How to Clean a Pool Sand Filter

By Greg Jarvis | Last Updated: September 7, 2022

The primary function of a sand filter is to keep your swimming pool clean. It needs to be cleaned and maintained regularly to help the sand filter run smoothly. This how-to clean pool sand filter guide will teach you how to do it properly. The process of cleaning the filter is divided into three parts – prepare for backwash, backwashing the filter, and final rinse & back to regular operation.

A. Prepare for Backwash

Step#1 Check the Pressure Gauges

You will know when to clean the filter by checking the pressure gauge. If the sand filter has an inlet and outlet pressure gauge and the differential pressure reads at 16 and 20 psi, it is an indication that it is time to clean the filter. But, for filters with inlet pressure gauge only, an increase in pressure of 8 to 10 psi means it is cleaning time.

The majority of the sand filters require to be cleaned every two to four weeks

If you think the water pool is a bit cloudy, you can clean your sand filter, or after using the pool during a party or any event.

Step#2 Turn Off the Pump

This is very important. Turn off the pump before you start cleaning the sand filter. It is for your safety and also to help the pump last longer. It is also a must to turn off the pump’s power at the circuit breaker.

Step#3 Modify the Pool Filter Valve Setting

Once you have turned off the pump and the circuit breaker, you can change the filter setting. Set the filter valve to backwash.

Step#4 Placing the Waste Hose

Get your backwash hose and place it over the nozzle. With a metal hose clamp, secure the hose and tighten it with a screwdriver. Position the other end of the hose to the area where you would like to discharge.

Read more: Best Pool Filter Cartridges

B. Backwashing the Filter

Step#1 Let the Pump Run

After positioning your waste hose, you can turn on the pump again. Do not forget to turn on the circuit breaker as well. Let the pump run on the backwash setting for two minutes.

Step#2 Focus on the Sight Glass

Running the pump for two minutes is a general guideline. Keep an eye on the sight glass, to determine if you have backwashed your sand filter adequately. If you notice that the water flowing into the sight glass is clear, then your filter is clean.

Step#3 Turn Off the Pump to Change the Setting

Once you have completed the backwash cycle, your next step is to modify the setting. Make sure that you have turn off the filter thoroughly before making the changes on your valve to avoid any untoward incident.

C. Perform the Final Rinse

Step#1 Set to the Rinse Setting

Turn the valve to the rinse setting while the filter is still off. After you have completed the backwashing, you need to reset the sand in your filter. Also, you need to rinse out any dirty water in the filter. Otherwise, it might return to the swimming pool. Turn on the pump again and let it run on rinse for one to two minutes to remove the dirty water and reset the sand.

Step#2 Set it to the Filter Setting

Now that you have completed the rinsing process, turn off the pump again, and return the valve to the filter setting. Turn on the pump back and let it function normally.

Step#3 Check the Gauges Reading

After you have run the filter for one to two hours, make sure you recheck the pressure gauges. If the gauges returned to normal, it indicates that the filter is clean. In determining if the filter is clean, the pressure differential should be between 3 and 5 psi.

Final Thoughts

You need to keep your pool water clean. And one way to do it is by cleaning the pool sand filter. When cleaning the filter and setting the valve, do not forget to turn off the pump. If you do, you might damage and destroy the system. Also, don’t backwash more than required, or for longer than indicated. Sand filter systems work well in the middle of the filtration cycle. Too much backwashing can reduce the sand filter’s efficiency.

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