In order to effectively trap and prevent particles from staying in your pool’s water, many filters are filled with sand. Contrary to popular belief, sand is excellent when it comes to capturing debris, especially minute pieces that tend to make their way past traditional filters that do not feature this extra barrier.
Since sand loses its size and shape, and thus effectiveness to trap debris over time, the supply in your filter needs to be replaced every few years (3-5 on average, depending on use). Given how long your pool can function on a single set of sand, there is no reason why you should forego this crucial preventative maintenance step.
Pool Filter Sand Swapping For Beginners
The thing to remember about sand is that its ability to capture particles actually increases for a short duration, but once this peak is reached it is time to exchange the supply. You’ll need the help of a few tools to complete the swapping process (e.g. a Shop Vac, duct tape, screwdriver, and the new sand).
The first thing you have to do is turn the pump off, after which you can drain the filter. Do not, we repeat do not, attempt to pour new sand in while the pump is running, as this can cause the pump to malfunction and potentially leak sand into the pool.
In addition, you need to wait until all the water has been drained from the filter before sealing it up; remove the drain plug and allow ample time for the process to complete. You might want to do this step as a precursor to the actual sand exchange well in advance; again, you should never rush this.
Once all the water has been drained from the filter, you can proceed to disconnect the hoses hooked to the multiport valve. Some pumps contain PVC pipe instead of rubber hoses, in which case you’ll need to cut the pipe off at the appropriate length and install new fittings. Make sure to double-check your measurements before doing this.
The next step is to remove the metal clamp that secures the valve to the tank; once done, cover the upper section of the standpipe with duct tape. Don’t leave any part of the pipe exposed, as any sand that finds its way inside will be transported to the pool.
Suck the existing sand out with your Shop Vac, taking care to scrape the sides of the tank where particles are likely to be stuck. Thoroughly rinse the tank, fill it halfway full of fresh water, then add the the new supply of sand. Finish by filling the remainder of the tank with water and cleaning the filter one more time before hooking everything back up.