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Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is a fossil material ground into a very fine white
powder. DE filters contain internal elements (grids or tubes) inside them. The
DE powder coats the internal element. Water passes through the DE coated
element which strains dirt, algae and some forms of bacteria from the water.
As dirt accumulates within the tank the filter pressure gauge reading increases
and the return water flow to the pool decreases. To lower the pressure you
need to clean or backwash the filter to remove dirt and D.E. from the elements.
Backwashing is generally performed when the pressure rises approx. 10 psi
(pounds per square inch) above the normal starting pressure. Once backwashing is complete
new D.E. is added through the skimmer to re-coat the internal elements in the tank. This
process is called “charging” the filter.
The amount of D.E. used to charge your filter can be
found in your filter owner’s manual and often on the filter tank itself. There are diatomaceous
earth alternatives available today that can also be used to coat the elements in a D.E. filter.
Perlite, a D.E. substitute of volcanic origin and cellulose fiber products such as Purifiber™ are
both options that offer several benefits. Ask your pool dealer for more information.
When you find the pressure remains high and flow is still diminished after backwashing, it may
be time to manually clean the internal elements inside the filter tank. Most filter manufacturers
recommend a complete manual chemical cleaning of your D.E. elements yearly to maintain
optimum performance and flow. You should refer to the cleaning instructions from your filter
operating manual or contact your pool professional about performing this service.
users need to perform more frequent chemical cleanings and should refer to the filter AND
chemical manufacturer’s instructions for specific cleaning and chemical recommendations.
You may follow the general D.E. Filter Instructions listed below or go to the preceding pages
for detailed manufacturers operating manuals for your specific filter model.
1. Make sure all plumbing connections, clamps and fittings are hand tightened.
2. Open the air relief bleeder valve on the tank to remove all the air out of the system.
3. Turn on pump & motor.
4. When water begins to spray out of the air bleeder valve close the valve.
open the air bleeder valve each time you are starting up your system to relieve
pressure and rid the system of air.
5. Add the specified amount of D.E. powder through the skimmer slowly, 1 lb. or
scoop at a time.
DO NOT allow the system to run longer than 2 minutes without
adding D.E. The amount of DE you need to charge your filter may be found on
the side of the filter tank or in the filter instructions found on the following pages.
As the pressure builds and the flow becomes less, it means that the D.E. powder is becoming
saturated with dirt. When the filter pressure gauge shows an increase of 8-10 psi over the
“normal” starting pressure, you should follow the directions for your filter system to bump, wipe
or backwash the internal elements, tubes or grids. Backwashing a DE filter reverses the flow
of water through the filter, the water will stir up the DE, knocking the dirt off the grids and out
the filter through the backwash line.
Adding DE
(Charging the filter)
After backwashing a D.E. filter, the D.E. powder or filter media will need to be replaced, this
should be done within 2 minutes of the filter running. Pour the proper amount of DE powder
into the skimmer closest to the equipment. Find the proper amount of DE needed for your filter
on the front of the filter tank or in your filter’s operating instruction manual. The DE powder is