Why There is Sand in Your Pool and How to Get Rid of it

Sand. While beautiful and necessary at the beach or lake, it is a nuisance if it gets into our swimming pools. Just how did it get there and what do we do to get rid of it?


It Was Placed in

This sounds silly, but it is a common way to get sand into your pool. People who come home after enjoying a day at a lake or the beach oftentimes will jump right into the swimming pool without rinsing off. I remember being a kid and even after my Mom would shower us at the beach, my brother would still have up to a cup of sand in his swim trunk pockets. In order to avoid this, ask everyone to shower before they get in and either change their swimming suits or at least get them good inside and out with the garden hose before jumping into your pool.
Sand can also be carried by the wind. If you live near a beach or a lake or any sandy area, it is not surprising that some sand will be blown into your swimming pool. There really isn’t much we can do about sand that gets in this way.

You Have Sand Filter

If you have a sand filter and are getting sand into your swimming pool this could indicate a problem with your sand filter. It usually means one of the laterals in your sand filter is broken. Now you have the arduous task of removing all the sand from your pool filter, checking the laterals and replacing them as necessary. Broken laterals can happen simply from the age of your filter or by letting it get too dirty. We want to backwash our sand filters regularly to help remove unwanted dirt and debris.

You Have a Diatomaceous Earth Filter

Getting diatomaceous earth on the bottom of your swimming pool can look, and even feel, like sand. If you are getting DE blowback into your swimming pool, you have a problem within your DE filter. If you just did a filter clean, some blowback is normal, but it should vacuum up and then stay in the filter. If it doesn’t, you may have re-assembled the filter incorrectly. You will have to take it apart again. UGH!

If it was put together correctly, then a ripped, torn or broken grid is the most likely culprit. We need to completely disassemble the filter, removing all 8 grids. Then hose off the grids thoroughly. Now, inspect each grid for even the smallest rip or tear. Check where it meets with the plastic connection piece as well. Feel if any of the “”ribs” of the filter are broken. Replace as needed. I tell my customers that grids are kind of like tires: it’s not a bad idea to replace them all at once. Some stores will even give you a discount for purchasing a full set.

Also check your manifold. This could be at the top or the bottom of your filter. Make sure it isn’t broken or cracked. The final thing to check would be the o-rings. There is a little o-ring that sits on the stand pipe which could be stretched out, dry or missing. Replacing the tank o-ring is important too, especially if yours is misshapen, flattened or just old.

It’s Not Sand

Mustard algae can look like sand due to its potential sand-like color.  Yellow algae can be tough to get rid of.  It is usually circulation related.  What I mean by this is either you are not circulating your pump long enough or you have a dirty filter.  You may notice the algae in spots where the water doesn’t get circulated like in the corners by the stairs.  That is why it is super important to brush your pool every single week.  I recommend a good 360 technology pool brush because it does the corners too.  Check out this one.

If you are not running your pump enough, or running it at night to “save money”, you are actually just making yourself more susceptible to algae.  Algae treatments are not cheap.  So what you “save” in by practicing these tactics, you will spend on chemicals later.  I find most customers who aren’t running their pump during when we need our chemicals to mix and work the most (the hottest part of the day) typically have an old-fashioned single speed pool pump.  Going to variable speed is more affordable than ever.  The average customer who switched to an energy efficient pool pump saves approximately $70 a month!  And they have clearer water too.  Check out these name brand, American made ones here. 

Getting Rid of the Sand

Depending on the setup of your pool, you may be able to turn all the suction to the main drain and just brush the sand towards the drain.  Otherwise, you’ll want to brush the sand into manageable piles and vacuum them up.  If you have an above ground pool, you can make piles and scoop the sand out and throw it in the garbage.  Again, if the sand is a filter issue, don’t bother trying to vacuum it up prior to fixing the filter problem, as it will just go around and around.  See you poolside!