White Powder In The Cartridge Filter..Swimming Pool Problems

by Don Pretlow
(Cocoa Florida)

I have a regular cartridge filter but have been getting lots of a white powdery substance collecting in the filter.

Thanks for your question Don

I would first check the pool cartridge filters to be sure there are no tears or rips in the pleats.

I would ask if you're using calcium hypochlorite (granules) as your pool chlorine. By using too much the calcium will collect in the pleats of the cartridge filter.

How much sodium bicarb., soda ash, calcium chloride, or are you using Diatomaceous Earth(DE) to supplement the filtering? What kind, if any, algaecides do you use? Are you using any kind of powder, even something that looks like powder, in the pool?

If you're using soda ash or bicarb., are you putting it in the skimmer or broadcasting it directly into the pool?

Pool filter cartridges do a great job in filtering pool water. It's uncommon to all of a sudden have a white powder substance coating the cartridge without some kind of outside influence.

How about some kids that are messing with you? It does happen. There have been pools that have been clean, then the owner goes outside one morning and pool is full of bubbles. Kids dumped an entire bottle of laundry detergent in the pool.

Could it be kids throwing DE or flour into the pool?

If none of these work, you might be able to take it into your local pool store to have it analyzed. They might be able to pin-point what it is.

Hope this helps and let me know how this turns out for you


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Fine Dirt In The Bottom Of My Swimming Pool, Why?

by Luke
(Modesto, ca)

I have had my swimming pool for about 10 years. It has only been for the last 12 to 14 months that this dirt has been accumulating on the bottom of my pool.

I changed the pool sweep but this does not pick up the dirt. I also emptied all the water and refilled it but the dirt was back in a week.

Now I am wondering if I need to change my cartridge filters, which are the original ones.

I would hate to spend $400 to $600 and still have the same problem.

Thanks for the question Luke

Cartridge filters normally last about 5 - 7 years. Getting 10 years of mileage is pretty good for you.

Most of the time when you have a cartridge filter and start getting dirt and debris back into the pool, there's a tear or rip in the pleats.

Although cartridge filters are my absolute favorite, nothing lasts forever and it sounds like it may be time to get another set. also, be sure the skimmer basket and pump basket are clean and there's no debris clogging the pump motor impeller.

Just don't go to a DE filter. Look on the Q&A page and compare DE to cartridge filter questions.
DE is more problems than its worth.

To post a reply, or if you have a similar question, you can see your post on the Q&A page in the "Cartridge Filter" category.

Check back to this post for updates or answers.

If you need immediate assistance (within 24 hrs) or for emergency personal assistance, you can make a donation of your choice and I'll answer your questions by phone.

Contact Me


Hope this helps.


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Changed My Filter But Now Pressure Is High And Flow Is Low

by Evan
(Gainesville, FL)

I have an above ground pool pump and cartridge filter system for a below ground pool. It is a Hayward C900 series cartridge housing which calls for a Hayward CX900RE replacement filter.

We purchased a PA-90 filter from Home Depot. When I install the new filter the pressure gauge reads 10psi (after closing and bleeding the system) and the flow coming out of the jets in the pool is great.

After an hour the pressure reads 45psi and there is little flow out of the jets in the pool.

Can anyone help me with this or explain whats happening?

Thanks for the question Evan and sorry for getting back so late. It's been crazy with people wanting me to take a look at their pools.

At any rate, to the best of my knowledge the PA-90 series replaces certain Hayward models.

If your system was running fine with the old Hayward filter but is not with the PA-90 series, there are a couple of options.

First, be sure you have the right size for your filter. Gauging higher or lower is never recommended. You may have gotten a bad filter. It's not common but it can happen.

Next, and this has happened to me, be sure it's right side up. I replaced a Hayward cartridge for my neighbor but put it in upside down and there was no flow. I removed the top of the filter tank and realized it was upside down. I corrected it and now it runs perfectly.

Also be sure the skimmer and pump basket are cleaned out and the impeller is not clogged.


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In-ground Pool Filters vs. Above-Ground Filters

by John

What is the difference between in-ground and above -ground pool filters? I am building a small indoor pool.

The pool will be in-ground. I think I may prefer a cartridge filter. I want to keep things simple.

Thanks for the question John

I'll first talk about the similarities. As you probably know there are 3 types of pool filters - Sand, Diatomaceous Earth (DE), and Cartridge. They work the same way regardless of whether you have an inground or above ground pool.

The pump draws water from the pool through the skimmer and/or bottom drain, then the water is pumped through the filter, is cleaned, and returned back to the pool.

The differences are plumbing, flow rate, size.

Pumps are engineered for pressure and flow. Inground pools run under higher pressure and above ground pools run on lower pressure.

An average inground pool will have longer pipes and more pieces of equipment which create back pressure or sometimes called flow resistance. Aboveground pools use shorter pipes runs, have less equipment, and are normally under much less back pressure.

Above ground pools require a pump that operates at a lower Total Dynamic Head (TDH). An in-ground pool will use a pump that operates at a medium to high TDH.

Most, if not all aboveground pools will have their filter systems set right next to the swimming pool and are generally located below the water level. Most aboveground pools have about 7 - 10 feet of plumbing on each side. This totals about 14 - 20 feet.

I've personally found that many pool actually have too much horsepower. A typical inground pool should be able to filter between 40 - 50 gallons per minute (GPM).

Inground pool pumps and filters are made to draw water through 100 feet of piping, create enough circulation in the pool to properly turn the water over 2 - 3 times per day, and push the water 25 to 30 feet in different directions. Above ground pools pumps simply can't do all that.

For the filter you always want to go just a bit bigger. The water simply filters better. Just remember that the water needs to be filtered 2 to 3 times daily for best results.

It goes into detail about the importance of dehumidification, exhaust, ventilation, and vapor barriers.


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