how to maintain a swimming pool sand filter

It’s understandable that you want your pool looking at its sparkling best all year round (particularly in the summer). When it comes to a pristine pool, your pool filter plays a big role by collecting up dirt and debris. This is why you need to take the time to make sure your filter is working optimally. Today, let’s take a closer look at the different types of pool filters and how you can maintain each one properly.

Taking Care of Your Sand Filter

To get rid of the accumulated dirt and debris in your sand filter, you need to carry out backwashing, which is a relatively easy task. Different filters will have varying recommendations for the frequency of backwashing and it will also depend on how dirty your pool gets. Here at Pool Assist, we recommend backwashing for a good minute or two, followed by ‘rinsing’ for around 10-15 seconds. Amongst other things, this will ensure that no sand is caught in the multi-port valve where it can do some damage.  

How Often You Should Clean Your Sand Filter

Generally, you can expect that you’d need to backwash your sand filter at least once per month. This might become more often during the summer depending on how much debris and usage the pool is getting. If you look towards your psi and have noticed it has increased by roughly 8 - 10 psi, then this is typically an indicator that your filter is due for a clean. The sand in your filter will also gradually become less coarse over time and will likely need to be replaced every five to seven years or so for domestic pools.

What is the correct type of pool filter sand?

Although it may not be a common procedure, knowing how to maintain a swimming pool sand filter and understanding what sand works best is very important. The sand required needs to be very fine which means most sands won’t work or may even cause damage. Luckily this type of very fine sand can be found at a reliable pool supplies store. The sand you are going to want to look for is called glass sand and this is what your filter uses to function correctly.

Cartridge filters

The great thing about cartridge filters is that they’re easy to maintain. As dirt becomes trapped in the filter, eventually the pressure on the filter will increase which tells you that a cleanout is in order. Remove the cartridge and spray it down with a hose or soak them to remove dirt and debris – don’t use a pressure hose as this can cause damage. 

Every few months it’s recommended to deep clean your cartridge which essentially just means leaving it in the proper cleaning solution overnight, or for a few hours before rinsing it out. This cleaning solution can often be found online or in our store if in stock.

Eventually, your filter will need to be replaced when there are signs of too much wear and tear, usually every three to five years for domestic pools. A good tip we recommend at Pool Assist is to have a spare cartridge element and rotate them for cleaning.

Diatomaceous Earth Filter

Diatomaceous Earth filter, also known as the D.E filter, is the most complex filter on this list. D.E filters are commonly compared to sand filters when cleaning as they both require you to backwash and clean out the inside. 

Unlike sand filters, D.E filters require more steps as the interior has more steps to account for. Inside D.E filters contains a matrix which is the main component to actually stop debris passing. To correctly clean / maintain your diatomaceous earth filter you need to remove this filter and rinse it thoroughly after backwashing.  

After completing this simply put it back and add D.E power (refer to the manual for the correct amount) to have your D.E filter working great again.

Why It’s Important To Keep Up With Maintenance

Your filter wasn’t designed to go non-stop until the end of time, it needs someone to clean it out every now and then. Although they won’t break just after one month of no maintenance, they will begin to clog up if you leave them for a while. By clogging up the filter you also negatively affect your pump and its PSI levels which can damage your pool thanks to the water not moving around properly. 

These are the symptoms that your filter experiences after just a few months of ignoring maintenance. If you continue for a couple of years or decades then the damages can increase by a staggering amount. The sand in sand filters will clog up entirely after attaching too much debris allowing for almost no water flow. Cartridge filters are just as bad as though they won’t stop the airflow, it will definitely decontaminate the water by allowing mould to develop. Last is the D.E filter, where the problems that occur are similar to the sand filter but require more time to take effect. 

Understanding how to how to maintain a swimming pool sand filter and other filters gives you the skills needed to prolong your filters life.