How To Change Sand In a Sand Filter

Written by:  Danny Rhodehamel
rate: 
 
 (3.79 OUT OF 5 STARS ON 16 RATINGS)

Every 5 - 7 years you will have to replace the sand in your sand filter. The sand actually wears out. The sharp edges of the sand particles become worn and rounded and don't capture the contanimates as well. Also the sand will start to ball up or the water will create channels thru the sand. You will notice that your pool water is not as clean or the interval between required backwashes is shorter. This guide shows you the steps required to replace the sand in your sand filter.

Tips & Warnings

Step by Step

Step 1

To change the sand in your sand filter you will have to remove the Multiport Valve on the top of your filter. If your filter was not installed with union connections, you will have to cut the piping to your filter. When you reinstall the filter after replacing the sand, this would be a good time to add unions.

Step 2

Before you start to change the sand in your filter, be sure to purchase any material or equipment you will need ahead of time. This might include sand, the O-ring between the valve and the tank, Teflon tape, lubricant, and unions. For the sand use only high rate No. 20 Silica Sand. An example is pictured at left. Check the manufacturer to determine the amount required. This unit (Hayward S180T) uses 3 50 lb bags of sand - 150 lbs total. You can also purchase our superior to sand Click here for our Sand Alternative.

Step 3

Before you start to change the sand, make sure you TURN OFF THE POOL PUMP. For maximum safety turn off the power at the circuit breaker to the pump.

Step 4

Next release the pressure in the filter tank by turning the drain cap at the bottom of the tank a half a turn counter-clockwise. Then remove the cap completely to drain the water out of the tank.

Step 5

Disconnect the waste hose that is attached to the "WASTE" line coming off the Multiport Valve.

Step 6

To remove the Multiport Valve unscrew unions that connect the piping to the "PUMP" and "RETURN" ports. If your filter does not have unions, cut the piping that connects these two ports. Be sure to leave enough room to attach unions later and stagger the cuts so that one union will not be installed on top of the other.

Step 7

Next take off the Multiport Valve flange clamp that holds the filter onto the tank. Screw off both bolts to separate the clamp. Keep track of the vinyl protector caps that are placed over the ends of the screws.

Step 8

With a gentle twisting motion, lift the valve off the pipe inside the tank. If you pull too fast or hard, you risk breaking the lateral pipes at the bottom of the tank.

Step 9

Tape the top of the pipe to prevent sand from entering and clogging the laterals.

Step 10

Remove sand carefully with a plastic cup until you can see the tops of the laterals at the bottom of the tank. If you have a wet and dry shop vac, it might be an easier and faster option to remore your sand.

Step 11

Gently pull the pipe and lateral assembly out of the rest of the sand. Then before you pull the assembly out of the tank, carefully rotate the 10 laterals up to the side of the pipe so that they will clear the hole.

Step 12

Lift the pipe and lateral assembly out of the tank.

Step 13

Check each of the laterals for breaks and replace as necessary. If the laterals are badly clogged you may want to soak them in a bucket of cleaning solution.

Step 14

Wash out the tank with a garden hose.

Step 15

Check the drain cap for cracks and replace it securely.

Step 16

Fill tank about 1/2 way full with water to provide a cushion when the sand is poured in. This will help protect the laterals.

Step 17

Next you will be replacing the pipe and lateral assembly back inside the tank. Make sure the 10 laterals are rotated up. Place the pipe and lateral assembly inside the tank.

Step 18

After the lateral assembly is inside, carefully rotate the 10 laterals 90 degrees in their down position.

Step 19

Make use the pipe is centered in the opening. Tape the top of the pipe to prevent sand from entering and clogging the laterals.

Step 20

The sand filter package came with a cardboard sand shield. If you still have this shield, place this over the pipe and within the opening. If not, you will have to take more care that the pipe remains centered when you pour in the sand.

Step 21

Pour sand carefully into the pool sand filter until laterals are fully covered. For this unit 3 bags should leave at least 6" space between the top of the sand and the top of the filter. Level sand as you pour and make sure the center pipe remains centered in the opening. Be careful when leveling the sand that you do not lift the pipe and lateral assemble up off the bottom of the tank. You will not be able to push the pipe back down without causing the laterals to rotate up.

Step 22

Remove the O-ring on the bottom of the Multiport valve and check it for wear. Since you only do this every 5-7 years, it's probably a good idea to replace this O-ring now. Lightly lubricate the O-ring with a silicon lubricant and place it on the underside of the valve.

Step 23

Remove tape from top of pipe. Slip the Multiport control valve onto the central pipe - check the O-ring to ensure it is positioned correctly.

Step 24

Install clamp around the tank and valve flange. Tighten multiport valve flange clamp with a screwdriver. Tap around the clamp with the screwdriver handle as you are tightening the clamp to help seat the clamp properly. Place vinyl protector caps over the ends of the screws.

Step 25

Reconnect the two unions to the "PUMP" and "RETURN" ports. If you did not have unions, add unions now or glue the pipes back together with straight couplers.

Step 26

With the pump OFF, depress the multiport valve handle fully and turn it to the "BACKWASH" position. Make sure that your waste line is rolled out to where you want to dump the pool waste water.

Step 27

Prime and turn ON the pool pump. Be sure that you have at least one suction and all discharge lines open.

Step 28

Run the pool pump for 2 minutes after you have a steady flow of water out the waste line (after the pump is fully primed). This will flush all the impurities or fine sand particles out of the sand media.

Step 29

Turn the pool pump OFF and turn the valve handle to "RINSE".

Step 30

Turn the pump back ON and run until the water in the sight glass is clear. This should take no more than 1 minute.

Step 31

Turn the pool pump OFF and turn the valve handle to "FILTER".

Step 32

Turn the pool pump ON. This is the normal operating mode for your filter. Note the pressure gauge reading. This is your clean sand filter pressure.

Comments (1 to 40 of 63)

Add Comment



User: Inyopools

Toniamcm - Sounds like everything's as it should be. The sight glass is only connected to the "waste" line so water will only show during backwashing - will be empty during filtering. 15 psi is a good reading for pressure. If your sand hasn't been changed for seven years, you are probably due for a sand change. It will improve filtering. Otherwise you can run the filter and pump as is.

User: Toniamcm

I have a Hayward filter. I am getting it ready for summer. Everything is working except the sight bulb doesn't hold any water when filtering. I am not losing prime, and I have back washed and rinsed several times. The bulb will hold water when backwashing. The pressure gauge is working, but shows only 15 psi pressure. The sand hasn't been changed for seven years, would this be the cause? Can I run the pump and filter like it is until I can get it fixed. Will this damage anything?

User: susag

My shop vac was not as effective as runninng a hose in the tank to make a slurry and just taking a 1" hose and start a sucktion and then letting it drain out. Just have to make sure the hose stays a fraction of an inch away from the sand.

User: Inyopools

sand in pool - Some sand has a fine sand in the mix that goes through the filter. When you change your sand, the "rinse" cycle usually clears this sand out of your new sand. But you are past this point. Try vacuuming the sand on the floor and purging it to your waste line. Also check your multiport valve spider gasket to make sure it is not damaged.

User: 

I have changed the sand and checked the latterals for damage but after restarting the pump for 6-8 hours the bottom of my pool has sand in it. I took the filter apart again and rechecked everything again and still have the same problem.

User: Marge

Well I decided to change the sand on my filter. Everything s perfect . All of the advise and comments and questions asked by others really helped do the trick with 100degree temp today it just worked out great!!!!!!!!!!!

User: Marg

I have Hayward model s166t sand filter. Filter water into pool good but backwash just trickling out should I change sand

User: Inyopools

Laterals - The laterals I have seen have slots all the way around the circumference of the lateral. But if the slots on your laterals are only on one side, I do not think it will matter if the slots are up, down, or sideways. The water will get through them in any position.

User: 

Should the slots in the laterals be pointing up, down, or sideways?

User: 

I just replaced sand in jacuzzi filter. I was very careful to keep the tube resting on the bottom while pouring in sand. I'm unable to connect multi port valve to tube because of 1/2" gap between them. Can anything be done to avoid doing it all over again? Thanks in advance for reply.

User: Inyopools

loose filter clamp - Unfortunately, it sounds like you are going to have to remove the sand again to place the stand pipe further down in the tank.

User: 

Good day,my filter is leaking under the clamp, ive replaced the o- ring with no success. Ive called a pool company and they suggested that the pipe may have shifted, and to keep trying to get a good seal, or remove the sand and refill it?

User: Inyopools

pbivens - The filter manufacturers strongly recommend not trying to repair a cracked filter. There is a high risk of them exploding.

User: pbivens

I have a crack in the seam near the top of my older black composite material Hayward pool filter tried JB weld epoxy from outside and worked for one or two hours nowgoing inside, use JB again or something else??????

User: Inyopools

Changing sand - Some people purge the old sand through the filter drain. But you still have to pull the top off to add sand. Another option is to switch to a Cartridge filter. The cartridges are relatively easy to lift out, clean and replace.

User: 

this is a hard thimg to do if there is an eaiserway to change sand I want it

User: Inyopools

Rich - It may be that your new sand is not yet "dirty" enough to backwash dirty water. Note: Your sand filter will filter more efficiently if it has some level of debris in the sand. Don't filter too frequently. Wait until your filter's psi increases 10 psi or so.

User: Rich

I just changed the sand in my sand filter (Hayward s180T) and started filtering my pool but when I back wash the filter the water is clear. I'm used to seeing dirty water that then changes over to clean after a few minutes. Any thoughts? Thanks

User: Inyopools

Dave - Sounds like you have a blockage in your system. In the sand filter, check the laterals on the bottom of the pipe that runs through the middle of the tank. See if they are clogged. Then look at your old motor to see if your problem was a clogged impeller.

User: Inyopools

Mark - I had to talk to the filter rep on this one. If the filter cycle is working and there is no flow through the backwash and rinse cycle, he thinks your problem must be a blown spider gasket. If the water isn't going out the waste port at those settings, it has to be going somewhere. If the gasket is blown, the water is probably still going back to the pool. I would check to see if you have strong flow back to the pool in the backwash cycle. If so, you probably need to replace the spider gasket in your multiport valve. Remember to turn off your pump every time you change the valve setting.

User: Dave

I use my sand filter on my pond. The pump is in the collector box, which has a filter, and then is pumped through the sand filter. Last year the flow was fine. This year its a trickle and the motor burned out. It was 1/3 hp and a little small for the job. The sand is only two years old so wondering how to fix the trickle?

User: Mark

I have this exact filter and after completing these steps the backwash and rinse cycles barely flow out of the discharge. The normal filter cycle works fine. I opened the valve and found nothing irregular. The end of last season all worked fine.
Any idea what might have happened when I replaced the sand, and how to fix it?

User: Inyopools

6 bags sand - I just reread the installation instructions for this series of Hayward filters and it does say that 300# of sand is required for the S244T. In a statement for all models, it says "Sand surface should be leveled and should come to within 6" of the top of the filter tank". So it is not clear why your sand level is not at least close to the 6" line. I would add enough sand to get to the 6" line for best filtration.

User: 

Hayward S244T filter requiring 300 lbs of sand - Six 50 lb bags of quickcrete pool sand did not come anywhere near 6 inches from the top. Is this normal?

User: Paul

Excellent step by step instructions...you can't mess it up! I have a Super Clear filter. This was my first sand change ever, saved me a couple hundred bucks. When I turned it back on, no sand in the pool. The system seems to be running great. Thank you!

User: Inyopools

lisa - There will always be some loose sand initially, but that problem should go away after a couple hours of use. To minimize this problem, try running the filter is RINSE mode again for 2 more minutes. This compacts the sand. If you still have sand in your returns,  you may have to take the sand out again to look at the laterals attached to the bottom of the standpipe. They are somewhat fragile and are often a source of sand leaking into the pool.

User: lisa

after completing this process, i can see sand in the glass when back washing. is this a problem, i don't want to start filtering if something is wrong.

User: 

great instructions - keep it simple always works!! Thank you

User: anixon

Thanks so much for this information. I completed this process without a hitch. It was much easier than I anticipated. Thanks for saving some big dollars!

User: InyoPools

Mike - You may have to take the sand out again to look at the laterals attached to the bottom of the standpipe. They are somewhat fragile and are often a source of sand leaking into the pool. Also check your spider gasket in the multiport valve and make sure it is sound. When you refill the tank with sand , make sure to leave at least 6” of space at the top of the tank and backwash the new sand to remove fine sand and dust.

User: Mike

After changing out sand I was getting sand distributed into my pool through the filter. I would vacuum and it would just re-enter immediatley. Lived with it this season but now upon winterizing I can find no breaks within the system?

User: InyoPools

Bob - No, a sand filter does not take iron out of the water. We would recommend using Jacks Magic Iron, Cobalt and Spot Etching Stuff at this link: http://www.inyopools.com/Products/06800006044637.htm

User: Bob

My sand replacing job is well over a decade past due and now that I have seen the instructions clearly laid out, I'll take on the task.
Question.
Does the sand filter take iron out of the water?
The reason I ask is that I have had a serious iron deposit stain show up on the side of the pool this year that was never there before.

User: InyoPools

Concord - If you have a large pump and a unmatched smaller filter, the pump can drill channels through your sand over time and cause a drop in pressure. If your pump and filter are matched, you might have too much equipment on your system. Did you recently add a suction cleaner to your system? One filter manufacturer commented that his water pressure dropped significantly when he added a suction cleaner.

User: jray

wow i didn't think it would so easy to change the sand. my was so bad it looked like mud thanks for the clip it made the job much easier

User: 

Thanks so much for this information. My pool has been cloudy all summer even with a myriad of treatments suggested by the pool store techs. I think this is the final "fix" for my pool problem and it will save me a few hundred dollars.

User: Concord

After five years my filter pressuer came down from 18 to 10 and I in jets I see bubbles, so I change almost all o rings and gasket of the pump , but still the same, I am wandering if filter has to do with it.I open the sand filter drain the water, it was about 10 water above the sand but water was dripping from the release portion of the filter at the bottome , need to know If I have to change the sand or not to bring the psi back to normal.thanks in advance.

User: emeryplumbing

Thank you for posting directions on how to change sand, it was very helpful.

User: InyoPools

shop vac - Good suggestion to use a shop vac to extract the sand! I added it to step 10.

User: 

Easy peezy thanks so much the directions are very good and step by step is good. Took hubby and I about 3 hrs to complete .Thank - you

  1     2    

Back To Top

Please Note:

Inyo Pool Products is not responsible for any injury or damaged equipment
while using our guides. Using our guides is doing so at your own risk.
These guides are suggested use of your pool or spa equipment and may vary
depending on which product you are using.