Swimming pool filter questions

Upon removing the cover, I was greeted with 12,000 gallons of dark green water that was once my swimming pool (24' diameter, 48" deep, above ground). I was anxious to crank up the new pool filter & clear this mess up, and in no time, the 1 hp pump was hard at work. Three, no make that 4 bags of shock went into the pool in a frontal assault against the green invader, and the filter ran all day. By the next morning, the green was significantly lighter, and in went two more bags of shock. By midday, we were getting somewhere. The green was almost completely gone, replaced by a dense but translucent whiteness. A thin scum of dead algae covered the surface, and patches of foam floated around. I left the filter running all day; but saw no improvement by nightfall.
My new pool filter is a cartridge filter, a Hayward Star Clear, 175 sf filter area. It replaces an old but reliable Doughboy DE filter. Because it's my first cartridge filter, I have no frame of reference as to what to expect in performance. I know that cartridge filters allow smaller particles than DE. Clean and fresh, the filter started off at 6 psf pressure, and after running all day, it's only up to 8 psf. That's a good thing as far as I'm concerned, because one of the reasons I abandoned DE was how often it would require backwashing under these circumstances. It's also why I bought a larger filter than I ought to need. On the other hand, the pool is still cloudy, and time between cleanings doesn't matter if the filter isn't going to clear up the pool.
So, for all you pool experts out there, I have a couple questions:
I realize that given the seriousness of my original algae problem, it isn't going to clear up in a day, but inasmuch as neither the water clarity nor the pressure gauge seems to be changing significantly, is this normal for a cartridge filter? Are they slower to filter the water as well as slower to clog?
I have taken the cartridge out once & hosed it off, and I paid no attention to up or down when I put it back, assuming they were interchangeable. Should I have checked?
On a different issue apart from the filter itself, I am getting a steady stream of small bubbles with the return water that is contributing to the foam on the pool surface. Where is this air coming from? The basket gasket? The impeller gasket? It's not so much it's a big deal, but it's nagging evidence that something's not sealed properly.
TIA, Joe F.
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rb608 wrote:

Joe-
That's a whole bunch of questions.
I've got experrience w/ DE (pool) & Catridge (spa)
DE is a much better filter but messy to clean / maintain
BTDT....then got a pool man & finally moved away from the pool :)
your cleanup went very well,
now you need a flocauting(?) addtive also called clarifier) ....causes little particles to attach to each other & make big particles that the filter can grab.
in my spa when I had the water chem correct it would be crystal clear a few days after a weekend of partying by my teenage sons........pH, shock, clarfier, run filter, clean filter.....presto clean!
bubbles in the return uaually means an air leak on the 'vacuum' side
basket gasket, pump housing, piping, joints
cheers Bob
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DE Filter Questions
I think I need Clarifier...? I have Triton Nautilus DE Filter. When i "recharged" it by pouring DE into skimmer I saw cloudy water being pumped back into pool for a few minutes then it stopped. Is it normal to see clouds jetting from inlets while adding DE into the skimmer?
The water is clear and chemicals all balanced. I can see the bottom of the deep end.
So I decided to vaccuum and again I see clouds pumping into pool as if not filtering these particles.
Next I open up the filter because I was convinced something wasn't right. I gently hosed off the elements and checked them for holes or rips. They check out fine. So I then made sure that each element was seated and put it all back together.
Once again I mix up 6 coffee cans full of DE into a pail, add water to make a slurry and poured it into the skimmer. And again I see clouds begin jetting from the inlets but they stop after a minute.
Hours later the pool is again clear and I can see the bottom but the particles from the clouds have accumulated on the bottom.
Will Clarifier clump these particles into size that will catch them in the filter?
I am afraaid that if I vaccuum they will just circulate back into the pool like an endless cycle.
Any and all DE Filter owners your comments are welcome!!! Please Help!
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snipped-for-privacy@zoll.com wrote:

SInce you question is about a DE filter it would be best to start another thread rather than to piggy-back this one.
I do not currently own a home wil a pool or a Spa (yahoo!) but I have YEARS of experience owning / working them.
First of all, let me say, you are doing all the right things.
The mesh size of the nylon fabric on the filter grids will allow some DE to pass until the DE builds up on the grids to form the filtering layer
take a look at http://www.poolandspa.com/page799.htm
typically clarifiers / flocculating agents are not needed in DE systems (we never used them). Spas with cartirdge filters are anotehr story, used them all the time to good effect.
When a DE filter is recharged correctly & settles down, you will get no recirculating particles upon vacuuming.
Cloudy water from the return lines means particles getting thru the filter; (damaged mesh, hole, seam failure, leak at junction with filter tree, ???)
but you looked for that, so?????
could also be poor DE distribtuon over the filter grids, but you're doing it correctly by premixing the DE.
we used to cheat & just dump it in the skimmer & depend on the pump to mix it :)
we gave the filter a couple turns to distribute the DE & everything was fine
some how stuff is getting by your filter & IMO a clarifier is not the answer; you've got some sort of internal leak path.
let us know how it all works out
cheers Bob
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When adding DE via the skimmer (yes, I simply dump the dry powder in there), I set the valve on 'Filter to Waste' until all of the powder is taken in. Only then to I send it to the pool. The result is that the initial plume of powder ends up in the garden instead of in the pool.
snipped-for-privacy@zoll.com says...

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wrote:

The pool store has some stuff, usually called clarifier or something similar, that makes the filter "stickier" so it picks up smaller stuff. You may be buying a new cartridge when this is all over tho.

There is usually a top and bottom. The bottom has a circular slot in it, the top is solid. on my StaRite

I bet it is the strainer top seal. Clean it and the mating surfaces well then relubricate it with petroleum jelly
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I'm no expert, but it sure sounds like you need to use a floculant (aka clarifier). Good luck.
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I'm becoming seriously disenchanted with the cartridge filter. I took the eminently reasonable advice here and went out & bought a couple of quarts of clarifier. The stated dosage on the label would be about 5 ounces for my pool. I put in 5 ounces, ran the filter all day, and saw no improvement. No problem, the label says a repeat dose or a larger dose may be needed. I put in another 8 ounces. Nada. Okay, next day, another dose. Still nothing. Let's try more.
Long story short, I'm now about 8 doses into this clarifier business; and I'm getting nowhere. The pool is still about as cloudy as when I first posted a week ago. I could understand if I was seeing slow improvement; but I'm seeing no improvement.
Chances are the clarifier I'm using may not be as effective as another product and I'll explore that avenue also, but I expected better performance out of the filter. As I posted earlier, this is my first cartridge filter. Is this worthless performance what I should expect for $300. FWIW, it's a Hayward "Star Clear" 175 sf. filter, and that ought to be more than adequate for my little 12,000 gal pool. I'm dismayed.
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Sorry I didn't get MY eminently reasonable advice in by the deadline. I may have saved you some money.
Take one quart of your water to Home Depot, or your local swimming pool store. They will tell you all about your water, and what you need to do to get it right. And for free, too.
Of course, they will want to sell you all sorts of things, but start with the worst problem, and work from there. I found out that having chlorine stabilizer (cyanuric acid) in my pool cut my chlorine consumption by 80%. I don't have the problem you have with cloudiness, but the analysis will tell you what you need to adjust. My point is that they wanted to sell me all sorts of ph adjusters, and all sorts of things, and all I got was the stabilizer. My water stays clear, and at the right ph, and I didn't buy all the things that were suggested.
Oh, do buy a good test kit, and maybe even a stabilizer test kit.
Steve
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I never use clarifier.
My procedure, get test kit, adjust PH and alkalinity til correct. Then get 5 Gal bucket of pool shock (chlorine) at pool store. Dump it in all at once. Don't use the pool until chlorine level returns to normal.
Never had it fail.
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rb608 wrote:

A 12,000 gallon pool isn't all that little, of course it's not a 30,000 gallon in ground pool.
I only have experimece with a cartridge filter for a 500 gallon spa. All my large in ground pools used DE filters.
I used ~1 or 2 oz of clarifier in 500 gallons per day for a two days or so. That waould have been 24 to 48 ozs per day.
I can see why you're unhappy but a totally green pool is going to generate a lot of dead algae.debris.
You've seen little or no improvement? I'm stumped other than "stay the course".
Maybe it's a water chem problem.
Give the filter mfr or dealer a call & discuss performance.
cheers Bob
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BobK207 wrote:

Thanks to BobK & others. I'll post this update if only to help others learn from my ordeal.
I spoke with a sales rep at the local filter dealer, who insisted that I should vacuum the bottom. I protested that I couldn't vacuum the bottom if I couldn't see the bottom, but he insisted. What the heck, at this point I'll try anything, so out came the vacuum hose, & away we go.
It took all of about 15 seconds for me to see that the return water was simply a jet of cloudy white crap. Clearly whatever was going in the filter was coming right back out the other end. Well, at least I have an understandable problem to solve. So I shut off the pump, plugged the hoses, & took the top off the filter to have a look-see.
Now even though they look exactly the same, and I'm quite confident they are, I nonetheless exchanged ends before putting the cartidge back into the housing. I also pushed down a bit & twisted to ensure the filter was seated snugly.
One odd thing I noticed was that there's a small white plastic tube running up the center of the filter. What was odd is that it was loose from a small rubber clip that was designed to hold it in place. I can't imagine how I could possible have loosened it by simply removing the filter, but I reattached it, replaced the cartridge, & put everything back into business mode.
Turned on the pump. Strange, the plume of bubbles was gone (tho it did come back later to a far lesser extent.) I tried vacuuming again this morning, & the return water looked far better than before.
It's too soon to say, but I'm beginning to strongly suspect that my problem all along may have been caused by a poorly seated cartridge, allowing the water to simply bypass the filter. Because of the out of place tube above, I'm also suspecting that I may have pushed it down on the previous installation and it got caught under the cartridge seal.
The pump's running all day again today, & I'm going to try more vacuuming tonight. Keep your fingers crossed.
Thanks again, Joe
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rb608 wrote:

Thanks for sharing. Even though I don't own a pool and had nothing to contribute, I was curious to find out what the problem was with your pool. Just because I don't have one now doesn't mean I never will.
--
Mortimer Schnerd, RN

snipped-for-privacy@carolina.rr.com.REMOVE
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Okay, one more shot at this. The problem described above is, in fact, *the problem*. After turning 12,000 gallons of water into a large chemical experiment, I had the water professionally tested, and it's nearly perfect (hooray for me). Chlorine is a bit high (but the pool's still green), and alkalinity is a bit low. Everything else is spot on.
I've pulled the cartridge out and cleaned it. Consdiering the possibility of a bad fit, I measured the housing against the filter, and that's a perfect fit, both in length & diameters. The filter is clean, almost new, and correctly reinstalled. Still, if I hook up the vacuum & push it across the still obscured bottom, I get a thick, god-awful plume of stuff out of the return. The filter just isn't filtering. I see several options.
1. The filter is doing a fine job and is catching 99% of the stuff I'm vacuuming. The plume I'm seeing is only the 1% of really fine stuff that escapes the cartridge filter. If I keep vaccuuming, I'll eventually see a net positive result. Inasmuch as I've been running the pump non-stop for weeks with no discernable improvement, I'm thinking this isn't the correct answer.
2. The whole cartridge filter system doesn't work worth crap. It's a terrible idea & I should never have bought it. Maybe true, but if I'm the only one having this problem, it's probably not indicative of cartridge filters in general.
3. The filter cartridge is defective. By process of elimination, this seems the most likely. I'm not sure how I'd test this hypotheses other than buying another (damned expansive) cartridge to see if works any better. If it does, problem solved. If it doesn't, the answer was 2, and I'll be just as frustrated, but significantly poorer.
I'm still traversing the local pool supply stores looking for someone with half a brain who can help, but no luck yet. Methinks I'll be calling Hayward on Monday & see what their customer service is like.
More to come, no doubt.
Joe
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rb608 wrote:

Joe-
I did a little reading on pool filters & one of the sites suggested adding a "small amount of DE" to a carrtridge filter
http://www.poolcenter.com/filter.htm
what a small amount is I don't know I gues onw could attempt to do a layer thickness estimate ove the known filter area & come up with an cubic inches number
I'd start with about 2ozs (1/4cup) for every 10 sqft of filter area (just a SWAG)
but really this would be an addtion to a functional system that would increase the water "polishing" effect
If you're still getting filter "blow by" that's a different problem?
cheers Bob
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I had an astounding experience today with the tech service guy at Hayward. I described my problem with all of its symptoms and all of the unsuccessful steps I've taken to solve it. Hayward came to the conclusion that it was most likely caused by some sort of hole or other cartridge defect allowing debris to pass through. I asked how I could check the filter without paying $150 for an uncertainty. The answer was to check every fold in the filter or, alternatively, he would send me a replacement filter at no charge.
I take back all of the bad things I said. Major kudos to Hayward for this one. Simply awesome customer service IMHO.
In 2-3 days, I may actually have a functioning filter.
Joe
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rb608 wrote:

Joe-
On second thought............
maybe trying trick of adding DE to your system is worth a shot
a small bag of DE (or maybe you can beg a cup of it) is much cheaper than a cartridge
btw cartridge filters do work....so either yours a low end no good one (I doubt that) or you've got a small unknown defect that we just haven't found yet
cheers bob
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What makes you think algae is the cause of the green colour? Other causes include excess calcium.

You are right that bubbles indicate that air is entering the system between the skimmer and the water return inlet. Only you know what connectors or mechanisms between them can be tightened and which may not. Do your pipes have screw-on connectors (requiring Teflon tape) or friction- fit?
You seem to have no plan. The Aquapro pool supplies company recommends for above-ground pools (in this order): 1: Mechanical cleaning 2. Balance total alkalinity 3. Adjust pH if needed 4. Stabilize (add Stabiliizer). 5. Add chlorine as required.
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
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Also, keep up the superchlorination, even though you may have killed all the algae. It takes days, but chlorine will oxidize the dead algae clouding your water into gases that outgas thorugh the surface, or soluble inorganics that don't cloud the water. Anything oxidized is that much less that has to be filtered, and you can oxidize almost all of it if you superchlorinate long enough.
Don't use cyanurated chlorine to superchlorinate (and check that you don't already have a build-up of cyanurate, cyanuric "stabilizers" spoil chlorine's sanitizing power to where it won't clean up algae). Use sodium or calcium hypochlorite instead of cyanurics.
Keep pH low, way below swimming comfort until you finish the cleanup, this will get much more power out of the chlorine and deter any new algae growth. Match each chlorine dose with the acid needed to overcome the huge alkalinity baggage that comes in the chlorinator liquid or powder.
Dose chlorine at dusk.
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