Should You Use Zeolite Sand For Your Swimming Pool’s Sand Filter?

Bag of Natural Zeolite Sand.

When it comes to keeping your swimming pool clear all season long, it is important to use proper filtration in order to ensure the best looking and healthiest pool possible.  This also will make guests applaud you as a swimming pool owner as many will be amazed on your success of a beautifully looking swimming pool.

If you are using a sand filter as your primary filtration system the sand inside the filter should be replaced with new sand every 3 to 5 years, or even sooner depending on various conditions, season length and other factors.

How Does A Sand Filter Work?

Whether you are using Zeolite sand, pool sand or fiberglass in your sand filter the concept for filtration is all the same.  When your swimming pool pump is turned on the water from the pool is pulled through the inlet pipe of your sand filter.  The sand inside the filter prevents particles from pushing through the sand and only allows the water to reenter the swimming pool.

Over time the sand in the filter will become over saturated with the waste that has been removed from the pool and cause the water flow to be reduced.  If there is a lot of waste, the flow can become extremely affected.  A gauge can be used on the pool filter to determine the exact pressure and a guide to use when determining if you should backwash your swimming pool.  Each pool will have a slightly different reading based on the condition of the sand, pump and pipe sizes.

Once it is necessary to backwash your swimming pool, the pump will dislodge the waste that is floating on the top of the sand as well as inside the sand itself and remove it from the sand filter through your waste hose.  Once completed you should rinse the sand with the rinse setting on your pool filter for 30 to 60 seconds, then resume filtration as before.  Avoiding the rinse stage could cause some sand to actually enter your swimming pool.  The water flow should return and your filter will now be back to optimal performance.

It is recommended to backwash your swimming pool about once per week depending on a few factors.  These include amount of time pool is being used, the type of debris that enters you pool and the sand medium being used.

I changed my swimming pool filter medium from pool sand to Zeolite sand.  You can watch the video below to see how easy it really is to change the sand in your sand filter.

What types of sand can be used in my sand filter?

There are a few types of sands that can be used in a sand filter.  The two I will be talking about today is pool sand (white or brown) and Zeolite sand.  These are the two most common types of sand used by swimming pool owners and they are both very effective in keeping your pool clear throughout the duration of swimming season.  I will discuss these two types of sands below as well as some of the main differences between the two.

I have used both brown pool sand and Zeolite sand and I personally prefer Zeolite sand because it stops the smallest of particles from reentering the pool once it reaches the filter.

Pool Sand

This is the most common used medium pool owners use when owning a pool that has a sand filter.  Pool sand can filter microns that are the size of 20 to 40 microns.  It also will save a few bucks as pool sand is less expensive the Zeolite.

Pool sand is also extremely safe, non-toxic and requires little work.  Once the sand is in the filter container, backwash about once a week or as needed and the sand will keep your pool clear throughout the entire pool season.

This is a popular choice for many pool owners as it is easy, effective and an affordable way to maintenance swimming pools.

Zeolite Sand

Sand filter filled with new Zeolite Sand.

Zeolite is a natural and safe mineral found in volcanic rocks.  These can then be turned into Zeolite sand (or sometimes called Zeosand) and is one of the most effective mediums to keep a swimming pool extremely clear all season long.

Zeolite sand can filter microns that are as small as 2 to 4 microns meaning it can filter up to 90% more particles than that of standard pool sand.  This will in turn allow your pool to be even clearer as the smallest of microns will be removed from the swimming pool.

Ammonia ions are also filtered out of the water when using Zeolite sand.  When ammonia ions are higher in water, algae develops and grows much easier since plants such as algae thrives off of ammonia ions.  This alone is one reason someone may consider Zeolite over sand.  Since more ammonia ions will be trapped in your sand filter using this type of sand, you will definitely have an easier time reducing the green from within your swimming pool.

You will also not have to backwash your pool quite as often when using Zeolite sand.  This can be a nice benefit allowing more time between each backwash.  You should still backwash your swimming pool regularly, however you can probably go an extra week in most cases when using this medium.

Final Thoughts

Should you use Zeolite sand or pool sand when owning a swimming pool with a sand filter?

This question will ultimately come down to preference for each individual family.  Some casual swimming pool owners may prefer to use the most affordable method such as pool sand.  This can especially be true for someone that has an extremely large filter than requires 200 or more pounds of sand.  Zeolite could easily cost $100 or more than using standard pool sand for some of the larger filters.

Others may want to spend the extra coin to get the best filtration possible and to keep their swimming pool the clearest by using Zeolite sand.  Regardless which one you choose to use with your pool, either one is a viable option.  I have used both types of filtration methods and can say either one will make a happy swimming season for you and your family.

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