How To Replace the Sand in a Pentair Triton 2 Side Valve Sand Filter


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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 contaminates 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 a Pentair Triton 2 Side Valve Sand Filter.

Please click here to view the Pentair Triton 2 parts.  


Step by Step


Step 1

COLLECT MATERIAL - 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. 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 (Pentair Triton 2 TR-60) uses 7 50 lb bags of sand - 350 lbs total. You can also purchase our superior to sand Click here for our Sand Alternative.

Please click here to view the ZeoSand alternative.  

Step 2

TURN OFF PUMP - 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 3

RELIEVE PRESSURE - Next you will have to relieve the pressure that builds up in the filter during operation. To relieve pressure turn the relief valve on top of the filter counter-clockwise. Water may spray out initially as you see the pressure on the pressure gauge go to 0 psi.

Step 4

REMOVE DRAIN PLUG - Remove the drain plug at the bottom of the filter tank by twisting it counter-clockwise. This step will drain the water out of the sand in the tank.

Step 5

REMOVE CLOSURE LID - Using the Lid Wrench provided with the original purchase of the filter, twist the Lid off the top of the filter - twist counterclockwise.

Please click here and view key number 20 which are the lid removal tools. 

Step 6

VIEW BAFFLE AND AIR RELIEF TUBE - With the Lid off the top of the Filter, you will see the Baffle and the Air Relief Tube. The Baffle distributes the water from the pump over the top surface of the sand. The Air Relief Tube connects to the bottom of the tank and relieves any air that is caught in the top of the tank.

Step 7

CHECK AIR RELIEF SCREEN - The top of the Air Relief Tube is covered with a screen to prevent sand from clogging the Tube. Remove this screen and clean it. Clean off the top of the tube and blow through it to make sure it is clear.

Step 8

PUSH BAFFLE ASIDE - Move the Baffle away from the opening in the tank by pushing it aside horizontally. You should be able to push it so that the tank opening is completely open for maximum access to the sand.

Step 9

REMOVE SAND - Remove the old sand using a cup or small coffee can, or a medium to high powered wet vac. Dump the sand on a tarp for later disposal. Clear the sand down to the top of the laterals at the bottom of the tank. If you are using a cup to clear the sand, place a cloth on the edge of the tank opening to avoid fiberglass splinters.

Step 10

CLEAR LATERALS - When you get to the lateral, be careful removing the sand around and under the laterals as they are somewhat fragile and can be broken easily. Clear all the sand away from the lateral so you can inspect them.

Step 11

CLEAN TANK - Wash off the laterals and the bottom of the tank. Let the water drain out the drain port.

Step 12

CHECK LATERALS - Look at and feel each of the laterals to see if any are damaged. If necessary, remove the questionable laterals and replace them. See our guide on "How to replace Laterals in a Pentair Triton 2 Side Valve Sand Filter".

Step 13

REPLACE DRAIN PLUG - Once all the laterals have been checked and are in place, check and lubricate the Drain Plug's O-ring, then replace the filter Dain Plug.

Please click here to view the Magic Lube O Ring lubricant. 

Step 14

ADD WATER TO TANK - 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 15

REPLACE SAND - To replace the sand, place a bag on top of the filter and cut out a large corner at the bottom of the bag nearest the hole in the top of the filter tank.

Step 16

ROTATE BAFFLE BACK - Push the baffle back until it is positioned in the center of the tank opening.

Step 17

CHECK AIR VENT - Make sure the air vent tube is still connected through the baffle and the screen is attached securely at the end of the tube. The screen should be positioned close to the top of the tank.

Step 18

CLEAN LID GROOVE - Clean any sand or other debris out of the threads of the lid cover and tank.

Step 19

CHECK AND LUBRICATE O-RING - Check the Lid Cover O-ring for cracks or splits. Replace it is required and then lubricate it lightly with a silicon-based lubricant.

Please click here to view the Magic Lube O Ring lubricant. 

Step 20

REPLACE LID - Screw the Cover Lid into the top of the filter tank using the large hex wrench. Make sure the threads line up. If it becomes hard to turn, back the Lid off and rethread it.

Step 21

SET TO BACKWASH - Rotate the multiport handle to "Backwash".

Step 22

TURN ON PUMP - Turn on the power to the pump.

Step 23

CLOSE RELIEF VALVE - When a steady stream of water shoots out of the relief valve, turn the valve off. Run the filter in Backwash mode for 2-3 minutes.

Step 24

TURN OFF PUMP - Shut off the power to the pump.

Step 25

SET TO RINSE - Rotate the Multiport Valve Handle to "Rinse".

Step 26

TURN ON PUMP - Turn on the pump and operate in "rinse" mode for 30 seconds.

Step 27


Step 28

SET TO FILTER - Rotate the Multiport Valve Handle to "Filter".

Step 29

TURN PUMP ON - You filter should be operational. Note the filter pressure. In the future, when it goes 10 psi higher, it will be time to backwash the filter again..


(1 to 40 of 44)

 Posted: 10/4/2021 

I have no idea the actual size of the Triton in filter that's on my pool. Where the serial and model numbers would be stamped is covered by another sticker that when removed destroyed the label.

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 10/4/2021 

The filter size can be identified by measuring the diameter of the tank, or measuring for the circumference then calculating the diameter. A more detailed instruction guide on how to do either of these can be found in step two of this article - How To Identify the Make and Model of My Pool Filter

 Posted: 10/3/2021 

should I replace the gravel when I replace the sand?

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 10/4/2021 

You may be able to re-use the pea gravel depending on its condition. But for me, if I take the time to remove all that sand to start new, I might as well do the pea gravel as well.

 Posted: 5/17/2021 

The last time I replaced my sand, I found something online indicating to put a layer of pea gravel in the bottom before the sand. Is this unnecessary?

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 5/21/2021 

No, it is not necessary to add pea gravel to a sand filter.

 Posted: 3/21/2021 

Hi. I replaced laterals per instructions to fix sand leak on pentair triton II t60. Also replaced the hub which was loose & suspected leak cause because old laterals looked good. I tightened new lats but four not facing down or would have had looser connection to hub. Still leaking sand tho better. Pipe looked ok. What do you suggest other than calling for pro? Thanks!

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 3/26/2021 

The laterals, lateral hub, and elbow pipe are the last line of defense, keeping the sand in the tank. If those are in good shape with no hairline cracks, the only other place to look is the multiport valve. The valve's diverter spring or spider gasket could be busted. But if you do not see water leaking from your backwash hose when the valve is set to normal filtering mode, this is not likely the issue.

 Posted: 6/30/2020 

Very helpful. I followed each step went smooth. Just now my back hurts. All good. Pool starting to get clearer after 3 hours. Thanks

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 8/27/2020 

That back pain is the feeling of a hard-earned win. Pop an ibuprofen and take a victory lap. :)

Anonymous  Posted: 9/28/2020 

Victory NAP . . . not Lap.

 Posted: 6/20/2020 

I did all the steps carefully and no steady stream of water shoots out of the relief valve. What an i missing or another step to do?

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 9/2/2020 

It sounds like your pump is not priming. Have you tried filling the pump strainer with a hose to try to give it a boost?

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 8/20/2017 

BlueHairCj - You may have air pressure building up in the top of your filter tank caused by a suction side air leak (at or before the pump). This may be causing back pressure on the flow of water through the filter. When you replace the sand, check the air relief hose and its top screen for blockages. Also, see our guide on "How to Identify and Correct Air Leaks".

 Posted: 8/14/2017 

I am looking at replacing the sand in my unit this coming week. My question is out of curiosity, could the need to replace The old sand have anything to do with the pressure of my vacuum in the pool?
I have done all steps to finding any leak that may occur but it seems to be 100% OK. I have noticed that if I release tension off the Triton 2 and the pump starts it goes really good for about five minutes and then slows down or stops


InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 7/30/2017 

Poolhelp - Try tapping around the sides of the top cap gently with a rubber mallet. If that doesn't loosen it up, try brushing on a diluted solution of TSP around the joint, Let it sit awhile and tap it again with a rubber mallet. Repeat with solution and tapping until it loosens up. If you have lost your hex wrench, try using a strap wrench.

 Posted: 7/27/2017 

The top of my Sand Filter will not break loose to open any suggestions

 Posted: 3/20/2020 

I just had this same problem. It came open when I stood over the tank holding down one side of the specialized wrench and hitting the other side with a rubber mallet.

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/13/2017 

mike - I'd question having to buy a new filter. See our guide on "How To Break Chlorine Lock". Look at Step 2, partially draining the pool. Also look at the second comment labeled "Anonymous" on 5/31/2017. This person had good results partially draining her pool.

 Posted: 6/12/2017 

I have had some issues with my filter or chemicals "locking up" as my pool service calls it. That's when the chlorine is high and the water is green or a light green. I ran the pool for 60 hours straight as directed by my pool service company. They thought that would clear it up after a few backwashes. Well it didn't change anything and now they tell me that my filter is bad and needs to be changed out. My TRITON II TR60 is about 15 years old or a little longer. I just cant believe that a filter can go bad and cant wrap my head around that. I changed the sand last year and seem to have this problem every summer (Phoenix, AZ) My plaster is 30 years old and deteriorating and will be redone this winter. Could that be my problem or could the filter really be shot and needs replaced? Thank you for opinions

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/5/2017 

Anonymous (Lid Wrench) - Here is the link to the Pentair Triton 2 Lid Wrench - Plastic.

Anonymous  Posted: 6/5/2017 

where can I get a new hex wrench to remove top?

 Posted: 6/22/2016 

Thank you for the reply. I have 12" from the sand to the top. I changed the sand yesterday and ran fine all night with the exception of the endless air bubbles going into the tank which I remedy by leaving the relief valve open slightly. The lid just keeps popping up enough for it to shoot water out of the top of the tank. A replacement lid is $60 and my home warranty charges $60 and hopefully will just replace the filter with a newer maybe the Triton II. Wiser choice is to just replace the whole tank instead of just the lid at the same price.

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/22/2016 

Chad2000k - I don't have information on your older model, but I would assume that if they are both 24" in diameter, they would have to operate with the same free space between the top of the sand and the top of the tank. Triton II specifies 10 1/2'.

 Posted: 6/22/2016 

I have an older version of this Triton. Triton is the only word I can make out on the data sheet on the side of the filter. It is 24" diameter on the inside of the tank. Can someone tell me how many pounds of sand this older filter holds? The newer Triton II does 300lbs for 24" and that's what I've changed it out with. It seems too much to what was in there but the guy running this before us last year did a number of wrong things to the pool.

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/12/2016 

Laszio - I would think that the Air relief tube would get clogged with sand if it wasn't connected to the bottom. Did you try removing the Upper piping assembly to see if you model has a pivoting joint or if you could free up the pivoting joint? Or you might consider replacing it so your baffle will pivot. If this model does not pivot, can you attach the baffle to the detached Upper assembly, then attach the tube before reattaching the Upper assembly?

 Posted: 6/10/2016 

Thank you for your fast replay.
If you are interested and you can feel the challenge I pushed some more photos here with my comments:
I don't have other idea, I will not connect the Air relief tube to the bottom. I will screw back the baffle with the air tube without connecting to the bottom. Than I will put a sac to the baffle. I will fill with 70 kg sand etc. (I talked with a guy, and he said that is not a big problem if I not connect the Air relief tube to the bottom. Maybe the filter will not use the full capacity, but it will work). Do you have any better idea?


InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/10/2016 

Laszlo - I see your filter picture. It's not clear from the picture if this is a Pentair Triton w Side Sand Filter. If not, the baffle may not pivot. Can you take the top pipe assembly out by disconnecting the pipe at the top external connection to the valve. Then you could take a closer look at the pivoting section of the pipe if there is one, and if there is, you might be able to soak it to loosen it up. Like you say, I don't see how to reconnect the breather hose if the baffle isn't able to pivot.

 Posted: 6/10/2016 

I'm stuck with Step 8
I can't move the Baffle, only I can unscrew.
So I can't put the air relief back if I can't move the Baffle. Any suggestion? I don't want to brake it.


Anonymous  Posted: 6/9/2016 

I'm stuck with Step 8. I can't move the Baffle aside. I unscrew it, I removed the sand, but if I screw the Baffle back, I can't connect the air relief botton part. Should I force the Baffle to left or right? I'm afread I broke it... pictures about the issue:

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 5/9/2016 

Tess - Try adding a 50/50 solution of vinegar to the filter to see if that breaks it up. You do not want to break it out with a hammer and chisel because that will probably break the laterals. If you do have to revert to a hammer, use light taps on a small screwdriver and try to tap horizontally.

 Posted: 5/6/2016 

I am changing sand my sand is hard. How do it get that out?.

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 4/26/2016 

Changing sand - Most sand filters just specify sand, and even the picture in the Triton 2 manual (page 6) shows the option of "sand or sand and gravel). We went with what most filters use.

Anonymous  Posted: 4/25/2016 

I am going to change the sand in my filter but can I ask why 50 lbs gravel and 275 lbs sand is not being used in your demonstration as this is specified by the manufacture.

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 1/19/2016 

Rachel - This procedure for removing sand will work regardless of which valve you have attached to the filter. The insides of the filter are the same.

 Posted: 1/14/2016 

I the same sand filter but I only have a backwash valve. Would I be able to do the same thing or not please help me.

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 7/31/2015 

hg - Thank you very much for your feedback. It's helpful for us to hear variations on our procedures and how you solved your problems.

 Posted: 7/30/2015 

I followed you instructions for the replacement of the filtering material, Except it should be noted that after opening the filter I noticed that the baffle(diffuser?) would not move to the side as stated on your instructions, but I reached in, felt threads, and proceeded to unscrew and remove it from the plastic tubing. I cover the pipe with a small plastic bag and follow the rest of your instruction. Thanks for your help. P.S. Thanks for mailing the new top so promptly.

 Posted: 7/30/2015 

My filter top was stuck and would not budge with the plastic octagonal wrench. It broke. I decided to order a new top since I knew that I would have to destroy the top. I didn't want to cut it since I was afraid to damage threads on filter casing. I drilled two 3/8" diam. holes through and inserted a 3/8" dia. two foot long steel bar. This worked and I was then able service filter Replaced pea rock and sand, and is now working better than ever.

Anonymous  Posted: 7/25/2015 

My sand filter top was also very stubborn. I was about ready to cut it off, and then talked to the guys at my local pool store. The had an old style STEEL, not aluminum, wrench that did the trick. This was NOT the Pentair 154510 that you can get on Amazon for $125. That wrench, at least according to the Amazon reviews, is a sand cast non-professional grade tool. The tool my pool store had was older, made of square steel stock, and had rubber handles on eash side for an excellent grip. The cover relented in short order wnen that wrench was uses! Now I'm looking for one of my own, but so far no luck :(