Is a sand filter better for using with biguanide than a DE filter?

anthonypool89

Well-known member
Aug 26, 2016
477
Berks County, PA
I seem to recall running into this during last season with at least one set of grids (I have two). Today I opened the pool and did an initial charge of DE. This is the first time I'm using one of the new glycerin-filled gauges (love it since it's calibrated to 1/2 lb. increments). What was really weird was an initial starting pressure of 15 (typically 10-12 with all my old gauges). If 15 is accurate, I'm fine with that except that after about 2 hours - with the pressure at 20, I get a "no flow" indication on the heater. Bummer! I figured that with a starting pressure of 15 I'd be good till about 25. So then, upon opening the tank is when I discovered the water-filled grids. I had to clean them as best as possible with them still in the tank (granted there was aLOT of debris on there since the pool looked like the usual stinky swamp once the cover was off). Once able to lift them out, I cleaned them off with a high pressure nozzle - as I usually do - but then noticed that the water just sloshes around inside the grids no matter which way you turn them. The bottoms of the grids (turned upright or sideways - makes no difference) are puffy - about an inch thick or so with water. Turning them different ways simply moves the water around inside. I loosened the nut on the side until all 10 grids were loose and. that seemed to help the water drain out. Is there not a good seal at the center of each grid? Nut too tight? I mean, obviously water passes through these things but I can't recall in years past ever having this trouble with the water retention and being too heavy to lift. It's frustrating since what is usually a 40-minute job turns into twice as long for not being able to remove and work easily with the grids.

Any thoughts? So - to finish the saga - after hosing off, replacing grids, recharging, I noticed an operating pressure of 17. As it was getting late, I added some clarifier (baquacil pool) and set the timer to go off in an hour. By the time it shut off, pressure was up to 18.5 (after about 45 minutes). I dread to think of what tomorrow might bring. I know there can be several filter changes when getting the pool started, but I don't understand the unusually high starting pressure. Or are the grids just getting clogged with debris even before I have a change to start putting the DE in the skimmer? Thanks...
 

njswimguy

Member
May 20, 2020
5
Marlton, NJ
How long has it been since you've acid washed the DE grids? It may be that they are beyond what can be cleaned with a hose and they are gummed up. When I ran Baquacil I would have them acid washed every 1-2 years.
 

anthonypool89

Well-known member
Aug 26, 2016
477
Berks County, PA
Just acid-cleaned both sets at the end of last season - haven't been used since then until today. I acid-wash several times a season, which is why I bought an extra set of grids. That way I can be cleaning one set without taking the pool out of service.
 

anthonypool89

Well-known member
Aug 26, 2016
477
Berks County, PA
Just wondering, since the way I'm feeling right now I could take an axe to my DE filter. I just cleaned everything really well only 5 days ago and now had to do it all again today. 😡 A friend of mine always said he has little trouble with baquacil w/ sand filter.

I know you are looking for experienced answers, but I will say that you should be able to use any filter with any sanitation method. If your DE filter is causing trouble then things are potentially growing.

You should be able to switch to a sand filter and it will be easier to clean out, for sure. That's the reason I switched to sand from a cartridge and it works better because I am more on top of cleaning. However, it is possible your DE filter is masking a growing (pun intended) problem that a sand filter won't be able to hide. On the one hand, you don't really want to use DE as a crutch. On the other hand, suddenly getting cloudy water after switching to sand won't exactly feel like a win.

Yeah...growing is an accurate word. Right now my pool is basically a white-water-mold swamp. As bad as I've ever seen it. I have a rather complex chemical regimen that I thought has been pretty successful the past few years, but it seems that the mold issues are catching up to it. (Is there such a thing as mold mutation or whatever such that the products I'm using are no longer effective against it?)

Is a Complete drain possible for you? I saw your other thread. You’ve fought the good fight 😢 but it seems no one is immune to the baquacil blues for long. I would definitely lose the baq before i tossed a d.e. filter.

The best thing I ever did was convert to BBB from Bacquacil. I was good for several years then the white water mold started and got worse. After $100ks of dollars and still a cloudy pool, I had enough and switched.

jessica....BBB? what is that?

(Bleach,borax,baking soda)
But We don’t call it that anymore 🙃 Now its TFPC 👍🏻

Is a Complete drain possible for you? I saw your other thread. You’ve fought the good fight 😢 but it seems no one is immune to the baquacil blues for long. I would definitely lose the baq before i tossed a d.e. filter.
Hate to drain it again so soon. Pool was just renovated 4 years ago. Just checked and I'm holding a good oxidizer residual, which is something I didn't expect given the amount of mold that's in the water - see what happens by tomorrow. 🤔 Color is looking better. I still wonder if this recent episode is not attributable to the major work in the fields, as well as the swarm of whatever tiny bugs are flying around. The top of the filter tank was caked full of them. Tomorrow the pool is scheduled for weekly CDX, so that means an additional 2 quarts of Oxidizer. If they rake and/or bail hay, that'll likely add to the recent problems IF there is a connection between the two. Always seems like there is every summer but have not seen anything of this magnitude.


The thought of swimming with “white mold” or “pink slime” or paying for the electricity to swirl it around makes me ill🤢
You don’t have to drain to convert to chlorine it just makes it easier & uses a lot less. You may have read this already but I’ll leave it for you anyway. Convert Your Baqua Pool to Chlorine - Trouble Free Pool
Not sure what drew you to baquacil in the 1st place but if it was proposed “low maintenance” a swg may be worthwhile & can be used after conversion.

I'm not really interested in converting back to chlorine - but rather wanted to get some input on using a sand filter with baquacil. I started with chlorine and never cared for it. I got into a "chlorine demand" situation that seemed to have no end to it. I go way back to the old "stingy sticks" (hated working with those) and "burn-out". I'm sure the newer stuff is easier to work with. I got into baquacil when it was originally billed as "soft swim". I far preferred the silky and smooth feel of the water. To this day I dislike swimming in pools that use chlorine - like in hotels, etc. - since most of them are not maintained properly and are full of chloramines. I'm sure I could deal with the conversion process but just don't care to go back to it. Realistically, I have far fewer swimming days ahead then there are behind me at this point since, if we decide to downsize within the next 20 years or so, that'll be the end of owning my own pool anyway. So then - watch me move into some 55+ community that has a chlorinated pool LOL

I understand now you had a bad experience with chlorinating the pool store way. (Most people have). We don’t really advocate that here as tfpc is really not about magic potions like burnout or using stabilized chlorine products for regular maintenance (they can however be reserved for vacation/travel so long as you are aware of the consequences) as for the feel of the water some people like to add salt just for that whether they have a swg or not. My above post which lists the bbb method aka tfpc explains the simplicity to the approach.
Your d.e. Filter is really great @ it’s job which can be a real headache when you have an organic growth problem in your water as u have seen. It will need backwashing & recharging frequently until you get the offending material out of the water. A sand filter would also require frequent backwashing in these situations. Your issue is lack of sanitation which is allowing prolific growth of organics not your filtering method. Best of luck to you on your journey.

I hope your baquacil journey has gotten better. I used Softswim products for the first 4 years with our pool (up until a couple weeks ago) with a sandfilter. I converted to chlorine mostly to go the SWG route for (hopefully) even simpler maintenance, but primarily I always got very dry skin swimming in our baqua pool compared to my parents salt pool.

I don't know how much difference sand vs. DE would make, but my experience with Softswim involved 3 products:

SoftSwim A (Algaecide)
SoffSwim B (Sanitizer)
Softswim C (Clarifier)

Maintenance was not very difficult and I had not had any issues. This year may have been the year issues would start, as my C levels were dropping very rapidly compared to any prior year, but I was actually a little thankful since just trying to use up products before switching. The pool store I took samples to for testing frequently commented about how well our C level held up, as they had others who would add a gallon one day and read a big zero on the level within a day or two.

Our swim season is only half the year tops, the rest of the year the pool is drained below the return, covered with a winter cover and for at least 4 months is a very large block of ice. So the yearly partial drain/fill may have helped us out.

Opening was typically to add a gallon of C. The past 4 years, the levels of C measured high through the season and I think I only ever added a bit one time mid-season. I would add B only as called for based on results of the local pool store tests. I had strips for the products but they were never accurate, but still this was maybe a quart every month or two in total. I would add a couple ounces of A each week, or 4 ounces every other week.

Pump ran nearly 24x7 for the summer months, mostly that I didn't know much better and I only ever had to backflush the sandfilter a couple times per season. Sometimes I did it just in case and to drain away from excess water levels due to rain.

The water always looked very clear and felt silky on the skin, it was just issues after swims that led us to want to convert away. Based on other threads here, it seems our experience with baqua products wasn't the norm, but they never gave me a pool condition related reason to want to switch away.

Thanks for additional replies! All very helpful. See how things progress over the next few weeks.

When we got our pool, we chose Baquacil (worst decision ever). It was ok the first couple years, but then it became a cloudy disaster. We could never see the bottom. I had to be very careful swimming so I didn't hit the walls because it was so cloudy. We tried all their recommended potions and it just got worse. We were not enjoying our pool at all.

The best thing we did was to join TFP and switch to chlorine, then we got a SWG. That was back in 2009 and we have never regretted our decision. Pool always clear and sparkly and we're in control, not the pool store. I swim 5 to 6 days a week and love it.

After the Baquacil conversion, we had our sand changed. The guy who changed it for us said it was the worst looking sand he'd ever seen in his life, and he's been in the business for years.

This is becoming the most tiring part of using this system. It started last season and seems to be continuing. I don't know if perhaps I have a clog in the lines (but then you'd think the flow would be significantly reduced, which it isn't) or if some of the products I'm using - being designed to loosen and remove biofilm - are resulting in stuff quickly clogging up the filter even though the water looks fine.

As I mentioned in another thread, so far this year - with the pool only open a month - yesterday is the 3rd time I've had to take apart the filter, wash off the grids, and recharge the DE. So I'm getting like 10-16 day cycles at most. That's just too short. I had bought 75 lbs of DE to start the season but am going through it fast.

On any pool, when flow slows down and pressure in the filter goes up with mostly clear water, it means algae is starting to grow. You probably heard it a lot before but, you should switch to Liquid chlorine, we can help you through the conversion process and be with you every step of the way.

On any pool, when flow slows down and pressure in the filter goes up with mostly clear water, it means algae is starting to grow. You probably heard it a lot before but, you should switch to Liquid chlorine, we can help you through the conversion process and be with you every step of the way.
Gotta say...starting to sound more tempting after reading some of the replies about how infrequently chlorine users apparently have to change their filter DE. I look at my filter pressure every day and it just gets a bit depressing after continuing to see it go up in such a short time. This is why, as I said in another thread, that by the time the swimming season is over in early October, it's such a relief to know, once it's all closed up, that I don't have to worry about all that for the next 7 months or so. A pool shouldn't be a source of worry.

Both issues are partly why I stopped with chlorine about 25 years ago. The main issue was getting into a "chlorine demand situation" which seemed to be an unsolvable problem. It started to call for outrageous amounts of "burn out" (yes..that's how far back I go with chlorine!). My wife would prefer to swim without having to worry about washing her hair after each time she is in the pool. Baquacil works for that purpose. The whole idea behind the original "soft swim" (baquacil system) WAS that it is gentler on the skin. So...give me some idea about how a well-maintained chlorine pool feels. I know that if there is not enough chlorine - if I'm correct anyway - it results in "chloramines" - which is where strong odor starts to set in. Partly what turns me off to the conversion and TFP process mentioned here is using bleach in the pool. I'm still more partial to actual "pool chemicals" rather than buying household products as substitutes. I don't question that it works, but I just have a hard time thinking about getting away from chemicals specifically designed for pools. I suppose there is little logic behind this reasoning.

A few things that put me off about the idea of switching: 1) Having to drain all or most of the pool. I just had it filled 6 years ago following complete renovation. 2) Using massive amounts of bleach (or whatever form of chlorine) to do the conversion

Any alternatives to the above?

I suppose there is little logic behind this reasoning.
If its for your pool or boat, the appropriate store will sell you the same thing at many times markup. Bleach is bleach. Alk up is baking soda. Ph up is borax. Nothing is specifically designed for your pool. It is your choice If you buy the ones with pretty labels or basic ones. What if i call the bleach 'liquid shock' ? Does that sound more designed for the pool ? Cuz its just plain old bleach.

The tradidional chlorine smell and feel that worries you also worried me. It was all i knew about pools until i got my own. I had been in a great many pools but mine was the first that was just pleasant water. Its not a complete suprise that the other people didn't really know what they were doing, and thats why they all smelled like bleach. If you want silky smooth water you can either add salt, or go with a SWG and skip the buying/lugging bottles.

Oh boy. There is a lot to unpack here...

TFP is all about understanding what chemicals you put in your water and the affect they will have. It doesn't really matter where you get them (if you are not concerned about price). Bleach is sodium hypochlorite. You can buy it at the pool store or at the grocery store. The concentration and price might differ. And some brands might have additives you don't want. Or you can make your own with a salt water chlorine generator. I have had two TFP pools now. Neither have ever had a chlorine smell or bother my or my family's skin or hair.

Everyone is different as to their sensitivities.

I have never used bleach in my pool. I have used chlorinating liquid, pool shock, and chlorine generated form my SWG. They are all specifically formulated for pools if the semantics make you feel better.

I have been swimming in SWG chlorinated pools for 30 years. The only times it has had a chlorine odor is when something is wrong.

How do you feel after swimming in the ocean? The salt level in a SWG pool is 10% of that in the ocean. I can feel some of that saltiness on my skin. I don't mind it. I am not expecting my pool to feel like a fresh shower.

I want to talk to my friend who uses baquacil but with a sand filter. I'd hate to give up my DE filter (original '89 Apollo stainless steel vertical model - some pool guy once told me it's still the "cadillac" of filters). Have to wonder if the white water mold is less of an issue in a vinyl pool (which my friend has). I'd think there is very little surface area to cling to compared to the porous nature of plaster. Make any sense?

The question of semantics relative to pool chemical "names" versus the actual composition of them makes complete sense. It would just require a paradigm shift after 39 years of buying "pool" chemicals.

How do you feel after swimming in the ocean?
Sticky....never cared for it - not implying I don't like the ocean, cause I do, but hate that sticky feeling...somewhat similar to how it feels after getting sweated from being out on a really hot, humid day.

Sticky....never cared for it - not implying I don't like the ocean, cause I do, but hate that sticky feeling.
A salt pool is 1/10 of the salinity.

SWG is another option I've already thought about. Could that still be used with my current DE filter?

Go for it! We are here for ya!

SWG is another option I've already thought about. Could that still be used with my current DE filter?
Yes. Any filter works with a SWG. It is just a chlorine pool with the chlorine provided by the SWG.

OK....let me ask this. Given how I'm used to and like the feel of Baquacil-treated water, what would the suggestion be as to going to straight chlorine or SWG? I'm wondering if SWG would be more to my liking - or would there be relatively little difference in overall "feel"?

What would probably be advantageous is to converse with someone here who, like me, has used baquacil for a long time - not just a new pool owner who tried it for a few years and then decided to convert - but someone who was (or is) pretty firmly entrenched in the methodology of maintaining baqua. We all can get so easily accustomed to what we do, be it associated with maintaining a pool or something else, probably even moreso as the years go on - and thus develop an ever increasing resistance to change (euphemism for simply 'being stubborn' perhaps). Just the thought of starting all over (essentially - since what I did with chlorine, at this point, is pretty well buried in the recesses of my gradually dwindling memory) is what I am probably shying away from. I have far fewer years left with the pool than have already gone by, so that thought enters into it also. But - the flip side of that coin is that, as I age, the thought of simplifying some of what needs to be done around here - pool maintenance included - has an increasingly greater appeal. I now have these detailed spreadsheets where I record virtually everything I do and add to the pool - somehow just seems a bit ridiculous in a way. I firmly believe that sometimes what we own can start to own us. It becomes hard to take a step back and be objective sometimes.

It would just require a paradigm shift after 39 years of buying "pool" chemicals.
You can still use "pool" chemicals with TFP process. Just don't add them unless you know what they are and know what they will do. But just also know that there may be cheaper alternatives.

I'm wondering if SWG would be more to my liking - or would there be relatively little difference in overall "feel"?
A lot of people say that salt water pools feel nice. Do the say "softer"? I don't know. I can't really tell a difference in the "feel" of the water. I can taste the salt thought. The taste is not really good or bad. About the saltiness of tears. I don't know anything about Baquacil. But I do love my SWCG. Very easy and no more lugging jugs around.

It would just require a paradigm shift after 39 years of buying "pool" chemicals.
You can say that again. The protocol here is several fold.

1) you learn about what you put in your pool and what it does.. specifically. You will find most "pool store" chems are designed to be short cuts and they often cause other side effects. Like algaecides that contain copper. sure it kills algae and then stains your pool later. This site has a wealth of information about that stuff.

(2) The generic chemicals are often better than what they sell at the pool store since they don't have the additives. You will be amazed at what you really need to balance your pool It's not that much. @Newdude's observations are right on.

(3) Here's the paradigm shift part: It was found that there is a relationship between the level of CYA and Chlorine that is most effective for sanitizing a pool. This chart that is quoted high and low on the site: FC/CYA Chart. THAT is the new paradigm! Most pool stores and pool services don't ascribe to it.. mostly because they don't know about it. It works. This whole website is one big giant testimonial to that protocol. One of these days everyone will see it this way, unless a better paradigm comes along.

(4) Understanding how your pool reacts is huge. It's not magic, its pretty scientific. If you add chem A it has this affect. If you add Chem B it does that and may change Chem A. Learning those basics with the help of the pool nerds on the forum really will make running a pool very mater of fact. As it should be.

About the saltiness of tears.
Ocean Salinity= ~34000 ppm
Tears Salinity =~7000 ppm
SWG pool=~3400 ppm, 1/10th of the ocean and 1/2 of your tears

What would probably be advantageous is to converse with someone here who, like me, has used baquacil for a long time - not just a new pool owner who tried it for a few years and then decided to convert - but someone who was (or is) pretty firmly entrenched in the methodology of maintaining baqua.
It's good to see you are taking some time to think of some alternatives to Baq. If you look through the Baq Conversion threads, you will find a lot of personal testimonials of what users think of the conversion process and how they feel afterward. I doubt you will find anyone who claims to have wished they stayed with Baq.

A properly maintained chlorine pool doesn't have a chlorine feel or smell. I've have lots of comments from neighbors and friends who ask what I do special or if there is enough chlorine in the water since it doesn't smell, feels great and doesn't burn their eyes.

Having a bottle of liquid with a shiny label with a pool on it doesn't make it a good product. Sodium Hypochlorite is the useful chemical. Get it where ever and how ever you want.

Wow.....so many helpful people here willing to share their thoughts and advice! What a great forum. I will keep reading over the conversion process threads and see how things progress with my DE issues over the next few weeks. It could well be that by this time next year I'll have a ton of leftover Baqua stuff to sell on eBay!! Thanks so much to all who have addressed my (many) questions.

Wow.....so many helpful people here willing to share their thoughts and advice! What a great forum. I will keep reading over the conversion process threads and see how things progress with my DE issues over the next few weeks. It could well be that by this time next year I'll have a ton of leftover Baqua stuff to sell on eBay!! Thanks so much to all who have addressed my (many) questions.
Sometimes it's easier to teach someone to do something when they have no preconceived notions on the task. That was me. I was drug into this pool thing kicking and screaming by my wife. In addition to the initial cost of the pool, I feared the ongoing monthly maintenance cost which I thought might be a couple of hundred dollars per month. Fortunately, I discovered this forum while our pool was being built, and it has been a blessing. My SWG pool is easy to maintain and the cost of chemicals is virtually nothing. My pool is crystal clear, odorless, and refreshing. I have a sensitive nose and have not caught so much as a whiff of chlorine odor. Other than the initial salt bags, I probably won't spend over $200 on chemicals to maintain the pool all year. Forget what you know already and go TFP!

I know @Leebo used a baq pool for years. Maybe he can answer some of your questions about how one feels vs the other. I see no reason to change the filter as long as all the parts are intact. Its not the filter media that causes or prevents the various water molds that can occur. Filters remove organic debris but they do not correct the chemical imbalance that allows them to grow in your water. They simply grow faster than your filtration system can remove them. A sand filter would be a step down in filtration capacity, so if you do not change the sanitation system or the water in your pool you would actually see more problems with the sand filter. Sand filters are great in normal circumstances, but attempting to filter out all the water mold spores is not a normal circumstance. No pool filter is designed to do that. Changing to a vinyl liner is also not going to correct the problem. Water mold develops because you do not have the right balance of sanitizers to kill them. Whether the vessel containing the water is vinyl or plaster doesn't change that.

I think the only way you are going to successfully stay with baq products is to change the pool water every year or two. There is just not enough consumer information out there on how to keep baq products viable in the pool water year after year after year. Its like when chlorine pools develop issues with high CYA preventing proper sanitation. The answer is to replace the water. Those of us who use chlorine and know how to keep the chlorine and CYA in proper ratio are lucky to have good testing materials available to help us manage our pools. Baq really doesn't have that kind of testing equipment available, because there are not enough baq users to make it profitable for a large company to invest in improving accuracy and expanding parameters for testing.

well i have not used Baquacil but i did convert from liquid chlorine to salt generator 3 years ago . my cost of running pool well i dont pay 150/300 dollars a month like my wife was paying till i found TFP. as for water i never smell the chlorine barely taste the salt (i love it anyway so no biggie) water feels great thats my 2 cents but the big test for me is kids i ask them all the time hows the water do your eyes sting do you taste the salt hows your hands and feet i have 100% positive feed back from them . that puts a huge smile on my face and i know the water is safe Thank you TFP.

Anthony, some comments from a former long term baquacil user:
1. I had an old style de filter when i started on baq, with long fingers/tentacles instead of grids. what a pain it was. after a couple years i switched to a sand filter. much easier maintenance and no noticeable difference to me in clarity.
2. i also had a disdain for chlorine from having been in too many public pools/motel spas. i was wrong. sure, my bathing suit has a chloramine odor. wonder why. :D
3. I just got tired of the pink slime/white mold that started occurring with more frequency. If I had thought of zea3 idea to drain/refill every several years, i might have tried that.
4. If you do convert, do consider draining/refill. you might have to do several partials. This would consume fewer chemicals and generate a lot less goop. i wish i had done that.
5. my suggestion would be to first go the liquid chlorine route, you can always add a SWCG later. I loved the silky feel of salt at about 3000 ppm. I actually added salt to my non-swcg pool just for the feel. i did reduce the salt later when it was thought to be an issue with the acrylic coating on our pool deck, but the jury is out on that. just know that the only way to reduce salt is drain/refill. If you like the salt feel and get tired of liquid chlorine, you are all set for the SWCG.
6. I will not go back to baq.
good luck with whatever you decide.

More great and very informative responses. It sounds like going to liquid chlorine would require no additional equipment or modifications to existing; however, going to SWG would require....what...in addition to what I already have (filter and heater) - some sort of apparatus obviously (?). How big an extra item are we talking about? Reason I ask is that the area surrounding the filter/heater was recently landscaped with a stone border, etc. so as to neatly enclose and partition off the pool equipment area from the rest of the surrounding lawn. However, said area does not allow for anything else. For that reason alone, sounds like going to just chlorine would be the most logical option. Still not liking the idea of draining. Let me think on it for a bit. I'm also assuming that the best time to do this would be...what...next season? If I'm correct, the presence of CDX (which I use every week in conjunction with adding oxidizer) somewhat impedes the conversion process so if I were going to anything this season anymore I suppose it'd be best to stop using any additional CDX (?)

I can't really speak for how water "feels" as in all honesty, it's never been something I've paid attention to. I know since we've converted I haven't heard of a single person complaining of the water quality, even those whom were supposed to be "allergic" to chlorine. :sneaky: I'll also chime in on how often must the DE need to be changed...........I'm still on my first bag of the Summer even though I had to clean a rather green pool upon opening. :rolleyes:

I've always HATED the idea of draining water. It just sounds like too much of a PITB to me. Seeing you have somewhat of a smaller pool I'd pass on draining and simply convert to chlorine. Without a doubt at this point I'd wait until next year to do so as the Winter snow/rain will help greatly reduce the amount of Baquacil product you're going to be battling. At this point I'd skip on the SWG and simply try liquid. Do so however with the understanding that the amount of work you're going to be doing with liquid is more than you'll do with a SWG. Simply try chlorine and TFP's methods out for a few months next year and if you hate the water quality, then convert back to Baquacil. It's a snap to convert to Baqua from Chlorine...........all the headache is converting from Chlorine to Baqua. There's also some major pluses however converting to Chlorine, even if you then convert back to Baqua. When you use chlorine it will rid all the mold that you're facing or have faced in the past.


I know your mindset is more or less dead against chlorine, and I respect that. You've clearly have had some success with Baqua as without a doubt your water is clearer than any other Baqua pool I've ever seen. That said I also can tell you're tired of the headaches that I remember oh so well when we used Baqua.........and I promise you the huge majority of them will go away once you convert. Cost, mold, frequent DE changes, stressing you'll wake up one day to a green pool.................all gone.

I love the support offered here - that makes it all the more encouraging to move forward with a conversion. There is no way I'd want to consult back and forth with my local pool store. They never even responded to the issue I had with the new hose (I had started another thread on that problem). $80 hose and not even a "sorry you're having problems...anything we can do to help?" sort of thing. Nada.

I have just tonight absolutely confirmed what I've been suspecting over the past two seasons. The chemical system I've been using, for whatever reason, is working well enough to keep the water (most of the time anyway) quite clear. As a result, a false assumption is easy to make that there is no white water mold accumulation. This is not the case. With the water as clear as it is and the low sun on it tonight, I used the brush and notice that a good deal of WWM comes off the walls and floats in the water. Especially discouraging - after adding a gallon of oxidizer today and 2 pints of biguanide - a container of "Ahhsome" yesterday, etc. there were large clumps of what I presume to be WWM growing along the wall of the deep end. Most of the problems occur in the deep end - always have. If everything I'm using is not just keeping the water clean but also (presumably) killing these organisms, I should not be seeing this accumulation. So the mold is there, all the time, but unless brushed and/or readily visible ala these larger growth clusters that seem to materialize within 24 hours (they were NOT there last night), it's easy to think that I've got things under control. The next logical leap is that the stuff is in the water all the time as well and so I'm swimming in it despite, again, the water looking really good. 😟 This is truly depressing, since I do not know what else to use to fight this problem. I guess I should be brushing more often but that = even more problems with the filter. Pressure is now up to 17, which is an increase of nearly 5 lbs. in 2 days. I don't know how I'm going to get through this season with 3 more months to go. Might as well pitch a tent next to the filter tank I suppose. Right now I'm feeling pretty down about the whole thing.

Tell you what! If you can, add all the expenses of your pool in the last 18 months and compare with what a drain/refill, 2 dozen gallons of 12% liquid chlorine(+-), running your pump 24/7 for 2 weeks, DE and the cost of a test kit(100). Im willing to bet you will still be ahead.

I have no doubt, given that my cost for spring chemicals this year was a bit over $1100. I don't think I have to delve any deeper than that. I doubt if I'd need yet another test kit if I go back to chlorine. My taylor kit is also for chlorine. I've never used any of that part of the kit however.

If you have leftover baqua chems unoppened you can return them for store credit on liquid chlorine, muriatic acid and CYA.

Yeah, I realize that, but thanks.

A pool shouldn't be a source of worry.
Wish I could say that - can't quite honestly imagine it ever not being. Even when I'm swimming - supposedly just enjoying it - I'm always looking around the pool, feeling this or that surface, searching for especially slippery areas with my feet or hands (yikes ...guess what it often is? although sometimes it's just the smooth plaster finish), or, like tonight, doing some brushing only to see clouds of white s**t come off the walls.

How bad would it be for the plaster if I were to close / winterize the pool and be done with it for the rest of the season? I always heard it's not too good to have the winter cover on too long as the warmer spring weather approaches, and so imagine then it'd be really hard on everything to close up before we even approach the hottest months. If this is not a good idea, I'll limp along till October I suppose, or else could yet start a conversion this summer? It wasn't recommended by someone here - forget who suggested waiting till next season. The only reason I ask about closing is that right now I'm thoroughly disgusted and would prefer to have nothing more to do with it.

This is truly depressing, since I do not know what else to use to fight this problem. I guess I should be brushing more often but that = even more problems with the filter. Pressure is now up to 17, which is an increase of nearly 5 lbs. in 2 days. I don't know how I'm going to get through this season with 3 more months to go. Might as well pitch a tent next to the filter tank
Yes you do know what else will fight this problem!!! Chlorine.... liquid chlorine.... liquid shock.... bleach.... chlorinating bleach.... sodium hypochlorite.... household bleach.... ad nauseam....

The system you stubbornly use is working well enough to allow white water mold to grow unabated. 🤮 Sounds like a failed experiment to me. Just to the conversion already and be done with the baquacil !
 

anthonypool89

Well-known member
Aug 26, 2016
477
Berks County, PA
..with a particular emphasis on how it might work with baquacil, if possible. How much maintenance is this type of filter compared to a DE filter? I've always been told that sand is a better combination with Baqua than DE. Is this true?? Is there likely to be as frequent filter pressure increases with sand as there is with DE? Thanks for any info...considering possibly changed if I can be convinced that it'd be truly worth it.
 
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Chasarms

Silver Supporter
May 8, 2020
275
Dardenne Prairie, MO
Sand filters are pretty easy to take care of. I just backwashed for the first time this year and have been open since late April. I added a few cups of DE after backwash. It’s recommended that you deep clean it once a year. I haven’t done that yet, but it doesn’t seem too difficult to do.
 
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anthonypool89

Well-known member
Aug 26, 2016
477
Berks County, PA
I'd like to know this for comparison sake. While I'm basically pleased with how I've been doing under the baquacil system, the filter cycles seem to be getting increasingly shorter both last season and now this one. So...how many days or weeks from one DE change to another (and either just backwashing and/or taking the filter tank apart and either hosing off the grids real well or else chemically treating them)? If it varies drastically depending on how much is done with the filter, kindly specify the difference.
Thanks....
 

Oly

Gold Supporter
Jun 28, 2017
1,563
Fresno, CA
I don't backwash and used to clean the grids twice a year when the filter pressure increased above 20% of the clean pressure baseline. Now I breakdown and fully clean and recharge my DE filter (48) once a year since owning the robot and using hair nets on the skimmer. So far the once a year full clean is it and the pressure increase is always below 20%.
 
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pjt

Gold Supporter
Jan 7, 2012
140
The Woodlands, TX
I never backwash and completely clean the filter once every 12-18 months. Monitor your FC/CYA ratio and put hairnets in the skimmers and the filter stays clean a very long time.
 

Saturn94

Well-known member
Mar 11, 2015
946
SE Virginia
Our DE filter is oversized, so I only have to take it apart and clean it once a year at fall closing (October). I never have to backwash between cleanings. Over the entire season the pressure only goes up 2lbs at most (clean pressure is 10lbs).

Our pool is not covered and is surrounded by lots of plants and trees. I run the Polaris pressure side cleaner about 1-2hrs a day. I also never give algae a chance to start growing by never letting FC drop below the recommended Target range.
 

anthonypool89

Well-known member
Aug 26, 2016
477
Berks County, PA
Once a year...twice a year?!? LOL.....do I shoot myself now or later? I just did mine again yesterday and already the pressure is up 3 lbs from starting. At this rate, I could be taking it all apart again by middle of next week. This - constant filter work might just turn out to be the straw that breaks the (baquacil) camel's back. Since opening the pool on 5/26, I've had the filter completely apart 3 times in a month.
 

anthonypool89

Well-known member
Aug 26, 2016
477
Berks County, PA
I don't backwash and used to clean the grids twice a year when the filter pressure increased above 20% of the clean pressure baseline. Now I breakdown and fully clean and recharge my DE filter (48) once a year since owning the robot and using hair nets on the skimmer. So far the once a year full clean is it and the pressure increase is always below 20%.
So you're saying that over the course of an entire season your pressure only increases less than 20% and so doesn't even come close to the point at which the flow is reduced significantly enough to warrant a backwash / cleaning / new DE? I wish I could remember how often (or not) I had to do this while I was still using chlorine. While my memory is just not good enough anymore to recall some of this sort of thing, I do seem to remember hardly ever doing anything with the filter.
 

pjt

Gold Supporter
Jan 7, 2012
140
The Woodlands, TX
So you're saying that over the course of an entire season your pressure only increases less than 20% and so doesn't even come close to the point at which the flow is reduced significantly enough to warrant a backwash / cleaning / new DE? I wish I could remember how often (or not) I had to do this while I was still using chlorine. While my memory is just not good enough anymore to recall some of this sort of thing, I do seem to remember hardly ever doing anything with the filter.
Yes. I've gone up to 18 months between cleanings with no backwashing.

You might want to consider transitioning to chlorine.
 

Metalman23

Bronze Supporter
Apr 21, 2018
112
Central CT
I have to bump my de filter frequently every 2days at least (which is really annoying) to get the pressure to stay reasonable. Do you all have the no bumping de filters? I took it apart beginning of season.
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
13,925
Evans, Georgia
you love the Bacqua stuff, we get it. It just sounds dreadful to me, like chemical soup.

I wouldn't be surprised if you have baseline goo from the Bacqua clogging your filter that you're not seeing as you're so used to that quality of water.
 
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anthonypool89

Well-known member
Aug 26, 2016
477
Berks County, PA
you love the Bacqua stuff, we get it. It just sounds dreadful to me, like chemical soup.

I wouldn't be surprised if you have baseline goo from the Bacqua clogging your filter that you're not seeing as you're so used to that quality of water.
Not really saying I love the stuff - but do like it more than the experiences I had with chlorine (outside of the filter cycle issue). I am wondering also if there is, as you say, a baseline goo that is not affecting the water clarity. There is often a lighter film of water mold that clings to certain areas along the sides, and yet to look at the pool you'd never think there was any sort of problem going on.

See how things go as the season progresses - I may yet be closer to moving away from Baqua if these short cycles continue. I'm not getting any younger to be able to keep after all this along with rest of the property maintenance that comes during the summer.

It's odd how the starting pressure has become increasingly higher over the years. Before I had the pool heater, it was always 8 lbs. Then, after adding the heater, it became 11. I attributed that to the additional length of piping to and from the filter (does that make any sense?) Now, however, I'm seeing around 12-13. Then, by 20 - it's time to dump the DE again. That doesn't give much of a range to work with.
 

MITBeta

Well-known member
I had to clean my DE filter weekly last season and it was incredibly frustrating. This season, I found TFP and realized I had a chronic algae problem. Since resolving that, the filter has performed like a champ.

I actually back washed and cleaned the filter yesterday after completing a SLAM. The only reason I cleaned it (took the whole thing apart and cleaned top to bottom) was that I needed to fix a leak at the inlet fitting AND I was curious about whether the DE dropped off the fingers like it was supposed to, or if it stuck to them like it did all last season. I was pleased to see that all the DE fell off properly. See photo below of what algae filled, sticky DE looks like.

Long story short: you might have an algae problem.
 

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