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Cleaning D.E. Grids
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Cleaning D.E. Grids


D.E. Filters Should Be taken apart and thoroughly cleaned on a yearly basis. The reason that D.E. filters need this cleaning is that D.E. will clump up in certain parts of the filter, and is not always completely removed during backwashing. By taking the filter apart, you can remove all of this dirty D.E. powder. The yearly "D.E. Tear Down" is also a good time to inspect the condition of the D.E. grids. When the grids inside the filter wear out they can form holes that allow D.E. to pass through the filter and back into the pool. By checking the grids regularly you will be able to catch any possible problems before they become too severe.

How to do a D.E. Tear Down

  1. Backwash all the D.E. out of the filter. See the section on Backwashing if you need help with this step.
  2. Turn off the pump. Also turn off the circuit breaker so that the pump can not come back on with the timer.
  3. Open the filter tank. Most Filters have a band clamp around the middle that secures with a bolt. Unscrewing the bolt will allow the clamp to be removed, and the top of the filter can be lifted off. You may need to open the air bleeder on the top of the filter to allow air in to the tank when lifting the lid off.
  4. Lift the entire grid assembly out of the filter tank. This can be tricky as the wet grids are fairly heavy. There is a slip connection in the plumbing that attaches to the grids, so lift the grids straight up until the pipe is cleared.
  5. Spray the clumps of D.E. off of the grids using a garden hose. You can use a spray nozzle, but do not use a pressure washer. The high pressure of a pressure washer will damage the grids.
  6. Disassemble the grid assembly by removing the bolts that run all the way down through the grids and the plastic manifolds. Carefully lift the top manifold off of the grids, then remove each grid from the bottom manifold one by one.
  7. Examine the grids for any signs of tearing. The mostly likely places for holes are the seams where the grids are sewn together. The corners are also likely areas for rips. Check the internal frame of the grid for strength by feeling that the ribs are not cracked or broken. Examine the plastic manifold for cracks.
  8. If the grids are in good shape, reassemble the grids and the manifolds. This part is very touchy. Put each grid into the bottom manifold, then line up the top piece, and finally slide the bolts into place and secure the nuts. This step is much easier with a second person who can hold the grids together while the bolts are being installed.
  9. Replace the grid assembly into the filter, and make sure the plumbing attaches securely. Make sure the rubber tank o-ring is clean to ensure a good seal.
  10. Replace the top of the filter tank, and secure the band clamp tightly on the filter.
  11. Turn the pump back on and check for leaks. The filter will now need to be "recharged" with D.E. See the section on Recharging D.E. Filters for instructions on adding D.E. to the filter.

Notes on D.E. Tear Downs

  • If any of the grids are found to be in bad shape, I would recommend replacing them all. Generally when one grid is worn out the others won't be far behind.
  • You may also want to open the drain plug at the bottom of the filter and spray out the inside of the tank if there is debris in it.
  • Not all filters are the same. If you find something that is not explained here, feel free to ask the pros for help.