DE in pool - among other things


LifeTime Supporter
Today I decided to brave the Texas heat and clean my DE filter. I disassembled it and hosed off all the grids - no tears that I could find. Reassembled everything and started loading up the DE. After adding half of the DE I noticed that there was no more water in the skimmer was sucking air. I rushed over to the pump and shut everything down.

Everything looked fine so I turned off the skimmers and turned the main drain to full. Started up the pump again and the pump was just about primed and then psssss.... lost it again. Did the start/stop thing a couple of times for good measure but still no luck.

In desperation I took apart the multiport valve to make sure the spider gasket was still intact. It was but was a bit gooey - like the rubber was beginning to melt. But it was still in one piece.

Reassembled everything and gave it one last try but still no prime. Frustrated, I shut everything down and decided to try again in the morning.

Then it hit me. I left the mutliport on Backwash :hammer: . Checked the pool and sure enough, down 2 inches of water. That explains the skimmer being sucked dry.

I filled up the pool and once flipped the multiport back to Filter. Presto! The pump took hold! But then I noticed a plume of water shooting out from a large crack in the body of my inline chlorinator (must have whacked it with something when I was disassembling the filter). I turned the dial to Off and the raging torrent was reduced to a slight trickle.

I started loading up the DE for the second time. Once again I got halfway through and happened to glance at the pool. The entire pool is now a murky mess from the DE.

So after that long saga I have a couple of questions:
1) What's the deal with the DE in the pool
2) Do you think it's possible that I ripped one of the grids when I reassembled everything
3) Can I just remove the chlorinator and plug the hole or do I have to replace the darned thing which I have never used
4) Do I need to replace the spider gasket

Any help would be deeply appreciated.

Pool Clown

In The Industry
Sep 5, 2008
Silicon Valley, CA
When you originally put the DE in the filter (with it still in backwash), you precoated the wrong side of the grids. Then when you fixed the problem, the flow beginning to go the other way, blew all the DE off the inside of the grids and shot it out to the pool.

I think the grids are fine. You probably would have felt or heard if you ripped one.

You can remove the chlorinator, but you need to plug the holes (duh).

The goo on the spider gasket is probably lube so it doesn't get ripped when switching.
Tip: for longer gasket life, move the handle in one direction only. Back and forth is what kills those gaskets.

One more tip: Before you begin your backwash procedures, move your return valve to spa. This way, if you have problems, like you did, all the muck will go into the spa where it can be better contained/dealt with. You can just drain the spa (afterwards) with the filter pump (draw from spa,return to pool) and sweep it to the spa M/D. After you have pre-coated the filter of course.