Cart filter constantly clogging w/ dead algae

jcpundt

Member
Jul 12, 2018
19
Monrovia, MD
We opened our pool to a nice green swamp. It's our first time opening with usable water. Last year we emptied and cleaned to open it because we bought the house 2 years ago and inherited a pond!

Here's my issue. The filter cart gets clogged every 20 to 30 min while we SLAM the heck out of the water. I've cleaned the sucker 10 times today already. Is this normal? I'm using a tiny baby toothbrush to get the slimy algae from between the pleats. I'll keep doing it until the new cart arrives Wednesday. And I'll keep cleaning the new one too but IS THIS NORMAL? What do you all do?
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
21,682
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
Sadly, yes, that is normal. The filter is doing what it's designed to do -- filter debris.

Since you have a cartridge filter, you have no option to vacuum to waste, so you'll just have to put up with it.

Just file this way for the future: close late, open early. You might be able to avoid this mess next year if you do.
 

jcpundt

Member
Jul 12, 2018
19
Monrovia, MD
Sadly, yes, that is normal. The filter is doing what it's designed to do -- filter debris.

Since you have a cartridge filter, you have no option to vacuum to waste, so you'll just have to put up with it.

Just file this way for the future: close late, open early. You might be able to avoid this mess next year if you do.
Okay. I'll keep the routine up unless I go insane. One more question for you... should I let the debris fall to the bottom and vacuum straight to the filter or keep trying to "stir it up." We have little floaties in the water and I say let them fall and vacuum. The husband wants to keep the water moving. Either way we are cleaning the filter every 20-30 minutes.
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
21,682
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
I'd vacuum it up. Whether you pick up chunks with the vacuum or dust through the skimmer, it's all going to end up in the filter eventually. I'd rather get it out sooner than later.
 

jcpundt

Member
Jul 12, 2018
19
Monrovia, MD
I'd vacuum it up. Whether you pick up chunks with the vacuum or dust through the skimmer, it's all going to end up in the filter eventually. I'd rather get it out sooner than later.
Thank you. I might consider a different filter at the end of the year. I dont know much about sand or DE so I was scared. I installed the cartridge filter last July and if this is what I have to look forward to... no thanks.
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
21,682
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
Thank you. I might consider a different filter at the end of the year. I dont know much about sand or DE so I was scared. I installed the cartridge filter last July and if this is what I have to look forward to... no thanks.
A DE filter would likely clog just as fast if not faster and can be a bigger PITA to clean. Plus it uses more water to clean.

Again, file this way for the future: close late, open early. You might be able to avoid this mess next year if you do.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
May 3, 2014
17,645
Laughlin, NV
It is great if you do not get algae.

Over sizing a cartridge filter means cleaning it less. I clean mine once a year.
 

bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
4,965
Central MD
Again, file this way for the future: close late, open early. You might be able to avoid this mess next year if you do.
To be very specific, you are about 6 weeks late opening for MD. On April 14th my pool was 54 degrees already. By 60 you are ready for algae. And ideally you close in late October when the water is below 60. If you want to see my pool temps historically, click on my doggies and then click PoolMath Logs and scroll down to see temps. I never open green with a mesh cover (which some folks would swear is the cause of opening green).

I expect after this experience you will also not open green and then a cartridge filter will be just fine. For the record, cartridge and DE clog FAST early in a swamp. A sand filter, the other option, takes a LONG time to get the cloudy stage finished. There is no magic bullet except to keep the pool clear.
 

rolandv

Member
Jul 16, 2015
21
Sacramento, CA
Get a sweeper nozzle from Home Depot or Walmart. Higher pressure and really gets cartridge filters clean easily.
They run about $3-4. Great investment and much more fun than the toothbrush!
I must have received the tip on these forums somewhere. That nozzle head has been a life saver when it comes to cleaning cartridge filters. I also bought the brass nozzle that others recommend on the forums, but this one has been the best and is what I continue to use.
 
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rolandv

Member
Jul 16, 2015
21
Sacramento, CA
Okay. I'll keep the routine up unless I go insane. One more question for you... should I let the debris fall to the bottom and vacuum straight to the filter or keep trying to "stir it up." We have little floaties in the water and I say let them fall and vacuum. The husband wants to keep the water moving. Either way we are cleaning the filter every 20-30 minutes.
The most important ingredient when opening up a green pool is PATIENCE. It IS a lot of work. Remember how much work it is in the future, and don't let the pool get into bad shape again. This is something that I need to remember myself. It's much easier to simply maintain it (or close/open properly depending on where you live) than to deal with trying to clean up a mess. It's a metaphor for many areas in life.

What condition are your filters in (or is it simply a single filter?) I remember a few years ago going through the same issues that you are with the cartridges filling up so fast. At this time I can see that I had cartridge issues. A few of them (there are 4) simply needed replacement and were essentially worthless. I laugh at myself now for not immediately recognizing that. The other "good" filters I thought I had were stained green from the mess they had come out of. They really should have been replaced as well, were not possible to clean well anymore. I was spending hours cleaning these filters. Live and LEARN (and I have, this year was the easiest pool opening I've had in 4 years [and it was a tadpole filled swamp to boot!], it seems like I learn something new every year. This year I learned how all the piping works. I wasn't using my skimmer properly and have had circulation issues in the past due to not having that knowledge).

It did help when I actually got a proper high-pressure nozzle that could clean them better than the tool I was using. I hadn't even really been getting them to a proper level of clean! Did you say you're using a toothbrush? I would be frustrated too (and I have been in the past).

Live and learn. We are quick fix society, but patience is a virtue and will save your sanity when opening a pool.
 

LoneWolfArcher

Well-known member
May 29, 2019
110
Michigan
I am having a similar problem. I used clarifier which also heightened this.

OP, is your water level high? If so you can filter to waste until you get it down, it might help a bit.
 

jcpundt

Member
Jul 12, 2018
19
Monrovia, MD
The most important ingredient when opening up a green pool is PATIENCE. It IS a lot of work. Remember how much work it is in the future, and don't let the pool get into bad shape again. This is something that I need to remember myself. It's much easier to simply maintain it (or close/open properly depending on where you live) than to deal with trying to clean up a mess. It's a metaphor for many areas in life.

What condition are your filters in (or is it simply a single filter?) I remember a few years ago going through the same issues that you are with the cartridges filling up so fast. At this time I can see that I had cartridge issues. A few of them (there are 4) simply needed replacement and were essentially worthless. I laugh at myself now for not immediately recognizing that. The other "good" filters I thought I had were stained green from the mess they had come out of. They really should have been replaced as well, were not possible to clean well anymore. I was spending hours cleaning these filters. Live and LEARN (and I have, this year was the easiest pool opening I've had in 4 years [and it was a tadpole filled swamp to boot!], it seems like I learn something new every year. This year I learned how all the piping works. I wasn't using my skimmer properly and have had circulation issues in the past due to not having that knowledge).

It did help when I actually got a proper high-pressure nozzle that could clean them better than the tool I was using. I hadn't even really been getting them to a proper level of clean! Did you say you're using a toothbrush? I would be frustrated too (and I have been in the past).

Live and learn. We are quick fix society, but patience is a virtue and will save your sanity when opening a pool.
This is the first year that we are opening the pool without emptying it. Last year we opened up a pool that was closed for 6 years. The previous home owners left the house and it was vacant along with the pool though it was covered with a mesh Loop loc cover. I did have a company come out and close the pool properly. I did not know that I should have been checking it for algae over the winter. We honestly had no idea what we were doing this year when we opened it. But we do have a tree frog problem in the neighborhood and we seem to have been harboring a frog orgy. There were tadpoles everywhere. The pump and filter were new as of August 2018. I bought a new filter this year and I bought an aqua comb to clean out the new filter. It is taken countless vacuuming and cleaning sessions but I am finally algae free. The water is a little cloudy but that can be attributed to chemical imbalance. Today I started the full on assault to chemical balance. I can see the bottom but I got this!

We will be getting a new cover for the winter and I will be checking on it periodically
 
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jcpundt

Member
Jul 12, 2018
19
Monrovia, MD
To be very specific, you are about 6 weeks late opening for MD. On April 14th my pool was 54 degrees already. By 60 you are ready for algae. And ideally you close in late October when the water is below 60. If you want to see my pool temps historically, click on my doggies and then click PoolMath Logs and scroll down to see temps. I never open green with a mesh cover (which some folks would swear is the cause of opening green).

I expect after this experience you will also not open green and then a cartridge filter will be just fine. For the record, cartridge and DE clog FAST early in a swamp. A sand filter, the other option, takes a LONG time to get the cloudy stage finished. There is no magic bullet except to keep the pool clear.
We took the cover off the second week of May. We had planned on the end of April but I had a death in the family. My husband thought I was crazy for taking the cover off so early but now I will open even earlier. We did close the pool October 4th last year but with all the rain and the warm temps in April I can see how algae form so quickly. Thank you so much for your advice I do appreciate it. And by the way I am now algae free with just a tiny bit of cloudy water that I can clear out with properly balancing the chemicals
 

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