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Cleaning your D.E. Filter

If you want a sparkling clear pool, you need to clean your D.E. Filter.

D.E. filters, you should backwash when the pressure gauge reads 6-10 lbs. above normal.

Sand filters should be backwashed when the pressure reads 10-15 lbs. above normal.

D.E. (diatomaceous earth) pool filters do an amazing job of filtering your pool water so that your pool looks great, but only if they are clean. Inside of your filter are grids which capture small particles yet allow water to pass thru. As these grids get dirty, water flow is restricted and filtering action decreases. Also, if a grid has even a small tear in it, debris and D.E. powder will pass thru and end up in your pool. Individual grids can be replaced when cleaning. Backwashing flushes the grids and is critical, but taking apart the filter and doing a thorough cleaning is equally important. This should be done every 6-12 months.

Basic instructions for cleaning your D.E. filter (see owner's manual for more detail):

Turn off the power to the pump (and make sure timer does not turn power on during cleaning), set system valves to prevent water flow to filter, open valve at top of filter to equalize pressure (and open drain valve at bottom of filter), remove metal band around center of filter and lift top off of filter (don't lift by pressure gauge), next rinse grids of large debris while still inside filter, then remove grid assembly from interior of filter, preferably disassemble and clean individual grids (spray grids with garden hose) and inspect grids for tears.

Replace any torn grids. Then reassemble grids and filter housing.

Clean O-ring between bottom and top of filter and lubricate O-ring with pool lubricant (not petroleum based) before putting top of filter back in place and completing reassembly. Remember to replace drain plug, and set valves to normal position when finished.

Finally, after restarting equipment immediately add D.E. powder.

Links to popular D.E. filter owner's manuals online:

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Backwashing Your Pool

Ever wonder why your pool isn't as clear as it used to be or the pressure is low? Typically your filter is dirty. The quickest way to increase pressure and clear up your pool is to backwash your filter. D.E. filters as well as sand filters need to be backwashed periodically for proper filtration.

D.E. filters, you should backwash when the pressure gauge reads 6-10 lbs. above normal.

Sand filters should be backwashed when the pressure reads 10-15 lbs. above normal.

First, turn off power to the pump, and then set your valve selector to backwash. Turn power back on and run for several minutes (some pools have a sight glass so that you can see when the water flowing becomes clear, indicating that backwash cycle is complete). Next, turn power off and set valve selector back to filter position, and then turn the power back on. This completes a backwash cycle. We recommend that you repeat this cycle several times. With sand filters, this completes the process. For D.E. filters, the final step is to now add D.E. (diatomaceous earth) powder to the closest skimmer to the filter. Your filter will have an information label showing its' size. Follow the guidelines on the D.E. powder bag for the amount of powder to add for your filter size.

Cartridge filters do not require backwashing, but do require periodic cleaning of the internal filter cartridge inside of the housing (monthly in the summer). With power off, release air pressure by opening the air release valve (next to the pressure gauge), then open the bottom drain of the filter to drain the water out of the filter. Next, take apart and open the filter housing and remove, then spray down the filter cartridges with a garden hose until clean. Then, replace the cartridges and reassemble the housing. Finally, close the drain valve, and turn the power back on (with air release valve still open). When water starts to spray out of air release valve, close the valve.

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Does Your Pool Leak?

Excess loss of pool water dilutes your chemicals and increases your water bill.

Pools will lose up to 1-2 inches of water per week due to evaporation, backwashing and splash out, but if your water level drops more than that, you may have a leak. First check for obvious leaks near the equipment. Some equipment leaks can be fixed by replacing an inexpensive O-ring in the backwash valve unit. The "Bucket Test" allow you to compare your pool's water loss to the water loss in a bucket of water. Water loss due to evaporation will be the same for both.

Place a bucket of water on your pool step (with a rock in the bottom to weigh it down) and fill the bucket with pool water so that the level in the bucket is the same as the pool. Use a piece of tape to mark the water level in the bucket and another to mark the pool water level on the outside of the bucket. Check the levels after 24 hours. If the level of the pool water drops more, then a leak is indicated. This test can be done with the pump on and again with the pump off to help isolate the cause of the leak. If the pool water only drops while the equipment is on, this indicates a leak in the equipment or a pipe. A leak detection company can locate leaks in underground pipes. If the pool water drops when the equipment is off, then the leak may be from a crack, skimmer unit, light housing or drain. Skimmer leaks can occur when the skimmer unit separates from the concrete pool and can be repaired with epoxy for underwater use.

We can refer you to a leak specialist if needed.

Is Your Pool Safe?

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Sadly, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 300 children under the age of 5 drown in backyard pools in the U.S. each year. Pool safety to prevent tragedy involves physically securing the pool from children. Access to the pool area from the house can be secured by door latches (above the reach of children), and by an alarm or chime on each door to the pool. Many home alarm systems have a chime feature that can be activated to let you know a door has been opened. Our battery powered door chime (featured product this month) can also alert you to an opened door. Additionally, fence gates should have a working latch. Products also exist that detect someone actually falling into the pool. The best security for your pool is a special fence that goes around the pool. Many of these are removable and are constructed of a strong mesh material. Protect-A Child pool fence company ( poolfencedallas ) is one of the companies that provide these fences and has an A+ rating with the Dallas Better Business Bureau. These fences can also have self-closing and self-latching gates for access to the pool. Even if you do not have young children, pool safety is an issue due to visitors with children, grandchildren staying with you, and the possibility of unsupervised neighborhood children entering your yard.