How you know when you need a sand change…

Top Mount Sand FilterFirst, make sure you have a sand filter. Many new homeowners who are not familiar with their equipment might think that they have a sand filter, and it may be something else. The other common types of filters are cartridge filters and d.e. filters.

If you do have a sand filter, we recommend that you change the sand every 3-5 years. Keep in mind that pool years seem to go by faster than real years. Often when a homeowner thinks it was just a year or two ago, that can really mean 5+ years. Keep great service notes, and when in doubt about how long it’s been, add 3-5 years to your best guess!

When a sand filter is functioning on the filter mode, the water comes in through the multiport or the push pull valve and travels into the top of the filter, down through the bed of sand, is pushed through the fingers in the bottom of the filter, up the tube, and out to the heater and back into the swimming pool. The backwash setting reverses the flow of water so it comes in through the tube, and pushes the water up through the sand bed and helps to take the debris off the top and pushes it out the waste hose. The backwash function does help remove debris that gets trapped on the surface of your bed of sand, however, over time it builds up and makes your sand filtration less effective. It’s always interesting what we find in a sand filter that has not had a sand change in a number of years! After running a backwash cycle, it’s always important to rinse. The rinse feature reverses the flow of water back to filter mode, but continues to push the water out the waste hose to help clear out any leftover debris in the lines. Then when you put the system back to filter, you should have a clean and clear experience.

If you are getting fine cloudy dirty water back in your pool through the returns after a backwash cycle it could mean:

  1. you have not backwashed long enough,
  2. you did not rinse long enough
  3. if you have a push pull valve without a rinse function, you might want to consider installing a multi-port valve
  4. your sand really should be changed

If you are getting filter sand back into your pool after a backwash cycle it means that

  1. something is broken inside your filter
  2. there is too much sand in your filter
  3. someone is playing tricks on you and adding filter sand to your pool

A sand change is a relatively simple process, and involves removing the sand from your filter (commonly 300# to 600#) through the little opening in the top. Then, the internal pipes and components will be checked to make sure they are still in proper working order, and your new sand added to the filter. If you attempt a sand change yourself, make sure you have pool filter sand to add to the filter, the proper amount, and that you avoid getting any of the new sand in the middle pipe of your filter during installation. If you have a fiberglass filter, wear long sleeves or you’ll itch later.  Always start your filter up on backwash after a sand change, to help the pipes ensure clean water flow when you reset the system to filter.

Pietila Pools Services would be happy to perform a sand change for you. Pricing starts at $250 for a sand change, and includes up to 6 bags of sand. If you have a larger capacity filter, the price will adjust slightly to accommodate for the amount of sand involved.

One of the pools we serviced this spring had a huge issue with water clarity – and no amount of chemicals, balancing, shocking or clarifying seemed to help. Our service team performed a sand change, and within 24 hours, the water was sparkling. Make sure you are pro-active about your filter sand!