Use and care for DE filters

TK

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2011
61
Quick question...............on the waste cycle to remove water from pool, do you have to replace DE after this cycle or do it bypass the filter? I need to remove water due to the hurricane so I just want to make sure I do it right.
 

Leebo

Admin
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 21, 2011
10,382
Eastern Ohio
Pool Size
25000
Surface
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Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Another question for you......

I've just finished the swap from Baquacil to chlorine. I've got two sets of fingers, one that I used during the swap and another newer set that's been sitting idle for now. I would like to know the best way to clean the idle set for use with Chlorine as I'm sure there's still some baqua-goo in the fingers. Would the cleaning as you mentioned, followed by a soak in some chlorine water work well, or just use the process you mentioned?

As for the waste cycle.....I would think that it will also remove the DE from the filter, thus requiring you to replace the media after the draining.
 

TK

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2011
61
I have done some reading and I do have a multi port, from what I see it should bypass the filter. I don't know but I'm going to do it here in a minute. The water is almost to the top of the skimmer
 

amati5

Well-known member
Sep 13, 2011
205
So Cal
After 10 yrs dealing with my 30 yrs old Purex DE I finally found a way to deal with the problem i've had, clogging too soon. When mixing DE with water, add as much water as possible and pour as slowly to the skimmer as possible. While pouring, I even use garden hose to add water to the bucket. I think this makes all the DE to coat the grids gradualy and more evenly , not staying at the bottom of the filter. Filtering will be more efficient and backwashing is much faster. The lighter the mixed (more water) and slower the pouring the better the result . The other thing is to use less DE than what recommended. I used 6-8 cups instead of 10 and my water is still clear and the pressure has been stable for a long time (I also use skimmer bag). After a backwash, I never refill the whole amount again, probably 2 cups less. I figure there is no way a backwash will get rid of all the DE.

But I can't find replacement part for the valve so I have to get a new filter. I decided to go with cartridge to deal less with internal parts. When it comes to pool, to me, the less parts and electronics is better. We only swim 2 months out of the year and down time during that period is not good.
 

shawnybig

New member
May 22, 2012
1
I have a clearwater II DE filter, this is a grid style filter however it does not have a bump or backwash system. My filter pressure builds up to about 20psi after about 45 mins and water is barely pumping thru. I disassemble and hose down the grids, put it back together and add the DE and it pumps good for another 45 min and then the grids are clogged up again and I do it all over again. Am I doing something wrong? This is ridicoulous. Help please
 

Scoop

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 13, 2012
181
Dallas, TX
Hi all,

Has anyone here tried some of the DE Grid cleaning products instead of using the detergent soak/M. Acid soak procedure?

I'm in the process of cleaning some spare DE Grids and have used the Detergent/Acid procedure (posted earlier in the thread by "
Waste"). During my first cleaning procedure, I was following another 'net cleaning procedure, before I read this thread. I used a much weaker water-to-acid solution, about 25 gall water in my plastic garbage can with all 8 grids inside, then adding about 11 cups of M. Acid. One of the procedures that I read online said to use 1 cup M Acid for every 5 gallons of water, with the same ratio for the previous detergent soak ("Cascade" det.).

I used my original aged DE grid set as my 1st-time "guinea pig" set, being over-cautious since I've read at some other 'net sites that M Acid can damage DE Grids. However, according to an online Pentair DE Grid Owner's Manual, the procedure recommended is a 6:1 water/acid mix and to soak for at least 4 hrs. This would tend to say that M Acid is an OEM-approved cleaning method for these DE grids. I'm assuming that the same holds true for Unicel replacement grids.

After allowing my original grid set to soak overnight, first in Cascade det., then the next night in M Acid (1 cup per 5 gall water), the acid soak removed most of the brown discoloration. I imagine that had I used a much stronger acid ratio, such as the one recommended here, 6:1 , all of the discoloration would have been removed.

I'm currently cleaning up my other spare DE grid set, this time using a 12:1 water-acid mix for about 4 hours. I previously soaked the set in an overnight Cascade mix, using 1 cup Cascade per 5 gall water.

I'm currently trying to fix an as-yet not understood problem with my DE pressure readings rising too rapidly after a complete DE Filter Grid replacement. More on that later but for now, I'm wondering if anyone here has tried the DE Filter cleaning products that I've seen online at various sites. One product's description is a solution where the color changes from red (dirty grids initially placed in the solution for soaking), to yellow, indicating a cleaning "end point" where all of the deposits, etc, have been cleaned from the grids.

I haven't as yet had the necessity to install my spare DE Filter Grid Assembly to test the effectiveness of my 2nd detergent/acid cleanup. I'll be curious to see how it performs as the ready-to-install spare assembly is the one that has my original grid set installed.
 

csn

Silver Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 23, 2012
42
Houston, TX
Thanks Waste - this is a great post. I think it should be pinned/stickied to the top of the forum. It always takes me a bi of time to find it when I need it.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,238
Tucson, AZ
There is actually a link to this article in the "Further Reading" section (the last link) of Pool School.
 

Durk

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2007
654
New Jersey
Here is a subject I have not seen covered well:

What is the average useful life of a grid set and how does one decide they need to be changed? One at a time or the whole set? Mine are from 2004 and I have a six-month season. There is some tearing right along the ribs on the center pipe on a few of the grids (maybe 2 or 3 tears 2"long on 3 grids). Part of me wants to slosh a little Gorilla Glue on the tears and see how long I can make them last...or I can shell out $132 for a whole new set. Last season, pool filtered perfectly and I saw no DE in the pool. I never need to B'wash before season end and that didn't change. Pressure seemed a little lower than previously (from 12 to 10) when run on high, but I recently went to a 2-speed so maybe mostly low speed operation changes the pressure when on high? Thanks for your thoughts.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,238
Tucson, AZ
I would think you only need to replace when they are damaged or become scaled up / clogged such that they will not clean up. Being ripped, I would think they would need replaced, but if they are not passing dirt ... I guess not ;)
 

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Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
23,932
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
Durk said:
Here is a subject I have not seen covered well:

What is the average useful life of a grid set and how does one decide they need to be changed? One at a time or the whole set? Mine are from 2004 and I have a six-month season. There is some tearing right along the ribs on the center pipe on a few of the grids (maybe 2 or 3 tears 2"long on 3 grids). Part of me wants to slosh a little Gorilla Glue on the tears and see how long I can make them last...or I can shell out $132 for a whole new set. Last season, pool filtered perfectly and I saw no DE in the pool. I never need to B'wash before season end and that didn't change. Pressure seemed a little lower than previously (from 12 to 10) when run on high, but I recently went to a 2-speed so maybe mostly low speed operation changes the pressure when on high? Thanks for your thoughts.
My wife reported once that her mother sewed up a torn grid and her brother sealed it with silicon gasket maker or something and it lasted.

I nominate you to experiment and document it for us. :mrgreen:
 

Durk

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2007
654
New Jersey
Richard320 said:
Durk said:
Here is a subject I have not seen covered well:

What is the average useful life of a grid set and how does one decide they need to be changed? One at a time or the whole set? Mine are from 2004 and I have a six-month season. There is some tearing right along the ribs on the center pipe on a few of the grids (maybe 2 or 3 tears 2"long on 3 grids). Part of me wants to slosh a little Gorilla Glue on the tears and see how long I can make them last...or I can shell out $132 for a whole new set. Last season, pool filtered perfectly and I saw no DE in the pool. I never need to B'wash before season end and that didn't change. Pressure seemed a little lower than previously (from 12 to 10) when run on high, but I recently went to a 2-speed so maybe mostly low speed operation changes the pressure when on high? Thanks for your thoughts.
My wife reported once that her mother sewed up a torn grid and her brother sealed it with silicon gasket maker or something and it lasted.

I nominate you to experiment and document it for us. :mrgreen:

That would be RTV Silicone Gasket Maker, I presume. Awesome stuff. Maybe I'll try a few different fixes and compare at season's end. Watch for a thread coming soon to your favorite pool forum.
 

harleysilo

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 1, 2012
1,939
North Georgia
I used the instruction in this thread to clean my filter out yesterday. Everything worked perfectly. Here are some pics.... EDIT: this is the first time i've cleaned it, it's been installed for ~1 year. The source of any red tint is Georgia Red clay that blew in during the landscaping.

OMG it gets THAT dirty?

IMG_6175_zps74f1aaef-1.jpg


IMG_6171_zpsa7a1a33c-1.jpg


IMG_6172_zps46407a6b-1.jpg


IMG_6193_zps534c72e4-1.jpg


IMG_6176_zpsc8756df1-1.jpg



Sorry no clean filter pictures, but it was almost as clean as new. I'm not sure if i had any calcium buildup, it a liner pool, but it was cleaner after acid soak. My acid ratio was not as strong, 1 gallon acid to 40 gallon water.

I could believe all that nasty stuff i saw when it was soaking in TSP....this is gonna happen AT LEAST yearly, maybe half way through summer too!
 

Scoop

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 13, 2012
181
Dallas, TX
Wow, great pics. It sure needed cleaning.

When was the last time that your filter had been cleaned before this time?

Durk said:
Here is a subject I have not seen covered well:

What is the average useful life of a grid set and how does one decide they need to be changed? One at a time or the whole set? Mine are from 2004 and I have a six-month season. There is some tearing right along the ribs on the center pipe on a few of the grids (maybe 2 or 3 tears 2"long on 3 grids). Part of me wants to slosh a little Gorilla Glue on the tears and see how long I can make them last...or I can shell out $132 for a whole new set. Last season, pool filtered perfectly and I saw no DE in the pool. I never need to B'wash before season end and that didn't change. Pressure seemed a little lower than previously (from 12 to 10) when run on high, but I recently went to a 2-speed so maybe mostly low speed operation changes the pressure when on high? Thanks for your thoughts.

It's a good question which I've google'd and there are a several ideas to it. My experiences seem to indicate that these D.E. Grids tend to be forgiving regarding holes/tears, as long as the tear aren't too large.

I have a 36 Sq Ft Pentair D.E. Grid filter and for several years (not a good idea), I wasn't pulling my filter on any scheduled basis. During those years however, the pool water was clear and I had no filtering issues.

I had a somewhat rare problem last summer with "pink" algae, which is actually an organic issue. The problem required me to get very familiar with the D.E. filter as I had to pull it numerous times last summer until I finally found a cure to the "pink" bacteria issue.

When I pulled the filter last June (the 1st time in several years that it had been pulled), I found 3 grids with small tears in them. I was surprised since I had assumed, after reading online info, that this would allow D.E. to get circulated back into the pool, causing cloudy water issues, and other filtering problems. I found that, at least visually in the pool, this wasn't the case for my pool. However, I had spare grids on hand so I replaced the grids when I had the filter pulled for cleaning.

jblizzle said:
I would think you only need to replace when they are damaged or become scaled up / clogged such that they will not clean up. Being ripped, I would think they would need replaced, but if they are not passing dirt ... I guess not ;)

I would say the same... "it it ain't broke, don't fixt it" :D That looks like it worked for me over several years before I pulled the filter last summer.

When I was going through my "pink algae" summer last year, I bought a spare D.E. Filter Assembly, with top & bottom manifolds, primarily for troubleshooting convenience and also for a quick changeout during future filter cleaning's to get the pool back running faster, and to take my time cleaning the dirty filter assy when time permits.

I have found that, so far, I haven't needed to do any detergent or chemical cleanings with these grids. I just hose off each grid and re-assemble them.

I did clean the grids with the suggested methods (pre-phospate detergent soak to degrease, then Muriatic Acid soak) but that was mainly to eliminate the grids as a source of circulation problems that I had last summer due to the pink algae issue.

The current grids that are in my filter were installed last October and were hosed down for cleaning prior to install (no soaking). The filter has been running great for 6-7 months, with only 1 backwash required during that time, and with good filter PSI readings. My PSI is usually around 14-15 PSI. The "clean" PSI reading was about 12 PSI.

I'm still not sure about pulling my D.E. filter annually or semi-annually but I'll decide sometime after August on that. I'm not sure that it's necessary for my pool since I had gone several years without doing a cleaning with no apparent issues.

The other reason that I might not pull the filter this year is that I have an old-style stainless-steel Nautilus (Pentair bought out the brand, I believe) Tank and I can't locate a spare tank O-ring. The Tank is vintage 1987 or so and I haven't located the exact spare replacement O-Ring so I don't like to pull the filter out unless I think it's necessary. If that O-Ring stops sealing, then I'll have to upgrade and buy one of the new fiberglass Pentair tanks.
 

SaintRonin

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 15, 2011
17
Houston Texas
waste said:
... If, when manually rinsing the grids, you notice that water is staying in the membrane for more than ~30 seconds, it's time for a chemical cleaning!

To chemically clean the grids/ nest:
1) Have a bucket/container large enough to hold the entire assembly - A large plastic garbage can works well.
2) #1 Add some TSP (tri-sodium-phosphate) to the water or some electric dishwasher detergent to the water and soak the grids for at least 3 hours - this will "de-grease" the membranes and is the first step in cleaning them, rinse with hose and get ready for step 3.
3) Dump the container, refill with water and add muriatic acid to the water so that you have a 10:1 water:acid mixture and soak the grids for at least another 3 hours, this will clean any calcium off of the grids. Rinse grids again and reinstall them in the filter.
4) Now, run pump and bleed off the air from the filter and add 100% of the DE the filter calls for...
Thank you very much for the gauge (30 seconds) by which to ascertain if the chemical cleaning is needed. My question is this, if the TSP cleaning drops the water hold time to say 10 seconds or less, should I still proceed with the acid wash? The time and little bit of money are not really factors, my concern is that the acid wash will (theoretically) shorten the lifespan of my grids, and if it is not needed, I would prefer to skip it. Please let me know if that is okay, or if there is a synergistic aspect to the one-two punch of the TSP and acid.

Thanks again for the guide!


[Edit:]
I had already read a post by WaterBear (there is also a post from ChemGeek) describing how to clean a cartridge (which does not apply to me), but my inferrence was that the acid was should only be used if needed. Extrapolated to my situation, I thought that it might potentially be risky for me on the grids if I did it wrong, and may not be required to begin with as I do not think there is any calcium buildup on my grids - presuming that is the sole or primary purpose of the acid wash.
 

Scoop

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 13, 2012
181
Dallas, TX
SaintRonin said:
Thank you very much for the gauge (30 seconds) by which to ascertain if the chemical cleaning is needed. My question is this, if the TSP cleaning drops the water hold time to say 10 seconds or less, should I still proceed with the acid wash? The time and little bit of money are not really factors, my concern is that the acid wash will (theoretically) shorten the lifespan of my grids, and if it is not needed, I would prefer to skip it. Please let me know if that is okay, or if there is a synergistic aspect to the one-two punch of the TSP and acid.

Thanks again for the guide!

I've cleaned my grids with Muriatic Acid and have not seen any effects on the grids. I did look up the Mfg's recommended cleaning procedure in a Pentair D.E. Grid Owner's Manual and it recommends a 4-hr min soak time.

Excerpt from the Pentair Owner's Manual:

a. A stiffening of the fabric caused by mineral deposits is usually referred to as "liming up". It usually is due to deposits of
either magnesium or calcium or both. Removal of these deposits may be accomplished by soaking the filter elements in six
(6) parts water to one (1) part hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid).
b. Wear rubber gloves and eye protection when mixing the solution, and handling or rinsing the filter elements.
c. Soak for at least four (4) hours in a plastic tub or pail.
d. Rinse filter elements thoroughly in tap water.
 

SaintRonin

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 15, 2011
17
Houston Texas
Thanks, Scoop. I bought a forcelosure and it is my first time as a pool owner. After two seasons, I am still learning, and am glad I came on here to look into cleaning them properly as they were holding water for well over 30 seconds. I will go ahead and get the acid soak going. :)
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,879
Silver Spring, MD
An acid wash is not going to cause any problems as long as you do a TSP/detergent wash first. That said, an acid wash is only required if there is calcium scaling on the grids, which is usually obvious. Calcium scale will be a white chalky and somewhat brittle buildup on the fabric.
 

SaintRonin

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 15, 2011
17
Houston Texas
Since I do not have the experience of what new fabric should be like, and I seriously doubt the owners before me took care of things, I am guessing it has been 5 or 6 years since they were cleaned as described in this thread (the last two years I hosed them off and replaced the DE). Based on someone else saying that they saw a difference in coloration after the acid wash (mine are partially discolored), and the manufacturers recommendation to do it, I figured this will help give me the baseline information on which to gauge future cleanings. I did the TSP soak first, and hosed them down again and that made a big enough difference that I was questioning whether I should do the acid wash at all. There is calcium scale on the tile of my pool, perhaps there is some on the filter as well and it is not just the weight of fabric that is making it stiff. I will know soon enough. :) Thanks for the quick input from the community and mods alike.

The wealth of knowledge in Pool School and the existing threads is reason enough to become a supporter of the site, but quick help on a specific situation like this one makes contributing to this forum a nobrainer.
 

joshearl

Well-known member
Apr 5, 2011
61
Northern California
So I followed the instructions and did pre soak in TSP and have it now soaking in the acid wash. The biggest bucket I could find was a 32 gallon trash can, which left about 4/5 inches of the grids unable to be soaked as the trash can isn't tall enough. Will this still be sufficient?
 

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