My cartridge filter has been the bane of my pool maintenance since I bought my house, and tonight I'm so mad at it I'm about to throw it out of the family. First, specs:
Pool: Inground 18x36x4.25 (average depth), although 3 feet of that length is a very narrow set of entry steps. I've always estimated 18k to 20k gallons. Eleven years old.
Pump: AOSmith 1HP motor attached to unknown pump and basket
Piping: 1.5" to and from the pool, 2" between main components of pump station
Filter: Sta-Rite System 3 cartridge
Surroundings: the lovely people who owned this property before just loved birch trees. They shed little "nits" (seeds) in the spring, and in late May, and when it gets too hot, and when it gets too windy, and then in the fall, for good measure. These are **** on the skimmer and the filter (they can be very small) and produce the need to almost constantly vacuum and tear down the cartridge filter to clean it. I probably take the filter housing apart 15 times a season (which is mid-May to early-Sept).
The filter story is probably not a surprise to you, based on how often it has to come apart: the top piece of the housing has gotten brittle; two of the four tabs that are used to pry the top from the bottom have broken off; and it's a constant fight with the gigantic O-ring to keep it flexible and lubricated. It sure seems like a bit of heaven to consider that maybe, with a sand filter, I could backwash 15 times a year instead of ripping the head off my pool housing (and losing all that water), removing the filter, washing it, putting it all back together including lube, priming, etc. 15 times a year.
Today, the filter housing made a "pop!" sound that I could hear inside, so I went to look and water was pouring out of the housing between the top and the bottom. It had been running for two days just fine. Basically, the water pressure (clean filter startup is 18, it was running about 23 this afternoon before this happened) and, I think, the wear and tear on the housing allowed it to come unseated, even with the giant locking ring that goes around the outside firmly in place.
Well, since that locking ring was in place, and since the two halves came unseated anyway, the locking ring is now well and truly locked. I believe it has jumped threads and now, no matter how much force I put on it, it will not budge.
So, let's get to questions:
1. Is there a way to get that ring off that I'm not thinking of? I have tried to apply pressure to the top of the housing, hoping it could be pressed back into place, but it is not budging because of the locking ring.
2. Is it time to bail out and get the sand filter -- and will the sand filter be a better option for me due to the environmental issues listed above?
3. Will I miss the filtering ability of the cartridge?
4. I've read about 20 posts on filter sizing before posting this, and the math makes my head hurt... can you help me understand what size I'd need? If bigger is better, at this point, I'm probably happy to just go big.
Thank you for any help you can give me!