It seems counterintuitive to use sand to filter the water in your pool, but this is considered the best filtering system for your pool. In truth, it doesn’t clean your pool as well as the other filtering systems (which I’ll discuss in another blog entry) but it’s the most popular because it’s the easiest to maintain and it has the longest life of all pool filtering systems.
The expected life of the sand filter is 8-10 years. It outperforms all other filtering systems but in order to maximize it’s service and cost, it really needs to be backwashed once a week. This may sound like more work, but backwashing a sand filter is quite easy to do. It takes less than 10 minutes to do. Basically you just turn off the pool, turn a valve to backwash, (this should be plainly marked on the valve), turn the power back on and run it until the water in your filter’s “sight glass” turns clear, about two minutes. Turn the power back off, set the valve to rinse, and run it for a minute. Rinsing is the process of preventing the backwashed water from returning to your pool, so make sure your waste hose is laid out to where you want to dump the waste water. Lastly, turn the pump off, set the valve back to filter, turn your filter back on, and it’s just that easy.
When backwashing you must remember not to ever move the valve while the filter is on. You don’t need to, nor should you backwash your sand filter more than once a week… some contaminates in the sand is desired as it helps the filter work more efficiently. Never vacuum your pool while you are backwashing. This can clog the pipes at the bottom of your filter.
The sand in the filter is not the same kind of sand at the beach or a playground. The sand in your pool filter is very fine and able to catch bacteria, contaminates, and particles. There are several types of sand for pools, but the generic term for swimming pool sand is silica. As long as your tank is filled with 20 silica rinsed sand, you won’t go wrong.
Many pool professionals recommend you change the sand once a year but most manufacturers say every five years. Changing the sand is not a difficult task, but be sure to follow the directions on the packaging of your sand or rely on a pool professional. If you do the job yourself I recommend a shop vac to remove the old sand. Try not to touch the old sand because it may be laden with bacteria and if you use your hands be sure to thoroughy wash them after the job is done.
There are many types of sand filters. They last so long that you will probably not be able to buy an exact replacement. This sort of product is constantly being updated and improved, but there will certainly be a replacement model available. The difficulty will be if you don’t have the paperwork (ie. model number and brand) or if it’s labeling is too faded or worn off from exposure to the sun. In most cases it is best to trust your pool professional to handle replacement. He or she will be able to identify your pool’s filtering need.
Sand filters are easy to maintain, but like anything, should you have any questions about this process email me or see your pool professional.