How Much DE to Add to Sand: Complete Guide

If your swimming pool has a Diatomaceous Earth (DE) filter or you intend to buy one, you will need to add DE powder at one point or another. Below we will look at everything you would need to know about adding this powder.

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

DE is a naturally occurring siliceous sedimentary rock that is crushed into a powder. It comes from fossilized remains of small, aquatic animals called diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae. 

When it is mined to be used in pool filters, it’s heated and crystallized. It turns into a chemical agent that forms toxicity when ingested.

How Much DE to Add?

If you have a new DE filter or have done a full cleaning, you will need to add one-pound of DE for every 10-sq-ft of the filter area. You should conduct a thorough wash at least once per year. 

Here are the most common DE filter sizes and the amount of DE you should add:

  • 24-sq-ft add 2.4-pound
  • 36-sq-ft add 3.6-pound
  • 48-sq-ft add 4.8-pound
  • 60-sq-ft add 6-pound
  • 72-sq-ft add 7.2-pound 

Other times when you clean your DE filter, you do what is called back-washing. That process involves using the backwash valve to clean the filter by getting rid of the dirty layer of the DE filter. 

When you do that, you don’t get rid of all the DE powder in the filter. Due to that, you only need to add about 75-80% of the powder. Here are some examples of how DE you should add after back-washing your filter.

  • 24-sq-ft add 1.9-pound
  • 36-sq-ft add 2.8-pound
  • 48-sq-ft add 3.8-pound
  • 60-sq-ft add 4.8-pound
  • 72-sq-ft add 5.7-pound 

The best way to achieve an effective backwash is to ensure that the pump and skimmer baskets are clean to facilitate a full flow into the filter. You should add the powder within one-minute after turning your pool’s pump on.

How Do You Measure DE Powder?

Chances are you don’t have a scale at home that you can use to measure the right amount of DE powder to add. Many pool owners use a one-pound coffee can to add 0.5-pound of the powder (a single can is equal to 0.5-pound of the powder). 

However, it is almost impossible to get a one-pound can of coffee these days as they come in 13 oz. measurement. To remove the confusion, we would recommend you to get a DE scoop (it is made for measuring the DE powder, and one scoop is equal to 0.5-pound of the powder).

To figure out how many scoops to add, take your filter’s sq. ft. and divide it by five (for new filter/full cleaning). For backwashed model, divide by six.  

Here is a list of the scoops that you might need to add for a new/full cleaned filter:

  • 24-sq-ft add 5-scoop/coffee cans 
  • 36-sq-ft add 7-scoop/coffee cans 
  • 48-sq-ft add 10-scoop/coffee cans
  • 60-sq-ft add 12-scoop/coffee cans
  • 72-sq-ft add 14-scoop/coffee cans

For back-washing:

  • 24-sq-ft add 3-scoop/coffee cans 
  • 36-sq-ft add 5-scoop/coffee cans 
  • 48-sq-ft add 7-scoop/coffee cans
  • 60-sq-ft add 9-scoop/coffee cans
  • 72-sq-ft add 11-scoop/coffee cans

How to Add Diatomaceous Earth to Pool Filter

The DE should be added into your pool’s skimmer and is only used for DE filters. That powder easily dissolves into the pipe and gets into the filter tank to coat the nylon-form grids when it settles there. 

Follow these steps when adding the DE powder:

  1. Backwash the DE filter
  2. Determine the amount of powder to add
  3. Check the filter mode –Multiport valve should show filter mode
  4. Turn the pump on and leave it to each prime
  5. Close the relief valve 
  6. Add the DE powder
  7. Check the air pressure gauge – it should read one psi higher than the new/clean reading.

Final Words

You can now the right amount of DE powder to your filter and also add it the right way. The water passes quickly via the powder, then the coated grids. As it moves, all the debris is trapped in the powder to leave a robotic pool cleaner.

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