Sand in Your Pool

A home swimming pool with sand in the bottom

The weather is perfect, water temperature is spot on, PH is 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 off, is it sand? Sometimes algae can get 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, or worse, just use your pool-broom to gently sweep through the sandy patch. If the water becomes cloudy as a result, its not sand, its 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. The obvious one is 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, its worth talking to your Paving team and seeing what can be done to minimise the amount of sand that gets into the pool during this time. Getting some sand in will be inevitable, but it can be minimised by frequent sweeping – always away from the pool edge, and by keeping the pool cover on where possible.

To remove this sand there is an easy solution that won't cost you a fortune. Usually the recommendation is to just vacuum the pool normally, but switch the multi-port valve on your filter cannister to “WASTE”. You don’t want sand getting sucked through the pump and into the standpipe in the filter. The sand will eventually accumulate in the laterals and they will either block completely or reduce the waterflow, which in turn places strain on your filter pump motor – this is to be avoided at all costs as replacing a pump is expensive and time-consuming. There is a drawback here – that 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!

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 removeable fabric “Sock” that can be fitted over the basket. Grab yourself a short section of vacuum hose (around 3 meters is OK) so you can connect to the skimmer or vacuum inlet. Then attach the outlet port of the inline leaf basket to this. Attach your regular vacuum hose to the inlet side of the inline basket and vacuum the sand up. 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.

One other source of the sand might be from inside your filter. Sand filters have a series of pipes inside that allow water to be pumped through them and diffuse into the sand cannister. 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 will split and allow 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 cannister 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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