How To Install a Pool Sand Filter

Written by:  Danny Rhodehamel

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 66)

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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.


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.



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


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.

User: McAsku

If I have a pool company install a brand new hayward filtration system, motor, pump and filter, for an inground pool,do they change the lines in the ground?

User: angela

Great step-by-step easy to understand directions. Thanks for sharing!

User: Inyopools

mark - These pool filters are designed to work outside rain or shine.

User: mark

are these filters ok to leave outside if its raining or do they need cover might sound silly but never had one before

User: Inyopools

leaking main drain - You should have a set of diverter valves in your pool system. One of them should be set up to control the flow of water from your main drain or your skimmer. Rotate this valve's handle so that the "OFF" end is pointing to the pipe coming from the main drain.


I have a Hayward sand filter for an inground pool. Last fall developed a leak in the main drain line and plugged it to keep from loosing water over winter. If we leave the main drain plugged and only hook up skimmer line, how do I actually go about doing this?

User: Kfish

THANK-YOU....... These directions are fantastic I would not have connected the filter up without them. Once again thank-you.

User: InyoPools

Cindy - Most people run their filtration systems for 8 hours per day.

User: Cindy

How many hours per day should you run a sand filter on a 24' above ground pool?


WOW.... The direction you have provided is so helpful. At least now when I am reading the direction that came makes some sense.

User: InyoPools

pebbles - It's not clear why you would not put the max amount of sand in the filter (leaving some space for flushing the sand as explained above). You could use less sand but it would not be as effective a filter.

User: pebbles

do i need to put the max amount of sand in my filter?

User: Shannon

if the pump isn't completely level with that cause it to not work properly my pool
is green I've used all the correct chemicals have the polaris 65 in it when I baciwash the water is clear an
d doesn't seem to be filtering properly


wow! I learned a lot reading this instructions. Please have a 3-D picture or better view of the valve and lateral tube assembly.

User: InyoPools

Suave - Changing your multport valve should correct your leaking problem.

User: InyoPools

Trish - First measure the return port on you filter. It will be 1 1/2 or 2". Then if you have the flexible pipe that goes to the return port of your above ground pool, take that into a hardware store and ask them for the fittings to go from your filter return port to that flexible pipe. If you don't have the pipe, measure the return port to your pool and ask for fittings and flexible pipe to connect the two ports.

User: Suave

I replace my sand ,valve handle , spider seal , gasket, and I am still leaking( small flow ) of water out of backwash port, I am about to change multi port over tank ? Or should I get new filter ?

User: Trish

After numerous people telling they would do or help me do it, I'm doing it myself! I have a hayward pump and a sand filter that was given to me without the top and cleaned all the sand out. Went and bought a used top for the sand filter and now after looking at your site and instructions I'm wondering about the piping, it didn't come with any. I'm using this filter for an above ground pool. Any suggestions?

User: val

Excellent guide. The instructions that came with my new filter said nothing about taping the top of the laterals pipe but I did and there was a mountain of sand that the tape kept out! Also, I had a very small drip drop from the pump inlet. I redid the teflon tape (as you suggested) 5 times instead of one & that did it!

Another commented said he had a problem centering the laterals pipe. To avoid that problem, I rotated the cardbord guide to make sure it was centered in all directions and it lined up perfectly.

User: InyoPools

sand filter not working - Sounds like you have one or more leaks in your system. Look at you How to Guide on correcting pool leaks (under the pumps section of How to Guides). It will give you some places to look.

User: InyoPools

Jim - Try wrapping 5-7 layers of tape around the fitting. If that doesn't work, you may have to replace that fitting. If you have enough length in the pipe to your union, you can cut into that pipe and use a straight coupling to replace the pipe and fitting to the filter.

User: Jim

Thanks for posting these instructions. I have installed my sand filter but am having a problem with Step 16. The adapter in the Pump port keeps leaking. I wrapped it several times with teflon tape. This is the second time I've done this and it continues to leak about 1 drop every 8 seconds. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

User: InyoPools

Filter blowback - Check to make sure your spider gasket is intact. Make sure you have at least 6" between the top of the sand and the bottom of the valve. I am working on a site that show pictures of multiport labels


I have a sand filter but it is not work properly. The pump is fine but I lost my pressure. The pump is reading 10-15 psi. Also the sand filteris leaking, I have no pressure coming out of the return valve and very little sucuction from the pool. What do I do?


I am having the same problem as Mary Harrison did in 2011 comments. My filter is blowing debree and some sand back into the pool, the water is crystal clear. We have 5 new laterals this year. What is going on. Also the name plate on the top of my filter is shot and I can hardly tell where everything is, ie, filter, backwash, etc. urggggg

User: InyoPools

rjb - If you can gently nudge the central pipe to center without lifting the assembly off the bottom, try that. If it comes off the bottom, you will have to remove the sand and start over.

User: rjb

I'm helping a neighbor replace the sand in his very large pool filter. We followed all the steps in your diagrams, however after the sand was replaced, we are having difficulty getting the control valve to seat on the central pipe. We took care to center the pipe while refilling, but it appears to be slightly off center. Any suggestions?

User: jode724

Our label on our Pentair Sand Filter is missing and we don't know where anything's an SD40 model. Please help!

User: InyoPools

Patrick - You are going to want to replace the cap so take the cap to a hardware store and see what male threaded fitting can attached to the cap. Once you find fitting take the cap off and find the female fitting that can be screwed on the first fitting. This second fitting is the one you want. It will screw on the threaded port on of the drain. The other end of this filling should be a slip end for a 1 1/2 inch pipe to slide in and be glued. I would now put a 1 1/2" union onto the pipe so you can later detach the drain from the drainage pipe if you have to work on the filter.

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