Providing exceptional service since 1987
Sterling Pool Service Small Logo

DE Pool Filter Cleaning 101

Anyone who’s ever owned a pool or will become a pool owner will know firsthand of the endless battle with dirt and debris. Pools are our private sanctuaries, and naturally, we would like to keep them as clean as possible, especially now that the summer months are coming.

Pool owners here in Dallas and Collin Counties love spending time in their pools to ward off the heat and humidity of Texas summers; thus, it’s important that pool owners take the necessary measures to properly prepare their pools for the season.

Why you need to clean your pool filter

There are three basic types of pool filters: diatomaceous earth (DE), sand, and cartridge. Among these, DE filters are the most commonly used in residential pools because of their effectiveness in filtering impurities. Made from the fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of algae, DE particles are very porous, giving them the capability to filter out even particles that are invisible to the naked eye.

Nevertheless, all types of pool filters can only take in so much dirt and debris. After a while, the filter media becomes too saturated with impurities that the filter loses its effectiveness in removing more particles from the water. The water flow rate decreases, and soon, you’ll end up with a filthy pool. Not cool, and certainly not hygienic either!

DE filter before and after cleaningDiatomaceous earth (DE) filter cleaning: How to do it the right way

It may seem like it’s not a big deal to do a DE pool filter clean, but this can be quite a nasty job and one that must be done correctly to avoid damage that could cost you a lot of money.

We often receive phone calls from people saying they had a filter clean done, and now they have DE particles leaking into their pool. After inspecting their filters, we discover several reasons for their problem: 

  • The filter was not cleaned correctly.
  • The filter was not re-assembled correctly, thus causing leaks or damage to the filter grids.
  • The addition of DE was not done properly: no DE was added, not enough DE was added, or too much DE was added.

So, what is the main question you should ask a cleaning service provider to make sure that they will be cleaning your pool filter correctly? Many companies provide free filter cleaning, but you will sometimes find the service to be quite unsatisfactory. Thus, you should ask the company how their technician will clean the filter. Knowing the details is important.

Customers doing DIY cleaning have also told us that they were instructed to simply take the top off the filter and hose off the grids. However, this does not allow for the grids to be thoroughly cleaned and inspected. Neither does it let you inspect the top and bottom manifolds, the part of the device where the grids sit.

To properly clean a DE filter, the following important steps should be taken:

  • Bleed the air in the filter, and turn the system off.
  • Undo the filter band clamp.
  • Take the top off the filter.
  • Remove the grid pack from the filter.
  • The grids must be removed from the top and bottom manifolds. Wash them carefully and individually until they are white or close to white. 
  • Inspect all grids for rips or tears. Replace any grids, if needed.
  • Reassemble the grids onto the top and bottom manifolds.
  • Put on the filter top.
  • Tighten the band clamp.
  • With the system running, add the proper amount of DE through the skimmer and bleed the air from the filter.

The proper amount of DE should be added depending on the size of the filter. Below is a guide you can refer to in order to determine how much DE should be added according to the filter size. If you are not sure about the size, check the plate on the filter. You can also find the information on the DE bag.

  • 36” – 3.5 lbs.
  • 48” – 4.5 lbs.
  • 60” – 6.0 lbs.
  • 72” – 7.0 lbs.

Do take note that a special DE scoop should be used for adding DE to the filter (2 scoops = 1 lb).

While cleaning your DE filter is not as straightforward as simply hosing off the entire device in one go, it is also not rocket science. Knowing how to maintain the cleanliness of your pool filter is essential to prolonging its service life and keeping the dirt and debris off your pool.

If you want to learn more about DE filter pool cleaning, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with pool professionals from Sterling Pool Service by calling 888-973-0274 or by sending us a message through our contact page. Our service area includes the cities of Sachse, Wylie, Murphy and surrounding communities in Dallas and Collin Counties in Texas.