If you have a sand pool filter for your swimming pool, you’re probably grateful for how well it keeps your pool clean. After all, no one likes swimming and feeling the grit and grime of dirt and debris floating around.
Part of having a properly working sand pool filter is maintenance. If you’ve just installed a filter recently and think it’s time for your first cleaning but have questions, don’t worry.
In this article, we’re going over the step-by-step instructions you need when you’re wondering how to clean a sand pool filter.
First, we’ll help you understand how the sand pool filter works so you can better grasp the importance of cleaning. Then, we’ll review all of the important tools you’ll need to gather before cleaning can begin. Then, we’ll share just how you can clean it and deep clean it when the pool calls for it. We’ll wrap up with a few helpful tips to keep it in tip-top shape.
Table of Contents
Understanding the Sand Pool Filter
A sand pool filter is a popular choice to keep swimming pools clean, as it is a great way to keep out debris and unwanted particles from where you swim. While you might think a sand pool filter removes sand and dirt from pools, that’s not actually where it got its name. A sand pool filter uses sand as a filter, trapping larger debris that tries to pass through so that only clean water gets back to the pool.
Water cycles through a canister filled with sand. Water will pass through with ease, but any larger particles will get stuck on the way. Once the filter has removed any large particles with the sand, it pumps back in the clean water. As time goes on, the filter becomes more efficient since more debris helps keep even smaller particles from passing through the sand.
Sand filters don’t use fiber parts of paper like some other filters do, which means there’s much less of a risk of clogging or tearing. Because of this, sand pool filters can last for years with very minimal maintenance.
However, if you want it to continue working for you for years to come, you should know how to clean a sand pool filter when the time comes.
When to Clean It
Do sand pool filters need to be cleaned? How do you know when it’s time to clean it? There are two main indicators that the time has come, so here’s what to look for:
- Pressure Gauge – Does your pressure gauge have a reading that is above the normal operating level by 8-10 PSI?
- The Look of the Pool – Take a look at your pool. Does the water seem murky to you? What about cloudy?
If you answered yes to one or both of these questions, then it’s definitely time to clean out your sand pool filter. The cleaning process is known as “backwashing,” which reverses the flow of water, sending the debris out of the pump through a waste house rather than back into your pool.
What You Need
When you’re ready to clean the sand pool filter, here’s what you’ll need:
- Sand filter cleaner ( a product you can buy from a pool store)
- Backwash hose
- Owner’s manual for the pool filter
- General understanding of how the system works (provided above)
How to Clean It
Wondering how you clean a sand filter? Follow this fifteen-step process and you’ll have a clean sand pool filter before you know it.
- Turn off the pump before you do anything else. This protects all of the pump’s internal components.
- Close valves on return lines and the suction. This will prevent the debris from going back into your pool.
- Open the pump cover and empty the filter basket of any debris that is inside.
- Refit the cover of the pump securely back in place.
- Attach the backwash hose and open the valve to let the outlet begin to drain.
- Turn the pump’s lever to its BACKWASH setting.
- Then, open the valves to the pump’s suction and return lines.
- Now you can go ahead and start the pump.
- Backwash the filter until it runs clear, which usually takes anywhere from 1-2 minutes or until the water you can see in the sight glass looks clear. Make sure any electric heater is turned off.
- Once it’s finished you can turn off the pump.
- Turn the lever to the RINSE setting.
- Allow the pump to rinse for about 45 seconds. This may be longer or shorter for you depending on how dirty your filter is.
- Turn the pump off.
- Turn the valve to FILTER, which is its normal position.
- Finally, you can close the drain outlet and turn the pump back on as normal. If you had to turn an electric heater off earlier, you can turn that back on as well.
For a video tutorial, we recommend the Step-By-Step Guide on How To Clean A Pool Sand Filter by Ecological Time below-
How to Thoroughly Deep Clean It!
If you want to give it a more thorough clean, you should repeat steps 1-14 and then do the following:
- Turn the valve to FILTER and take off the pump’s strainer lid.
- Pour your sand filter cleaner into the strainer basket, putting the lid back on.
- Turn the pump on for as long as it takes for the cleaner to transfer from the pump into the filter. This typically takes around 15 seconds.
- Turn your pump off. Leave it like this for 8 hours if possible. A bit longer is okay, too.
- Backwash your filter as you did previously but for longer, about 3-5 minutes. This will remove all debris, dirt, and the sand filter cleaner you added.
- Turn your system back on as normal.
Our Final Thoughts on Properly Cleaning Swimming Pool Sand Filters
Need help to remember when to clean your pool sand filter?
Use a visual reminder or an electronic timer to keep you on schedule.
Also, know how to properly winterize your pool sand filter with an above ground swimming pool if you have one.
While there’s no set frequency for how to clean a sand pool filter, a reminder every few months can encourage you to check the filter and determine how far out you are from cleaning.
Remember, a clean swimming pool is a happy pool.
You made a smart choice investing in a sand pool filter to keep your pool free from dirt and debris, but it still needs a little upkeep here and there, including occasionally changing the sand in the pool filter. Check it every once in a while to ensure it stays clean and working properly.
Hello, I am a writer and marketing specialist in Kansas City, MO. My love for swimming pools started as a child when I would visit my aunt & uncle’s inground swimming pool on a frequent basis over the summer. Since then I have taught swimming lessons at a Boy Scout Camp, participated in the full setup, installation and maintenance of my father’s inground swimming pool, as well as enjoyed constantly researching everything there is to know about swimming pools for 5+ years. I enjoy all water related sports, being part of the online swimming pool community and always learning new things!