Ask & We Answer
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should I run my pool equipment?
The simple answer to this question is about … but, the honest answer is a bit more complex.
How long to run your pool pump every day depends on several things, the most important of which is the size of the pool. You want all the water in your pool to run through the filter at least once a day, and your pump can move only so much water through the system at a time. The larger your pool, the longer you need to keep the pump running so all the water will pass through the filter. To calculate the volume of your pool, you can use one of the following equations:
For a rectangular pool: length (ft.) x width (ft.) x average depth (ft.) x 7.5 = total pool gallons
For a round pool: diameter (ft.) x diameter (ft.) x average depth (ft.) x 5.9 = total pool gallons
For an oval pool: length (ft.) x width (ft.) x average depth (ft.) x 6.7 = total pool gallons
You can use a combination of these equations if your pool has an irregular shape. Here is a “cheat” calculation for irregular pools that should work well enough for most situations:
longest length x widest width x average depth x 5.9 = approximate volume in gallons
The next-most-important factor in determining how long you need to run your filtration system each day is how quickly your pump can push water through the system.
Generally, this will be expressed in your pump specifications in gallons per hour (GPH) or gallons per minute (GPM). If you’re having trouble finding these numbers on your pump or in your manual, try looking it up online. To calculate the GPH from the GPM, multiply the GPM by 60.
Finally, divide the total gallons of water in your pool by the GPH to get the turnover rate—how often all the water in your pool will pass through the filtration system while it is running.
For instance, if the pool holds 20,000 gallons of water and the GPH is 2400, the calculation is:
20,000 (gallons) / 2400 (gallons per hour) = 8.3 hours
That means that, for that particular pool, you’d need to run the pump for at least 8.3 hours each day. At Green Army, we suggest running it a little longer than the minimum turnover rate during the summer, when the heat makes for the most conducive habitat for algae growth, and also after times of heavy use.
What do I need to do to properly care for a diatomaceous earth filter?
A diatomaceous earth filter, or DE filter, is one of the best filtration systems you can buy for filtering small particles out of your pool. But to perform its job properly, it needs to be consistently maintained.
A DE filter should be backwashed when the pressure gauge at the top of the filter tank reads about 8 to 10 pounds over standard pressurez or about once a month. The backwashing process is simple. DE filters are equipped with a backwash valve, usually either a multiport valve or a push/pull valve. You can easily find a backwashing tutorial online if you’d like to learn how to do this yourself. Be careful, though, because although backwashing is a relatively simple process that can take less than two minutes, it can have some intricacies, depending on the equipment. For instance, if you have a multiport valve, it’s best to only turn it clockwise when changing the setting; otherwise, you can quickly wear out the internal spider gasket, which may cause a leak in the waste port. Also, if your waste port isn’t hard-plumbed into your property’s waste line, you’ll need to attach a backwash hose to the waste port before you start the process so you can direct the dirty DE water to a proper waste receptacle. Make sure you understand the ins and outs of your particular setup before you try to perform a backwash yourself, or get a trained pool professional to do it for you.
Backwashing is not the only maintenance that needs to be regularly performed on DE filters. The DE filter assembly also needs to be torn down, cleaned, inspected, and rebuilt at least once or twice a year. This is a much more complicated process than backwashing and can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the filter model. Also, it can be dirty. The DE filter assembly is covered in caked-on DE matter that you need to wash off and that, if you aren’t careful, can get all over your hands and clothes. The biggest challenge in completing a proper DE filter assembly cleaning is the reassembly process once you’ve cleaned all the grids. If you don’t perform this task regularly, knowing where to replace the grids can be baffling. For these reasons, we suggest that you get a pool professional to do the filter tear-down, cleaning, and reassembly for you. If you do have someone do it for you, make sure they check all the parts of your filter for damage while they have it open. The most important places to check are the grids, which may have torn fabric or broken ribs. If they do, your filter won’t function properly, which can quickly lead to DE being expelled through the return jets in your pool.
What do I need to do to properly care for a cartridge filter?
Cartridge filters are much easier to care for than DE filters, and they still do a really good job of cleaning pool water if they’re properly maintained.
The most common form of maintenance on cartridges is taking them out and cleaning them. This process is simple. You just need to use a high-pressure nozzle or a dedicated filter-cleaning nozzle attached to a garden hose and thoroughly spray down the cartridge, making sure to get deep between the pleats. Usually, you can watch the color of the cartridge change from a dirty gray or brown back to its original beige or white. During this process, you should check the cartridge for wear or damage that would indicate the cartridge needs to be replaced. The most common signs are tears in the cartridge material, the cartridge material being mushy, the horizontal bands around the cartridges being broken, the pleats no longer being regularly spaced, or the plastic ends of the cartridge being cracked. If there are multiple cartridges, clean each of them before returning them to the filter tank.
The other procedure for maintaining cartridge filters is simply replacing the cartridges. This needs to be done when you see signs that the cartridge is worn out when you’re inspecting it during a cleaning, or about every one to two years.
Happy Green Army Customers
“We use Green Army for our pool cleaning needs. The crew always shows up on time and do a much more thorough job than the last company we utilized.”
“Green Army does a fantastic job of keeping our pool perfect all year around. We’re so happy we made the switch from doing pool care ourselves. They do a thorough job at a reasonable price. You will not be disappointed!”