How To Install a Pool Sand Filter

WRITTEN BY:  Inyo Pools

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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.


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.


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Inyopools  Posted: 10/13/2017 14:38 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Solution - The flow rate of the pump cannot exceed the flow rate through the filter or it will damage the internal structure of the filter. Many dealers suggest matching a filter with 25% greater flow capacity than the pump to avoid any stress to the filter.

Solution  Posted: 10/09/2017 6:31 AM 

Is it proper to connect a filter which operating flow rate is 14 m3/h directly to a pump which flow rate ranges from 4m3/h to 24m3/h without installing a back pressure regulator in between or installing a variable speed drive on the pump's motor? Will there be any side effect if the flow rate of the pump is greater than the flow rate of the filter?

Inyopools  Posted: 07/24/2017 14:09 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Linda - This pressure gauge will fit on the MP Valve of your Hayward Pro Series S166T filter - Bottom Mount Pressure Gauge 0-60 1/4" NPT (101D-204D).

Linda  Posted: 07/22/2017 22:24 PM 

I have a Hayward Pro Series S166T1580S and although I have plenty of water pressure coming through my pump and filter and back into the pool, my pressure gauge stopped working. It use to read around 20psi but now it doesn't move off 0. Can you tell me which gauge to purchase as a replacement?

Inyopools  Posted: 07/10/2017 12:10 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Bob - You sand problem could be as simple as have a longer Rinse cycle to clear out the fine sand in the new sand. See our guide on "How To Reduce Sand in Your Pool" for possible explanations of this and other potential solutions.

Inyopools  Posted: 07/09/2017 14:17 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Z - When you turn your pump off, do you get a back surge of water to your skimmer. If so, you may have air building up in the top of the tank due to a suction air leak. This backpressure would clear your incoming pipes out and require you to prime the motor each time you restart. See our guide on "How to Identify and Correct Air Leaks".

Bob  Posted: 07/09/2017 10:56 AM 

Replaced Top Valve, New Laterals and put in new sand...Sand now coming into pool through outlets. Hayward S244T...pressure gauge at 16 PSI. Plow Rate about 90 GPM

Z  Posted: 07/06/2017 0:04 AM 

What would be the cause for me to need to prime the pump and in-coming line with water anytime the pump had been off for more than an hour.

Inyopools  Posted: 08/22/2016 0:13 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

John Larive - Here's a link to the Pentair Meteor sand filters Owner's Manual. See page 2 for the amount of sand to add for each model. The model number is the filter diameter in inches.

John Larive  Posted: 08/20/2016 11:03 AM 

I got a American Products (Pentair Meteor sand filter and pump) giving to me. the label with how many Lbs. of sand to use on side of the filter is gone. Is there a way to find out how much sand I need to buy for it ?

Inyopools  Posted: 06/30/2016 17:50 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

pump grounding - On a plastic AG pool, connecting the pump wiring to a GFCI receptacle is the primary grounding safeguard. As a backup, you might also drive a 3' heavy metal pipe into the ground and connect the pump to that. Most motors have a lug at the back of the motor to connect to.

Anonymous  Posted: 06/29/2016 12:36 PM 

The instruction manual for our Mighty Max sand filter says the motor needs to be grounded. It is a 3 prong, going into a gfci socket. Do I need to do anything else or is this enough. It is for a bestway quick set pool.

Inyopools  Posted: 06/14/2016 14:10 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

replaced laterals - Check to see if the pump's impeller is clogged first. See "How To Clean Out a Pool Pump Impeller". Check that the strainer cover is not cracked and that the cover O-ring is not damaged. Then you may have to take out the sand again to check for other cracks in the laterals, the hub that holds the laterals, and the vertical standpipe. Cracks in any of these may let sand into the laterals to clog them.

Anonymous  Posted: 06/13/2016 12:48 PM 

Busted replaced the laterals and sand in my filter ran great cut it off to add tabs now it is not wanting to prime any ideas?

Anonymous  Posted: 06/08/2016 12:23 PM 

Thanks for a great 'how to'

Inyopools  Posted: 06/06/2016 14:48 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

skimmer blow out - I need to understand your problem better. Where is the water getting sucked in? And, when you say the water is "blown out through the skimmer", is it flowing backwards from the filter through the pump to the skimmer?

Anonymous  Posted: 06/05/2016 13:17 PM 

I have above ground pool everything is hooked up correctly water getting sucked in and blown out though skimmer/

Inyopools  Posted: 05/31/2016 13:57 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Martin - Not sure what you mean by maxed out. If it's operating at around 30 psi with new sand, your pump may be too powerful for that filter. If you have to downsize the pump, the cheapest thing to do is to replace the current impeller with the next smaller size.

Martin  Posted: 05/29/2016 21:12 PM 

I have installed as above and our pressure on the filter is maxed out. Do you have any suggestions?

Inyopools  Posted: 05/13/2016 10:21 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

LEROY - We recommend changing the sand in your filter every 5-7 years. See our guide on "How To Change Sand In a Sand Filter".

LEROY  Posted: 05/12/2016 1:17 AM 


Inyopools  Posted: 08/25/2015 9:14 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

new filter - Most people run their filters 8-10 hours a day during the swimming season.

Anonymous  Posted: 08/24/2015 21:24 PM 

how long do I run my filter for after installing a new sand filter?

Inyopools  Posted: 07/09/2015 14:51 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

filter before pump - There would be at least three problems with putting the filter before the pump. First, any debris that would normally be collected in the strainer bucket would go directly into your filter and second, you probably would not be able to prime you pump. The filter tank would have to be completely full of water before the pump could suck water into the front end of the pump. Then you would also have the problem of how to direct the water to the desired function after the pump: waste, filter, backwash, etc.

John  Posted: 07/08/2015 20:13 PM 

Is it possible to install the sand filter before the pump or suction side? If not, what is the reason? Thanks..

Inyopools  Posted: 06/23/2015 16:06 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Filter base - The filter should be installed on a level and stable base to operate properly. Also when it starts to tip, you will be putting extra strain on the connecting piping and other equipment.

Anonymous  Posted: 06/23/2015 12:23 PM 

Can you put a silica sand filter directly on ground or is it better to place on a base? By putting directly on ground will it eroid faster and will it get tippy when water is drained out in winter?

Inyopools  Posted: 05/11/2015 15:34 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Cyn - If you are referring to the label on top of the multiport valve, there is a good picture of it on this product site: Hayward Multiport Variflo XL 1 1/2" SP714T. Click on the smaller label picture at the top right. The handle is partially covering the “Recirculation” mode.

cyn  Posted: 05/10/2015 11:42 AM 

I am using hayward filter S180T The label plate is missing Is there a picture of it anywhere so I can figure out . Thanks for any h.elp

Inyopools  Posted: 03/30/2015 9:12 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Don - It sounds like you may be getting air into your system through a air leak in the suction side of your pump. Check all the connections between the pool skimmer and the pump. See our guide on "How to Identify and Correct Air Leaks" for further information.

Don  Posted: 03/29/2015 20:14 PM 

When we run the pump there is a gurgling noise coming from the filter any ideas its a 22" sand pump & filter by waterway?

Inyopools  Posted: 09/12/2014 9:31 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

ciocca77 - Generally the ports on a small to medium filter are 1 1/2", but they can be 1 1/4" on an above ground pool filter. Measure the inside diameter of the port fitting to be sure.

ciocca77  Posted: 09/11/2014 21:31 PM 

I wanna hard pipe my sand filter also, is that 1.5 or 1.25 inch pvc pipe glued into the fittings that thread into the filter? Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanx

Inyopools  Posted: 08/10/2014 10:36 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Jim - I'm sorry but we don't have a diagram on you filter. Generally the free end of the air release tube is placed at the top of the tank in the space between the sand and the top of the tank. I suggest calling the manufacturer for more specific directions.

Jim  Posted: 08/09/2014 15:16 PM 

Your install directions are the closest I've found to match my unit from blue devil. As a top mounted multiport valve, directions do not tell me how the air release tube is installed which is coming from the base of the laterals. Any help would be appreciated thanks in advance.

Inyopools  Posted: 08/03/2014 10:30 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Tamara - If your multiport valve is set on "Waste" while you are filling your pool, move it to "Filter". If the valve is not on "Waste", you probably have a damaged spider valve in the multiport valve that is letting water out the Waste line. To replace this gasket see our guide on "How to Replace a Spider Gasket on a Multiport Valve".

Tamara  Posted: 07/30/2014 23:59 PM 

I'm filling my pool for the first time and I get the water to skimmer level and I keep losing it out the waste line on the filter. Should I have my filter on closed to fill the pool? Help

Inyopools  Posted: 07/13/2014 9:30 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

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.

Anonymous  Posted: 07/12/2014 16:56 PM 

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?

Inyopools  Posted: 07/08/2014 10:55 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

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.