Q: What type of filter media do I have?
A: The three most common types of media in our region are sand/ sand substitute, cartridge, and diatomaceous earth (D.E.). Most commonly, our customers have a sand filters which offer a great, easy-to-maintain filtration option. Cartridge filters can provide better filtration, but require periodic filter disassembly for cleaning. Lastly, D.E. filters will offer the best filtration for the smallest particles, but require more maintenance.
Q: When should I change my sand?
A: Most major sand filter manufacturers recommend changing the sand every 4-6 years.
Q: What if I don’t know when my sand was last changed?
A: Frequently when purchasing a new home, we are asked about whether or not to change the sand. Unfortunately, without any documentation from the previous homeowner, we cannot know how old the existing sand is. We recommend changing the sand as good, preventative maintenance. This will also enable you to get your filter on an actual schedule for media change in the future.
Q: Why should I change my sand?
A: Similarly to changing the oil in your vehicle as part of routine maintenance, your filter sand also needs to be changed. Granules of sand are porous which is one of the traits that make it effective at filtering unwanted particles from your pool. Over time, these pores can become worn away by an accelerated erosion process from normal pump operation. Additionally, certain “over-the-counter” pool products can cause your sand to clump together which further reduces the effectiveness of your filter media. Good, clean sand can aide in reducing your chemical usage by not relying as heavily on the chemicals for clear water, but instead allows the filter’s sand to do the “heavy lifting”.
Q: What if I have a cartridge filter? How do I know when my cartridges need to be replaced?
A: Cartridges are made of a woven, pleated fabric that trap contaminants in the fibers of the cartridge. The pleats significantly increase the filtration area which makes the cartridge much more efficient and takes up less space. However, the effective filtration area is greatly reduced if the pleats do not remain separated. To achieve pleat separation, cartridges have numerous wear bands that are bonded to the cartridge to maintain this separation. As the bonds holding these wear bands fail, the pleats have no support to keep them separated - thus reducing filtration area. A concurrent issue which tends to develop around the same time as the failing wear bands is the inability to remove all contaminants from the cartridge during routine cartridge cleaning. These two cartridge conditions lead to a very inefficient filter media. An inefficient pool media leads to more chemical usage which, is ultimately, more costly for your pool.
Q: I have a D.E. filter. My media changes every time I backwash. Is there anything I should be aware of?
A: Absolutely! D.E. filters have grids that retain the exceptionally fine D.E. powder inside the filter. As the grid fabrics wears, small holes and tears will begin to form. This inevitably allows D.E. to bypass the grid entirely and return back to the pool. Once D.E. has been introduced into the pool’s main body of water, it can cause cloudiness in the pool that can be very difficult to clear up. The solution to this porblem is to replace your grinds.
Q: I have concerns that my pool may be leaking. How can I determine whether or not it is losing water?
A: The first thing to check is your pool equipment. If there is no wetness on the equipment pad and no visible leaks, the next step is to run a simple bucket test to determine if your pool is losing water or not. If the water levels of the bucket and main body of pool water are the same, you do not have a leak.
Q: I did the bucket test and the water levels are not the same in the bucket and the pool. What do I do now?
A: Now that you verified that the pool is leaking, the next step is to run a 24-on, 24-off test. The results of this test will let us know how large of a leak we need to locate and where the leak is.
Q: I performed the 24-on, 24-off test. What do my results mean?
A: Let’s say, for example, the results of your 24 on/off test indicate that your pool is losing a 3/4 in. on or off. That indicates that there is an issue in the shell (vinyl, gunite, fiberglas, etc.) of your pool which would also include the steps light and skimmer throat and housing. It is a static leak and the pool loses the same amount of water regardless whether or not the pool equipment is running. On the other hand, if your on/off test results indicate that the pool is losing significantly more water one way or the other, the pool may have a damaged pipe. Generally speaking, your pool has two main sets of plumbing: suction-side and pressure-side. If the pool loses more water with the pool running, there is a pressure-side issue, and if it loses more water with the equipment off, there is a suction-side issue.
Q: Ok. My pool is definitely leaking and I’ve run the 24-on, 24-off test. What do I do now?
A: Contact us about setting up one of our leak detection services. We have all of the equipment necessary to locate leaks in the pool shell or plumbing. Please have your results on-hand and we’ll discuss your options for locating and repairing the pool leak.
** If you click any of tests in these questions, it will link you to a PDF of the test instructions.