By Karen ErstadJuly 13, 2011 15:36 PM

A massive dust storm hit the Phoenix area July 5, leaving thousands of residents — and their homes and pools — covered with dust.

According to the National Weather Service, the dust storm was estimated to reach a peak height of at least 5,000 to 6,000 (about a mile) with an aerial coverage on the leading edge stretching nearly 100 miles. The storm traveled at least 150 miles, much farther than the average 25 to 50 miles that dust storms typically travel.

After the storm as Brian Morris began to tackle the enormous task of cleaning out in some cases 6 inches of dust and dirt in pools, the owner of Phoenix-based We Fix Ugly Pools said he encountered nearly 45 filters that had been blown apart and needed to be replaced.

“What was happening was the ‘Haboob,’ the dust storm, put so much dust in the pools that when the timers kicked on, the dust was sucked into the filters causing an extreme change in pressure and, thus, blowing out filters,” says Morris. “We saw a number of pools where the filters were damaged due to the fine silt dirt passing through and jamming up the in-floor actuator (or water valve) essentially closing off the flow away from the filter and causing a substantial pressure increase. “

“We cleaned the pools with some very simple steps all the way to full drains, but the best option was for us to take out a portable vacuum and vacuum the pool this way, monitoring pressure to ensure our equipment did not clog up,” continues Morris. “In most cases we were able to vacuum to waste, which is essentially overfilling the pool and putting the filters in backwash mode and then, using a manual vacuum, clearing out the dirt sediment in this manner.”

Morris certainly doesn’t mind the extra business due to the storm, but he says, “You would rather see something like this happen when the phones are not already ringing off the hook due to the normal summer needs.”

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