Quick Dip: Pool Filter Sand vs. Play Sand – What’s the Difference?
Why Using Play Sand in Your Pool’s Filter is Asking for Trouble.
Question: “Why can’t I just use play sand from Home Depot or Lowes in my swimming pool filter? It is a bit cheaper. Are there any downsides to this? What’s the difference between play sand and pool sand?”
In the words of Anakin Skywalker, “I don’t like sand, it’s course, rough and gets everywhere.” Having gritty sand pouring into your pool is one of the last things you want, but is just what can happen if you use the WRONG sand in your pool’s sand filter system.
How Sand Filters Work
Pool sand filters use sand as the medium of choice to trap dirt and debris. Water flows through the sand while unwanted particles are caught and trapped. Sand meant for use in these filtering systems is specially graded to make sure the individual grains of sand are the right size. (Usually .45 to .55 millimeters.) Sand is a durable, lasting filtration medium. Backwashing the filter to clean out the sand should be done every few years. Fully replacing the sand only needs to be done when performance begins to suffer.
Using the RIGHT Sand
In an attempt to save money, some of our clients have tried to use play or sandbox sand purchased from local hardware stores. Unfortunately, this is asking for trouble. Sand formulated especially for use in pool filters is just the right size to ensure it works with and stays in the filter. When grains of sand are too small, these can pass through the filter system’s laterals and right into your pool – not a fun problem to deal with. When the sand is too large, it is ineffective and allows unwanted debris to pass right through the filter.
Pool filter sand size (such as Mystic White) is highly controlled and is much more effective at actually removing contaminants than play sand alternatives. This means higher efficiency and less needed changes.
Conclusion: It truly is best to use specialty pool filter sand in your sand filters. It really isn’t worth the several dollars in savings when compared against the list of potential issues. When should you change your filter sand? We recommend fully changing your filter sand when the performance of the filter becomes apparent. [Want to learn more? Click here to read about balancing your pool’s pH, TA and Calcium Hardness levels!]
Article by Zac Carr & Benjamin Rogers
Have a Question?
Since 1982, Leisure Pool & Spa Supply has been serving the needs of both commercial and residential aquatics. From commercial construction to chemical supplies, we offer a wide range of services to get you swimming today.
If you are looking to purchase pool filter sand for your swimming pool, get in touch with us today. We have filter sand, pool chemicals, equipment and more in stock at our Syracuse, IN. showroom and warehouse.
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