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Changing Your filter Sand- When, Why and How

Updated: Apr 1



changing pool filter sand
Pool Sand Changing

Changing the sand in your filter is a must. Thankfully, it's not something you have to do every year. Most sand filters need the sand changed every 3 to 5 years. The reason we say 3 to 5 years is because some people take better care of their pool chemistry than others and can stretch it out longer. If your pool has been a mess a few times, you may wanna shoot for the 3 yr mark.

Sand collects all the mess in the pool. Over time though, it becomes saturated with everything it has collected and regardless of weekly backwashing, it's lifespan has ended. Many times, people have called our store and needed help, saying they've added so many chemicals from other pool stores and nothing seems to work. The FIRST question we ask is "do you have a sand filter? How old is the sand?" Most of the time we hear that it's never been replaced or they didn't know because they just bought the house and it had a pool. I tell them - Look, before you put anything else in the pool, we need to change that sand. It doesn't matter what chemicals you use - if the sand is old and dirty - nothings gonna work. Once they (or we) replace the sand and rebalance the pool, they always call back a few days later and say "Wow! Thank you so much, the pool looks great!"

If you decide to replace the sand yourself: NEVER use regular sand or play sand - you must use silica pool sand. Once you've purchased your pool sand or Brite Line glass media:


*You'll need to take the top cover or valve off the sand filter. If you have a top mount filter, disconnect the hoses or plumbing to the valve, remove the valve clamp and carefully lift the valve straight up with a little counter clockwise twist. (This loosens the valve from the lateral pipe inside the filter). If it is a side mount sand filter, where the valve is located off to the side of the filter, just unscrew the top lid off to get to the sand.


*When the valve or lid is off, you're gonna need a shop vac or a scoop to get all the old sand out. Take the drain plug off the bottom of the sand filter to allow any water to drain on out.

*On a top mount filter, (where the valve is located on the top of the filter),Be very careful when removing the sand so you don't break that lateral pipe inside the filter or the laterals in the bottom of the filter. Place a cup or plug over the opening of that lateral pipe to cover it up You don't want to get sand in that pipe. Once you've removed all the old sand, it's time to put the new stuff in...

Put the drain cap back on the bottom of the filter. BEFORE ADDING ANY NEW SAND, TAKE A GARDEN HOSE AND FILL THE FILTER ABOUT TWO THIRDS WITH WATER. This helps to prevent cracking the laterals in the filter while you are adding the new sand by slowing the fall of the sand.

If you have a top mount sand filter, i suggest you have someone there to help. Have them hold that lateral pipe steady in the center while you slowly pour the new sand in. (That pipe MUST be centered for the valve to slide down on it when you’re done) Pour it all around that lateral pipe to evenly distribute the weight of the sand throughout the filter. Once all the sand is in there, remove the cup, plug, or whatever you used to cover that lateral pipe hole and carefully place your valve back on. Put your clamp back on, securing the valve to the tank and tighten the bolts down. Reconnect your hoses or hard plumbing and there ya go! You're ready to turn the pump back on. Check for any drips where you've reconnected the plumbing and you're done.


** By the way, if you only want to do this once, use Brite Line glass media instead of sand. It filters better and doesn't go bad so you never have to replace it again. We sell it in the store and our online store on this website. It's frickin amazing stuff. It costs about 3x more than sand, but after changing the sand once, you probably won't want to do it again.




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