Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pool Water Filtration at My House

I have a modest house in Florida and many even modest homes have a swimming pool.  Mine was probably constructed back in the 1980's although the house dates to the 1970's.  The pool is almost 8' deep at the drain and is constructed of cement.  It takes exactly 10,031 gallons of water to fill it to proper level about midway up the dark blue tile border.   We don't use the pool as much as one would imagine so its probably the most expensive decoration a home can have.   Its a shame really but water and plenty of it is soothing to the human soul so to even look at it is comforting.  I have a creek that runs along the back yard which I will mention later.

Recently visistors were to come to the house and stay for a week so my wife authorized me to change out the water and get it ready for swimming.  Financial times have been tough so part of my austerity program was to spend 0 dollars on the pool.  I just let it go.  Here's a picture at the end of 6 months of neglect.
Mr. and Mrs. Froggy found a living off bugs and larvae and who knows what else.  They settled in and had children all of which were later pumped out to the creek.  Maud and Claude were relocated to the creek bank as well.  A lovely couple and outstanding swimmers to catch with my skimmer net.

It was really quite easy to drain the cruddy water and pressure wash the walls and scour it with bleach.  The most problem was fussing with equipment like the gas engine and the electric sump pump when it had problems.  That being done I filled the pool with a garden hose over a period of about 3 days.  I turn it off during peak use times out of consideration of neighbors plus I don't want to run it during the night and risk overfilling.  In Sarasota county if you don't report your water usage in this way you will be charged for sewage treatment. They don't know that your 10,000 gallons didn't go back into the public system after all.

My circulation pump is a 1hp motor and it forces water through a Pentair FNS DE filter.  Diatomaceous Earth filters for pools are the finest level of reasonable filtration possible.  The media costs very little and looks exactly like bread flour.  You mix it in a 5 gal. bucket of water and slowly pour it into the return skimmer screen.  Over 2 or 3 days of running the garden hose you get some dust and pollen from the air but not a whole lot.  Most visible are just insects and leaves.  The next picture is a combined before and after shot of my pool.  'Before' is the city water un-balanced, un-filtered, and not chlorinated for people to swim in.  'After' is just 24 hours of filtering, a bag of pool shock and 1.5 gallons of pool chlorine.  In 24 hours my circulation pump has probably passed all the water twice through the DE filter grids.  Look at the amazing results.

The colors you see are the colors not absorbed by the water from the rainbow of colors.  The light is a ordinary filament bulb that gives off primarily a yellow-white light.  Photo taken at night with no flash obviously.  If anything this is proof that city water does need a little scrubbing but is good enough for human consumption.  The Pentair DE filter is capable of filtration down to 1/10 the width of a human hair or about the size of a particle of fog.  I think its a great filter and I recommend it.  I had a Jacuzzi brand DE filter and it was so complex and delicate I dreaded working with it.

I did have to adjust the Alkalinity a little with city water which brings me to my point about the creek behind my house.  The creek is basically a drainage canal of fresh water coming from commercial building condensation water drainage, neighborhoods watering lawns, rainwater obviously and tinted from the roots of plants.  BUT when I have filled my pool only with creek water the chemistry was perfect.  I needed no adjustment to Ph or alkalinity.  Just shock it and filter it and it was good to go.  I think that's interesting in itself.

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