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Thread: busted sand filter

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    busted sand filter

    This season we opened late, about 3 weeks ago, because our water supply was low. So when we fired up the pump for the first time, I thought the late start meant an algae bloom. It was dark at the time, but it seemed as though just turning on the pump made the clear water (although dirty with settled grass and debris) very murky and green. We've never even had to SLAM the pool before, but I immediately began that process. I also had to throw in the season's stabilizer at opening, so I thought that might be a factor at first as well. Except I saw no change. At all. I read up, and thought that the sand filter was just taking a while to clean it up, but questioned after a couple weeks went by if there was something more going on. 3 days ago I finally shut the pump off and let the chlorine level fall. Now that the pump is off and the surface of the water still, I see the the bottom is also littered with sand from the filter. I attempted to vacuum this and the other debris still settled at the bottom only to see crud being blown back into the pool. So with this info I have decided the problem is the filter.

    So now what? My husband is frustrated that I haven't just called the pool store, feeling that they can diagnose my filter easily over the phone. I dread being treated like the ignoramus that I am when they cannot do that, and when I cannot answer their questions about the inner workings of my filter. I have no plugs or shut-off valves installed either, so I thought that the first thing I would need is a way to plug the water that delayed my pool opening in the first place. Draining into the yard would be like dumping liquid gold. Neither of us have been able to unscrew the eyelet in the return since the pool was installed almost 2 years ago. Can it even be plugged with that there, should I somehow guess what size rubber plug might go in it?

    Thanks in advance for any dummied-down help you can offer. LOL
    Jess :) from southeastern Indiana, USA
    27' x 54" ~17,600gal AG round
    Waterway Ecco 22", 250# oval sand filter 2.6 SF, 55 GPM
    1.5 hp 1-speed pump
    pool DOB July 2012

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: busted sand filter

    Try wrapping a washrag around the fitting for the return eye and turn it to your right when standing outside the pool. Sometimes getting a better grip helps. If you are unable to plug the return, then you will need to drain below that point. You could try stuffing a rag in the return opening to slow things down but it won't completely stop water from coming out. You can buy plugs that screw into your skimmer pipe to close it off. If your equipment is connected with hoses instead of pipes you can disconnect the hose from the return at the filter and direct it back into the pool.

    You will need to open up the filter, drain it, remove the sand and inspect the laterals. If they are damaged they must be replaced. Post some pictures of the problem if you need more help.
    TFP Moderator
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: busted sand filter

    How about ramming a carrot into the opening? That ought to block the water flow.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: busted sand filter

    Normally I would recommend following Richard 320's advice...but save the carrot for a salad!
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    Re: busted sand filter

    Thanks zea. Planning to open that guy tomorrow, Lord willing, to see what we got. The thought is so intimidating! I get so anxious about the mechanics.


    Jess :) from southeastern Indiana, USA
    27' x 54" ~17,600gal AG round
    Waterway Ecco 22", 250# oval sand filter 2.6 SF, 55 GPM
    1.5 hp 1-speed pump
    pool DOB July 2012

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    Re: busted sand filter

    Richard taught me something as well. If you don't want treated like an idiot, better not be one. Went ahead and made that call. And lived.


    Jess :) from southeastern Indiana, USA
    27' x 54" ~17,600gal AG round
    Waterway Ecco 22", 250# oval sand filter 2.6 SF, 55 GPM
    1.5 hp 1-speed pump
    pool DOB July 2012

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    Re: busted sand filter

    Skimming this thread, it seems like some basics have been missed. What is your clean filter pressure? What is your current pressure? When did you last backwash? Can you post current test results?
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: busted sand filter

    Quote Originally Posted by iSmile View Post
    Richard taught me something as well. If you don't want treated like an idiot, better not be one. Went ahead and made that call. And lived.


    Sent from my iPhone
    I'm missing something here, I think.

    I was serious about the carrot. If you need to plug the returns so the water doesn't drain out, they're tapered, they're cheap, if they get wedged too tight you can always carve them out with a knife (carefully).

    I have no plugs or shut-off valves installed either, so I thought that the first thing I would need is a way to plug the water that delayed my pool opening in the first place. Draining into the yard would be like dumping liquid gold. Neither of us have been able to unscrew the eyelet in the return since the pool was installed almost 2 years ago. Can it even be plugged with that there, should I somehow guess what size rubber plug might go in it?
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: busted sand filter

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    How about ramming a carrot into the opening? That ought to block the water flow.
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    I'm missing something here, I think.

    I was serious about the carrot. If you need to plug the returns so the water doesn't drain out, they're tapered, they're cheap, if they get wedged too tight you can always carve them out with a knife (carefully).
    I literally LOL'ed at this... at work. I love solutions like this because I rarely think of them yet they seem so obvious once i hear them. Last year I needed to plug my thru wall skimmer to do some pump maintenance and I kept brainstorming for the 'right' gadget or whatever. This would have worked much better than what I struggled with.

    Well, the mental picture I got from the first totally unexpected statement was hilarious. Maybe it's just me.
    Intex UltraFrame 14'x48in - 3,900 gallons. Intex 1600 GPH combo Sand Filter/SWG Hard Plumbed w/Hayward skimmer, suction & return. Borates.
    And... 15k gallon kidney shaped gunite 1975 vintage. Hayward DE3620 filter + Hayward 750 pump.
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    Re: busted sand filter


    Diagnosis confirmed. Lateral assembly replaced. I added a bag of new sand to make up for the loss in the pool and in the procedure. Hoping that was the right call. Have vacuumed. The pump has been running for just 6 hours and I've had to backwash 3 times. Clean sand pressure was 9, but it keeps hitting 15 in a short time. Obviously the water is dirty, but that seems like a lot. And a lot of wasted water. It is a good sized filter.

    We are assuming the harsh winter did it in, and that we forgot to drain the filter.


    Jess :) from southeastern Indiana, USA
    27' x 54" ~17,600gal AG round
    Waterway Ecco 22", 250# oval sand filter 2.6 SF, 55 GPM
    1.5 hp 1-speed pump
    pool DOB July 2012

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: busted sand filter

    clapping-happy-smiley-emoticon.gif

    Call everyone you know and invite them over to go swimming this weekend!
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: busted sand filter

    I like that idea better than the carrot one


    Jess :) from southeastern Indiana, USA
    27' x 54" ~17,600gal AG round
    Waterway Ecco 22", 250# oval sand filter 2.6 SF, 55 GPM
    1.5 hp 1-speed pump
    pool DOB July 2012

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    Re: busted sand filter

    We're getting off the subject but the carrot made perfect sense to me and I envision using it in some plumbing project in the future.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: busted sand filter

    Just had to backwash again. Seriously, is this normal? I'm debating whether to just turn it off overnight because I don't want to get up repeatedly to babysit it. It keeps slowing to the point of almost no surface flow from the return.


    Jess :) from southeastern Indiana, USA
    27' x 54" ~17,600gal AG round
    Waterway Ecco 22", 250# oval sand filter 2.6 SF, 55 GPM
    1.5 hp 1-speed pump
    pool DOB July 2012

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: busted sand filter

    Yes, it's normal if there's a lot of sludge.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: busted sand filter

    Well, I just wouldn't call this sludge. I've seen some nasty swamp pools, and this, thankfully, is not in their league. Would back washing each hour (maybe 2--I will watch closer today) be normal, or did I jack something up in surgery?

    I had decided to take it to shock level during its first night of filtration and to do the OCLT.
    This morning's stats:
    Temp = 73
    FC = 15 (was 14 last night)??
    CC = .5
    pH = 7.3
    TA = 60
    CH = 90
    CYA < 30
    I usually do the reagent saving versions of TA and CH, so I didn't know til today that my TA was that low.


    Jess :) from southeastern Indiana, USA
    27' x 54" ~17,600gal AG round
    Waterway Ecco 22", 250# oval sand filter 2.6 SF, 55 GPM
    1.5 hp 1-speed pump
    pool DOB July 2012

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: busted sand filter

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    We're getting off the subject but the carrot made perfect sense to me and I envision using it in some plumbing project in the future.
    I agree!!! ... This is definitely in my bag of tricks now.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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