How Much DE to Add

How Much DE to Add?

How Much DE to Add?

“How much DE do I add to my filter?” is one of the common questions we get on a daily basis. We decided to put this article together as a quick cheat sheet when it is time to replace your DE powder. It is important to try and add the proper amount of DE to your filter, if you add too little DE then dirt, oils and debris may get embedded into your grids ruining them. If you add too much DE then it is possible to have bridging, meaning that the DE powder builds up too much between the grids reducing flow and filtering capacity. These two issues occur if you are way under or way over on your DE powder so if you are off by a scoop or so don’t sweat it.

New Filters & Full Cleaning’sDE Grid full cleaning

If you are starting with a brand new DE filter installation or doing a full cleaning meaning you are removing all of the DE fromyour filter grids then you will add 1 lb of D.E. powder for every 10 square feet (Sq. Ft.) of filter area. We suggest doing a full DE filter cleaning 1-2 times per year. Below are a few of the most popular DE filter sizes along with the required DE amounts.

  • 24 Sq. Ft. = 2.4 Lbs.
  • 36 Sq. Ft. = 3.6 Lbs.
  • 48 Sq. Ft. = 4.8 Lbs.
  • 60 Sq. Ft. = 6 Lbs.
  • 72 Sq. Ft. = 7.2 Lbs.

After Back-washing

Normally to clean your DE filter you perform a process called back-washing, this is a process where you use the backwash valve mounted on your filter to strip the dirty layer of DE off of your DE grids. When back-washing you do not remove all of the DE from the grids. Since you are not removing all of the DE powder
you will add roughly 80% of the DE powder compared to a full cleaning. Below are a few of the most popular DE filter sizes along with the required DE amounts after back-washing.

  • 24 Sq. Ft. = 1.9 Lbs.
  • 36 Sq. Ft. = 2.8 Lbs.
  • 48 Sq. Ft. = 3.8 Lbs.
  • 60 Sq. Ft. = 4.8 Lbs.
  • 72 Sq. Ft. = 5.7 Lbs.

How to Measure DE Powder?How Much DE Powder

Most likely you don’t have a scale by your pool, so the next question is… “How do I measure DE powder?” A lot of people use a 1 Pound coffee can to measure their DE powder as a 1 lb. coffee can is equal to ½ Lb. of DE powder. The problem with using a coffee can is that these days a 1 lb. coffee can is hard to find as they all seem to be 13 oz. To eliminate confusion we suggest getting a DE Scoop. A DE Scoop is specially designed to measure DE powder and 1 scoop is equal to 1/2 lb. of DE powder. To determine how many scoops or coffee cans of DE your filter requires take your filter square footage and divide by 5 (this would be after a full cleaning). After back-washing you would take your filter square footage and divide by 6. To make this easier we have listed the number of scoops needed for the most popular sized DE filters.

New Filters & Full Cleaning’s

  • 24 Sq. Ft. = 5 Scoops – Coffee Cans
  • 36 Sq. Ft = 7 Scoops – Coffee Cans
  • 48 Sq. Ft. = 10 Scoops – Coffee Cans
  • 60 Sq. Ft. = 12 Scoops – Coffee Cans
  • 72 Sq. Ft. = 14 Scoops – Coffee Cans

After Back-washing

  • 24 Sq. Ft. = 3 Scoops – Coffee Cans
  • 36 Sq. Ft. = 5 Scoops – Coffee Cans
  • 48 Sq. Ft. = 7 Scoops – Coffee Cans
  • 60 Sq. Ft. = 9 Scoops – Coffee Cans
  • 72 Sq. Ft. = 11 Scoops – Coffee Cans

Additional ResourcesDE Backwashing

If you are adding DE powder to your filter, then you may be doing other tasks like back-washing or replacing damaged DE grids so we created some articles and videos which will help walk through these common maintenance tasks.

The next time your pool is looking a little cloudy we hope you will come back to this article as your go to resource for adding DE powder to your pool filter. If you have any questions on determining how how much DE you need then post your questions in the comments below and we would be happy to help. You can always reach us toll free at 1-877-372-6038 and we would be happy to help.

71 thoughts on “How Much DE to Add?

  1. I just got a Hayward de6020 pro grid de filter. It has been working great, it got our water clear, however the pressure gauge goes up so fast. I backwash about 2 to 3 times a day which I think is crazy because the water is almost all clear now. Can anyone shed some light on this as to why it is making me backwash so much

    1. You say “water is almost completely clear” does that mean you have been dealing with algae or cloudiness issue? if so, that is probably the reason you are having to repeated backwashes. Once the water clears up, the need to backwash should disappear as well. you may want to try an additive like Pool First Aid or a flocculant.

      1. Yes we were dealing with a lot of algae. The water is not cloudy at all. We just have some debris left at bottom which needs to just be vaccummed up. We cleaned the filter yesterday but completely rising out the de off the grids . It was gross how dirty it was. We then added new de and had the everything running all night. Today the guage is up to 20 just drives me insane doing all this backwashing and spending money on the de.

  2. its pentair filters 450 for 4 I replaced the manifold rings top manifold and still the same I ran into 3 others people with same issues with quad de60 the replaced the filter complete unit 3 times and still the same. Pentair worst customer service doesn’t even care .Mahew what are your thought on then Fns plus old school rids which are in my opinion still the best ir the new clean and clear 520 0sqft cartridge only filter I hear lot of people are happy with results

  3. I have a quad de80 junk and these new cartridges aren’t built for de I don’t even know why they advertise them this way it passes de at start up for 15 seconds and it won’t stick to the grids after running 2 days pentair came out replace filters and manifold gaskets rings same and the stupid pipe that goes in middle that no use and still same there is sick them selves lol what a junk product its a hit or miss gone go back to real de filter 4000 series or new clear and clean whats are your thought we pulled out everything on new pool not issues wth plumbing

    1. Are you sure you purchased the right replacement DE elements? There are quite a few filter cartridges that match the dimensions of the Quad De’s filter elements but don’t use the same fabric, making for a bad fit, leading to DE leaks are you describe.

  4. Happens right as I start to vacuum. Seems it goes right through the filters, same thing when I add DE.

  5. My problem is quite unique. An archaic Anthony Pool, and filter from 1969, ( it’s a vertical filter, with large round screens) that unfortunately was never upgraded to an upright. The pool was a disaster, green it was, like a swamp until i got it under control. Afterwards, when I started to vacuum the pool, I noticed green water spewing back into the pool at each spout. I’ve replaced, (yes I actually found a place online that makes the round filters) each filter, and still have green entering when i vacuum. Any ideas on why this would be happening? I’m at my wits end.

  6. My DE filter is putting materials back into my pool including DE powder that is settling on the bottom of my pool. What should I check for?

  7. I have a sand filter, and was told to use d.e. i am not sure how much to use, my pool is a 15’x48″ above ground round pool.

  8. I have a Jacuzzi Landslide (LS55) DE filter. My grids are 18″ long in both 8.5″ & 7″ widths. How do I figure out the square footage and correct amount of DE?

  9. I have found out I have a Purex Triton DE filter. FNSP 36. 36″ filter I believe. Which would be .5 lbs per 5 sq ft.

    How much DE to add into clean grids and for backwashing?

  10. I’m relatively new to the inground pool thing. Our pump/filter caught fire last year so we borrowed a filter from a friend. The label on filter says 1 coffee can .5lbs per 5 sq ft. I have clue how much DE to add. How to you figure out sq footage?

  11. I have a Sand Filter and someone mentioned that using D.E. powder can help to catch some of micro particles that seem to pass through the sand. If this is so, how much and where to I apply (10,000 gallon pool, T180 filter). Or if you have any other suggestions on how to improve my sand filters cleaning/filtration I would greatly appreciate the advice!

    1. I have never tried it myself, but I have heard good things about the addition of DE to sand. Add DE by it directly into your skimmer, while the pump is running. Most tanks take about one to two cups for coverage, so I would start with one, let the filter run for a day or so. After that period, check the water clarity to determine if more needs to be added.

  12. I have a hayward de3620 filter. I did a cleaning of it and it was caked with muck. I thoroughly cleaned it. Now I see what looks like de in the pool and we’ve been swimming in it. So 2 questions.
    1. Is it ok to swim in it until I get new grids
    2. Is it probably a tear after being only 4 months old

  13. My de filter looks fine with de on all grids but when we are cleaning it there is some debris flowing back into the pool. How do I fix this so my pool is clean when I’m done.

    1. What kind of debris is it? Is it DE powder or silt of some sort? If it is DE, the grids may have a tear. If it is silt, then it would be weird because a DE filter should be able to scoop that up with no problem. But try some clarifier and/or Floc and vac to help the filter.

  14. Hi there, How would I find out how many sq ft my pool filter is? I’m new to this whole thing and we’ve just bought a new home with a 27,000 gallon rectangular inground pool. I have a Hayward 65 DE filter and when I have to backwash and re-add the DE powder, I’m trying to figure out how much to add and how to clean it. A bit overwhelming lol but I’m trying.

  15. Hi, I just purchased a bag of AquaPerl Perlite for my Pentair Quad D.E. 60. My manual says to add 12 scoops of D.E. to the filter. Would that mean that I would also use 12 scoops of Perlite since its a lot lighter than de?

  16. I added 5 lbs of DE to my 48 sf Hayward filter after a thorough cleaning. It turned my water cloudy. Will it clear up or do I have a problem?

    1. Is the cloudiness actually DE powder that got past your grids? If so you may have a torn grid or a cracked manifold. Inspect your filter grids when you get a chance.

  17. How about when opening your pool ? Do you prefer to put the DE in the second you turn on your pumps thru the skimmers? Or do you start with some DE in the filter before turning on? I packed my filter up for the winter time into the garage and got my grids back to DE free for winterizing so spring time I’m starting with fresh clean grids.

    Keep hearing different opinions on it though

  18. Hi my name is Barbara and since my husbands illness I am now trying to get the pool started. We added all new fresh water and I have a 15′ round pool. I bought a 12 lb. bag of DE and the filter says to add 6 lbs of DE, which is half of he bag. My husband says he has never added that much before, only about four coffee cans full. Do I use the whole half bag?

  19. my husband drained the pool. resurfaced it and let it cure for 6 days. it is refilled now but I can not get the pool to filter. the motor goes on, i filled the basket but it just empties. there is no suction in skimmer and no action at all in outlets unless i use hose water into the out let of the pump. does nothing but fill the pool. could the pipes be clogged and if so what would i use to declog them? thanks.

    1. Could you have the filter set to DRAIN instead of the filter cycle? If so, you may have suction at the drain and out, instead of the skimmer and re circulate back into the pool. Check your pump valve setting.

  20. I have a DE scoop that I got from a local pool supply that looks similar to the one pictured. When filled it weighs 1lb. Should I trust this weight or go by your guide?

    1. Just in case, are you being sure to zero your scale so you are not using the weight of the scoop itself in your calculations.

    2. Thanks for the info. I weighed my store DE scoop with and without DE powder and it was closer to 1 lb than a 1/2. I need to measure by weight now.

  21. I know this sound a little confusing but it’s well worth the time invested in learning how much DE powder to use.

  22. I used DE for many years in SoCal. It did the job, but many customers objected to washing the girds in their lawn or garden areas. We were not allowed to wash in to the street. I came across Perlite at a trade show. It proved to be a blessing. About half the weight of DE, it is used in potting soil as a water retainer, so no issue with washing in lawns or garden areas. Did a comparable job to DE, but i found it would backwash better and not fall to the bottom of the tank. Didn’t like the cellulose, seemed to filter too fine and stress the grids.

    1. I have heard of this Perlite but have not had any hands-on experience with it. From your descriptions it sounds like a product I should check into for my own pool. I’ll let you know what my findings are in a new blog.

        1. I myself have never used Perlite but most of the reviews and word of mouth is that it is a pretty good substitute for DE. The Perlite material is a little bit lighter, non-toxic, and backwashes a lot cleaner than DE. DE powder cakes on pretty thick, so much so, that even after a thorough backwash won’t dislodge parts of the material.

          I’d give it a try.

      1. I back washed my filter and before putting DE my pressure was 15. I barely put 2 scoops of DE using the DE scoop and pressure is back up to 20. Help! I’m afraid to put more DE. Sweep is running fine and all the baskets are empty

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