When & How to Clean a Sand Filtration System

Understanding Your Pool Sand Filter

The filtration system in a swimming pool is the main component that keeps your pool water looking crystal clear and contaminant-free. Knowing how to clean your filter is an essential part of pool maintenance and something every pool owner should know how to do from day one. 

When to Clean Your Pool Sand Filter 

Sand filters are an easy, cost-effective solution to dealing with pool maintenance and one of the most common filtration systems found in personal use swimming pools. When dealing with a sand filtration unit, there are two main indicators of when the pool sand needs to be cleaned. 1) the pressure gauge will give a reading of 8-10 PSI above the normal operating level 2) the pool water will look cloudy or murky. 

To combat these issues, you will have to complete a process called “backwashing,”  which is the act of reversing the flow of water to send the debris out through a waste house (instead of in your pool).  While cleaning the sand should be done when the above problems arise, it is best practice to clean your pool sand once a month and complete a deep chemical cleaning twice a year. 

Equipment Needed 

  • Backwash hose
  • Sand filter cleaner
  • Filter owner’s manual
  • Understanding of the multiple port system (filter, backwash, rinse, circulate, closed, waste)

How to Clean Sand Pool Filter (Backwash)

  1. Turn the pool pump off to begin the cleaning process. This step will help to protect the internal components of the sand filtration system. 
  2. Attach the backwash hose to the waste line and open the valve. 
  3. Turn the valve on the filter to the “backwash” setting and turn the pump back on. 
  4. Backwash the filter until the water runs clear (use the glass viewport on the filter). This step will usually take 3-5 minutes to remove any potential debris. 
  5. Turn off the pump.
  6. Turn the valve on the filter to the “rinse” setting to reset the sand bed. 
  7. Turn the pump back on and let it rinse for 30-45 seconds. 
  8. Turn the pump back off. 
  9. Turn the valve to “filter,” which is the normal operating position.
  10. Turn on the pump

(Helpful Hint: Take a reading of the new clean starting pressure so that it can be a reference point for the next backwash cycle) 

Deep Chemical Cleaning

Complete Steps 1-9, making sure the pump is turned off. 

  1. Turn the valve to “filter” and remove the pump’s strainer lid. 
  2. Pour sand filter cleaner into the strainer basket and replace the lid.
  3. Turn the pump on for long enough to transfer the cleaner from the pump to the filter (roughly 15 seconds)
  4. Turn the pump off and leave it off for at least 8 hours. 
  5. Backwash the filter for 3-5 minutes again to remove dirt, debris, and the cleaner. 
  6. Turn the filter system back on. 

Helpful Hint

It is best to have a visual reminder somewhere near your pool or on an electronic device to help remember when to clean your pool sand. Regular pool filter maintenance is the first step to having a cleaner pool and also prolonging the life of your pool components. Ultimately, proper maintenance is something that will save you money in the long run. 

Need Help?

If you have a question about the proper running of your pool or spa, stop by our Fayetteville or Lumberton location. Our Pool and Spa Experts are there to help with everything from better understanding pool products to answering specific questions about your pool. Visit us online at www.parnellpoolandspa.com or take a look at our Facebook page.  

Want to Read More About Interesting Pool Topics?

Take a look at the following blogs:

Maintenance Checklist

Take a look at the following blog for some helpful maintenance hints when it comes to opening your pool.

Disclaimer: When working with pool filters, always wear the recommended/required safety equipment and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Never move the backwash valve handle while the pump is running. Always make sure the pump is off and you are working in safe conditions. 

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