Hello, my name is Dave B. ...

Beez

LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2009
785
Dallas, TX
...and I abuse my pool filter.

I started this thread here because I know without asking that it belongs here. :mrgreen: Instead of following the good advice offered here, I do not maintain my DE filter as prescribed. I am embarking on my own experiment to determine the consequences of my method vs conventional advice.

My Method
Do nothing to the filter until it tells me to. In other words, if it ain't broke don't fix it! Until I see some kind of symptom(persistent pressure rise, water clarity/quality issues, etc.) of a problem I will periodically backwash thoroughly and recharge with fresh DE. Then when the grids do fail, I will simply replace them instead of trying to clean them.

Background
According to the pool guy who I talked to before buying my current house/pool, the DE filter was installed new in the summer of 2007. He(pool guy) advised me that I should have him come out and take apart/clean the filter as soon as possible because it hadn't been done since install.

It is now towards the end of swim season 2010, and the only maintenance I have done is to thoroughly backwash it periodically. There has been no "clean filter" pressure rise, and water clarity is still excellent. I really don't believe the clarity could get much better than it is right now. At night, with the light on, almost no particulate is visible in the water. When the water is still, you might think it is empty. All parameters that we test for in the BBB method are at optimal values. Here is a pic I took this morning that shows the water clarity/quality. If the reflection was not obscuring it, you would clearly see the drain in the deep end, and pic was taken from ~30+ feet away.[attachment=0:1k7ku3bi]this morning 7-30-10.jpg[/attachment:1k7ku3bi]
How long can this go on? That is my question as well! When a problem does arise, or if I just get too curious at some point and take apart the filter, I will post pics in this thread whether good or bad. I am not ashamed to show my error publicly if it comes down to it. :)

:cheers:
Dave
 

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Bama Rambler

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Jun 22, 2009
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SouthWest Alabama
I don't think this is abuse of your filter. I think it's a testament to the BBB method. If you keep your chems inline and care for your pool as you should, you should be able to go many years without tearing the filter down.

Abusing it would be allowing algae to grow in it and have scaling and acidic attack from not maintaining the proper balance and having damage from having to fight outbreaks and trying to get rid of scaling and so on.
 

duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
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Hey, Beez,

Once again, I agree completely with bama. You personify BBB. I see no need to ever backwash/clean ANY type filter until a pressure rise signals the need.

Why do you think that goes against any advice here? (I'm not a DE guy so might be missing something)
 

Beez

LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2009
785
Dallas, TX
duraleigh said:
Hey, Beez,

Once again, I agree completely with bama. You personify BBB. I see no need to ever backwash/clean ANY type filter until a pressure rise signals the need.

Why do you think that goes against any advice here? (I'm not a DE guy so might be missing something)
Well, for one, see simicrintz' reaction to my method here: Subject: Fudgebar's pool build- have a lot of questions...

But further, I know I have read many times on the board that a DE filter should be torn down and inspected/cleaned at least once yearly. I don't have the time to search for it right now but I have read dire warnings from two of the most respected posters here, JasonLion and waste, for those that flaunt that advice.

Then there is the oft repeated refrain about how much trouble DE filters are to maintain. Doesn't that imply the "mandatory" yearly(some claim bi-yearly) takedown/cleaning of the filter? If not, then why do they say DE filters are so much trouble?

However, now I'm confused... :scratch: I thought I was being unorthodox in my method, but maybe not? Don't tell me I'm... <gulp> ...mainstream... :wink: :p
 

JasonLion

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May 7, 2007
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Over long periods of time excess DE can accumulate in the bottom of the filter, and after quite some time turn to rock. This doesn't usually happen, but if you never open up the filter you won't know till it is too late.
 

Beez

LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2009
785
Dallas, TX
JasonLion said:
Over long periods of time excess DE can accumulate in the bottom of the filter, and after quite some time turn to rock. This doesn't usually happen, but if you never open up the filter you won't know till it is too late.
And would this potentially damage/ruin the filter or just be a PITA to remove?
 

Beez

LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2009
785
Dallas, TX
JasonLion said:
Over long periods of time excess DE can accumulate in the bottom of the filter, and after quite some time turn to rock. This doesn't usually happen, but if you never open up the filter you won't know till it is too late.
Besides, IMO even if this does happen it doesn't justify the high maintenance remarks about DE filters. Don't get me wrong, I'm no evangelist for DE, I just think it is interesting that my filter doesn't fit the model.
 

JasonLion

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I don't think that taking it apart to clean once a year is what gets it the "high maintenance" comments. More likely it is what happens when you are cleaning up from algae problems. DE filters catch dead algae so efficiently that they often need to be backwashed every few hours. That can get really tedious and you can't run the pump if you aren't around when this is happening.
 

Beez

LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2009
785
Dallas, TX
JasonLion said:
I don't think that taking it apart to clean once a year is what gets it the "high maintenance" comments. More likely it is what happens when you are cleaning up from algae problems. DE filters catch dead algae so efficiently that they often need to be backwashed every few hours. That can get really tedious and you can't run the pump if you aren't around when this is happening.
Oh, well then nevermind... :oops: :mrgreen:

But seriously, this thread has taken an unexpected turn. I expected much more opposition...still it will be interesting to see it when I finally do take it apart. Won't be any time soon though... :wave:
 

waste

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Mar 29, 2007
4,160
Coastalish 'down easter'
Beez, it's your pool and you can do whatever you want to it :cool:

I'm happy that you have had no problems with your method, and I honestly doubt you will :-D

Please remember where I'm coming from when I give my advice for DE filters - I'm out 6 days/ week fixing problems that pool owners cause by neglect and abuse. Sometimes I forget that the good folks here are here because they are willing to care for their pools and understand the potential consequences of their actions (or inactions :p )

Happy pooling!! :cheers:
 

Beez

LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2009
785
Dallas, TX
waste said:
Beez, it's your pool and you can do whatever you want to it :cool:

I'm happy that you have had no problems with your method, and I honestly doubt you will :-D

Please remember where I'm coming from when I give my advice for DE filters - I'm out 6 days/ week fixing problems that pool owners cause by neglect and abuse. Sometimes I forget that the good folks here are here because they are willing to care for their pools and understand the potential consequences of their actions (or inactions :p )

Happy pooling!! :cheers:
Points taken(especially the bold above) and appreciated. And I repeat, if I screw up big time I will come here and show everyone my folly in technicolor! :p

yeah, man! :cheers:
 
G

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Beez said:
BTW, thanks for the compliments Bama & duraleigh...and simicrintz via the other thread! :wave:
Glad you saw that :goodjob:

I have a real hard time being serious (unless I hear of someone using flex pipe, but that's another story!), and I like to joke around quite a bit. Seems to make life more enjoyable :party:

When I first got in the business, the owner of the company that I worked for (a Master Pool Builder) had a cartridge filter on his pool, and he instructed the services techs not to clean it until it changed 10 psi from clean. After 2+ years the Service Manager took it apart himself, figuring the gauge was bad, since it hadn't gone up that far yet! The filter was actually pretty clean.

Again, your pool looks great, so keep doing what you're doing :goodjob: :cheers:
 

Beez

LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2009
785
Dallas, TX
simicrintz said:
I have a real hard time being serious (unless I hear of someone using flex pipe, but that's another story!), and I like to joke around quite a bit. Seems to make life more enjoyable :party:
Not me, I look upon such frivolity with utter disdain. I obtain my joy from the straight delivery of pertinent facts. And I never let a sense of humor(certainly not irony) invade my contributions to this hallowed forum. Or sump'n like that...







:p
 

geekgranny

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 20, 2009
1,358
North Central Texas
Oh no, she's going to say it again. Debris

No matter how well maintained a pool is the kind and amount of debris has to make some difference on how often a filter needs to be opened, difference can be from small to huge. And in the case of DE filter what filter media one is using and how well it backwashes out. Also, filter size to pump flow ratio. And usual water flow speed. Oversized pump on undersized DE filter makes for tighter compaction of media, to grids in particular. I'm discovering that the DE filters that use cartridges instead of grids seem to have less compaction of DE. Those curved vertical grid DE filters really like to hoard DE and cellulose. :twisted:

When I was using cellulose the huge amount of released calcium scale in addition to my microscopic "cementous" dust could not be backwashed out of my big, new filter even running pump on a low speed for filtering that produced flow of 19 gpm. It had to be taken apart weekly and pressure hosed off. 9" of water, used during a backwash session, using every flow rate between 20 gpm to 100 gpm for backwashing and all the other tricks between backwashing, during the lengthy session, would not dislodge the "glue mess". It took two weeks to clear up the accumulated calcium dust that had released during two months time, pool being treated to released calcium scale from plaster and high winds throwing loads of dust into the pool, when the pool was being filtered by two submersible pumps with Big Slime Bags and many hours a day running Aquabot, using several bags a day, that filtered 3K gph, at < 2 microns.

I'm treating now but just started using Aqua Pearl, similar to DE but no silica. Tons of calcium dust is being filtered out (filter and VF pump want the filter to be backwashed daily), yet the most of the Aqua Pearl backwashes out beautifully without the need to open the filter. In two days the psi of filter will raise from starting 3 psi to 25 psi due to the calcium dust which is similar to my "cemetous" environmental dust but not as sticky.

I think you are fortunate for two main reasons: 1) You have created a situation, by educating yourself, your doing, to maintain your pool at optimal balance, and 2) You don't live in a very dusty environment, Mother Nature's doing, and somewhat the doing of your neighborhood environmental conditions (and upkeep by neighbors and your municipality) and your choice to live there. :cheers:

Many others aren't so fortunate either in knowing how to and practicing great pool maintanence and/or living in difficult environments.

gg=alice
 

sbluhm

LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2008
84
Virginia Beach, VA
Funny, I was trying the same thing after buying a new DE filter 2 years ago.. unfortunately, we get a lot of pollen and a lot of leaves/debris, and it got to the point where I was needing to backwash it seemed like every week, at which point... it really wasn't a big deal to pull the filter apart, soak the grids over night, and put it back together, then enjoy weeks and weeks between backwashes.

But I was thinking, it's probably a good idea to make this a yearly task regardless.... there is some value in opening the clamp, lubing and resetting the o-ring, pulling out the grids, etc... just in terms of keeping the entire filter more serviceable year after year.

Kind of like the wheel bearings on the boat trailer.. they don't need to be replaced every year, but if I do it every year, it's a lot easier to get the parts in and out instead of waiting until it's hopelessly frozen/rusted/whatever in place.

Steve
 

Beez

LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2009
785
Dallas, TX
geekgranny said:
I think you are fortunate for two main reasons: 1) You have created a situation, by educating yourself, your doing, to maintain your pool at optimal balance, and 2) You don't live in a very dusty environment, Mother Nature's doing, and somewhat the doing of your neighborhood environmental conditions (and upkeep by neighbors and your municipality) and your choice to live there. :cheers:
I am very familiar with the Cedar Hill area, I used to ride the mountain bike trails at Joe Pool lake every weekend. It is a beautiful area, so I understand why you would want to live there. But I have to say you are earning sainthood for putting up with those cement plants down there. That would be a deal breaker for me whether or not I was a pool owner!
geekgranny said:
Many others aren't so fortunate either in knowing how to and practicing great pool maintanence and/or living in difficult environments.
That's why I started this thread in this forum. Both to emphasize the experimental nature of my method, and to not confuse the noobs. :wink:
 

Beez

LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2009
785
Dallas, TX
sbluhm said:
But I was thinking, it's probably a good idea to make this a yearly task regardless.... there is some value in opening the clamp, lubing and resetting the o-ring, pulling out the grids, etc... just in terms of keeping the entire filter more serviceable year after year.
That makes sense, and I reserve the right to change my mind at any time! :p

But remember, a key part of my method is not trying to preserve the grids/parts. When they fail, I will simply throw them away and install new. They are now on there third year of service with no signs of giving up the ghost...
 
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