Why is There DE on my Pool Floor and Coming Out Jets?

So, you’ve looked in your pool one day and noticed that there’s some diatomaceous earth (or DE for short) covering your pool floor and coming out of your pool jets. To fix this issue, you’ll first need to know why it happened, which is what we’ll be going over today.

If you see DE either on your pool floor or coming out of the jets, you’ve most likely either added too much to your filter when refilling, or the filter has a broken component. Torn or damaged filter grids, cracked manifolds, and problems with the multiport valve can cause DE to leak.

After showing you what the potential problem is and how to fix it, we’ll also discuss ways to prevent such an issue from reoccurring. So be sure to read through the article thoroughly to avoid ever seeing DE in your pool again.

DE in swimming pool floor and from return jets.
Swimming pool floor and return jets.

5 Reasons Why There’s DE on Pool Floor or Coming Out the Jets

Before you go about cleaning up the DE, let’s take a look at why this happened so that you can prevent further reoccurrences.

1. You Added DE Too Quickly

A commonly overlooked reason why you might have DE on the pool floor is that you simply added the DE into the filter too quickly when you refilled it. Not only must you have the filter turned on while you’re adding the DE, but you must also do it slowly.

Adding it in too quickly will have the DE simply bypass the filtration system and go directly into the water (which will then pill up on the pool floor).

2. You Added Too Much DE

Adding too much DE can also have a similar effect as adding DE too quickly. It can bypass the filter and come out of the pool return jets and end up on the pool floor.

After backwashing, you’ll only need around 80% of the total filter’s DE capacity.

Another symptom of too much DE is a high-pressure reading. If you’ve recently backwashed and refilled your DE filter, you shouldn’t have high pressure unless you have a lot of algae or debris in the water.

If this is the case, your filter may be blocked and need backwashing.

Further Reading: Too Much DE Added to Filter (How to Remove Excess DE)

3. Filter Grids Torn

A common cause of leaking DE is broken or torn filter grids. The filter grids are a frame with a material covering them. This material stops the DE from leaving the filter.

There could be multiple places where damage could’ve occurred, so it’s important to carefully inspect every part of the filter while you’re taking it apart.

To inspect them, start by backwashing the filter to remove excess DE. Next, open up the filter and hose off the grids to clean them.

After cleaning them, inspect the grids carefully looking for any tears/holes. If this is the case, you’ll need to replace them.  They cost around $15 – $40 to replace depending on which model filter you have.

4. Damaged Manifold or Stand Pipe

If after inspecting the grids there are no holes or damage, the next place to look is the manifold and standpipe (if your filter has one). The manifold is located inside the filter housing.

If there are cracks visible in either of these pipes, that can cause DE to come out of the return jets. You’ll need to replace these components.

5. Problems with the Multiport Valve

The multiport valve is responsible for directing the water that enters the valve. It’s what controls the function of the filter. Such as filtering, backwashing, bypass, rinse, and other functions.

The gasket, known as a spider gasket, can wear out, and also the spring inside can become defective over time. You’ll need to pull the valve off the filter and dismantle it to check these parts. They are both replaceable.

Top view of a multiport valve filter. DE can leak if there is a problem.
Multiport valve filter.

Related Reading: What Do All the Multiport Valve Pool Filters Settings Do?

6. Your Filter was Not Properly Installed

If you’ve recently deep cleaned your DE filter, it’s possible it wasn’t reassembled properly. If the grids are loose or not located properly, that could leak DE into the water as well.

7. Your Filter is Full

Another likely issue why your DE might be leaking is that your pool filter grids are full or dirty from long-term use. If you haven’t regularly backwashed (every 3 months) or deep cleaned the grids cleaning (yearly), you could be dealing with an extremely dirty filter that is just leaking into your pool.

Try deep cleaning your filter by backwashing and removing the grids. Pull the grids out and hose them off then reinstall them, and recharge the DE.

Related Reading: How to Recharge or Refill DE in Pool Filter

How Do You Clean Up the Excess DE?

Okay, so now you know why you have all that DE laying on the pool floor and/or pumping out of your pool jets, but before you go about setting up prevention methods, you’ve got to clean up the mess first. The best way to clean up the excess DE is to vacuum the pool.

A woman vacuuming the swimming pool floor to remove DE,
Vacuuming the swimming pool floor is the best way to remove DE.

Here are the steps:

  1. Turn off the pump and filter so that the DE settles to the bottom of the pool floor. Running the pool system will stir up the DE, which will make it hard to vacuum the DE up
  2. Connect a pool vacuum to your skimmer and switch the pump on – use the backwash or filter function.
  3. Vacuum very slowly and in small increments. Vacuuming too quickly can both kick up the DE, making it harder to vacuum.

Pool Vacuum Head with Side Brush & Universal Rotatable Hose Adapter,Weighted Triangular Shape(Safe for Vinyl Liner Pool),SEPETREL

Related Reading: What is a Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Pool Filter?

How Do You Prevent this from Happening Again?

Now that you took the time to clean up your pool, I’m guessing you probably don’t want to go through this time-consuming hassle again. Here are some tips for you if you wish to prevent DE from leaking out again.

Backwashing and Cleaning the Filter Regularly

As with almost anything, cleaning regularly is essential to keeping things functional. Because a big reason why DE might’ve leaked from your filter is due to the filter being too dirty, it’s necessary to keep a consistent cleaning schedule.

When it comes to the DE filter, you’ll typically have to backwash every 1-3 months and clean the grids once a year. Backwashing a DE filter, unlike other filter types, will require you to replace the DE lost in the cleaning process.

Internal Inspection of Grids and Manifold

When you do your yearly deep clean of your DE filter, it doesn’t take much longer to check over the filter for any issues. Inspect the grids and the manifold while you have the filter apart to prevent any possible issues in the future.

Carefully Measure the DE

As mentioned earlier, after backwashing, to recharge a DE filter you’ll only need around 80% of the total filter’s capacity.

The easiest way to measure DE is using a special 1-pound scoop. You can buy it at any pool supply store.

Blue Devil D.E. Scoop with Handle, Perfect for Swimming Pools

Adding the DE Slowly

As mentioned earlier, a commonly overlooked issue when it comes to leaking DE is that you’ve added it in too quickly in the beginning. Not only must you have the filter on while you’re pouring the DE, but you’ll also have to do it in small increments.

Adding ¼ pound at a time is a good amount. A little more or less is not an issue, but dumping all of it in at once is a big no-no.

Final Thoughts

Having to clean up the excess DE from your pool floor can be a tedious and time-consuming process. Luckily, preventing this from occurring is quite simple. All you’ll need is a little patience and consistency (which is easiest when you have a DE filter) and you’ll never run into this situation again.

Further Reading: How to Remove Excess DE from Pool Floor

Leave a comment