Intex salt water sand pump filter programming and issue

Edrock200

Member
Jul 19, 2020
17
Fairfax VA
Hello!
Long time lurker, first time poster. Awesome forum you have here!

I am the recent proud owner of an Intex 12x24 ultra frame xtr pool with a salt water system.

Leveling took a while but setup was fairly straight forward and my family loves it. Added a few upgrades (solar cover, reel, second skimmer, la Crosse temp monitor) but for the most part the pool is "stock."

I've run into two issues and I'm hoping forum members can help. I tried calling Intex but their phone line puts me on hold for hours and they have yet to answer my emails (submitted ~1 month ago.) I tried researching as well but those tips didn't pan out.

First issue is the programming. I'm trying to get the pump to run the chlorinator for 6 hours, then just the pump for 6 hours, starting around 8am. To do so I turned the pump on at 8am, hit the unlock button, pressed the chlorinator button, and set it to 6 hours. I then hit the pump button and set it to 6 hours as well.

What this resulted in is the chlorinator properly starting at 8am and running for 6 hours. You can see the hours indicator tick down each hour 6, 5, 4 etc. until it finishes it's cycle. Then the odd part, the pump stays on and 6 is displayed, which I took to mean it will run for 6 hours. But here's the odd part. It never ticks down. It just stays locked at 6 forever. I've tried unplugging/replugging to clear timers, reprogramming, etc. without success. What am I doing wrong?

Second question. The pump seems to be expelling sand into the pool, about 1/2 cup every 2 days or so based on what I vacuum up. From my research I tried several things - back washed and rinsed the sand, checked for leaks, validated pressure, cleaned and retightend all connectors. Same issue. I also ensured I used sand with the same specifications from the manual, I didn't overfill the filter, and I used the sand guard when filling the filter, also wetting the sand prior to resealing the filter.

Some videos mention if the "fingers" on the stand pipe are cracked, this can cause this issue. Admittedly I didn't inspect it too closely since the standpipe and fingers were already installed in the filter out of the box, but based on what I recall there didn't appear to be any obvious physical damage to these components. If I have to extract all the sand to properly inspect I will but I'm hoping there might be other things to try first.

Appreciate any insight the forum can offer on these issues and thank you in advance!
Ed
 

Mdragger88

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2018
1,158
Hernando, Ms
Welcome to tfp! I think that model swg/pump combo cannot be run in the configuration your wanting. The pump only portion is a manual setting that will not repeat itself . The only thing i know to try is set the pump runtime longer than the swg time - therefore it may continue to run when chlorination is done . Swg set to 6 - pump set to 8 & see what happens
 

Mdragger88

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2018
1,158
Hernando, Ms
Also did you backwash & then Rinse the sand? Not rinsing after backwash can lead to those problems. Or if you filled filter with more than 2/3 sand.
People have also noted that issue with the use of quickcrete brand pool sand.
 

Edrock200

Member
Jul 19, 2020
17
Fairfax VA
Thank you for the replies! I will try that with the timers.

With regards to the sand, I didn't overfill and I did backwash and rinse. I used this type of sand, is there a preferred type brand?:

FairmountSantrol AquaQuartz-50 Pool Filter 20-Grade Silica
 
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duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
34,250
Sebring, Florida
Welcome to the forum:wave:

The pump seems to be expelling sand into the pool
It's a common issue we see here on the forum but I would say 90% of the time it is not sand.

Here's the test.......pick some of it up from the pool floor and see if you can grip it between your thumb and forefinger. It should be obviously gritty and leave no doubt in your mind it is sand.

If it "poofs" away when you try to pick it up or if it's slippery, then it is almost surely dead algae and that is a chemistry issue and not a filter issue. Let us know what you find.
 

Edrock200

Member
Jul 19, 2020
17
Fairfax VA
Thank you again for the replies.

With regards to the timers, I tried setting the pump to 12 and chlorinator to 6. Surprisingly when the chlorinator was done it start the pump timer, but at 12. I'm trying to find a way for a 12 hour or so cycle with 6 hours pump and chlorinator plus 6 hours pump only. I just tried 6 chlorinator and 7 pump. We will see if that works for a 13 hour cycle, which I would be good with.

With regards to the sand, it's definitely sand. I vacuum it up every 2 days or so and have felt it in the collection cup, I'm just not sure what my next steps should be. I probably just need to bite the bullet and open the filter to inspect the sand and dump it out and inspect the fingers, I was just hoping their might be a few other things to try first in addition to backwashing the filter and rinsing the sand. The pump isn't perfectly level, it's probably on a 5-10 degree grade, can that cause the issue?

The pool chemistry is one thing that is surprisingly dialed in, and as much as I'd like to give myself credit for that fact it's 99% the saltwater chlorinator. I set up the pool by putting in the inititial salt, shock, chlorine stabilizer and water hardness chemicals according to the required amount for a new pool and to my surprise the levels have stayed in the "ideal range" ever since. I think the fact that the pool has a solar cover on it 80% of the time has minimized chlorine breakdown and evaporation keeping the chemical levels more stable. I only top it off every other week or so and even that is only roughly 1/4 to 1/2" of water.

Unfortunately with the recent heat wave I may need to uncover it and get a fountain to cool it some. The water hits 95 degrees in the afternoon now. Even now at noon it's over 90 degrees.

Thanks again for the help!
Ed
 

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duraleigh

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If it's sand in your pool then, I think the ONLY course of action is to take the filter apart and find the problem with a visual inspection. A working sand filter doesn't dump sand so it's safe to assume yours is not working.....properly, anyway.
 

Edrock200

Member
Jul 19, 2020
17
Fairfax VA
If it's sand in your pool then, I think the ONLY course of action is to take the filter apart and find the problem with a visual inspection. A working sand filter doesn't dump sand so it's safe to assume yours is not working.....properly, anyway.
Sigh. I was afraid that would be the answer. Thank you. I'll take it apart and contact Intex.
 

bloodfromastone

Well-known member
Apr 11, 2019
120
Buffalo, NY
Thank you again for the replies.
I just tried 6 chlorinator and 7 pump. We will see if that works for a 13 hour cycle, which I would be good with.

I'm thinking you're not understanding how that system works. The 6 hour chlorinator and 7 hour pump times would result in a 7 hour total run time, not 13.
Being familiar with Intex and how poorly they explain how their systems work, I'm not even sure you CAN set the pump to continue running after the chlorinator is done. Typically, you can either run in it chlorinator+filter mode(chlorinator button) or Filter only mode(pump) button, but not both.

Assuming I'm wrong, when you are setting the pump timer, is "FP" appearing on screen at all? Because that would indicate that the pump is in manual mode, and NOT on the timer and would explain why it continues to run. And if you are pressing the unlock button and then the chlorinator button or timer button, and thats when the 6 appears, that process shows you the set run time hours, only and doesn't count down. If the 6 is continually on the screen, my suggestion would be to open up the system and see if there are any wires that are barely or not connected. I have a stand alone Intex chlorinator connected to my sand filter and when I got it, the screen would light up, but it wouldn't do anything else. I almost sent it back, but I decided to open it up and found a wire completely disconnected and sitting in such a way that suggested it was purposefully disconnected and bent back, OR NEVER connected at all. Try running it in pump only mode, on the timer, for say, 2 hours and see if it counts down and shuts off. If that works, then I would say try this: Set your chlorinator for 6 hours. (The pump runs and filtering in Chlorinator mode) Then 6 hours later, set the pump for 6 hours. See if the chlorinator kicks in the next day by itself, and then the pump 6 hours later. If it doesn't, then my original understanding of how that system works is correct: One set timer for one mode will cancel the timer for the other mode.

That said, as a long time Intex owner, the filter systems that come with Intex pools are ALWAYS undersized, which means the chlorinator will be too. Even their highest capacity stand alone chlorinator is undersized for the capacity they claim they can handle. It's likely you're going to want to run your system on Chlorinator mode only, and possibly as much as 12 hours a day. Check your chlorine levels daily to make sure the system is producing enough to keep your chlorine around 2 or 3ppm. If it's not, increase the chlorinator run time. Don't use boost unless you can't get it maintain appropriate levels at 12 hours continuous run time. Keep shock/bleach/chlorine handy for after heavy rain or heavy swimmer load/activity. And I highly advise upgrading your system when prices come back down to reasonable(Covid has increased Intex prices up to 5 times normal pricing).

BTW, you won't get a hold of Intex because of COVID, right now. And if you do, they will do very little to help. Reps don't even know how their systems are suppose to work. They will try any excuse to blame "user error" therefore not return/refund/replacement. Or the replacement will show up in November.
 
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Edrock200

Member
Jul 19, 2020
17
Fairfax VA
Thank you so much for the detailed reply, especially the part about how the timers work. That is how I have been programming it and you are correct, it's chlorinator + pump time, not overlapping. What I have found is if the total meets or exceeds 14 hours, the pump just stays on "6" forever when the chlorinator is done. I've tested this multiple times. I found by doing chlorinator at 6 and pump at 7, it runs as it should on a schedule, goes to sleep with the sleep light lit up, and restarts accordingly. If I incriment either one by an hour, the chlorinator cycle runs properly but the pump stays on 6 forever, even if I set the pump to 8. It never shows 8 when the chlorinator is done. It just shows 6. The one thing I haven't tested is what the pump will do in the event of a power outage, e.g. will it wait for a manual turn on to resume schedule or no.

With regards to chlorine levels, my research indicated the same thing you mentioned, that the chlorinator needs to run longer than recommended times. However, when I did this the chlorine levels were way too high upon testing, so I backed it down to 6 and the levels have remained at ideal levels for the last month or so. I believe this is partly due to the fact that we are religious about keeping the solar cover on the pool when we are not swimming, helping prevent the sun from breaking down the chlorine levels. The display does not say FP when running nor when pressing the pump or chlorinator button. It will cycle to "FP" however if I push it one hour past 12, but I've never set it to that mode.

That said I'm a bit concerned because 2 of my sons, out of 5 total people who use the pool, contracted swimmers ear this week, which makes me fear that either the strips I'm using are inaccurate or I'm not accounting for something. The other thing I just realized is I was topping off the pool with an old hosr I've had while we were swimming via a sprinkler to create a "fountain" like effect to help cool the pool as well. Perhaps that introduced bacteria that couldn't be mitigated in time.

I haven't shocked the pool since setting it up nor added more chlorine stabilizer despite having heavy rain since the strips keep telling me the levels are good, but reading your post makes me think something is off.

Regarding the sand in the pool, I was finally able to get ahold of Intex. They said its the 6 way valve and are sending me a new one, so we will see if that helps. Luckily I already have a tracking number showing activity, with a scheduled delivery of next week.

Thanks again for the insightful post. Really appreciate that you took the time to write all that!
 
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Edrock200

Member
Jul 19, 2020
17
Fairfax VA
Just wanted to chime in with an update. The new 6 way valve came in today and I installed it. It's too early to tell if it resolves the sand issue however I did notice that when backwashing and rinsing with the new valve the water comes out in a cylindrical pattern from the drain valve vs before where it was randomly spewing like a open fire hydrant, so hopefully that's a good sign. I also noticed it was spewing out as high a pressure, almost like it was more controlled. In addition I never got the "muddy water" in the looking glass before, but this time it was very clear when the water was dirty during rinsing and backwashing and when it was clear. There was a lot of debris in the sand as well. Fingers crossed this resolves the issue. I'll report back after I vacuum out the remaining sand from the pool and let the new valve run for a few days.
 

Edrock200

Member
Jul 19, 2020
17
Fairfax VA
Next update. After backwashing and rinsing the sand, I did notice a little more sand get into the pool, it seems to dump a good bit after backwash/rinses. So I took apart the filter, dumped the sand, inspected center post and latterals, etc. All look to be good. Then, I decided to go check the reviews on the sand I bought, and even though it's 4+ stars on amazon, I realized the 5 star ratings were aquariums, and many pool ones were lower due to sand getting into the pool. I do think the previous 6 way valve had an issue though because backwashing and rinsing with the previous one came out like a fire hydrant and the looking glass never changed from colors, this one the water comes out in a spiral and the looking glass goes from "cloudy" to clear after a minute or so.

The sand that's in there now:

FairmountSantrol AquaQuartz-50 Pool Filter 20-Grade Silica Sand 50 Pounds, White

The only other sands I see are Quickrete which has similar issues in the reviews and this one:

Palmetto Poolfilter-50 Superior Pool Sand Filter - 20# Grade - Formulated for All Residential, Commercial Pool Sand Filters

There also seems to be several zeolite variants but the reviews seem like people either have great results or a nightmarish scenario with it.

I checked my local pool supply stores and all they sell is Fairmount as well. Does anyone have a recommendation for pool sand? My Intex pump is ECO15110-2 1600GPH Sand Pump with Saltwater System and manual says 20 silica sand or glass based sand recommended.

Thanks in advance for any links/info.
-Ed
 

Edrock200

Member
Jul 19, 2020
17
Fairfax VA
One other update regarding the pump programming. After some playing and testing I believe I finally know the issue. I'm not sure if this is by design, or a bug or what. For my filter (Intex eco 15110-2 sand filter pump with saltwater system), essentially you have to program the pump timer first, then the chlorinator, the pump duration needs to be total run time. E.g. if you want the pump to run for 12 hours total, a day, and the first 6 hours the chlorinator should run, you have to program the pump to run for 12 hours, wait for it to stop blinking 12 to accept the schedule, then program the chlorinator for 6 hours while the pump is running.

If you program the chlorinator first or set the pump for a time duration less than the chlorinator, the pump will continue to run indefinitely once the chlorinator stops, and it won't ever go to sleep or resume a schedule.

So only thing left is to swap out this sand when it arrives! Fingers crossed...
 
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