Diatomaceous Earth Not Dissolving - DicaLite

wakerider017

Well-known member
Sep 26, 2018
81
Tampa, FL
Just as the title states - I am having some serious trouble getting my DE (DicaLite filter powder) to dissolve/mix with pool water. The DE seems to have some strong hydrophobic properties. I'm talking like Magic Sand hydrophobic levels!

I've always just dumped the DE powder right into the skimmer basket and cant remember ever having this problem before a few months ago... I know I should probably be making a slurry, but this has always worked well for me. I backwash and add DE probably once every 3 months.

I remember having a little bit of trouble getting it to mix a couple months ago, but when I went to add the DE today it was ridiculous... Something that usually takes me 5 mins (adding 6lbs of DE) ended up taking me an hour and made a horrible mess. I tried adding the first lb of DE to the skimmer and it just sat on top of the water. Stirring with a big spoon did hardly anything to get it to combine with the pool water. I then added 1lb at a time (first scooping the dry powder out of the skimmer) to a bucket along with around 4 gallons of pool water. I put the lid on the bucket and shook vigorously for around a minute.... That would dissolve around half of the powder with the remaining powder floating on top COMPLETELY DRY. Repeat, repeat, repeat. End result ended up with DE spilled on the pool deck and sheets of DE floating on top of the pool that missed the skimmer or came thru the skimmer because I was pouring too fast...

Any ideas what is going on? Bad DE (is that even possible)? Some parameter in my water messing things up (I just tested a few days ago using my TF-100 kit and everything seems within spec)?? Am I doing something wrong?? HELP!!
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
24,790
Northern NJ
Pool Size
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Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Was this a new bag of DE you started using?
 

wakerider017

Well-known member
Sep 26, 2018
81
Tampa, FL
Was this a new bag of DE you started using?

I probably opened this box of DE last time I did my backwash... Think it could have something to do with the batch of DE? But that seems odd as I ordered several boxes of DE on ebay a couple years ago that I have been working through.. This would be the first box from that shipment that has given me any issues.

Have you ever experienced any hydrophobic properties from DE before?
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
24,790
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
I have used this Big Splash DE Powder for years. I buy it locally for a lot less then this price. I like that it has individual 6 lb bags and I usually use one bag and the rest stays fresh and nothing blows around.


I would fill up a large bucket with tap water, add some of your DE, and see how well it dissolves.
 

wakerider017

Well-known member
Sep 26, 2018
81
Tampa, FL
Test Results in...

I filled a 5G bucket with about 1G of tap water and added a small cup of my DE powder. HYDROPHOBIC! P.S. I still had some DE floating on top of my pool skimmer this morning. Powder still dry as a bone.
I bought this stuff in bulk from ebay about a year ago... So I have 6 more 25lb boxes sitting in my garage. Yeah... I got a good deal.

I opened a new 25 lb box and tested that as a last resort - not expecting much... It dissolved in tap water instantly. I threw a handful in my skimmer and it also dissolved instantly.. So what does that mean? I got a bad batch of DE? DE doesn't expire or anything after being opened does it? Getting too hot or humid in the garage while open wouldn't do anything right?

Here is a video of me mixing the bad DE, so you believe how hydrophobic this stuff is....

 

wakerider017

Well-known member
Sep 26, 2018
81
Tampa, FL
That is totally weird.. I'm posting so I can follow along. Its the new GorTex.. water repellent yet breathable

Ha, some of the best scientific advancements were accidents right? I think I've heard penicillin and bubble gum were the results of mess ups in the lab?

I'm thinking I probably need to go out and break my filter apart to get this washed out now. Joy!

I also sent Dicalite an email to see if they had anything to say. 1 of my 6 additional boxes has been confirmed good - but I am wondering how many more bad ones I have sitting the garage.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
37,059
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I wonder if the stuff that will not dissolve is food or garden grade. It is heat treated.
 

wakerider017

Well-known member
Sep 26, 2018
81
Tampa, FL
I wonder if the stuff that will not dissolve is food or garden grade. It is heat treated.

This is the problem box. Identical to the other boxes. Not saying there could not have been a mix up at the factory though...

Dicalite already responded and said they have never heard of this... Great!! Lets see what they end up saying.. Hopefully they replace my defective product.

IMG_3691.jpeg

IMG_3692.jpeg
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
I would be curious how the lot numbers compare with the other boxes.. there was another owner that got Calcium Chloride instead of CYA from another pool chem source (it was rumored, or he mixed them up himself, or I am mixing up the stories) . Do you have a magnifying glass or microscope? What do they look like side by side under magnification. Maybe you got a box of corn starch or something.. (I'm having flashbacks to my college Chem 1A class).. it may be some other compound.
 

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mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
37,059
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
If it is packaged in Burney, all they mine is DE. Not sure if they do food / garden grade.
 

wakerider017

Well-known member
Sep 26, 2018
81
Tampa, FL
Update: Sounds like DicaLite is asking me to send the box of bad DE back. They said they would take care of me and replace any bad boxes I have - so that is good.

Interestingly - I found this patent when searching google... This seems like what I have.

 

wakerider017

Well-known member
Sep 26, 2018
81
Tampa, FL
I was Googling something else.. ;) I was hoping you didn't get an accidental shipment of somebody's "Breaking Bad" pool chem ... you know it always goes south with Heisenberg gets involved.
Ha too funny!!

Talked to Dicalite this morning and I'll be shipping the box back to them today for testing. They are going to replace all of the DE I have on hand so that makes me happy. I cracked my filter open yesterday and washed all the grids down. Added more 'normal' DE and everything seems fine. Hopefully there was no damage to anything.

I mentioned the above patent to the Dicalite rep this morning - he said they do make construction products that exhibit the characteristics I described and seen in the video... But those products are not made anywhere near their DE filter powder manufacturing plant... Who knows that happened, but it seems like something other than normal DE ended up in this box....
 
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