help every step of the way but you will have to decide to commit yourself. Balancing your pH will be a chip shot as will the other parameters once you commit to learning.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Smykowski's Avatar
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    Re: Pool difficult to keep clean. Do I need a new filter?

    Quote Originally Posted by atom519 View Post
    Just to clarify, the water is more or less crystal clear throughout the summer and the vacuum still has problems. You are implying it could still be water chemistry related?
    This is a common complain among new members to the forum. Basically, just because you can't see it doesn't mean it's not there, and improper chemistry is the likely culprit.
    33' round, 23,000 gal AG vinyl , 1HP 2spd PowerFlo Matrix downsized with 3/4HP impeller (X2), Hayward S180T 150# sand filter (X2), Hayward H250 NG heater Pool Store year 1 - $850 for 2 months; Pool Store year 2 - $440 for 2 months, TFPC year 1 - $170 for 4 months; TFPC year 2 - $95 for 4.5 months
    The most important article on this site - The ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

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    Re: Pool difficult to keep clean. Do I need a new filter?

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    Absolutely. As JasonLion says, What we teach on this forum is the absolute necessity of good water chemistry....everything else falls into place when you get that.

    Your need to backwash confirms you are catching debris and then blowing it out when you backwash. You are certainly seeing an increase in psi as the vacuum slows and then a decrease when you backwash.

    So, yes, I am pretty convinced it's your chemistry that is causing your filter to clog. That's why I suggest "ABC's" as a beginning. Next, you will need to spend some money on a good test kit so you can manage your pool chemistry.

    This forum is made up of pool owners just like you who are willing to help every step of the way but you will have to decide to commit yourself. Balancing your pH will be a chip shot as will the other parameters once you commit to learning.
    Thanks for the great info duraleigh, I guess I still have a lot to learn. What would the forum recommend as a good pool chemistry test kit?

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    Re: Pool difficult to keep clean. Do I need a new filter?

    The TF-100. See the test kits compared article in Pool School.
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    Re: Pool difficult to keep clean. Do I need a new filter?

    Welcome, I suspect you have multiple things going on, have you opened the top of your filter to see what is going on inside of there? Also how long are you backwashing, this sort of thing is somewhat common when people do not backwash for long enough. Also I suspect part of the reason your operating pressure is running so high is that large pump and only a single return fitting is causing a bottle neck. One more thing here that I was not clear on, when your suction cleaner slows down does the pressure at the filter go up?

    Ike
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: Pool difficult to keep clean. Do I need a new filter?

    Definitely purchase the TF100 XL. You will not regret it and it will make pool testing and care so much easier because you can trust the reliability of the test.
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

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    Re: Pool difficult to keep clean. Do I need a new filter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac-1 View Post
    Welcome, I suspect you have multiple things going on, have you opened the top of your filter to see what is going on inside of there? Also how long are you backwashing, this sort of thing is somewhat common when people do not backwash for long enough. Also I suspect part of the reason your operating pressure is running so high is that large pump and only a single return fitting is causing a bottle neck. One more thing here that I was not clear on, when your suction cleaner slows down does the pressure at the filter go up?
    Ike
    I've opened up the top of the filter in the past to replace the sand, but other than that no. What should I be looking for?

    When I'm doing a normal backwash I'll let it run for a few minutes. If I'm just trying to get my vacuum working again I typically only run it for 20sec or so because I have to do it so often. I've also let it run for minutes and doesn't seem to help much.

    I agree regarding the single return, but not sure what I can do about it. The pump was originally replaced because little water was being pushed through the return line when I bought the house, so I wasn't sure if it was working properly. It ended up being kink in the plumbing though.

    Regarding the pressure, I don't recall it jumping up significantly when the suction slows down.

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    Re: Pool difficult to keep clean. Do I need a new filter?

    atom,

    What is your psi when the filter is clean? What is it when it's clogged? Do you "rinse" in between backwash and filter?
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Pool difficult to keep clean. Do I need a new filter?

    This is not related but if I was you, if you have to cut you pipes again to change anything I would add unions. It looks like you have multiple couplers joining your plumbing together think it might make your life easier to add some quick unions. just my 2 cents also it would make changing out you pump and filter easier in the future. k back on track.
    20x40 in ground liner pool deepest part 5 feet.
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    live in North Dakota
    it has a slide too
    just bought this house in 2013 so this is new to me Travis

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