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Thread: Return water issue?

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    Return water issue?

    Hello all, this is my first post here.

    I'm 24 and bought my first house last summer with an inground pool. pretty sure it's 4 ft deep, don't know the rest of the dimensions off head. It was only open 2-3 weeks before I closed it last year, and had some problems with it but figured id take care of it this summer.

    I believed it was the filter. I took the "fingers"? I guess thats what they're called and soaked them in a water/tide mix which i found as a suggestion from someone on here. When opened the pool the water goes into the skimmer bucket, fills the pump, but I don't seem to have any pressure going back into the pool. I can see bubbles and a stream for a few seconds anytime I plug the pump in but it dies off quickly. After a few minutes I can't feel any pressure coming from the jets. If i open the drain at the bottom of the filter water shoots out and you can see the pool sucking water in the skimmer door. When this is closed though barely any water is being pulled in. I undid the pipe coming from the filter to the pool and the stream coming out of the filter(that would be going into the return pipes) is very low. I'd say about the same as a garden hose. Is my filter bad? or is there something I'm missing?

    Any help would be appreciated, and if anyone would like more information just ask! I did my best to describe it, seeing as I know very little about pools or pool maintenance.

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Return water issue?

    Welcome to the forum.. If it is a sand filter, those fingers are callled laterals. Please verify. If air continues to come out the return, you have a suction side air leak most likely.
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    Re: Return water issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by woodyp View Post
    Welcome to the forum.. If it is a sand filter, those fingers are callled laterals. Please verify. If air continues to come out the return, you have a suction side air leak most likely.
    I just went out and checked. its a Hayward Perflex EC-50 filter.

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Return water issue?

    You have a DE filter. See if this helps:


    There are 2 different types of DE filters:

    The first uses "fingers" (fabric wrapped hollow tubes, usually 100/filter) to collect a layer of the DE on. This style is also known as a "bump" filter because the DE can be "recharged" via the use of a handle which moves the whole assembly up and down to expose new pathways in the DE coating without having to replace any DE (I'll talk about "bumping" a filter in a minute.) (There are some "grid" filters which have a handle on the top connected to a plastic plate which operate the same way)

    The newer models have a series of grids to collect the DE and either have a multiport valve or a "push/pull" valve (of which I will speak very little). These units allow you to "backwash" most of the DE out when the filter needs to be cleaned. (* some localities do not allow wasted DE to be flushed into sewers or even onto your own property - in that case a "separator" would need to be installed on the backwash line).

    3) Start-Up

    The fabric which holds the DE does very little to filter the water! As such, a DE filter needs to have a coating of DE on the grids/fingers as soon as the pool is started up. Your installer or pool tech should do this for you the first time and give you a complete lesson on operating your pool (called "pool school" - it's a lot of info all at once and it is very understandable that some of the info is forgotten by a pool owner). The amount of DE required by each filter is determined by the size of the filter - there should be a label on the filter identifying the size of the unit and how much DE it requires when completely clean. As said, KNOWING how much DE you are adding is key! Make sure to note what the pressure gauge reads when the unit is clean and freshly coated with the DE!!

    4) Maintenance

    Your filter should run anywhere from 8 psi to 20 psi with fresh DE put in it, depending on your pump, plumbing and filter system. Some setups, like with in-floor cleaners, may run at even higher pressures. When the pressure rises 20-25% of the clean pressure, it's time to clean the used DE out of it. (when doing any filter work, turn off the pump)

    Bump filters:
    1) Turn the pump off.
    2) Open the air valve on the top of the unit for ~5 sec. and close (bumping with the unit full of water will harm the unit!)
    3) Slowly push the handle down and quickly raise it up 4 - 6 times.
    4) Now turn the pump back on and see if the psi went down, if it didn't drop more than 2 psi, you need to dump the used DE.
    5) (if you need to dump the DE) - Open the drain outlet on the filter after doing steps 1 and 2 and run the pump for 20 seconds. Close the outlet and run the pump for a minute (don't do this if you have an algae problem! The uncoated parts of the fingers will collect algae too quickly and clog), then repeat the procedure (make sure you open the air relief while the pump is running until water comes out of it)
    6) At this point, you have removed ~80% of the old/ used DE so only add 80% of the DE you would use in a new or fully clean filter!!

    Grid filters:
    1) Pretty much the same as bump, except you have a valve (either the on/off plunger or a multiport) which allows you to backwash the filter when the pressure rises 20-25%.
    2) {Always!! Turn off the pump when changing the backwash valve positions!!} Turn the multiport to "backwash" and restart the pump, watch the view-glass or the end of the discharge hose to see when the backwashed water becomes ~clear. When it is fairly clear, turn the multi to "rinse" for 15 - 20 seconds, and then back to "backwash" until the water runs ~clear again. Repeat the "rinse/backwash" cycle until the water comes out clear when backwashing, add a short "rinse" and the filter is about as clean as you'll get it using the "backwash" function.
    3) If the water in the pool is fairly clear, I'll throw in a 1 min filter cycle and do the "backwash/rinse" cycle(s) again.
    4) At this point, you have removed ~ 80% of the old/ used DE so only add 80% of the DE you would use in a new or fully clean filter!!
    5) Note: if you have the on/off plunger valve, you will alternate between "backwash" and "filter" instead of "rinse".

    When bumping/ backwashing doesn't work:

    Sometimes just "dumping" the old DE isn't enough to get you back to proper filter performance - this can be caused by algae (or some other fine debris clogging the DE), or neglect (you didn't clean the filter soon enough), or the grids/fingers getting clogged up.

    At this point, you need to take the filter apart and manually hose them off (it's a wet process - so be prepared to get ~soaked). I recommend the manual hosing every year (I like doing it in the fall when the pool is being closed because, then you know the filter is ready for another season). For a walk-through on taking a grid DE filter apart, see the DE Filter Cleaning Tutorial sticky.

    If, when manually rinsing the grids, you notice that water is staying in the membrane for more than ~30 seconds, it's time for a chemical cleaning!

    To chemically clean the grids/ nest:
    1) Have a bucket/container large enough to hold the entire assembly - A large plastic garbage can works well.
    2) #1 Add some TSP (tri-sodium-phosphate) to the water or some electric dishwasher detergent to the water and soak the grids for at least 3 hours - this will "de-grease" the membranes and is the first step in cleaning them, rinse with hose and get ready for step 3.
    3) Dump the container, refill with water and add muriatic acid to the water so that you have a 10:1 water:acid mixture and soak the grids for at least another 3 hours, this will clean any calcium off of the grids. Rinse grids again and reinstall them in the filter.
    4) Now, run pump and bleed off the air from the filter and add 100% of the DE the filter calls for.
    16x32x52" Steel Cornelius Miramar AGP Vinyl liner 13,100 gal. Buried 2 ft.
    2 Speed Hayward Power-Flo Matrix 85 g.p.m. 22" 250lb. sand filter hard plumbed
    Pool Rover Jr., Pool Blaster Max, Diver Dave TF100 Test Kit/Speed Stir
    Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker, Liqour Chiller, & Drink Mixer & Party Tub----Collect 'um all!

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Return water issue?

    Welcome!

    It sure sounds like a suction-side air leak. The pump should make a racket for a minute or so (feels like hours when you're watching) and there will be a lot of sloshing in the pump basket, but after that things should be fine. If it's still acting weird after a minute, then you round up the usual suspects: low water level, stuck weir in the skimmer, loose drain plugs on the pump, poor seal on the pump strainer basket, and leaks at the fittings, especially any couplings. Remember, it will be between the pool and the pump, so don't waste time looking at the filter. By the way, what is the filter pressure?


    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: Return water issue?

    Thanks for all the info! Before I put filter back on I cleaned all the fingers this winter so that's taken care of. I also added the DE and followed all the directions on the pump about starting/bumping etc. I'm going to save your info though because it is much more in depth.

    Since I have water running into the skimmer, through the pump and into the filter, but not out of the filter at the top. Does this mean I need to take it apart again and reclean the filter/fingers? Or are there other issues I may be experiencing?

    - - - Updated - - -

    The filter pressure is right about 25 currently. Also let me go take a quick picture so You can guys can see what I have set up wise.

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    Re: Return water issue?


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    Re: Return water issue?

    My guess is the fingers need to be acid cleaned or replaced. If the pool is full of algae or debris it oould be loading up the filter.
    Hayward Pool Tech
    80+ Years of Technologically Advanced Pool Product Manufacturing
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