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Salt Chlorine Generators Salt Systems

Salt Chlorine Generators

In recent years, an increasing number of pool owners are turning to salt chlorine generators as a suitable way to clean their pool water. This is due to the growing trend of “anti-chemical” people who want to keep their pools as naturally clean as possible. There are also people who just want to make cleaning their pools a much easier thing to do. In these cases, they turn to salt chlorine generators.

How Pool Salt System Works

Don’t expect salt chlorinators to eliminate chlorine from your pool. These are actually dissolved salts which produce chlorine in the water. First, electrolysis and sodium chloride are used by the chlorinator to produce hypochlorous acid. When the saltwater is exposed to an electric current, it produces chlorine gas, sodium hydroxide, and hydrogen gas.

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Anatomy of the Pool Chlorinator

You understand the chemical process now. Next, we will discuss the anatomy of a salt-chlorine generator.

Salt Cell

Salt is converted into chlorine by the cell of the chlorinator. When water flow reaches the cell, it passes on top of solid plates. These plates have an iridium or ruthenium coating on them. The control board electrically charges these metals, causing the salt conversion into chlorine. This is the process known as electrolysis.

The Control Board

The control board manages all the functions of the system. Basically, it initiates the conversion process by allowing you to send an electrical charge to the cell. You can manage how much electricity gets transferred to it. The more electricity which gets sent, the more chlorine gets produced in the pool water.

Tips for Salt Chlorine Generator Maintenance

You must frequently perform maintenance on your salt chlorine generator if you want it to last for a long time. Here are some maintenance tips for your consideration:

  • Keep the salt level of the water anywhere from 2,700 ppm (parts per million) to 3,400 ppm. The most recommended level is 3,200 ppm.
  • The cell should be cleaned a minimum of one time per season.
  • Deactivate the chlorinator if there is a lightning storm. This reduces the chance of power surges, which can easily cause damage to the control board.
  • Low calcium levels in your pool water are ideal when using a salt-chlorine generator.
  • Reverse polarity must be included with your salt chlorinator. This lowers the buildup of scales on the cell.

The Lifespan of a Salt Water Chlorinator

If you take care of your salt chlorine generator properly, there is no reason why you can’t get at least three years out of it. But you’ll probably get as much as seven years if you stay dedicated to the maintenance. When the control board or cell needs to be replaced, that’ll probably cost you between $500 and $1,100. It all depends on which type of system you have, and which part requires a replacement.

However, if you fail to clean the cell regularly, or you clean it too much, then that’ll shorten its lifespan considerably. But, with the circuit board, you never know how long that’ll last. Some circuit boards stay strong for several years while others burn out after a few years. The best thing to do is to keep the system covered and deactivated if there’s an electrical storm outside. That’ll reduce the chance of a burnout.

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The Price of a Salt Chlorine Generator

Salt chlorine generators are less expensive to maintain than most filtration systems. Unfortunately, the price tag to purchase the salt chlorine generator is a lot higher too. Convenience costs more anyway, so this shouldn’t be a surprise.

Salt chlorine generator installations require you to pay a lot for the setup costs and the equipment itself. And since the control board and cell have a limited lifespan, you’ll eventually have to pay to replace them when the time comes. But if you care about easy maintenance and saving time, then this upfront investment may be worth it for you.

To purchase the actual salt chlorine generator unit, you can expect to pay anywhere from $800 to $1,000. The brand really determines the price here. As for the salt, you won’t need to pay too much for that. But the amount of salt required will depend on the size of your pool. If you have an Olympic size pool, then expect to purchase several huge bags of salt each year. At least you won’t need to purchase chlorine, though.

The Top Benefits of Converting Salt into Chlorine

Whether you own a swimming pool already or are planning to build a new one, here are the benefits of using a salt-chlorine generator for it.

Requires Less Chlorine

If you don’t use a salt-chlorine generator, then you’re forced to clean your pool water with chlorine tablets or liquid chlorine. Even though these sanitizing methods are effective, it is not so pleasant to purchase, transport, and store these chlorine solutions. As an example, liquid chlorine is very hazardous to handle and loses its potency fast. If liquid chlorine gets on your skin or eyes, then it will burn them. You’ll also have breathing difficulties too.

The chlorine levels of a saltwater pool may need some manual adjustments every now and then, but this can easily be done with chlorine granules or tablets. Liquid chlorine is not necessary to use ever.

Save Money

Salt produces chlorine when you use a salt-chlorine generator. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on chlorine or other sanitizing chemicals. Salt also stays in the water for a long time too, which means you don’t need to keep adding more of it like you would with other chemicals that dissolve faster.

During the warmer season, one or two bags of salt should be enough for the salt chlorine generator. You’ll want to maintain the salt level within the 3,200-ppm range. By the next season, only one or two bags of salt are needed too.

Salt Water is Less Irritating to People

Saltwater is friendly to your eyes and skin. Chlorine chemicals, on the other hand, can cause dry skin, itchy skin, itchy eyes, and red eyes. Some of your bathing suits may even get bleached by the chlorine as well. Saltwater pools are better because they’ll prevent these symptoms from occurring.

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No Chlorine Odor

Chlorinated pools give off a nasty chlorine odor. This comes from the chloramine accumulation in the chlorinated water. But if you use salt water in your pool, you won’t smell this chlorine odor.

Fewer Chemicals Needed

You won’t need to spend as much time maintaining the water chemistry balance of your pool. The saltwater of the chlorinator generator will practically automate the maintenance for you. Things like alkalinity level, pH level, and calcium hardness level do not need to be regulated.

The automation factor of chlorine production is gradual and steady. This causes less pH and alkalinity level fluctuations. That is why it is easier to control and balance the chemistry of the water.

Conclusion

Therefore, if you’re ready to spend more money upfront on a salt-chlorine generator, then you can enjoy an easy time maintaining your pool and saving money in the long run. Most importantly, the swimmers of your pool won’t feel any irritating symptoms from the water.

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Hot Tub Pumps and Spa Pumps

Hot Tub Pumps and Spa Pumps

When your hot tub pump functions properly, it is easy to take it for granted. No component is more important for your hot tub than the pump. If you don’t have a functional pump, then you just have gallons of water sitting in between your hot tub walls. A functional pump uses pressure to circulate the water in the hot tub and keep it moving for the sake of heating and filtering it.

If you suddenly notice screeching noises or weird sounds when you turn on your hot tub one day, then some problems might exist with it. Perhaps your jets are not shooting out any water, and your water remains stagnant. This is the worst possible situation your spa could be in.

As a hot tub owner, you must learn how to recognize these troublesome signs and overcome any problems which might exist. If you can learn how to operate and care for your hot tub pump properly, then you’ll never be in a situation where your tub has a lot of swampy green water in it.

About Jacuzzi Pumps

When your hot tub pump malfunctions, you shouldn’t try to repair or replace it immediately. Learn about the specifications of your spa first. The side of the pump should have a label on it with technical information regarding speeds, horsepower, size, and discharge type.

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Single Speed vs. Variable Speed

The pump provides the necessary power needed for hot tub water to circulate and for the jets to operate. Low speeds and high speeds are needed for the pump. Revolutions per minute, or RPM, is the unit of measurement for these speeds. If you have one pump that can alternate from low speed to high speed and vice versa, then you have a variable-speed pump. It is also called a two-speed pump in some cases.

Whenever your spa uses a single-speed pump, there are actually two of them present. The first single-speed pump is the circulation pump. It requires less energy than most pumps, but it operates much slower too. This pump can move anywhere from 25 to 35 GPM (gallons per minute).

You could take the smallest variable-speed pump, and it will still have a speed of at least 100 GPM. The largest and strongest variable-speed pump may have up to 260 GPM in speed.

When you have a second pump present in the hot tub, it is always faster than the first pump because it is responsible for giving power to the jets. The second pump can be a variable-speed pump or single-speed pump. Whenever you already have a circulation pump in your spa, you can take certain two-speed pump models and reconfigure them to run at a single speed.

Wet End and Dry End

All pumps have wet ends and dry ends. The purpose of these ends is to prevent water from getting into the motor area of the pump. Water would destroy the components of a motor if it made contact with them.

An impeller is positioned at the wet end of the pump. This is what moves the water and allows it to circulate through the system. As for the dry end, the motor is housed there in a sealed area where moisture and water cannot get through. Of course, the dry end has components which can stop working just like the wet end does.

To give you an example, let’s say residue builds up in your impeller and causes it to get stuck. This can greatly impact the water flow of your hot tub. In another example, the electrical wiring of your motor may have a short in it. This will randomly trip the breaker.

If there is a problem with a single component, each end can be repaired separately in some cases. However, the cheapest option is usually for the damaged pump to be replaced completely.

Voltage

Electricity is needed to power the motor of a hot tub pump. You must find out if your pump needs between 220 and 240 volts or between 110 and 120 volts. When there are two wires supplying electricity to the pump, then it needs between 110 and 120 volts. The colors of these wires are usually white and green.

If four wires are connected to the pump, then it requires between 220 and 240 volts. The colors of these wires will be red, black, white, and green. Look at the side label of the pump, and you should find the voltage listed in that location.

As the hot tub pump is replaced, make sure you keep the previous power cord that was used on the older pump. You can use this power cord on the new pump just the same. Another power cord will probably come with your next pump, but you can always have a spare power cord in case something happens to the one you’re using.

Horsepower

The amount of power that your pump provides is referred to as horsepower (HP). Your spa pump can have anywhere between 0.75 HP to 5 HP.

But even if your pump has 5 HP, you can’t take advantage of that power unless you have the right plumbing. For instance, if you have a lot of small pipes, then they won’t be able to handle a lot of power going through them. This will cause your power to be limited, which will result in leaks.

Pumps usually have a bloated HP rating anyway. You’ll see this often with pumps which have “SPL” on the label. This signifies a special rating exists that is inflated. When the horsepower of the pump is different in the factory than in the spa, this process is known as an uprating.

Discharge

Water comes out of a certain area of the pump that is called the discharge orientation. You’ll find this location on the side of the pump or on top of it. This comes in handy if you need to adjust the water level of your spa.

There are certain brands of pumps which don’t discharge with universal fittings. If you purchase a new pump with no universal fittings, then the unions must be replaced after the pump is installed.

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Size of the Frame

Your pump is surrounded by housing that has holes already drilled into it. You can use these holes to bolt the housing to the interior of the hot tub. The frame size determines how far apart the holes are from each other. If you don’t have the right frame size, then it will be impossible to bolt it in there.

Your spa pump will either have a 56 frame or 48 frame. There should be a sticker on your pump which has either a 56 or 48 printed on it to indicate the type of frame it is. If you don’t see a sticker like this, just conduct your own measurement of the space between the bolts. These will either be the bolts on the motor or the frame. Bolts that are under 4 inches apart from each other signify a 48 frame. If they are over 4 inches apart, then you have a 56 frame.

Prime the Hot Tub Spa Pump

If there is an empty hot tub and water is added to it, the circulation system will get air stuck in it. But the air can get pushed out of the system if you prime the pump. This will ensure that your water circulation is corrected in the spa. Make sure you prime the pump prior to your first use of the spa and right after you refill the spa with new water. It’ll also need priming in some cases in between.

You may have a self-priming pump, but that doesn’t mean it will work completely on its own. Every pump model requires a unique priming method, so check for the details about that in your manual.

Here are the two main methods of priming:

Control Panel

If the control panel of your pump has a priming mode option, then priming the pump will be as easy as pushing a few buttons.

Just activate your jets at low speed for up to 20 seconds. Then switch their speed to high for up to 20 seconds. Keep repeating this cycle until you see normal water pressure. You shouldn’t see any air bubbles or hear any gurgling while the jets are on.

Manual

If you were unsuccessful in using the control panel method, try utilizing the bleeder valve of the pump to discharge the air.

Turn off the circuit breaker so that your pump won’t shock you with any electricity in it. Go to your pump and look on the discharge side of it. The gate valve should be closed here.

Now the bleeder valve should be turned slowly until the sound of air can be heard hissing out of it. Wait for the sound to go away, then turn the bleeder valve in the opposite direction to tighten it up again. Make sure it is tight or else a water leak may occur there. Turn on the circuit breaker and hot tub. See if the jets are working.

Additional Priming Recommendations

If you tried priming your pump, but you still face problems, then here are some other things you can try:

  • Clean your filter thoroughly. See if there are additional water flow problems like leaks or clogging.
  • Make sure the water level of the hot tub is where it should be. A low water level indicates a water flow problem.
  • One priming failure shouldn’t make you give up. Keep trying both priming methods until the pump is primed properly.
  • If you don’t know whether the pump has water in it, then don’t prime the pump for over 2 minutes. Otherwise, the pump might get damaged.

Spa Pump Troubleshooting

If you have bad things happening to your pump, then here are a couple of things that you can try to fix the problems.

Your Pump Does Not Prime

The sounds of bubbling and gurgling mean that air is trapped in your jets. You’ll usually hear these sounds after your spa is filled with water. If these sounds are not heard, then your filtration system probably has debris clogging it up. Air cannot escape the filter if it is clogged.

Clean out your filter and leaf trap to fix that issue. Prime the pump now and see if it works. If it does not work, then keep activating and deactivating your jets to squeeze out the rest of the air in them.

Make sure the heat is turned down first. Then you can completely open the jets and let them run on high for up to 15 seconds. Do this for 3 more times but increase the time of each one by 15 seconds as you go through them. Air bubbles will come from the jets. Once you stop seeing the bubbling, you can turn off the jets.

Little to No Water Pressure

If you notice the water circulation of your hot tub is poor or stagnant, then it could be due to three possible reasons. You might have low water pressure, air that cannot escape, or the inability to prime your pump. Fortunately, you can solve these problems by checking your circulation system for any physical debris or complications.

The first step is to clear out the debris from your leaf traps and filter. If the water pressure is poor, then you should drain all the water from the hot tub. Remove the debris from your circulation system with a line flush product. Then clean everywhere in the hot tub. Keep the jets completely opened prior to the cleaning process.

If you perform a deep clean, use a hot tub cover, replace the used water with fresh water, and perform regular maintenance on your hot tub, then you can prevent most water pressure problems from occurring. However, if there are no physical elements diminishing your water pressure, then you must inspect your pump to find the reason.

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Motor Randomly Shuts Off

If your motor randomly loses power, then it means it’s almost dead. Try resetting the circuit breaker to fix the issue. If that doesn’t work, then either the motor is bad, or the wiring is bad.

You can check the wiring and its ability to deliver a regular flow of motor power by using a multimeter. Only do this if you know what you’re doing. If the test determines that the wires are not delivering electricity properly to the motor, then either replace the wiring or clean the wiring if there is corrosion present. Corroded wires often mean there are leaks, so look for them too. If the issue is coming from inside the motor, then your motor must be replaced completely.

Motor Turns On, But Water Does Not Circulate

If you have no water circulation even when the motor is running, then your circulation system may be clogged, or your impeller is stuck. If you hear grinding sounds, then it means your impeller is not moving the way it should. There are probably electrical issues or some kind of residue impeding the rotation of the impeller.

Clear out the debris from your leaf traps and filter. The GFCI should be flipped to stop electricity from going to the pump. Inspect the impeller now. If there is debris causing problems in it, then remove the debris and test the pump.

Sometimes your impeller might be damaged too. In that case, it must be replaced. If that doesn’t solve the problem, then replace the motor entirely because it is irreparable.

Pump Does Not Turn On

If the pump doesn’t activate, then your spa is not useable. Check to see if your control panel works. If it doesn’t, then your spa has no power going to it.

Resetting the breaker may help. Here is how to do that:

  • Find where your breaker box is located. It should be near your spa somewhere. Look for a metal box on your home or on a post.
  • Once you find it, open the box and see if the breaker to the tub has already tripped or not. If it has, then other problems might exist in your hot tub.
  • Flip the breaker off for a few seconds and then flip it back on.

 

Activate the pump and see if this flips the breaker. If it does flip, then your pump must be disconnected, and the breaker must be reset. If the breaker doesn’t trip unless you connect the pump, then your pump is the problem. If the breaker does trip, then the problem is not your pump.

At this point, call a professional to have them inspect the electrical components of the hot tub.

Water Leaking

You’ll never want water close to your GFCI or within the spa cabinet. If water gets into these places, then you must have a leak. If you don’t do something about this leak, your pump will stop working properly. It could also cause your motor to get fried, corrosion or rust on your electrical components and your breaker to get tripped.

You probably won’t notice the slow leak inside your cabinet until it gets more serious. You should occasionally watch out for moisture near the pump seal areas. This is a sign of a leak in the cabinet. Use a flashlight to see better in the cracks and darker areas of the spa, such as the impeller housing. If freezing temperatures existed outside, then cracks will most likely form.

After you repair the leak, make sure your electrical components were not damaged by the leaky water. Clean the corrosion from the wiring or replace it entirely if it’s in bad shape.

In some cases, your pump won’t be repairable. You’ll need to replace the entire thing if that happens. Just make sure you choose the proper pump replacement so that it is compatible with your hot tub.

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How Do I Choose the Right Size Pump?

You can find the size and other specifications on the sticker of your current pump. If they’re not there, then you can figure them out yourself.

The distance between the bolts is the frame size. Take this measurement. Anything under 4 inches means it is a 48 frame. Anything over 4 inches means it is a 56 frame.

The required GPM for your jets can be determined by counting the number of jets in your hot tub and multiplying it by the flow rating. The manufacturer of your spa can also share those details with you.

With a variable-speed pump, the circulation and jet intensity can be adjusted. Two varying amperages will appear on its sticker.

In cases where there are two pumps, then you probably have a single-speed pump.

Voltage: A power supply with two wires means the pump is between 110 and 120 volts. Four wires mean it is between 220 and 240 volts.

Horsepower : Keep the horsepower near the same horsepower as the original pump. It should not be over 1 horsepower more than the original.

Size of the Plumbing : The diameter of your pump’s PVC pipes should be measured as they relate to the intake and discharge of the pump. Then you’ll know the proper size unions to use.

New Hot Tub Pump Installation

If you must replace your pump with a new one, then the installation process is simple enough. Just make sure you purchase the proper replacement pump.

Remember to flip the breaker prior to starting or else you could get shocked.

  • Drain the water from the hot tub or close the valves. You don’t want the water to come out when you uninstall the pump.
  • Have a Shop-Vac or a couple of towels handy. Water will flow from the pipes.
  • Remove the copper grounding wire.
  • The discharge fittings and intake fittings must be loosened.
  • Take the bolts out of the frame.
  • Move the pump very slowly to access the wires. Detach the wires.
  • Connect the wires to the new pump correctly.
  • Replace the O-rings or unions if you need too. Now tighten the fittings.
  • Securely bolt the frame in its position.
  • Add water to the spa. Try out the pump.
Conclusion

Every hot tub needs a functional pump. If you properly care for the pump, then it should last for a long time.

Continue removing debris from the leaf basket and hot tub. Keep the water chemistry balanced frequently. Don’t let the water or tub freeze. Any apparent problems with the tub must be repaired immediately or else the problems will get worse.

If you perform these kinds of tasks regularly, then you’ll enjoy a functional pump and spa for many years.

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What Does a Pool Filter do? Types to Choose from. How to Find the Right Option for you.

Best Pool Filter You Can Buy in 2020

Best Choice for D.E Filters

Our Score: 9.8/10
Hayward W3DE4820 ProGrid D.E.

Best Choice for Sand Filter

Our Score: 8.9/10
Hayward S244T ProSeries

Best Choice for Cartridge Filters

Our Score: 9.2/10
Pentair 160340 Clean and Clear Plus

Best Choice for Above Ground Pool Filter

Our Score: 7.2/10
Rx Clear Radiant Pool Filter

Pool filters are responsible for removing harmful contaminants from your swimming pool water, such as bacteria and bugs. Even if you use chlorine to kill these contaminants, you still need a filter to remove them completely from the water. If you fail to filter these contaminants out of the water, then your pool water will have lots of debris and cloudiness in it.

Okay, so you know filters are important. But which one is the best for your pool? Don’t just look for the cheapest filter. You want to pick a filter that does a good job of blocking contaminants and is simple to maintain. Also, you’ll want a filter with a lot of longevity so it can survive multiple seasons.

To make the best choice, you need to learn about the filter options available.

The Pool Filter Size is Important

The pool pump and filter work together. You can’t have one without the other because the pump pushes the water through the filter. Also, the size of the pump must accommodate your pool. Don’t choose a filter until you choose the right pump size.

Size of Filter

The gallons per minute for each square foot is how filters get rated. The flow rate of your filter must match or exceed the gallons per minute of your pump. Just to be safe, it’s better to choose a larger filter in order to ensure that it can tolerate your pump’s power and force. To help you figure this out, the size of your filter should have a minimum of one square foot for every 10,000 gallons of water in your pool.

Be careful when you look for cheaper brands or bargains on these filter products. Sometimes you’ll find a defunct company’s brand when you go looking for replacement items. Always purchase your filter from a reputable manufacturer, even if you need to pay a little more. This will ensure that you’re getting a good quality filter.

The Most Reliable & Recommended Pool Sand Filters

The following sand filter models offer low maintenance and affordability.

Top Rated: The Best Choice for Sand Filters

1st
Our Score: 9.8/10

Hayward Top-Mount Sand Filter S244T ProSeries Pool Filter

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Why we chose it

The Hayward S224T ProSeries features a corrosion-resistant and weather-resistant tank. This type of construction is meant to make it last a long time. Three sizes are available, and a multi-port valve is included.

Side mounts come with certain models if you prefer them. The best part is that you only need to backwash the filter every couple of months. It all depends on how regularly the pool is used.

2nd
Our Score: 9.2/10

Pentair Side Mount Sand Filter without Valve Triton II Pool Filter

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Why we chose it

The Pentair Triton II is simple and easy to use. You can read the pressure gauge with no problem because of its convenient location on the filter. The sand is easily accessible because of the swing-away diffuser. Winterizing is no problem because of the sand and water combo drain.

3rd
Our Score: 9.2/10

Hayward Sand Filter System S210T93S ProSeries Pool Filter (Above Ground)

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Why we chose it

This is an affordable automatic pool cover pump which doesn’t require much work to operate. It is completely submersible and pumps out water when it gets up to 1/8” high. Included in the kit are a garden hose adapter and a 25’ power cord. These are the same accessories you’ll find included with the Wayne and Little Giant pool cover pumps.

The Ocean Blue can pump around 250 gallons of water per hour because it has a small motor. It is automated though, so you don’t have to monitor it while it’s pumping.

The Most Recommended Pool Cartridge Filters

Do you want a filter media that is finer than sand? Below are 4 cartridge models which don’t require much maintenance work and still give you a very fine filter media.

Top Rated: The Best Choice for Cartridge Filters

1st
Our Score: 9.8/10

Pentair 160340 CCP320 Clean and Clear Plus Cartridge Pool Filter

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Why we chose it

The Pentair 160340 Clean & Clear Plus features a filter surface range of approximately 320 sqft. This allows it to clean water faster in comparison to other filters on the market. It is easy to keep suitable water pressure with internal air relief. About 120 GPM is filtered within a firm injection-molded tank.

2nd
Our Score: 9.2/10

Intex 28635EG Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter Pump (Above Ground)

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Why we chose it

Intex-branded above ground swimming pool owners will want this cartridge filter pump. You can use disposable cartridges with it, which is not something you see too often with other filter pumps. Maintenance is easy too because you can just twist the flush valve and put in another cartridge.

Once you’re ready to winterize, disassemble the filter pump and store it away until next summer. On the other hand, if you experience only mild weather in your location, then you can leave the 28635EG where it is because it’s constructed with two walls for lasting durability.

The Most Recommended D.E. Pool Filters

If you care about a high-quality filtration experience for some extra maintenance and cost, then go with a D.E. Filter.

Top Rated: The Best Choice for D.E Filters

1st
Our Score: 9.8/10

Hayward W3C3030 SwimClear Cartridge Pool Filter

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Why we chose it

The Pentair Quad has cartridges that you can easily remove. For this reason, maintenance won’t be a problem. There are 4 high-capacity cartridges with a lot of surface area. That way, the pump becomes more energy efficient when cleaning the water. On top of that, the huge surface area signifies that your filter won’t get clogged as easily either. This means you don’t need to clean the filter as often. All this is secured inside of a reinforced fiberglass polypropylene tank which is highly durable.

2nd
Our Score: 9.2/10

Pentair Quad Cartridge Style D.E. Filter 188592

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3rd
Our Score: 9.2/10

Hayward Perflex Extended-Cycle D.E. Filter EC40AC

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Why we chose it

The Hayward EC40AC Perflex Extended-Cycle does not require much maintenance or heavy cleaning. There is a handy bump feature which allows for automated cleaning of the D.E. Flex Tubes. This greatly minimizes the cleaning time needed. Resistance is also minimized so that lower horsepower can have more efficiency.

Types of Pool Filters

You must learn about the options available before you choose a filter. There are 3 filter types that you can select from; Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.), Sand, or Cartridge. The type of filter you choose will determine the filtration rate, price, how it’s cleaned, and how often you’ll need to replace it.

Sand Filters

If you’re like most pool owners, then you’ll want an inexpensive filter which doesn’t require much of your time to maintain. If that sounds like, you, then choose the sand filter for your pool. Sand filters don’t usually clog as much as other types of filters. This makes them ideal for larger swimming pools.

When your pool pump is activated, it pulls water toward it from the skimmers. Once the water reaches the pump, it gets pushed into a huge filtration tank that is filled with sand. This is usually #20 silica sand. Any particles that are at least 20 microns will be grabbed.

Each sand grain is rather prickly. From a microscopic viewpoint, a sand grain has several rough edges surrounding it. These edges are what give sand particles the ability to grab debris as it tries flowing through the filter.

After a few weeks or years, the edges of these sand particles get worn down because of erosion. If they get worn down enough, the edges will be smooth instead of rough. This will make them incapable of capturing debris. Plus, particles will get stuck in the sand and gradually accumulate until the filter is no longer functional. Smaller particles may get trapped more easily, though. Unfortunately, the water flow won’t be adequate enough as it tries passing through the filter. This reduces the efficiency of the filter.

On the side of the filter, there is a pressure gauge which lets you know when the internal pressure increases. If you receive this alert, it means the filter needs to be backwashed. This is where the water flow is reversed by the filter, causing all the debris to be flushed out.

Since the silica grabs particles which are at least 20 microns, you need to pay attention more to the chemistry of your water. If you don’t have an adequate amount of sanitizer in the water to destroy smaller bacteria that are 2 microns, then a sand filter certainly won’t trap them. As a result, the bacteria will exist in your pool water to cause people great sickness.

Alternatives to Sand

Most sand filters use #20 silica media. If the sand is replaced or you backwash the filter, then D.E. powder can be added afterward. This will boost the efficiency rate of filtration.

Below are two alternative choices for replacing the #20 silica if you want.

ZeoSand

Zeolite is the mineral that ZeoSand is made from. Compared to the standard sand of a filter, you can get away with using half as much of ZeoSand in the filter. Since ZeoSand is shaped like a crystal, it is easier for it to catch tiny contaminants. This enables the water to be clearer, and you won’t need to backwash as much. You should get a lifespan of roughly 5 years out of ZeoSand, which is about the same lifespan as silica.

Filter Glass

Filter glass is recycled glass that is crushed. Since the crushing is done in a fine way, there is no risk of cuts because it feels quite smooth. There is a negative electrical charge coming from the glass, causing it to attract iron, manganese, and other positively charged particles. Because of this, you can reduce the filter glass amount needed by around 20%. Meanwhile, it can filter debris particles which are only 5 microns in size. Compared to pool sand, filter glass has a 3 times greater longevity.

Advantages
  • Inexpensive
  • Simple Maintenance
  • Sand is good for 5 to 7 years; replace after that.
  • Additives can be used to boost the efficiency of the filter.
Disadvantages
  • Filter efficiency reduces by building pressure
  • Water is wasted from rinsing and backwashing
  • 20 microns is not very effective compared to the other types of filters

Cartridge Filters

Cartridge filters may cost more than sand filters, but they’re more effective and simpler to maintain if you have a smaller pool.

The tank has a plastic cylinder inside of it. Each end of the cylinder has a cap on it. Pleated polyester media surrounds it too. When the pleats of the tank receive the water flow, the filter captures small debris that is 10 microns or more. Once the water is successfully filtered, the newly cleaned water flows to the pool again.

Cartridges cost less and will save you money on energy. After enough contaminants are collected in the filter, you will need to clean it out. You can do backwashing, or you can take the cartridge out of the tank and use a hose to spray away all the dirt and debris that is stuck on it.

Periodically, use a filter cleaner to spray down the filter. Then, more regularly, soak the filter in a cleaning solution that is formulated for filters. Diluted muriatic acid is often used as the cleaning solution too. Even though this will require more effort than backwashing the filter, you’ll at least conserve more water.

Advantages
  • Contaminants that are 10 microns or more can be filtered.
  • You don’t need to backwash; saving you more water.
  • Low speeds are fine; use with a variable-speed pump.
Disadvantages
  • 2 to 3-year longevity
  • Requires additional work compared to sand filters
  • Deep cleaning needed up to 2 times annually

Diatomaceous Earth Filters

Diatomaceous earth filters can block very tiny particles as small as 5 microns. The downside is that these filters require more maintenance. They’re also more expensive too.

The tanks of “D.E.” filters feature special grids which have a white powdery coating. The contents of this powder include the fossilized remains of diatoms, which are small aquatic lifeforms. Silica is also found in these fossils too, but D.E. filters are still different from sand filters. You can find this white powdery substance in many common products like toothpaste, cosmetics, pest control, and more. However, this doesn’t mean you can fill your filter with pest control powder as an alternative. D.E. has been treated with heat, so this allows it to be a filtration media.

Backwashing

The tank of the D.E. filter has a pressure gauge which tells you when the filter should be cleaned. Usually, you can backwash D.E. filters the same as you would with sand filters. There is a bump handle on certain filter brands which allows you to remove the D.E. particles from the grids without having to backwash. But regardless of whether the filter is bumped or backwashed, additional D.E. powder should be added each time you clean it. You may have trouble figuring out the amount to add. Because of this, you should disassemble the filter manually and then clean it a minimum of one time per year.

Adding More D.E. To Your Filter

Once the filter is cleaned, you should add more D.E. powder to the skimmer of the pool instead of to the grids.

  • Add the D.E. to the water until it appears slurry and creamy.
  • The pool pump should be running, so activate it if you must.
  • The mixed solution should slowly get poured into the skimmer.

 

When the D.E. enters the filter, the particles will spread evenly on top of the grids. Don’t swim until the mixture has been given some time to completely assimilate itself with the filter. One strategy is to apply the D.E. in the evening time when no one is swimming. Keep the pump turned on throughout the night.

Advantages
  • Caustic chemicals are not needed to clean.
  • D.E. powder goes in the skimmer.
  • You can filter contaminants that are 5 microns in size or more.
Disadvantages
  • More cleaning work is required each year
  • Must replace grids after 2 or 3 years

Pool Filter Troubleshooting

Your filter must remain in great condition if you want it to do a good cleaning job. However, there are some problems that filters tend to run into. You need to recognize these problems for what they are. This makes it easier to troubleshoot your filter and repair the problems wherever they are.

Leaks

Does your filter have water dripping anywhere from it? If you hear the dripping or see a little puddle somewhere around it, then you may have a leak in your filter.

The water level of your pool won’t be too affected by a leaky filter. But still, you should investigate the problem by locating the leak and then fixing it before it gets worse. See if there are holes in the tank of the filter. Once you spot a hole, patch it up if you can. This is only a temporary solution, though, because the patch is not going to last for a long time. You’ll need to replace the entire tank as soon as you can. The patch only buys you some time.

With split-tank filters, look for leaks in the belly area. Take off the band from it and look at the O-ring to see if it’s worn out or clogged with debris. Replace the O-ring if it’s worn out. Pool gasket lubricant should be added to assist in the sealing process and to sustain the hydration of the ring. This increases its longevity.

Cycle Issues

The flow rate of your filter may be in trouble if it runs in small cycles only, whether the pool is being used or not. Perhaps you have an excessively high pool rate because your pump is too powerful to be handled by your filter. You’d need a bigger filter to fix this issue as long as your pool can accommodate it.

If you have the proper size filter, then you should backwash it for a longer time. As you backwash the filter, keep it going until you can clearly see the water in the glass. Several minutes may be needed for this process to be completed.

Another reason for these shorter cycles may be due to debris or algae building up in the filter, which is clogging it. That is why you must thoroughly clean your pool filter. If it looks worn out, then replace it.

Pool Filter Material

After you backwash your pool, you may see some of the filter material in the water. It doesn’t matter which type of filter you’re using either. On the other hand, if you see filter material in the water and you have not backwashed, then you should be concerned.

Inspect the bolts which secure the filter to the pool. If the bolts are loose, then particles may find their way out of the pool. If the bolts are not loose, then check for other reasons why this is happening.

When dealing with a D.E. filter, the grid fabric may have a tear in it. Either that or the grid manifold may have a crack. In that case, the manifold should be replaced.

Water Pressure Issues

Inspecting the pressure gauge needs to be done along with other pool maintenance tasks. The performance of your filter will be affected if you have water pressure issues.

Low water pressure will cause the system to get clogged in an area before the pool filter. High water pressure will cause the system to get clogged in an area after the pool filter. You must check all areas of the filtration system for blockage. If you find debris in certain areas, then clean it out. Once the filter is completely clean, take a look at the return valve because it should be opened entirely.

Conclusion

You can buy a cheaper filter which requires less maintenance but also filters less. Either that or you can spend more money on a better filter which requires more time and maintenance. It all depends on your budget and schedule. In any event, the chemistry of your water must always be balanced. If you can do all these things, then you’ll have a long-lasting filter.

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