How To Install a Pool Sand Filter

Written by:  Danny Rhodehamel
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 (3.17 OUT OF 5 STARS ON 59 RATINGS)

This guide describes the steps required to install a Hayward sand filter. The picture at left shows the two major components of a typical sand filter: the Filter Tank and the Multiport Valve and piping assembly. When installed, the valve sets on top of the tank and the vertical pipe the lateral assembly are inside the tank.

Tips & Warnings

Step by Step

Step 1

Before starting installation, you will need to purchase 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 2

When installing the pool sand filter, you will connect it right after the pump. Pool water will come in through the pool pump, be filtered through the sand filter and released to the chlorinator before returning back to the pool. If you have a pool heater, the pool filter will release water to the heater before going to the chlorinator.

Step 3

The pool filter should be installed on a level concrete slab not more than 6 feet above the pool water level. Position the pool sand filter so that the piping connections, multiport valve and drain are convenient and accessible for operation and maintenance. Place the filter next to pump.

Step 4

Before you connect the pool sand filter into the piping system, you have to assemble the filter. First screw the pressure gauge to the 1/4" hole on the side of the filter. If the threads aren't prepared, wrap them with two layers of Teflon tape. Start in a clockwise direction at the first thread with a half width overlap for the full length of the thread. Be careful when screwing the gauge on. Use a wrench on the square nut on the final turns.

Step 5

Make sure drain cap is securely in place.

Step 6

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 7

Next you will be installing pipe and lateral assembly inside the tank. Separate the valve from the pipe and lateral assembly. Also make sure the 10 laterals at the end of the pipe are rotated up. They have to be in their up position to fit through the hole in the top of the tank. These laterals are somewhat fragile. Ensure that none are cracked or broken. Place the pipe and lateral assembly inside the tank.

Step 8

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

Step 9

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 10

The sand filter package comes with a cardboard sand shield. Place this over the pipe and within the opening.

Step 11

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 12

Lightly lubricate the valve/tank O-ring with a silicon lubricant and place it on the underside of the valve.

Step 13

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 14

Install clamp around the tank and valve flange. Loosely tighten clamp so that the valve can be rotated on the tank for final positioning.

Step 15

The next step is to connect the "PUMP" port of the multiport valve to discharge side of pump. You will need to screw a straight thread adapter (purchased at a hardware store) into the "PUMP" port. To help seal this connection wrap two layers of Teflon tape the adapters. Start in a clockwise direction at the first thread with a half width overlap for the full length of the thread.

Step 16

Screw the adapter into the "PUMP" port. Hand tighten than wrench tighten no more than 1/2 to 1 1/2 additional turns. Do not over tighten or you cause the joint to fail.

Step 17

Cut a short piece of pipe and glue it to the adapter. Make sure the pipe and inside of the adapter are clean. Gluing is a two-step process. First apply a thin but even coat of purple primer on each surface to be joined: the outside of the pipe and the inside of the adapter. After the primer dries, apply a thin even coat of glue to both surfaces. Immediately push the pipe all the way into the adapter and twist 1/4 turn to spread the glue. Wait 30 seconds for the glue to set.

Step 18

Glue on a union to facilitate future maintenance on the pool sand filter or pump. In 5-7 years you will have to disconnect the multiport valve from the tank to change the filter sand. A union will save you from having to cut it out of the piping.

Step 19

Screw another adapter into the discharge side of the pump then add piping and elbows required to connect the filter and pump ports.

Step 20

Connect the "RETURN" port to a line returning to the pool. In a basic system this connection will probably be to the Chlorinator. Also add a union to this line for future maintenance.

Step 21

Connect up the "WASTE" port up to a waste water hose. Note: This picture does not show the water hose.

Step 22

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 23

Your new pool sand filter should now be ready to operate. Generally you would want to backwash the sand filter now, but if you have a new concrete of gunite pool, or have a large amount of dust or debris, start the filter in the "FILTER" setting initially (NOT "BACKWASH") to prevent clogging the laterals. After a couple of hours on FILTER, go to the next step and start the BACKWASH cycle.

Step 24

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 25

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

Step 26

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 27

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

Step 28

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 29

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

Step 30

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. As contaminates build up and clog your sand the pressure will climb. When it is 8-10 psi above your clean filter reading, it's time again to backwash your filter.

Comments (1 to 40 of 95)

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User: Inyopools

Laterals - I don't really understand your question. Are you trying to get the laterals out of the tank? Depending on the make of your sand filter, some laterals rotate up from the hub as shown here while other are individually screwed out of the hub.

User: 

I have a sand filter I need to put the sand back in. The laterals don't bend. Is there a easy way to to do this?

User: Inyopools

Pool boy - If you lost prime when you were vacuuming, you may have a leak in your vacuuming line. Can you shut that line off and try priming with only the regular filtering line open? Fill the pump for 5 minutes to get water back in the suction line. Also, if you had a lot of debris in your pool that went into a cartridge filter, you should clean that out good. If you have a sand filter, try replacing the top 6" of sand to get some flow so you can backwash 2-3 times.

User: Pool boy

I just hooked up a gifted Hayward pump filter, short of a few leaks I had great success. Before turning it off for the night I decided to vacuum the pool. Doing so I lost my prime-I proceeded to run through the start up procedure again, my hope is I didn't plug the system it will not fill with water. Any quick fix ideas??

User: Inyopools

Dougjonz - For the Hayward S180T filter shown in this guide, the filter discharge port connects to a 1 1/2" PVC pipe, the larger filter will connect to 2" pipes.

User: Dougjonz

Do you happen to know the size of the pipe connected to the filter discharge? Is it 1.5" PVC

User: Inyopools

danny - These drain caps usually come with an O-ring. Did you inspect and replace the O-ring? And if it still leaks, try wrapping 3-4 layers of plumber tape around the drain port threads.

User: danny

I installed a new screen and drain cap on my hayward sand filter. I tightened it as tight as I could but could not stop it from leaking. Any suggestions?

User: Inyopools

Newhouse-oldpool - See our guide on "How To Go From Cloudy To A Crystal Clear Pool" for a possible solution for your cloudy water. And your can put a small amount of DE in the filter now.

User: Newhouse-oldpool

Thanks for the quick response. Regardin the flakiness-- that is all gone. Only when i first brushed/vac'd the pool did i see flakes. Its as if it all dissolved now, as i do not see any debris floating- just very cloudy water. No change after the filter ran three days straight. pH,alk, and chlorine levels were good when we tested water two days ago at local pool store. I also have a solar cover on top all week so there is no new debris falling in.... So whatever it is is just not filtering out even with new sand. Sand when i checked in old pump did have larger old debri in it though (even after several, prbably too many, backwashes). I was going go with zeolite filter media this time instead of sand... Can i add cellulose or a small amount of DE rigt away or should i give several days of running before adding any extras to filter?

My bags of shock i believe have tri-chlor.. Should i put a different type of shock in when i shock for this weekend?

User: Inyopools

Newhouse-oldpool - The "white flakyness" may still be in your filter and is recirulating. This should be solved with the new pump and filter but you may have to backwash 2-3 times. If there is no Rinse setting, you would Backwash then go to Filter. Recirculate just bypasses the filter. Waste also bypasses the filter. See our guide on "How a Multiport Valve Operates".

User: Newhouse-oldpool

We bought a new house last year. Swamp green pool. Got the water to a cloudy blue before closing for winter. Opened a couple weeks ago and everything settled to bottom - white flakyness when I brushed it (should have vac'd to waste but didnt know). Now water is very cloudy. Got chemicals to good levels and ran filter for at least 3 days straight and change. What could be wrong? I also tried some clarifier and it did nothing.
Notes: 10,0000 above ground gallon pool. Good flow, new sand, old filter and pump. 4 setting valvle (no rinse). I forgot to backwash initially when first running with the new sand..

(We order an entirely new filter+pump which arrives tomorrow -- if there is no rinse setting -- should I backwash and then go straight to filter? Or Recirculate? Or waste and THEN Filter?)

Sorry for so many questions. New to this!!

User: Inyopools

soap suds - Try backwashing and rinsing the filter 2-3 times in a row to clear whatever has collected in the new sand.

User: 

Hope you can help. Just opened the above ground pool, new sand in filter. But there is a white film. like soap suds coming out of the filter. It was there before putting in chemicals. What have I done wrong?

User: Inyopools

Trouble in Florida - If you have good water flow, it sounds like you have to replace your pressure gauge.

User: Trouble in Florida

I just changed out the and three weeks ago and just noticed that the pressure indicator is showing 0 psi still. I backwashed it and a bunch of junk came out but it still shows 0 psi. Is this normal or could it be a bad indicator? Thanks

User: Inyopools

gunney - If you pool package provides hoses, I would use those. Installation would be easier than having to hard plumb the piping. The ports are usually labeled. Connect the waste line to the port labeled "Waste". And I'm not sure how your vac hose is set up, but generally that debris is run through the valve at the "Waste" setting.

User: gunney

should i hard plumb my filter or just use the hoses that came with the pool.also i have a plastic adapter {clear} and was told to place it in the one port that had nothing in it,this would be the waste port.correct? my next question is can i use my (vac,) hose to run the waste through off this plastic thing? (there is a hole all the way through it)to get it far away from the pool area.

User: gunney

this was very very helpful as this is the 1st time i will be using a sand filter.thank you i will let you know how well this worked tomorrow.

User: Inyopools

liz - Not sure on this one. Try to find the owner's manual on this pool. We have a link to large list of owner's manuals at the bottom of this each product page under "Resources".

User: Inyopools

gunney - We recommend filling the tank half full of water before adding the sand to protect the laterals at the bottom of the tank.

User: liz

Just put a new liner in above groud pool. The inlet has 3 gaskets. How are they placed? One is cork and two are rubbery. Thanks

User: gunney

i was told at the pool store to fill thge sand tank with just enough water to cover the little legs in the bott5om then add the sand.is this correct?

User: Inyopools

kidzilove - Sounds like you have a blown spider gasket in your multiport valve. See our guide on "How to Replace a Spider Gasket on a Multiport Valve" for more information.

User: kidzilove

Just opening our pool and when i put the pump to recirculate, it actually comes out the backwash hose. I need to recirculate to add sink and sweep, what could be going wrong??

User: Inyopools

Lucy - Try taking the gauge off and wrapping 3 or 4 layers of plumber's tape around the threads. If that doesn't work, you may have to replace the gauge.

User: Lucy

We have a Hayward above ground sand filter. Turned it on today and there's a leak around the gauge on the back of the top. Any suggestions? We can't figure it out.

User: Inyopools

lew - Hard to tell from the description. Could be a Salt Chlorine Generation system or an activity sensor. Please send a picture to dennis@inyopools.com.

User: lew

Hi -- I bought a home with an aboveground 6000-gallon pool. Besides the pump and filter, there is another piece of equipment I can't identify. A strange-looking plastic contraption about 10 inches long is mounted on the top edge of the pool and extends into the water about an inch or two. A 16 gauge power cord runs from it to a weatherproof black box about 4x3x2 1/2 inches in size. Another power cord comes out of the box and is plugged into a 120v outlet. There is a knurled knob on the box which seems to have two settings. There is no writing on the box. Any ideas what it might be? Thanks.

User: Inyopools

kermit - Sounds like your filter may be clogged. If you add too many non-standard chemicals, they can start to gum up the sand. Or check your spider gasket in the Multiport Valve. It may be damaged and water isn't going where it is supposed to. If you've had problems this long, it's probably time to have someone else look at your system.

User: kermit

Professional pool service provider installed a new sand filter about 8 months ago. Our pool is always cloudy, constantly needing chemicals and will not clear. When secondary or sweep is turned on there is cloud of dirt coming from sweep. Pool provider swears there in nothing wrong with filter. He made a mistake when installing but claims it was corrected (had to remove all sand from filter and reinstall). This is a rental and tenets are very frustrated not being able to use the pool.

User: Inyopools

sand in pool - It may be the quality of the sand filter. Some do not contain the sand well. Or, if you just added new sand, it may be due to fine sand that gets through the filter. Try vacuuming the sand off the bottom of the pool in the waste filter mode to eliminate much of the fine sand.

User: 

Just installed a brand new filter and pump. But shortly after I vacuum I notice sand on the bottom. It happened with our last filter as well. Where is the problem please????

User: Inyopools

Stand Pipe Connection - The stand pipe should not be glued onto the multiport valve. The pipe fits fairly snugly into the top of the multiport valve.

User: 

Hi,

The multi port control valve just seem to slide lose on the stand pipe. Shouldn't this be a water tight connection?

Thanks

User: Inyopools

gg424 - In the case of this filter, there is an O-ring between the Multiport Valve (top) and the tank that seals the two sections together when the clamp is applied.

User: gg424

Does the top of the filter fight tight to the tank? or is there a space for the clamp to fit?

User: Inyopools

sdg12 - I assume by sticker you mean the label on top of the multiport valve that shows the valve settings. I have incorporated a larger picture of the label in step 24. Click on the picture to expand it. Hope this works for you. I'm trying to build a collection of better label pictures that customers can copy and use.

User: sdg12

I am needing the sticker of the top of the filter. Mine blew away in a storm. A picture would even work! I tried the pic you have here, but it wouldn't let me blow it up! Any help? Thank you!

User: Inyopools

McAsku - Not necessarily. If your old pool filtration system was sized correctly with your current piping and you are not adding significant water features, you should be able to use your existing piping. Generally it is a fairly costly process to dig up and replace your pool piping.

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depending on which product you are using.