All swimming pools require regular maintenance and many pool owners choose to maintain their pool on their own. To do this, you will need to keep a regular schedule, which includes checking to see if the pool filtration system needs cleaning or replacement parts. The most common types of filtration systems are sand, cartridge, and DE (diatomaceous earth). Each system uses a different type of filtering mechanism (media) to filter the water in your pool.
Cartridge filtration systems use filter cartridges as the media, and will require pool filter cartridge replacement if excessive wear or fraying of the material is evident. DE filtration systems require filter grids and they too will require replacement on a regular basis. If you see DE powder in the pool, it’s very possible that one or more grids have torn and need to be replaced with new DE filter grids.
Among the three types of filtration systems, DE has been deemed as superior by most pool owners due to its ability to filter out the smallest of particles. DE filtration systems work by pumping the pool water through a series of grids inside the tank. The grids are “infused” with diatomaceous earth, which acts as the filtration media.
Some Info about DE Filters
Diatomaceous earth is a sedimentary rock comprised of the fossilized remains of billions of diatoms. Diatoms are algae-like, microscopic organisms and are extracted mainly from bodies of water like lakes, rivers, and oceans.
Steps to Clean a DE Filter
Before cleaning your DE system, you should be familiar with the components of the system. A DE filtration system consists of the pressure gauge, backwash valve, air relief valve, filter tank lid, manifolds and grids. The pressure gauge will be most helpful when determining if it is time to clean the system as it will indicate higher-than-normal pressure. A good rule of thumb is if PSI is 8-10 above normal, it is time to clean the system.
Cleaning a DE filtration system takes 3 steps. Step one is to backwash the system. Step two is to clean the grids and manifolds. Step three is to add new DE.
Backwash a DE Filter
- This is the process by which all sediment, dirt and debris is removed from the system. It is important to place the discharge hose away from buildings, gardens, or other areas that can become flooded.
- Begin by putting the pool filter valve in the backwash position.
- Once the system is in backwash position, start the pool pump and keep it running until water from the discharge hose is clear.
- Once complete, turn off the pump and place the valve in normal operating position.
- Follow the above process to backwash a DE Filter in a proper way
Cleaning the Grids and Manifolds
- Keep the pump off and open the air relief valve. Remove the drain plug from the filter tank and let drain.
- Open the tank and remove the manifold, then the grid(s).
- Using a hose, clean the grids and remove the DE from them. Rinse the filter tank.
- Place grids back in the filter tank, then the manifold. Lubricate the inside ring of the tank.
- Put tank lid back on and tighten clamps.
- Prime the pool pump in preparation for new DE.
Addition of new DE to the filter
- Remove the strainer basket lid from the pool pump and fill with water. Lubricate the O-ring or gasket on the pump lid. Replace lid and tighten.
- With the pump running, add the new DE.
- To determine how much DE to add, note the square footage of the filtration system. This information is located either on the filter itself or in the manual. Divide that number by 5. The result is the number of scoops of DE needed for optimal filtration performance.
- DE and scoops can be purchased at your local pool supply store.
- Mix the required amount of DE with water to make a thin creamy mixture. While the pump is still running, pour the mixture directly into the pool skimmer. The DE will be drawn in and evenly distributed over the grids. Allow the pump to run for an additional 30 minutes and then turn off.
By following these three steps, cleaning your DE filtration system is an easy process that is not too time-consuming.