DE Pool Filter Maintenance

The DE pool filter maintenance process will take a bit of time and can be a bit complicated at first but it's worth it to keep your water clean to the highest standard for pools. A backwash needs to be performed similar to a sand filter to reverse and clear out all the large and microscopic debris that that's been collected over time. On occasion you will also need to replace and refresh the diatomaceous earth media powder and less often you may need to replace the filter grids or mesh.  

de pool filter maintenance

With diatomaceous earth as the filter media you can count on drinking quality pool water that even filters out algae, amoeba, bacteria and other organic matter. Keeping the unit operating at peak efficiency is important to achieve this high standard and we'll show you how with the steps below. As you learn how your de pool filter operates you'll soon know the signs that signal a backwash or media replacement is necessary such as cloudy water or increased water pressure caused by restriction to the pool system flow rate. 

DE Pool Filter Maintenance Instructions

You've likely come to expect the ultra high filtration that DE provides and when you notice your water losing its crystal clear appearance it's likely time to recharge the diatomaceous earth in your filter. A clogged or underperforming filter can lead to problems like cloudy pool water and even algae blooms if it's left unchecked for a longer period of time. You can also monitor your pools pressure gauge for an indication that the media powder is at its capacity and restricting water flow. 

The pressure gauge located on your filter should be monitored on a regular basis and when the pressure rises between 8 to 10 psi over normal starting pressure it's time to complete a backwash. Normal starting pressure is the amount of pressure immediately after completing a backwash or as per the manufacturers recommendations. Also refer to the manual that accompanied your filter for more details on proper operating pressure.

  • DE Filter Backwash
  • DE Pool Filer Cartridge Cleaning
  • Adding DE to Pool Filter

DE Filter Backwash

The are 3 important steps in order to complete a thorough de pool filter maintenance. The steps should be carried out in order and as often as necessary. The first step and most frequent is the backwash which should be performed every 1 to 3 months. Follow the step by step guide to help you along that include a backwash, grid cleaning and recharging with new diatomaceous earth filter powder

  1. Empty skimmer of any debris
  2. Turn the pump off and empty pump trap basket
  3. Ensure there is no cutoff valve on the backwash line
  4. Set valve to “backwash” and run pump until sight glass is clear
  5. Turn pump off and set valve to “filter” and run for 15-20 seconds
  6. Repeat backwash and filter step 2-3 more times
  7. Add the appropriate amount of DE to the pool by feeding through the skimmer

Remember to turn your pool system off before changing valve settings. Personal injury can occur if you adjust valve settings while the pump is running.

DE Pool Filter Cartridge Cleaning

The next step in de pool filter maintenance is cleaning the filter grid. If the filter is not keeping your pool clean for at least a month and not related to water chemistry, it might indicate the filter needs to be cleaned. The filter grids can last anywhere from 2 to 10 years with careful cleaning and maintenance and an indicator that there is a rip or tear is when you see diatomaceous earth on the bottom of your pool. The filter grid cleaning should only need to completed once or twice a year.

  1. Run a backwash and turn off
  2. Open the air valve on tank
  3. Remove top of tank
  4. Remove the filter grid as a whole or piece by piece if necessary
  5. Remove dirt and debris from individual pieces with a garden hose or similar
  6. Filter cleaner or muriatic acid may be necessary to get the proper level of cleanliness
  7. Clean tank out and check for signs of wear or damage on all parts
  8. Inspect fabric for rips or tears
  9. Reassemble the grid assembly as well as the fittings, and place in the filter
  10. Ensure O-ring is in good condition, replace if necessary
  11. Replace top of tank
  12. Turn pump on and open valve until water is released to remove all air from filter
  13. Recharge the filter with DE. (See Below)

DE Pool Filter Sizing Chart

The following is a general DE pool filter sizing chart that can help you choose the right size filter for your pool. This is a rough guideline and other factors such as pool usage, bather load and climate can impact the size of filter needed. It's always recommended to consult a pool professional to ensure the filter will be adequate for your specific needs. 

de pool filter sizing chart

Adding DE to Pool Filter

The filter media will need to recharged every 2 to 3 months and the amount required will depend of the size of your filter which is rated in square feet of grid area. The process is simple but it's important to premix the the diatomaceous earth with water in a bucket before applying to your pool. The milky substance is then added to the skimmer while the pump is running so it can be drawn directly into the filter. This ensures that the media is distributed evenly over the grids so it can provide months of crystal clear water and particulates of all sizes won't enter your pool. You may want to consider perlite filter media for safer and more efficient filtration.

1/2 Cup DE per square feet of filter. Example: 48 sq ft = 24 cups DE

Dicalite Diatomaceous Earth Pool Filter Powder

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diatomaceous earth powder

DE Pool Filter Powder Recharge Steps

  1. Turn off the pool pump: Before adding DE to the filter, you need to turn off the pool pump. This will prevent any DE from being pumped into the pool or backwash line.
  2. Backwash the filter: If your DE filter has a backwash valve, you should first backwash the filter to remove any dirt or debris that has accumulated in the filter. This will also help to make room for the new DE.
  3. Add DE to the skimmer: Once the filter is backwashed, you can add DE to the filter. The easiest way to do this is to add the DE directly to the skimmer. You can use a scoop to add the DE to the skimmer slowly to avoid clogging.
  4. Turn on the pump: Once you have added the DE to the filter, you can turn on the pump. Allow the pump to run for a few minutes to distribute the DE evenly throughout the filter.
  5. Check the pressure gauge: After running the pump for a few minutes, you should check the pressure gauge on the filter. If the pressure is higher than normal, you may need to add more DE. If the pressure is lower than normal, you may have added too much DE.
  6. Repeat as necessary: Depending on the size of your pool and the capacity of your filter, you may need to add DE several times throughout the season. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for adding DE to your specific filter model.
  7. Dispose of waste properly: When it is time to replace the DE in your filter, be sure to dispose of it properly. DE can be harmful to the environment if not disposed of properly, so check with your local waste management facility for guidelines on how to dispose of it safely.

DE Pool Filter Maintenance FAQs

How often should you run a D.E. filter backwash?

A D.E. pool filter backwash should be carried out monthly during the pool season. If you've been running your pool system longer than usual or have had higher bather load this may increase the frequency. The most obvious sign that a backwash is required is pressure build-up that can be monitored on your inline pool pressure gauge. 

How often should D.E. filter grids be replaced?

The D.E. filter grids should last several years with normal usage but it can range from 2 to 10 years. They should be inspected at least once a year to determine if there are any rips or tears in the mesh. In addition to obvious visual damage to the grids, if you notice diatomaceous earth powder on the bottom of your pool it's a sign that there is a tear in the mesh.

How often should diatomaceous earth be changed in a de pool filter?

The D.E. should be replaced or recharged every two to three months with typical residential pool usage. The step of recharging the diatomaceous earth powder is carried out after the filter mesh grid has been cleaned and visually inspected for any tears.

What is diatomaceous earth?

Diatomaceous earth is a crushed powder consisting of fossilized remains of small aquatic organisms called diatoms. These diatoms are made of all natural substances called silica and make up about 26% of the earth's crust in weight. 

Why is diatomaceous earth used in pool filters?

It's been adapted for use in the pool industry due to it's incredible filtering capabilities. D.E. used with pool filters is classified as flux-calcined and can remove impurities from pools down to the microscopic level. The level of filtration is unmatched and can even remove organisms such as amoeba, algae and bacteria that can otherwise create an unhealthy pool.


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