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Thread: Sand Filter Problems

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    Rubygrrl's Avatar
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    Sand Filter Problems

    I decided to start a new thread to keep my algae and filter problems separate--if you want to combine this with my other thread--I understand!

    My fiance and I noticed something today that is definitely abnormal. We turned the pump off to clean out the pump basket--turned the pump back on--and air blew out both of the returns WITH SAND! Or at least I THINK it was sand. It looked like a huge dust cloud. Since we had algae--I guess it COULD be dead algae blowing back into the pool? I am going to try to tie a nylon knee high to the return and see what we catch--to try to confirm it is sand.

    Whatever it is, it made my crystal clean pool look cloudy again. I know that the sand(?) will eventually settle and that we can vacuum it up, but I just wonder if this information (sand coming out of returns, though not constantly),combined with the constant water puddle under the sand filter, indicates that I have a leak or broken lateral?

    Oh, I checked for condensation--there is absolutely NO water on the outside of my sand filter, but there is a constant puddle underneath it--so I'm assuming we have a leak.

    I need everyone's help...Should I:

    1. Call the same company back (that told me the puddle was due to condensation)? AHS (my home warranty) had set this up--and I had to pay them 60 dollars--so I really want their lazy *** to come back out and fix what needs to be fixed!

    Or 2. Would you recommend I call my AHS (home warranty) back and have them send someone else out? I might have to pay someone else another 60 dollars--but maybe they will do a better job?

    OR 3. I am absolutely addicted to this forum and read some great information from the user "waste"--he is helping someone else with the exact same problem as mine. So, should I try to fix this myself? My fiance is pretty good at fixing things--but honestly, we are nervous about making something worse. Based on everything I've read..I think that our problem is either 1. spider gasket 2. sand 3. laterals

    I wish I could trust a pool tech to fix it, but I live in a smaller city--and I really don't know who to trust.

    Thanks for any advice you all can give me.

    At least the algae problem seems to be under control now. The pool looks amazing!
    In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    21,000 gallons
    Sand Filter
    1 1/2 hp pump

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Sand Filter Problems

    That doesn't sound like sand coming back through. If it comes out of the returns in a 'cloud' then it's a lot of small particles. Sand grains are (relatively) large and drop almost instantly wherever they entered the pool. You should have seen a lot of sand directly below that return if that's what it was.

    As for the leak, do you see any water or scale trails down the filter from the lid, the plumbing, or the drain plug? Every now and then a tank will get a leak down at the very bottom but it's unusual. Much more likely that that water is slowly trickling down from a higher point.

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    Re: Sand Filter Problems

    As long as it's not sand coming back through the returns - the latterals are probably good, ditto for the multiport. This takes us to the sand, something may be growing in there (you had an algae bloom, correct?)

    As you said you'd read this post - you know my next question is "how hard is it to gain access to the inside of the filter?" You want to check the sand for feel and cleanliness. Waterbear has an interesting method for cleaning sand filters - jam a garden hose into the open top of it and just let all the 'stuff' come flowing out the top -- work the hose down through the sand to liberate and resettle the sand (he said it better than I, if you need more on doing this, I'll search for his post and link it here )

    On the puddle, as Tim said, try to trace it back up the filter to the source - once you find the source, we'll give you the options on fixing it 8)
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Rubygrrl's Avatar
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    Re: Sand Filter Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by waste
    As long as it's not sand coming back through the returns - the latterals are probably good, ditto for the multiport. This takes us to the sand, something may be growing in there (you had an algae bloom, correct?)

    As you said you'd read this post - you know my next question is "how hard is it to gain access to the inside of the filter?" You want to check the sand for feel and cleanliness. Waterbear has an interesting method for cleaning sand filters - jam a garden hose into the open top of it and just let all the 'stuff' come flowing out the top -- work the hose down through the sand to liberate and resettle the sand (he said it better than I, if you need more on doing this, I'll search for his post and link it here )

    On the puddle, as Tim said, try to trace it back up the filter to the source - once you find the source, we'll give you the options on fixing it 8)
    Yes, we just got rid of mustard algae (FC held overnight)!

    When my fiance gets home--I am going to secure a nylon pantyhose to one of the returns using a rubber band to see if it is indeed sand. I have a feeling it might not be after all (like you all are suggesting).

    My fiance did open the sand filter about 1 month ago. We had no idea what the sand was supposed to look like (and I really still don't)--there were dead bugs in there and it looked kind of dirty--and when I touched it--it felt hard as a rock--I could barely move it around. So, maybe we should try the water hose trick. I will also do that this evening as well.

    There is a leak I noticed in one of the unions (leaks only when we backwash). We need to get that sealed up.

    However, I can't determine where the sand filter itself is leaking from. It honestly looks like it's coming from underneath the filter. In fact, there is this nasty green moss stuff starting to grow around the bottom of the filter--of course--that does not mean that the leak is under the filter--I know that, but it's nasty!

    I will do my very best to examine the equipment and try to isolate where exactly the water is coming from.

    If you all need videos/pictures--let me know. I am really good with that type of thing.

    In fact, I posted a few photos in my mustard algae thread--here they are so you don't have to go look for them:

    Here is the first one--I marked which union is leaking (I do not think this is responsible for the water puddle--since it only leaks when we backwash):
    [attachment=1:3rb645xa]leak.jpg[/attachment:3rb645xa]

    Here is another close-up of the puddle:
    [attachment=0:3rb645xa]leak 2.jpg[/attachment:3rb645xa]

    These photos may not help at all--but I thought I would post them here just in case.

    Thanks again for everyone's help.

    Sadly, I just can't trust the pool techs in my city I guess (or don't know which ones to call??).

    :P
    Attached Images Attached Images
    In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    21,000 gallons
    Sand Filter
    1 1/2 hp pump

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    Re: Sand Filter Problems

    Give a quick look at the drain plug - depending on the slope of the filter pad, that could well be where the water is coming from

    I hope you know that we're all here to help you find and fix the problems 8)
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: Sand Filter Problems

    That water could just as easily be coming from your pump's shaft seal. Hard to tell because the band is so close to the ground on those things, but lay your head down and see if you can see a drip coming from the bottom of your impeller housing or down the back side of it.

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    Re: Sand Filter Problems

    I am so sorry for not updating you all.

    I have started another summer semester--and it's consuming nearly all of my time (I am working on my Master's degree).

    Okay--so fiance got home on 7/6 (Monday) and we TRIED to tackle the sand filter issue.

    My fiance (Nick) unscrewed the drain plug--no water came out.

    He opened the top of the filter--and there was water inside--sitting on top of the sand. I couldn't reach my hand in there to even feel it this time. It's like there is less sand in there now than there was earlier??

    After we opened the top--water SLOWLY started to drain through the hole where the drain plug was (but it NEVER fully drained).

    We tried putting a water hose in to allow the nasty water come out the top, and a lot did (even live ants came out ), but honestly, I don't think that worked.

    We didn't know what to set the multiport valve to. We set it to closed--and nasty dirty stuff poured in through one of the returns (in the shallow end). Is that even normal?

    We then set it to waste--and finally to filter.

    We then kind of gave up--backwashed--and when Nick put the lid back on he accidently cracked the pressure relief valve--(he rigged something until the new one comes in from Leslies).

    So I am at a loss.

    The drain plug was totally dry.

    I see no drips at all from the pump.

    Water is definitely coming from under the sand filter.

    I think we are just going to call AHS (American Home Shield/warranty) back as soon as the pressure relief valve comes in and see if they can send someone out.

    The pump has been running for about 24 hours and pool is crystal clear again--so I am really upset/stressed/angry, because I have worked so hard to get the water chemistry right, and now our equipment is all messed up.

    I know that as soon as I turn the pump off and back on, that nasty stuff is going to come in from the returns and make the pool cloudy again--then it will eventually clear in 1-2 days.

    Sorry for the long post--but let me know what you all recommend.

    In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    21,000 gallons
    Sand Filter
    1 1/2 hp pump

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    Re: Sand Filter Problems

    While you're waiting for the valve you can always run the pump with the multiport set to 'recirculate'. That will allow you to continue circulating the water without filtering it.

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    Re: Sand Filter Problems

    We had the same problem. Turns out you are supposed to use the Rinse setting after backwashing. Try it. Good luck.

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    Rubygrrl's Avatar
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    Re: Sand Filter Problems

    We always rinse after backwashing---always!
    In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    21,000 gallons
    Sand Filter
    1 1/2 hp pump

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    Re: Sand Filter Problems

    It's sounding like the body of the filter may be compromised But that's still not going to cause the cloud on restart - it may just be time for a new filter with new sand - sorry

    I wish I had a quick/ inexpensive fix for you - the best I can do is suggest removing the sand and then inspecting the filter body. If, as it seems to be, the leak is in the filter body itself, you'll need to either patch it for a season or 2 with some epoxy putty or get a new filter, in either event - the nasty stuff in the sand will be taken care of
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Rubygrrl's Avatar
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    Re: Sand Filter Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by waste
    It's sounding like the body of the filter may be compromised But that's still not going to cause the cloud on restart - it may just be time for a new filter with new sand - sorry

    I wish I had a quick/ inexpensive fix for you - the best I can do is suggest removing the sand and then inspecting the filter body. If, as it seems to be, the leak is in the filter body itself, you'll need to either patch it for a season or 2 with some epoxy putty or get a new filter, in either event - the nasty stuff in the sand will be taken care of
    Thanks. I just wish our home warranty would send someone out who would actually take the time to examine the sand filter--he didn't even remove the top to look at the sand . I am going to call AHS this weekend and see what they say. I don't mind buying a new filter--BUT--our warranty should cover it (or at least pay to have it repaired).

    Thanks for all of your help.

    Pool is crystal clear!!

    I just hope we get the sand filter issue resolved quickly.

    It's hard to have POP sometimes.
    In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    21,000 gallons
    Sand Filter
    1 1/2 hp pump

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    Re: Sand Filter Problems

    Please, whatever you do, do not waste another $60 on another AHS call, they are more than worthless

    We received a year of warranty thru them when we bought our house & used them once & they are a waste of your $$$

    Please google AHS complaints & read some stories at this link

    http://www.consumeraffairs.com/insurance/am_home.html

    Bob
    I consider myself very lucky I found this site before the pool store found me-pool owner since Nov 2008- Stunningly clear 17,000 gal fiberglass pool, thanks to this site, installed in 1982-24" 3.1sq. ft sta-rite sand filter, 1 hp - 2 speed wisperflo pump-WFDS-4

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    Rubygrrl's Avatar
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    Re: Sand Filter Problems

    I know they are worthless, but I don't think we can afford to dish out 700 dollars for a new sand filter at this time.

    Edit to say - Thanks for the link. I appreciate it!
    In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    21,000 gallons
    Sand Filter
    1 1/2 hp pump

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    Re: Sand Filter Problems

    Rather than just putting in a call for service, is there a "next step" in the AHS process? Like, "your guy already came out, didn't fix it, it needs replacing. Get this straight now!" kind of call?

    It's been years since we had a home warranty, but it was excellent back in 1993. I guess the insurance has become so popular over the years they had to figure out a way to make it even more profitable for them.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Rubygrrl's Avatar
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    Re: Sand Filter Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    Rather than just putting in a call for service, is there a "next step" in the AHS process? Like, "your guy already came out, didn't fix it, it needs replacing. Get this straight now!" kind of call?

    It's been years since we had a home warranty, but it was excellent back in 1993. I guess the insurance has become so popular over the years they had to figure out a way to make it even more profitable for them.
    That's what I am going to do Sunday.

    I would call now, but we are having friends over for my fiances brother's birthday this Saturday.

    The pool looks amazing--the best it ever has!
    In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    21,000 gallons
    Sand Filter
    1 1/2 hp pump

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    Re: Sand Filter Problems



    More Pics of your sparking pool would be of interest please to me!
    Chad R.

    POOL SIZE: 16 x 32' Vinyl lined pool. 22,000 gallons. 8' deep. 2009 Hayward 1.5 HP Super Pump. Hayward S310S 30" 500 lb Sand filter. 1 skimmer and 2 returns. Solar Blanket.

    Pics of my pool: http://s307.photobucket.com/albums/nn312/reindeerboy/

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    Re: Sand Filter Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by reindeerboy


    More Pics of your sparking pool would be of interest please to me!
    Pics posted here:

    post123069.html#p123069

    In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    21,000 gallons
    Sand Filter
    1 1/2 hp pump

  19. Back To Top    #19
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    Re: Sand Filter Problems

    Awesome pics. Great Job.
    Chad R.

    POOL SIZE: 16 x 32' Vinyl lined pool. 22,000 gallons. 8' deep. 2009 Hayward 1.5 HP Super Pump. Hayward S310S 30" 500 lb Sand filter. 1 skimmer and 2 returns. Solar Blanket.

    Pics of my pool: http://s307.photobucket.com/albums/nn312/reindeerboy/

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    Rubygrrl's Avatar
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    Re: Sand Filter Problems

    I wanted to update my thread to let all of you know how appreciative I am of your help last summer. We DID IN FACT have a sand filter problem/leak and AHS paid to have a BRAND NEW FILTER put in!

    Also, our motor in our pump went out (during the snowstorm/blizzard we had in North Texas during Christmas) and AHS paid to have the motor replaced as well.

    So, now I have a brand new sand filter and motor!! The sand filter is Starite brand?? And he replaced our motor with a 1.5 HP Pump!

    Also, my pool is sparkling clear/clean thanks to this forum and the TF Test Kit!--and I plan to keep it that way the entire summer (*fingers crossed*)

    Thanks again for all of your help!
    In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    21,000 gallons
    Sand Filter
    1 1/2 hp pump

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