Filters: Maintenance


Last week, we discussed, in depth, the three kinds of filters on the market, since we’re on a mission to help you make a well-informed filter decision.  Based on effectiveness, it was easy to see that most people would probably go the DE filter route. Now let’s look at some other factors.  Required routine maintenance is definitely something to consider when choosing a filter.  After all, the point of your pool is to swim in it, not spend all your time baby-sitting it!  It’s worth noting that as your filter fills with debris, it causes increased pressure and decreased flow rate.  Many factors play into how quickly your filter fills up, but it’s always good to remember that clean filters decrease energy loss.  In general, a filter should be backwashed when your pressure gauge reads 8-10 lbs. higher than the original clean startup reading.  A sand filter requires backwashing every 1-2 weeks, but actually replacing the sand every 4-5 years or so. Since sand is so inexpensive, we can see why the sand filter is so common, despite its sad lack of effectiveness of actually cleaning your pool water.  Cartridge filters require more hands-on, labor intensive maintenance.  Read: If you want the dirt and debris off your filter, soak it, hose it down, scrub it and chlorinate it with good, old-fashioned elbow grease.  And, inevitably, it will need to be replaced, depending on what kind of cartridge filter you’re using.  This kind of maintenance can be something of a turn-off for some folk.  If it were us, we’d rather spend the time practicing our cannon balls in the deep end of our pool!  Onward to our favorite filter option.  DE filters require the usual regular backwashing along with adding a specific amount  of DE each time the filter is backwashed.  Other than that, the nylon material coated grids need a thorough cleaning and inspection only once a year to keep things in tip-top shape.  Not bad!  Now you can get back to working on some serious pool recreation.  Anyone up for a game of water volleyball?

Filters – How Do They Work

Okay, after a few weeks hiatus we are back to the filters…..

Filters — How Do They Work?

First, there are three kinds of filters available on the market these days – sand, cartridge and DE.  Sand filters work by moving the water into the filter and pressing it through the sand. The sand is the mechanism which catches and detains the offending microns.  These filters tend to be larger than other filters.  They filter up to 20-100 microns, which means your sand filter friend spewed some particles back into your pool water.  Sigh.  He may be the most popular filter out there, but he certainly isn’t the most effective. Cartridge filters function by moving the water through the filter medium, which can range from a pleated fiberglass mat or a sort of synthetic fiber (never paper!).  Cartridge filters come in two different qualities – one being “disposable” and the other lasting much longer. You’ll find that cartridge filters do filter in the 10-15 microns range, meaning that fewer offending particles are getting back into your pool water.  But, don’t shout hurray yet.  In terms of effectiveness, there’s one more filter type worth noting.  The DE filter uses a grid coated with nylon material.  Diatomaceous earth is dumped into the filter and clings to the nylon material.  This widely available and inexpensive powder known as “DE” is really tiny diatoms or exoskeletons which were fossilized and then mined from the ground. The DE that coated the nylon material covered grids acts like tiny sieves, laboring on your behalf.  In essence, the delicate powder is really the most effective filter on the market, filtering in the 2-5 micron range.  That’s far below what the naked eye can see!  Gary Thull Pools says, “Hello DE filter, come help me keep my pool water beautiful and sanitary.”

Check back next week for installment #2 on filters….


Water Safety

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  The old saying is as true today as it ever was.  The number one cause of accidental death of children between one and five years of age is drowning.  Being that Gary Thull Pools builds swimming pools, water safety is a really big deal to us.  We want the pools we build to be a means of bringing families closer together year after year.  Safe water recreational practices make that possible.  And, the National Water Safety Month Coalition, along with the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, have declared May as National Water Safety Month, in order to help spread the word on the importance of water safety.  In their succinct words, “Water safety is everyone’s responsibility.”  We totally agree!  We also feel that water safety is something that should be practiced daily. That said, we’d like to share a few common sense tips on the subject.

First, let’s start off with education.  Education for children should definitely include swimming lessons.  Your local YMCA and/or Red Cross, usually offer very informative and effective programs.  Children gain confidence from lots of practice in the water.  Adults should review good pool rules with children early and often.  Things like, “Never swim alone,” “Don’t dive,” “Never swim at night,” “Don’t swim in unfamiliar water” and “Use a life jacket if you aren’t confident” are all things we learn in our childhood swimming lessons and carry with us throughout life.  Adult education should also include basic knowledge of CPR and first aid procedures, which are also available from your local Red Cross.  Nobody wants to be caught flat-footed or uncertain in an emergency situation.  When Mom or Dad isn’t around, a babysitter ought to be fully briefed on all pool rules and procedures.  During parties and get-togethers, it’s a great idea to have one person designated to keep an eye on the children in and around the pool. Frequent head counts are a must!  Gary Thull Pools believes that education will furnish people of all ages with the knowledge needed to safely enjoy their pool for years to come.

Next, let’s discuss emergency preparedness.  Aside from the obvious first aid kit, it seems sensible to have a poolside tool kit, which would include items such as a charged, cordless phone, scissors to cut clothing, pool cover or hair if necessary and a rescue flotation device.  Additionally, posted CPR instructions help everyone to feel more informed and make it easy to review often. 

Lastly, you can keep your pool even safer by storing floating toys outside the pool so as to minimize the temptation for young children. Furniture and other climb-able objects should be stored away from your fence.  Furthermore, there are many outstanding prevention mechanisms on the market these days.  Having your family in mind, Gary Thull Pools highly recommends automatic pool covers with key or touch pads, as well as door alarms.  Door alarms are often mandatory when your house serves as the fourth side of your fencing.  Many municipalities have stringent code requirements regarding fences and self-closing, self-latching gates.  Also, Virginia Graeme Baker-compliant main drain covers are essential.  The Pentair IntelliFlo VS SVRS model is the first swimming pool pump to feature a built-in Safety Vacuum Release System that detects drain blockage and automatically shuts the pump off with variable speed setting. That’s pool technology at its finest!  Here at Gary Thull Pools, we’re glad it’s National Water Safety Month because we want to do our part to increase awareness that “Water safety is everyone’s responsibility!”