Is your pool cloudy? Want to clear it up fast?

Download our FREE guide to learn the right way of clearing your cloudy pool super fast. Just enter your email address to download the guide today!

We respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time. Join 59,508 other pool owners.

Get our FREE Weekly Pool Care Newsletter

Sign up for a free weekly newsletter to help you take care of your swimming pool.

We respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time. Join 59,508 other pool owners.

How to Clean a Sand Filter

Click here to get our FREE weekly pool maintenance newsletter!

How to Clean a Sand Filter

Sand filters are generally thought of as the most compact and affordable way to go when you are looking for a good filter for your pool, be it in-ground or above ground.

Essentially, a sand filter works by running the water of your pool through rough shaped filter sand. This sand removes any dirt or debris that passes through your filtration system and then returns the cleaned water back to your pool.

Over time, this dirt and debris can accumulate in the sand, reducing the flow of water through your filter and causing the pressure to rise above normal. When that happens, the time has come for you to clean the sand filter to remove that excess dirt and debris. To remove any of the excess contaminates, you must backwash your sand filter.

When to Clean Your Filter

There is no hard and fast rule about when you must clean your sand filter. Instead, you need to look at your pool and your filter on a regular basis to determine if it is time for a thorough cleaning.

In most cases, if the sand filter is clogged with dirt and debris the water flow into your pool will be lower causing the pressure to rise on the filter. If your sand filter has both an inlet and outlet pressure gauge, the pressure differential will be low at around 3 to 5 psi when it is clean.

If the pressure rises to between 16 and 20 psi, the time has come to clean the filter. If your sand filter only has an inlet pressure gauge, the filter should be backwashed when the pressure rises by 8 to 10 psi.

Hayward S244T ProSeries Sand Filter, 24-Inch, Top-Mount

Hayward S244T ProSeries Sand Filter, 24-Inch, Top-Mount

List Price:  $349.53
Price:  $337.81
You Save:  $11.72 (3%)

Buy Now On Amazon

Still, you may find that you want to clean it before it reaches these pressure levels. Sometimes, your sand filter can become dirty causing your water to be somewhat cloudy. When this happens and you can’t seem to get the cloudiness under control, your sand filter could be the guilty party.

What Can Clog a Sand Filter

Typically what you will find in a sand filter that has been running for some time are contaminates such as leaves, dirt, and algae. However, there can be other types of contaminates that will clog your sand filter.

If you have a big pool party, for example, the added swimmers can add even more contaminates to the water and shorten the cycle between cleanings. If you are a new pool owner, sometimes material from the new pool such as plaster can quickly gum up the filter requiring you to clean it more often in the beginning of your pool’s life.

How to Backwash the Sand Filter

Backwashing a sand filter is a relatively easy process that is done by simply reversing the flow of water back through the filter in the opposite direction sending the dirty water to waste.

1. Turn off the pump

To prevent damage to any of the plumbing or valves on your filtration system, turn off the pool pump. For added safety, go ahead and turn the power off at the circuit breaker to the pump.

2. Pool Filter Valve

Your pool filter valve is most likely set on the FILTER setting for normal operation. Move the filter valve to the BACKWASH setting.

3. Waste Hose

Lay out your waste hose and run it where you want the waste water to go.

4. Sight Glass

Turn the power on and run the pool pump for at least 2 minutes. Check the water in the sight glass valve. During this process it should change from cloudy to clear. After this time has passed and the water is clear, turn the pump off and switch off the power.

5. Rinse

Turn the filter valve to the RINSE setting. After backwashing, the sand will be loose and will need resetting and any dirty water that remains from backwashing must be rinsed out of the filter so it doesn’t return to the pool. Turn the pump back on and allow the filter to run on this setting for 1 or 2 minutes.

6. Filter

Turn the pump off and resent the valve back to the FILTER setting. Once complete, turn on the pool pump. Check your pressure gauge to be sure it has returned to normal.

Pool Filter Sand #20 Grade Silica Sand - 50 lbs. by Fairmount Minerals

Pool Filter Sand #20 Grade Silica Sand - 50 lbs. by Fairmount Minerals

List Price:  $31.00
Price:  $31.00
You Save:  

Buy Now On Amazon


Sand filters are perfect filters for almost any type of pool, although they do require a bit of maintenance in order to keep them running all summer long. This maintenance is easy to do, however, and should become part of your regular pool maintenance schedule.

Remember, always keep an eye on the pressure in your filter and if it gets too high, go ahead and clean your sand filter. A clean filter is key to a clean pool and will help you maintain the highest water quality possible so you can enjoy your pool whenever you feel like cooling off during the summer.

Happy Swimming!

Recommended Reading

Why There’s Sand in Your Pool and How to Get it Out
If you notice sand at the bottom of your pool and you own a sand filter, guess what? That's where it came from. Learn how to fix sand in pool.
How to Reuse Your Filter Backwash Water
Stop the damage to your property by reusing your filter backwash water in many creative ways that can improve your lawn and make use of the extra water.
How to Use a Multiport Valve on a Sand Filter
We making learning how to use a multiport valve very easy with this video tutorial and step-by-step guide.
How to Change The Sand in a Pool Filter
You should change the sand in your pool filter every 3 to 5 years. In this VIDEO tutorial, I'll show you how to change the sand in a pool filter properly.
The Art of Pool Care

Spend Less Time Cleaning and More Time Swimming

We cut out all the fluff and confusion of pool maintenance and stripped it down to the bare bones in this easy-to-read illustrated digital guide.

Click here to learn more
Last Updated: Tuesday, August 4th, 2015