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What is DE? (D.E. Diatomaceous Earth)

Published by Matt Fichera on 11/05/2019

What is DE? (D.E. Diatomaceous Earth)

Diatomaceous Earth

DE is a common term that’s used in the pool industry. If you own a pool you’ve probably heard it used. It’s not uncommon however, to ask the question, “Just what the heck is it exactly?”

Diatomaceous Earth (DE or D.E. for short) is made up of sedimentary rock. It contains skeletal and/or fossilized remains of many billions of organisms that are microscopic such as algae or other plant like entities. These are called diatoms and are chemically inert. The skeletons are called silica and it's typical to find these in deposits which are usually mined from places like rivers, streams, lakes, and even oceans. These sponge-like features help to explain why it works so well at filtering out the impurities contained in water.

In today’s world of pools, it’s very important to have a functioning pump and filter setup. Water that’s moving tends to stay healthier longer while routine and efficiently being sent through a filter. There are three types of filters that can be used, there’s sand, cartridge, and you guessed it, diatomaceous earth. DE is the finest filtration available as it gets your pool water all of the way down to 2 to 3 microns. Sand only filters down to approximately 20 microns and cartridge filters down to 10 microns.

DE filters copper, iron and manganese out of the pool water. This is important because if you leave these metals in the water, the chlorine that you use will react to them and turn the pool water milky white (mild reaction), green (middle reaction), or brown (extreme reaction). The brown water also is not good because it has been known to stain the surfaces of the pool.

This scenario is also very common if your home is on a well. When the initial reaction occurs, it is not uncommon for people to mistake the green water as an algae bloom when in fact it is the chlorine reacting to the metals in the water.

We sell several different types of diatomaceous earth and would be glad to help advise on getting you setup with using this as a media for your filter.