Sand in Your Pool

sand in pool

The weather's perfect, water temperature spot on, PH just right, and the chemical balance is smack dead in the sweet spot. The pool is ready for summer fun. Or is it?

Where did all that sand in the bottom of my pool come from?

First of all, is it actually sand? Sometimes algae can have a mustard-yellow tinge and will need to be dealt with promptly before it becomes a major problem. To check whether this sandy patch is sand, use your pool broom to gently sweep through the 'sandy' patch. If the water becomes cloudy as a result, it's not sand – it's algae. Follow our guide for treating algae in your pool here.

If it is sand, it might have come from a number of external sources, including our famous afternoon sea breezes! Along with keeping Perth cool in the summer, the Fremantle Doctor also picks up sand and deposits it in your pool. Normally not in volumes that would be concerning, but if you or a neighbour is getting earthworks or landscaping done, then sand will become a major issue. This is especially true for those living in new housing estates where construction may go on for years and sand ingress becomes a problem for all living downwind.

If you are getting new paving installed around your pool, or re-sanding existing pavers, it's worth talking to your paving team to see what can be done to minimise the amount of sand that gets into the pool during this time. Some sand in the pool will be inevitable, but it can be minimised by regular sweeping of the pool surrounds – always away from the pool edge – and by keeping the pool cover on where possible.

How do I remove all the sand?

Option 1 - Vacuum to Waste
Usually, the recommendation is to vacuum the pool normally but switch the multi-port valve on your filter canister to “WASTE”. Switching to Waste is important as you don’t want sand getting sucked through the pump and into the standpipe in the filter. If this happens, the sand will eventually accumulate in the laterals and they will either block completely or reduce the water flow, which places additional strain on your filter pump motor – something to be avoided at all costs as replacing a pump is expensive and time-consuming!

The downside to this option is that the water going to Waste is lost completely. Sure it gets rid of the sand, but it may take hundreds or even thousands of litres of precious water with it!

Option 2 - In-line Filter

For a few dollars you can make an in-line filter for your pool vacuum that will save you water and save your filter from clogging up or the pump motor burning out. In-line leaf baskets are available at your local pool shop for reasonable prices, look for one that has a removable fabric “sock” that can be fitted over the basket.

The in-line basket will have an inlet side and an outlet side. Grab a short section of vacuum hose (around 3 metres or so is fine) and connect the outlet port of the inline leaf basket to your skimmer or vacuum inlet. Then attach your regular vacuum hose to the inlet side of the inline basket and vacuum the sand. When you are done, remove the sock from the basket and you’ll see it has collected the sand and saved your filter, pump and, hopefully, your wallet!

Make sure it's not from the filter itself

One other source of the sand could be from inside your filter. Sand filters contain a series of pipes that allow water to be pumped through them and diffuse into the sand canister. Usually these don’t pose a problem as water flows out of the pipes and into the sand filtration media, but if one of the pipes is cracked, then it will need to be replaced. Usually it will be one of the lateral feeder pipes that has split, allowing sand to enter the water circulation system when you back-wash the filter.

Fortunately, this isn’t a super hard job. You’ll need to open and completely empty your filter canister first. The downside is that this is time consuming. This is probably a great time to think about replenishing or entirely replacing the filtration media in your sand filter.

Here’s hoping that this has fixed your sand problems entirely. So now it's time to kick back and enjoy your pool.

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