Like many of you, I am preparing to close my pool for the winter. This summer went by fast (fastest on record they tell me), and pool maintenance was the easiest it’s ever been for me this past season. Credit some of it to seasoned experience (my 5th year as a pool owner), some credit to the cool weather, but much of the credit has to be given to FilterBalls.
As you may recall from my FilterBalls: a Breakthrough In Pool Filtration Media? blog post earlier this summer, I switched out 250 lbs of greasy, old sand from my Hayward Sand Filter with FilterBalls Filter Media. It was taking a chance because FilterBalls are a radical departure from the familiar, and the pool was just opened, and oh, yeah – the Chicago Bulls were going to film a commercial in my backyard in a matter of days.
It was a risk, but an opportunity I am glad I seized upon. In hindsight, FilterBalls are so much easier to handle than big bags of sand, and if I didn’t like the results they certainly were going to be a million times easier to remove from my pool filter than the slimy old sand I scooped out for over an hour. It would have been a breeze to replace them if they didn’t work as well as the FilterBalls website said they would.
But they did work – FilterBalls work great!
I honestly cannot speak to micron size, or if FilterBalls can trap smaller particulates than regular filter sand. I can say however, that my water never looked better, and without the occasional hazy water that would result if I didn’t do a timely backwash of the sand.
What I can speak of – is catching myself in old habits, compulsively monitoring the filter pressure gauge in anticipation of the next backwash. That was kind of tricky, as my pressure never really went up this summer. I backwashed last month, because it was driving me crazy not to do it at least once. My compulsion got the better of me. 🙂
Another benefit of the lower filter tank pressure was that my return jets were consistently strong all summer. After installing FilterBalls, the pressure gauge dropped 5 psi, and the pool returns flowed stronger than ever and did a great job circulating the water. And my 1.5 horsepower Hayward SuperPump, as reliable and maintenance free as it is, was always a bit noisy – but after FilterBalls were added, the pump was noticeably quieter.
I want to tell you about another innovative product that had a hand in my hands-free pool maintenance summer – the Skim Doctor 2.0. I have a weak skimmer in the shallow end of my pool much weaker than the deep end skimmer (closer to the pump), and gave the Skim Doctor a whirl. It’s such a simple little device that it’s practically mad genius. My shallow skimmer now functions as good or better than the deep skimmer.
I was so impressed with the Skim Doctor that I ran inside the house to grab my napping wife and insisted she share in my joy. It wasn’t that she wasn’t impressed, but more like she was furious with me for ruining a rare weekend nap – to look at her least favorite part of the pool. Days later, she would concede that the Skim Doctor was “pretty cool”.
Back to FilterBalls – I mentioned that we used 3 bags of FilterBalls Blu. Actually, we saved a few Balls for other experiments, such as tossing a handful of FilterBalls in the bottom of my Leaf Rake. They are not heavy at the bottom of the net while wet, and they nab what would otherwise pass through the skim net. We get these thin layers of gnats spawning on the water surface in late summer – gross and hard to skim. Not anymore.
I didn’t stop there, though. When the pool turned hazy, because I was being too skimpy with the pump run time (Hi, Davy), I dropped a handful in the bottom of the skimmer baskets to see if they would help clear the water. FilterBalls to the rescue – no need for clarifiers, just 5 or 6 FilterBalls in the skimmer, and by morning, the pool was clear! Amazing.
As for FilterBalls reducing the amount of daily filtering and saving me hundreds of dollars every season – well, it did allow me to run the pump less, not 50% less, but at least 20% less, and every penny counts, right? To be fair, I was already running my pump less than most people anyway.
This weekend, when I pop out the Skim Doctor, blow out the lines, and fill them up with anti-freeze I won’t have to wonder how long it’s going to take for all the water to drain out from the Sand Filter. No worries about damp, freezing sand expanding inside the filter tank and potentially cracking it. The water is going to drain right out, probably in less than 1 minute.
So there it is as promised, my review of FilterBalls, a real-world test of the filter sand alternative, spun polyester balls that are used to replace pool filter sand.
FilterBalls really do work! 🙂
InTheSwim Staff Blogger