Filter and Salt System Maintenance for your Pool Opening
Take off your cover, fill your pool, fire up your filter system and get to swimming. Wouldn’t that be great if it was that easy to take your pool from dormant to crystal clear and ready to swim?
It is highly likely that several other steps are necessary while opening your in ground pool (read more about the pool opening process in our inaugural blog here). Spring, and the pool opening season, is an ideal time to conduct routine maintenance on your pools’ filter system and salt generators: Your filter media is dry and easier to work with/remove, and your pluming lines are not yet primed, eliminating the fear of losing flow and/or eliminating the need to prime your lines twice.
Filter System Maintenance
“I’ll deal with it next year” is a common line we utter when problems arise late in the season, especially when it pertains to your filter system. Well, it’s now next year. Cracks can only be epoxied so many times, if even at all. If your strainer housing (“hair and lint pot”), filter tank, multiport valve, etc. are cracked, now is the time to replace them.
If your filter is otherwise preforming at its optimal level, maintenance on O-rings and seals can be performed to extend their lives. Adding Teflon-based lubricants (such as Aladdin Magic Lube) will help ensure your filtration system stays primed and doesn’t take in air. Petroleum-based products such as Vaseline are not recommended as they will dry out the O-rings/Seals and cause them to break down faster than their normal life expectancy.
Filter Media Maintenance
Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.), paper cartridge, or sand (or Zeobrite used in place of sand for a finer and longer lasting filter media) are the most common types of filtration units used by our customers, with sand being the most common in our market overall. The sand in your tank will generally last 3-5 years before it needs to be replaced. Replacing sand/Zeobrite while the media is still dry is preferred as it is much easier to handle and remove in the spring. If your sand/Zeobrite is still effective, removing the buildup of particulate matter can be achieved by applying Sand Renu to the initial backwash cycle:
Paper cartridges will over time lose their filter effectiveness after the first year and can slow the flow rate of your water. If the cartridges are more than a few seasons old they may require replacing. Otherwise, soaking the cartridges in a safe, industry-approved cartridge cleaning product will help break down the buildup in the pleats. Home remedies like solutions of muriatic acid or bleach isn’t recommended as these chemicals are caustic and can break down the paper material, degrading the cartridge’s ability to catch smaller particles and thus reducing your filter system’s overall effectiveness. A safe, industry-approved product is sold here at Prestige Pools & Spas and can be found here:
D.E. filters can get a buildup within its grates/fingers of diatomaceous earth over the years, impeding water flow not unlike a buildup of particulate matter in a cartridge or sand filter system. D.E. buildup must be cleaned off with a garden hose to ensure maximum efficiency.
Salt System Maintenance
Most salt system manufacturers recommend the salt cell be cleaned once a year. Failure to properly clean and maintain a salt cell will result in its eventual malfunction. On the other hand, too much cleaning may etch and mar the surface of the plates, shortening the life of the cell.
To clean most salt cells, it is recommended to submerge the unit into a mixture of 1 part muriatic acid to 5 parts water. Allow the soaking process to last until the mixture ceases to fizz and bubble, or a period of 20 minutes as elapsed: Any time longer than 20 mins and you risk etching/marring the plates. While the cell is submerged be sure to have any cord endings remaining out of the solution and dry. Rinse the cell off with a hose and reattach to the plumbing when the cleaning process is complete.
More advanced salt generators, such as the Hayward Omni Logic (above) might incorporate a pH monitoring system (known as Sense & Dispense) that has additional parts that may need maintenance as well. Consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions, or, as always, feel free to contact our service department via email or by calling us at 314.821.6660 during their normal operating hours for any questions you may have. We are always happy to help.
Happy swimming and good luck moving forward,