Curious about TFP bias for DE over CF

BattleOfYakima

TFP Guide
Apr 15, 2016
1,683
Central Florida
Detailed articles about adding DE to sand filter, but no equivalent for cellulose fiber. From my reading on TFP threads, users of CF seem to have resounding success. Given that CF can be backwashed right onto the yard & less legal/environmental considerations, should TFP consider a pivot towards suggesting CF instead of DE as the primary suggestion for adding to sand filter? I will be helping with an undersized sand filter swamp in a few weeks and am tentatively planning to use CF to speed up the end stage SLAM water clearing, since last year this pool took weeks to achieve perfection, despite a deep clean. Are there any hesitations with CF that are not there with DE? Can it be added through the skimmer as well or must it be sprinkled inside the sand chamber? Thanks for the info and, of course, all the consideration that goes into articles and stickies. They have helped me and have helped me help others. All you TFP contributors are the best and worthy of all the praise you receive and more!
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
10,304
Franklin, NC
No bias, the article was just written by someone who used DE. I recomend CF all the time, it's what I use.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
15,658
Tucson, AZ
Cellulose fiber is certainly an acceptable alternative to DE ..... BUT .... it does have it's down sides. CF tends to breakdown on exposure to high chlorine levels (even when CYA is present to moderate HOCl levels) and so it ought to be backwashed much more frequently than DE or else you will get a gooey mess inside your filter. Many DE filter owners who have tried to use CF as an alternative find it to be messy and makes it harder to backwash and clean DE grids and cartridges. Also, once it starts to breakdown from chlorine exposure, you will get slightly higher FC demand and it's filtration performance will degrade. The process of using it in a sand filter should be the same as with DE BUT I would highly recommend backwashing it more frequently and not leaving it in as you would DE.

Quite simply, CF is inferior to DE as a filtration media.

Now, one also balances the positive aspects of DE with it's downsides as well. There are many municipalities that ban DE filters outright. Other municipal codes will often require the use of a trap on the backwash line to capture spent DE so it is not discharged into the environment or city sewer systems. And, yes, DE is an inhalation hazard BUT that side of it is often waaaaaaaay overblown as there is almost no risk associated with using it properly in an outdoor environment. Many people that cite the respiratory risks forget to mention that all of OSHA and IHS codes are designed for industrial use and production of DE, in other words, confined indoor spaces where exposure levels are orders of magnitude higher and properly ventilated areas must be engineered and maintained. Even though municipalities will restrict environmental discharge, there really is no danger in discharging it onto your property. Depending on where you discharge it, it will simply incorporate with the soil. There is no risk to vegetation but there is a side benefit - ants, termites, beetles, etc, all hate DE as it mechanically abrades away the waxy coating on their exoskeletons and causes them to die by dehydration. This is why in an area where DE is discharged you'll almost never find ant hills.
 

Nursenini

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Sep 22, 2015
2,122
Bixby, Ok
Cellulose fiber is certainly an acceptable alternative to DE ..... BUT .... it does have it's down sides. CF tends to breakdown on exposure to high chlorine levels (even when CYA is present to moderate HOCl levels) and so it ought to be backwashed much more frequently than DE or else you will get a gooey mess inside your filter. Many DE filter owners who have tried to use CF as an alternative find it to be messy and makes it harder to backwash and clean DE grids and cartridges. Also, once it starts to breakdown from chlorine exposure, you will get slightly higher FC demand and it's filtration performance will degrade. The process of using it in a sand filter should be the same as with DE BUT I would highly recommend backwashing it more frequently and not leaving it in as you would DE.

Quite simply, CF is inferior to DE as a filtration media.

Now, one also balances the positive aspects of DE with it's downsides as well. There are many municipalities that ban DE filters outright. Other municipal codes will often require the use of a trap on the backwash line to capture spent DE so it is not discharged into the environment or city sewer systems. And, yes, DE is an inhalation hazard BUT that side of it is often waaaaaaaay overblown as there is almost no risk associated with using it properly in an outdoor environment. Many people that cite the respiratory risks forget to mention that all of OSHA and IHS codes are designed for industrial use and production of DE, in other words, confined indoor spaces where exposure levels are orders of magnitude higher and properly ventilated areas must be engineered and maintained. Even though municipalities will restrict environmental discharge, there really is no danger in discharging it onto your property. Depending on where you discharge it, it will simply incorporate with the soil. There is no risk to vegetation but there is a side benefit - ants, termites, beetles, etc, all hate DE as it mechanically abrades away the waxy coating on their exoskeletons and causes them to die by dehydration. This is why in an area where DE is discharged you'll almost never find ant hills.
Outstanding information as always, Matt!
 

BattleOfYakima

TFP Guide
Apr 15, 2016
1,683
Central Florida
AMAZING! Thank you so very much tim5055 and JoyfulNoise and (your name here if you also post helpful info)! This, in one day, became a thread I can send people to for a one stop shop for CF info and CF vs DE. Thank you so much!!! Everything I wanted and more!