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Thread: Need Help - EcoStar SP3400VSP - Have read tons of threads.... Still need help.

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    Need Help - EcoStar SP3400VSP - Have read tons of threads.... Still need help.

    I am at a bit of a loss as to what to do. I've read many, many posts and comments and have tried multiple steps to fix the problem.

    15k gallon in ground
    48sqft DE filter - new grids last fall, cleaned and backwashed (2 times in last 60 days)
    In floor cleaner
    Waterfall
    Purchased and had professionally installed Ecostar last summer

    Long story.

    I drained my pool late April to replace water that was about 4 1/2 years old. Had backwashed filter prior. Filled pool, added some shock, stabilizer, etc, based upon pool store advice. Everything worked good for about 10 days, then I noticed a lot of bees coming to the pool. Searched on the threads and found that if I added Bio-Dex Skillet, bees seemed to not care for the stuff. Well, as I was adding the Bio-Dex, I happened to drop the bottle into the pool and the entire quart or so emptied into the pool. Figuring it was not swimming season quite yet, I figured I would watch the pool. Bees left, water felt good, but was having trouble keeping chlorine stable. Went out of town for a week and came back to a green pool. Pump was not priming. Turned off the auto-prime, added a bunch of shock and fired that baby up. Minimal movement of water into the pool. Not enough pressure to push up in floor heads. The pump did prime, but the pump was not pushing as much water as it should or as was normal. Pressure within the 20-30 range, which is normal for my pool. Up only 5 or so from a freshly backwashed stage. I know normal water flow as I have an aerator and when I turn it on after backwashing, I can validate how far water travels. Anyhow, I figure something is odd and I decide to backwash the pool. I do so, and things start to work again. Two weeks go by, same thing happening. It's not green (as I kept an eye on it) but it is low flow, marginal pressure increase, if much at all. Go to pool store, explain situation, they are kind of at a loss for answers, suggest cleaning and backwashing. Do some research on the forum and find out that excess algaecide should/can be removed by adding extra shock. Backwash, clean grids, add extra shock and start it up again. Flow good. Pressure good. No air leaks, at least that I can see in the leaf basket or pump basket.

    So.... I go out of town for a month for work. Provide my oldest daughter with detailed directions. Check daily with aerator to see flow. Check chemicals daily to ensure chlorine is not getting eaten up. 3 weeks in, she says the flow is about 70% of normal, auto priming issues. Guide her through turning off auto-prime. She says things look like they are working. She heads out of town, I come home 3 days later, pool is cloudy again. Pump is primed (no air that I can see) but flow is back to minimal at best and pressure is within the 10 point range of newly backwashed and needing to be backwashed.

    Pull grids again, backwash and now it's back to normal. 5 days in, I notice flow is starting to reduce (based upon aerator). Upped the KPH a touch to increase, but it's already starting to diminish.

    Any thoughts on what might be next steps? I've talked with the pool store(s) and they walk me through their stuff. Have tried a variety of options listed on the threads. I have checked the impeller and nothing is stuck there. I have increased the pump speed to try and compensate, but that's short term.

    At this point, I'm wondering one of two things. One, the Bio-Dex has done something horribly wrong to the water and it's collecting on the DE, making it hard to push water through. Two, something is wrong with the pump/impeller/motor, that as pressure should be building in the pool as dirt, grime catches, the pump cannot keep up. Perhaps it's a combination of the two.

    Also, prior to adding the Bio-Dex (after filling) the leaf basket would be about 3/4 full when the pump was on low speed. I was told this was normal (as it was this way all last pool year) and sure enough, when automus-prime turned on, it would fill up quite quickly. As of the recent backwash, I do not see this happening. Cannot recall if it did after the first green incident.

    Any and all help is appreciated. I am reasonably astute at reading the forums and trying different things, but am perplexed at this time.

    Help!

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Need Help - EcoStar SP3400VSP - Have read tons of threads.... Still need help.

    Welcome to TFP!

    Perhaps I am mis-understanding something. Your description seems to fit with the filter gets dirty, which reduces the flow rate. You clean the filter, and things are back to normal. And, when the filter is dirty, the pump fails to prime sometimes. Is there something else here I am missing?
    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: Need Help - EcoStar SP3400VSP - Have read tons of threads.... Still need help.

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion View Post
    Welcome to TFP!

    Perhaps I am mis-understanding something. Your description seems to fit with the filter gets dirty, which reduces the flow rate. You clean the filter, and things are back to normal. And, when the filter is dirty, the pump fails to prime sometimes. Is there something else here I am missing?
    I don't think you are missing anything, but I will add some more context. I have never had this happen with this pump prior to the last 60 days, or with a single speed pump over the last 10 years. The water was/is clean, no storm or excess debris and then it starts losing performance. No plants around the pool. No animals. No garbage in the skimmer baskets. As a point of reference, last summer, I backwashed once a month, and when I backwashed, it was 10-15PSI above the starting pressure. Now it's barely getting to 5-10PSI above the starting pressure within a week or two max and then not flowing right. If this were the same pattern since when I installed, I'd be fine. It's not the same as last year, even the same as this spring/winter. That's the problem. Which, made me question whether the excess Bio-Dex, which I cannot see, could be clogging the filter. I e-mailed Bio-Dex, but no answer.

    By the way, I weighed the initial DE after each of the filter cleans and then weigh the replacement DE upon backwashing. So, I don't think I have too much DE.

    All in all, I've backwashed 5 times in a little over 8 weeks. Two of the backwashes after things were quite cloudy, the others before the pool got cloudy, but when the pop-ups/aerator were marginal. I've cleaned the grids three times (once when drained, twice since problems). I've had and maintained my own pool for 14 years and have never had this type of a problem. Hopefully the extra context helps.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Need Help - EcoStar SP3400VSP - Have read tons of threads.... Still need help.

    I doubt it has much, if anything, to do with the Bio-Dex. We don't recommend using Bio-Dex, but for other reasons. I've never heard of symptoms similar to what you suspect.

    Any time you get algae, the filter is going to get dirty much more quickly than normal. That extra dirty can continue for a little while after the water clears up, especially if the FC is a little low for the CYA level.

    How long has it been since you opened up the filter and did a through cleaning?

    Another issue worth double checking, a DE filter needs to have the grids coated on a relatively high speed when you are first charging it with fresh DE. After that it should be fine on lower speeds until the next time you backwash. Then backwashing also wants a relatively high speed. With an EcoStar, a "relatively high" speed isn't going to be full speed, but typically something like 2400 RPM, or 75%.

    One less likely possibility, if the grids are getting clogged up in a way that does not clean out easily, you could have symptoms similar to what you describe. But then the clean filter pressure should be higher than it was before, which doesn't seem to fit with your explanation.
    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: Need Help - EcoStar SP3400VSP - Have read tons of threads.... Still need help.

    Thanks Jason. Lots of views, but no other input. Did a thorough cleaning almost a week ago, starting to slow down flow again, but pressure is moderately increased (about 5) at best. Will be calling Hayward today to see what they can offer. Seems to me that if it's a plugged/full filter, that pressure should increase, which is what it used to do. ugh.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Need Help - EcoStar SP3400VSP - Have read tons of threads.... Still need help.

    Quote Originally Posted by AZmikey View Post
    but pressure is moderately increased (about 5) at best.
    What does this mean? Can you be more specific about the actual clean pressure and the pressure now?

    We recommend backwashing when the pressure rises 20-25% over the clean pressure. If you are starting at 20psi when clean, then you should be backwashing by 25psi to prevent the flow from being greatly reduced.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: Need Help - EcoStar SP3400VSP - Have read tons of threads.... Still need help.

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    What does this mean? Can you be more specific about the actual clean pressure and the pressure now?

    We recommend backwashing when the pressure rises 20-25% over the clean pressure. If you are starting at 20psi when clean, then you should be backwashing by 25psi to prevent the flow from being greatly reduced.
    I have always been told to backwash once the PSI increased 10 above starting point. The pump, up until this mess has always reached 10psi above starting point without any real loss of flow, as evidenced by the aerator test (my term), and the pop up heads continuing to do their job. So, moderate, to me means less than 10psi increase. In this case, it's at 25-27, from a starting point of 22 or so.

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    mikespoolfl's Avatar
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    Re: Need Help - EcoStar SP3400VSP - Have read tons of threads.... Still need help.

    I have the Ecostar with a cartridge filter. One configuration I have noticed for my setup is if the filter is dirty and I divert the water through the heater it sometimes has a problem priming. This only happens if diverted to heater. Dirty filter any other time has little or no effect on priming. Seems like it is sensitive to a certain amount of back pressure when it is priming
    Screen enclosed 17K gal 16x30 IG with Diamond Brite finish, elevated 4 jet spa with spill over, Twin dolphin fountain, Hayward Ecostar pump[ Pentair intelliflo VS, Filter Sta rite Posi-Flo PTM 100, Aqua Cal heat pump, Tiger Shark QC robotic cleaner.
    Stenner peristaltic pump model 45MPHP10, 15 gal storage tank. TF 100 with Speed Stir.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Need Help - EcoStar SP3400VSP - Have read tons of threads.... Still need help.

    Well, the 10psi rise is an old out-dated recommendation that is illogical. Starting at 5psi and rising to 15psi (200% rise) is a lot different from starting at 20psi and rising to 30psi (50% rise).
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Need Help - EcoStar SP3400VSP - Have read tons of threads.... Still need help.

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    Well, the 10psi rise is an old out-dated recommendation that is illogical. Starting at 5psi and rising to 15psi (200% rise) is a lot different from starting at 20psi and rising to 30psi (50% rise).
    That does make sense Jason, however, I'm still trying to figure out what changed from last summer, even this spring, to make the pump behave differently. I want to make sure it's not the pump while I still have warranty left. I've tried Hayward, but end up having my work calls take priority and have not yet talked.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Need Help - EcoStar SP3400VSP - Have read tons of threads.... Still need help.

    If the skimmer basket and pump basket are clean and the impeller is clean, then the pressure will certainly climb and the flow will slow as the filter gets dirty.
    I do not understand where the concern is coming from ... briefly summarize what I am missing.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: Need Help - EcoStar SP3400VSP - Have read tons of threads.... Still need help.

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    If the skimmer basket and pump basket are clean and the impeller is clean, then the pressure will certainly climb and the flow will slow as the filter gets dirty.
    I do not understand where the concern is coming from ... briefly summarize what I am missing.
    Ok. In the past, the PSI would easily increase from 20-30 without any significant loss in output. Using the aerator, pop-up heads working etc. Now, with an increase of 5 or so in PSI, I see a drop in output AND the PSI does not ever increase 10PSI. I think I mentioned, but will state again, I'm running about 22 after backwashing, cleaning filters and adding DE. I understand that there is a point when the filter is dirty enough that I should see a drop in output at some point, I just don't understand why I am seeing the drop in output in such a significant manner after a short period in time, AND the PSI does not increase as it used to. Why would my pump/filter/pool behavior just change so drastically?

    The only thing I can think of is that there is something that happens when an entire bottle of Bio-Dex ends up in the pool that creates something so crappy on the filters that makes it as if they have not been cleaned in months. Something where it does not break down in the pool and instead bonds to the DE in nasty ways. Bio-Dex has been unresponsive to requests on what to do when to much Skillit is used.

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