Saturday, August 24, 2013

Waterco Multicyclone Filter for My Swimming Pool part 2

Part one of this is here <link>.

It's been a week with the new pre-filter on my pool and I can actually say that I'm satisfied.  No leaks and it works as advertised; nice device.  Here's what it accumulated in the reservoir:

Yes, this is a weeks worth of the sand and stuff that would have been starting to plug up my cartridge filter already.

The white layer on top is the calcium carbonate and calcium sulfate that is created by my salt generator.  That's the stuff they call 'snow' that accumulates in the corners of the pool and annoys the heck out of me.  This filter catches that stuff and keeps it from getting into the cartridges...nice.

Now I feel comfortable recommending this device for other folks to use on their pools.  I don't have enough experience with how much it will save me in the longer term, but if it keeps me from having to clean the cartridges every couple of weeks in the stormy season, it's worth every penny I paid.  Cleaning the filters tears them up over time forcing me to have to buy new ones.  At almost 90 dollars a cartridge and having 4 of them in the filter, it adds up in a real hurry.  Just saving me just one purchase of replacement cartridges will pay for the cyclone filter.

The fact that it's capable of filtering out the 'snow' gives me an idea.  If I put another one in the path of the chlorine generator, it should remove the snow before it gets to the pool to annoy me.  This would also lower the calcium level in the water because I would be constantly removing it after the generator formed it into the snow.  That would be good if it didn't lower the calcium level enough to cause leaching from the walls of the pool.  I don't have enough money to experiment with that right now, but maybe in a year or so I could get another one and install it to remove that stuff.  Heck, two of them might be enough to get rid of the cartridge filter entirely, or scale it back to a much smaller device that doesn't cost so much to maintain.  I have to worry about flow rate though, smaller filters may not have enough flow.

At any rate, if you live in a dirty area and have to clean your filter unreasonably often, this is a good device that just may relieve some of the burden and expense.  I really like it.

Edit: 7/12/2015 :

It's been a while now that I've had this in operation and a reader asked me for an update. First, there has been exactly zero problems with the construction or operation of the device. However, last year I had a flood and the pool filled up with muddy water that washed in. This completely filled the Waterco filter and the cartridge filter I have down line from it. This pushed the water pressure up so high it blew the fitting on the top of the filter off. That, in turn, stripped the threads so the union fitting wouldn't hold unless the pressure was less than 15 pounds.

I called Waterco and they helped me get the fitting I needed, and after replacing it, all was well again. I still get a nice pile of debris in the bottom of the filter from the sand and such that blows into the pool, but the stuff that floats cannot be caught by the filter. It's only for sand and such, so I still have to clean the cartridges.

So, for me, it's a welcome addition to the pool and cuts down on the number of times I have to clean the cartridge filter (a lot). It's still as easy to clean out as it was on day 5 or so when I got to try it the first time. It survived being totally filled with fine clay from the flood, and only suffered because I went way past the specs in pressure pumping muddy water around.

Therefore, if the trash you're trying to get rid of is mostly heavy inorganic material, it should do a great job for you. If the trash is mostly light weight, floating organics, you'll get less obvious results.

Mechanically, it's great, just don't expect it to handle flood water that is filled with sand and clay.

13 comments:

  1. Your blog finally convinced me to startup my blog again: http://desert-electronics.blogspot.com/

    I'm going to automate my pool in a similar manner. Thanks for all the great information you provide here. Definitely a time saver for me.

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    1. Congratulations on starting...er...uh...restarting your blog. And, it's great having someone else taking on projects like this. I do this mostly to record the things I've done around the house for myself. Yep, this is my journal of techie projects.

      I've had a project in the back of my mind for years to replace the stupid pool controller with something I built. Two things have held me back, a big enough transformer to run the various 24V valves, and an understanding of the chlorinator such that I can build up my own.

      Over time, I've come to understand the chlorinator, and I feel confident that I can make it work. Now, to find a transformer that will supply at least 10A at 24 volt, survive the desert heat, and won't cost me a freaking fortune.

      See, with my own controller, I have no limits on the timers, features and control I can implement. That would be so cool.

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  2. Finally, a review that's not biased and shows real result! I've been having with maintaining our swimming pool, too. Anyway, what you did was quite risky, but in the end the outcome became beneficial to us who aren't brave enough to test unknown waters. Thank you and good job!

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  3. Just a curiosity, but do you have a single speed pump or a variable speed pump? Does a lower pressure, variable speed pump effect the ability of the prefilter to do its job? I asked a couple pool companies about this and they had never heard of it.

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    1. Variable speed. It's ability to pre-filter out the junk is definitely influenced by the speed of the water spinning around in the top of he device. If I run the motor at low speed, it doesn't filter out much, when I run it at high speed it works really well.

      So, what I do is run it at low speed during the day to heat the pool with my solar heater, then run it full speed at night to get the trash out. This way I save electricity by heating the pool at low speed and filter it when the power rates go down after the peak period is over.

      Depending on how your electricity is billed, you may want to do something else, but you do have to force the water through the cyclone at a pretty high clip to spin out the dirt.

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  4. I wonder, why does the unit need to be installed between the Pump & Filter? Could I install it in front of the pump to prevent crap from going through the pump?

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    1. You can certainly put it before the pump to remove some of the crap before it gets there and starts chipping away at the impeller. I actually wish I had installed it that way to begin with. However, if it fills up (mine did once) it could pull the prime on the pump and it would be running dry. Not a good thing.

      Also, if you do that, be sure to filter out the rocks that get sucked up from time to time (especially when I vacuum out the pool).

      But it should work anywhere there's enough speed in the water to get the spin going.

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  5. Steev/Dave,

    Dave, thanks for the kind review of the MC product - Waterco is committed to Eco Friendly solutions to water treatment.

    It is not recommended to install the unit before the pump, this unit is a pressure vessel not a vacuum vessel. It is not intended to replace the strainer baskets in your skimmer and pump. It can be installed downstream of the salt water chlorinator to catch the sodium crystals that are formed when the salt systems reverse polarity to clean the cells. I will send a photo of a unit installed that way in So Cal just for that purpose - it also has one before the filter to remove the dirt. Also if used with a DE style filter remember to install a bypass (2 3 way valves - one before the unit and one after) so that you can isolate it when recharging the filter with precoat powder as the Cyclone will remove the powder before it can recoat the grids. Ted Kampe - Waterco Regional Manager.

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    1. OK, maybe it won't work in front of the pump like I said above, but it sure looks like it should. It's way too much work to try and change it to see.

      I'm really satisfied with the waterco filter, but of late (after several years), it doesn't seem to be gathering quite as much crap in the bottom as it used to. It may be time to pull the top off and look inside to see if it filled up with rocks or something. The manual doesn't talk about this at all.

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    2. Considered this for our pool. Did you discover anything amiss?

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    3. Heh, yes. I had organics of some kind (bark, old leaves, that kind of thing) and cleaned it out. It works exactly like new now.

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    4. Great to hear. Guess I'll go ahead and order one and see if it helps clear up my mess.

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  6. Thanks for sharing your experience with this, I'm finally convinced to try it out as well.

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