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Thread: Sand Color - Black?

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    GTGallop's Avatar
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    Sand Color - Black?

    I noticed that my backwash hose has a few gallons worth of sand near then end of it. Obviously this means I'm losing sand in the back wash process and since we bought this house a year ago I'm thinking that the previous owner did little to care for the pool the way they should have. I started wondering "how old is my sand?" And "is there any left in the tank?"

    The guy at Leslie's (no I don't frequent them) said to pop the top on the sand filter and check the level. He said that it should still be sandy and not clumpy. Clumpy sand is bad.

    So I did. I popped the top off and then stirred the sand a little. It flows very freely, but I did have some concern about the color. I have about a half inch to quarter of an inch of BLACK sand on top of an under layer of greyish sand. I'm less concerned about the grey than the BLACK. EEK!

    New sand time? Or do I need one of those pool filter enzymes to eat up the blackness? Or is this entirely normal?

    I'm guessing it is a bio build up from the dead skin, hair and oils off of the swimmers that have been in the pool since the sand was put in.

    When I change I want to flip over to a Zeobright type product (have had GREAT results in the past with that) any thoughts on Zeo?
    2nd Time Pool Owner - 1998 In Ground, Gunite/Plaster, 24' long x 19' wide x 4.5' deep, 20,000 Gallon, Chlorine, 2 Hp Hayward Ecostar with Sand.
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/my-on...le-t40734.html
    Cave Creek, Arizona

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    Re: Sand Color - Black?

    It sounds like you have inherited a filter with a lot of build-up from its past uses. Black sand is not a normal color and should be changed out. As a general rule, it is recommended to change out your sand every five years because sand, over time, will start to funnel and create grooves, losing its effectiveness. You can stir it up, but once it settles, it will just return to its original state.

    Based on what you’ve said here, it sounds like changing out your sand completely would be your best bet. There are many ways to change out your sand but the fastest way would be to use a wet/dry vac with hose attachment to vacuum out the sand. Make sure to loosen the sand with water before you vacuum. Once the sand is almost completely gone, pull the plug on the bottom of the filter and let the remainder funnel out the bottom.

    You can replace your sand with fresh 20 Silica Sand or a sand alternative like ZeoBest. If you do switch to ZeoBest, backwash your filter before running the pump for the first time. Otherwise, the new ZeoBest could turn your water black.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Sand Color - Black?

    We've found out here that the general recommendation of changing sand every five years isn't warranted. The only reason to ever change out the sand is of there's a problem that can't be cleaned through normal means (as appears to be your problem). There are people here who've never changed the sand and have no problems with it. Changing something just to be changing it isn't something we advocate.

    Zeolite is another issue. We've had as more people give it bad reviews than we've had give it good reviews. It appears that when it works without problems it works well but when it gives a problem it's a bad one.

    If you've had good results with zeo in the past in the general location it might work for you again. You'll have to decide if it's worth the added expense to find out.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    Re: Sand Color - Black?

    Regardless of what you fill it with, backflush for about 5 minutes before you set to filter for the first time.

    How old is your filter? Mine was over 20 years old and when mine had problems with the seals I went ahead and just replaced the whole thing. They aren't that expensive, and it sure makes it easier on the swap-out because you don't have to be careful taking the sand out of the old filter. I took a Sawzall to my old filter and cut the entire top off. Made it easy to get enough sand out to be able to lift the filter because I could get a shovel inside.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    Re: Sand Color - Black?

    Quote Originally Posted by RobbieH

    I took a Sawzall to my old filter and cut the entire top off.
    NICE I love my sawzall!


    Just to reiterate. While channelled sand can be an issue and does happen, once you stir it up, it will flatten back out. Sand doesnt really wear out. After all, its few million years old by the time it gets into the filter
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: Sand Color - Black?

    Sawzall solves all!
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    GTGallop's Avatar
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    Re: Sand Color - Black?

    Since the water is crystal clear and I'm not having any issues, I'm going to try this first.
    http://naturalchemistry.com/pool_spa...t.html#details


    If it works - Great! If not, I'm only out $20.
    2nd Time Pool Owner - 1998 In Ground, Gunite/Plaster, 24' long x 19' wide x 4.5' deep, 20,000 Gallon, Chlorine, 2 Hp Hayward Ecostar with Sand.
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/my-on...le-t40734.html
    Cave Creek, Arizona

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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Sand Color - Black?

    If you're not having any issues, why spend any money at all?
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: Sand Color - Black?

    To me it almost sounds like a filter issue where the sand is not being properly backwashed. There should not be any kind of "few gallons of sand" left in your backwash hose. Also the black "sand" is likely filtered sediment (dirt, skin, pollen, suntan lotion).

    Before you go spending money on replacing the sand, you may want to ensure the filter is operating properly.
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

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    Re: Sand Color - Black?

    Quote Originally Posted by dmanb2b
    Before you go spending money on replacing the sand, you may want to ensure the filter is operating properly.
    You got me to thinking... I was trying to solve the sand problem while I was down for maintenance on the pump. Pump motor has been on borrowed time lately. But what you said, clicked with me. What if the pump functioning poorly due to the motor made the sand filter not function 100%.

    I think I'll fix the pump motor first since that has GOT to happen. Then after running it for a week or so and back washing it REAL GOOD, I'll see if the sand is still black. If it is, then I'll repost with a status update - maybe some pictures.
    2nd Time Pool Owner - 1998 In Ground, Gunite/Plaster, 24' long x 19' wide x 4.5' deep, 20,000 Gallon, Chlorine, 2 Hp Hayward Ecostar with Sand.
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/my-on...le-t40734.html
    Cave Creek, Arizona

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    Re: Sand Color - Black?

    Before you check the color of the sand, run a high percentage (maybe 10-15ppm if your CYA is around 30-40) of clorox in your pool for a few hours and then backwash. rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat.

    You will very likely find that backwashing thoroughly and rinsing completely and keeping your FC at a high level will cure all those sand issues.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Sand Color - Black?

    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

    Pool School, TFTestKits, Pool Calculator

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    Re: Sand Color - Black?

    The chemicals did not work on my filter, same as in the picture you posted, but it didn't hurt anything.

    The backwash and bleach suggestions helped mine a lot.

    I haven't tried this, but if the other suggestions don't do the job you might try this my-sand-is-channeled-how-to-fix-it-t7626.html And so far as replacing sand, take a look at this sand-filter-expert-help-t30049.html#p247326
    My cement pond is a 36K gunite 20X40 built in mid 1960s, Hayward S244S filter, Aquarite SWCG, Jandy 1.5HP 2sp, TF-Test kit and Nitro Wall Climber

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    Re: Sand Color - Black?

    One thing I didn't pick up the first time thru this thread is the fact he said there are a few gallons of sand at the end of the backwash hose. That's not normal. Could be there's a cracked lateral.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: Sand Color - Black?

    I noticed that my backwash hose has a few gallons worth of sand near then end of it. Obviously this means I'm losing sand in the back wash process and since we bought this house a year ago I'm thinking that the previous owner did little to care for the pool the way they should have. I started wondering "how old is my sand?" And "is there any left in the tank?"
    Quote Originally Posted by bk406
    One thing I didn't pick up the first time thru this thread is the fact he said there are a few gallons of sand at the end of the backwash hose. That's not normal. Could be there's a cracked lateral.
    +1 On the filter lateral ....I missed it too, I can't see for looking!
    My cement pond is a 36K gunite 20X40 built in mid 1960s, Hayward S244S filter, Aquarite SWCG, Jandy 1.5HP 2sp, TF-Test kit and Nitro Wall Climber

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Sand Color - Black?

    It could be a cracked lateral but if that were the case he'd be getting sand in the pool I'd think.

    If the level in the filter looks right then it could have been overfilled and has just got backwashed out over time.

    I agree with holding the pool at shock level a day or two and see if the sand color improves. After you get the pump fixed.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: Sand Color - Black?

    I'm stoked... New pump arrives tomorrow. We will run that bad boy for a solid 48 hours and see what gives at the end.
    2nd Time Pool Owner - 1998 In Ground, Gunite/Plaster, 24' long x 19' wide x 4.5' deep, 20,000 Gallon, Chlorine, 2 Hp Hayward Ecostar with Sand.
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/my-on...le-t40734.html
    Cave Creek, Arizona

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    GTGallop's Avatar
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    Re: Sand Color - Black?

    New pump installed today - Hayward Ecostar. Nice rig. I really like it.

    Installer serviced the backwash valve too and discovered one of the seals was broken. I suspect this is where the sand on backwash issue was coming from. We shall see where we are Sunday night and see what condition the sand is in.
    2nd Time Pool Owner - 1998 In Ground, Gunite/Plaster, 24' long x 19' wide x 4.5' deep, 20,000 Gallon, Chlorine, 2 Hp Hayward Ecostar with Sand.
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/my-on...le-t40734.html
    Cave Creek, Arizona

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