Austin’s spring season is a beautiful time around town. All the blue bonnets and other spring flowers gathered along our main highways like spectators of our daily commute parade can lessen the grind of being stuck in traffic. Along with all the pretty flowers we also get tons of tree flowers, that we call blooms. Oak, pecan, hackberry, cedar, and white oak are all trees that produce a tremendous amount of pollen and blooms. If your pool happens to be under one of these trees, it is often the most difficult time of year, not only for your pool and yourself, but also for pool service route guys.
The skimmer, Polaris or other cleaner, pump, and mainly the filter, whether it be a sand, cartridge, or D.E. filter, are stressed to capacity. This time of year skimmers will clog, skimmer and pump baskets will break or tear, and the filter becomes congested.
Pool sand filters are the easiest to maintain, you can simply backwash it after the pressure in the tank has climbed 10 psi from its clean pressure, easily determined by the filter’s pressure gauge. Sand filters will not give you the best results this time of year as they only have the ability to filter particles of about 25 microns, pollen can be as small of 1 micron, so it will simply pass through the filter media. Use a good clarifier to help clump particles together so that the filter has a fighting chance.
Pool cartridge filters perform a little better, but are not as easy to clean. The tank has to be manually taken apart in order to remove the elements, so that they can be hosed off with a garden hose. Even though they perform a little better, the fabric of the individual elements can stretch or tear. Trying to locate a compromise on one of the elements is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Under pressure from the pump and with a worn out element, pollen will simply pass through the filter. Replace cartridge filter elements every two years or so, depending on how well it is maintained, we usually clean our cartridge filters every three months. Again, adding a good clarifier will help the cartridges trap finer particles.
Diatomaceous Earth filters or D.E. filters are the best type of filter a pool in Austin, Round Rock, or Cedar Park can have. D.E. filters have the ability to trap the smallest pollen particles and keep the pool clean and clear. D.E. filters can be backwashed to clean, but because it is able to stop the smallest particles from passing through it, after a years worth of use, it will become clogged.
A D.E. filter service is not a particularly hard maintenance procedure, can be messy, and does require that it be reassembled correctly or it will shoot a white cloud into the pool as it is being recharged with the D.E. powder. Usually, it is very obvious if it was not properly reassembled.
A D.E. filter service basically is the removal of the top tank lid and then disassembling the array to individually clean and inspect every one of the eight grids. After a year’s worth of cleaning the pool, removing cosmetics, sun tan lotion or sun block along with all the sweat oils we perspire, and dirt, the assembly can look pretty disgusting. All of the above mentioned pool particles under pressure packed into a very fine filter media can clog the filter, slowing the flow and potentially breaking grids and the manifold. Once you add the annual pollen drop, something has to happen to order to restore proper flow and prevent internal damage.
Sometimes it is necessary to perform a light acid wash to the individual grids to break down oils on the fabric. Once you have lubed and replaced any worn or broken O-rings, you put it back together the way it came apart. This part can be a little tricky. If you have performed the procedure correctly you should be good for another year. Make sure to tighten the band clamp to the recommended spacing, usually located on the band clamp itself. Charge the filter with the correct amount of D.E. powder, usually about a pound per 12 square feet of filtration.
If you find that this is not something you want to deal with, Family Pool Care Services is here ready to assist and we are usually the cheapest service provider in town.
Jandy, Pentair, Sta-rite or Hayward D.E. filters, doesn’t matter, they are all built with the same general design, and we have been servicing them for 13 years.