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Glass media vs. Sand media By most accounts, crushed glass functions perfectly well. But what advantages does it have over conventional quartz sand? Let’s do a side-by-side comparison. High-rate sand...
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Glass media vs. Sand media By most accounts, crushed glass functions perfectly well. But what advantages does it have over conventional quartz sand?

Let’s do a side-by-side comparison.

High-rate sand filtration: As the saying goes, why fix what isn’t broken? That’s a sentiment shared by some service techs when they consider changing out sand media with crushed glass. Sand is the old standby. It’s dependable and delivers predictable results.

The concept is simple: Solid turbid particles become lodged into the sand bed. As more dirt is captured in the sand bed, it becomes capable of filtering finer and finer particulate, up to a point.

In order for the filter to be effective, each grain of sand must be roughly the same size, generally 0.4 to 0.6 millimeters. The most common sand filter media is 20-grade silica, which creates a mesh so tight it can sieve particles as small as 20 microns. (To put that in perspective, the eye of a needle is 1,230 microns.) While silica is an effective filter media, it does have its setbacks. Over time, sand can clump, calcify and create channels where water slips through unfiltered. And in commercial settings, it needs to be back washed frequently — at least once a week for large-volume public pools. It’s generally recommended that the sand be replaced every five to eight years, as the grains eventually breakdown.