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How to Change Filter Sand

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If you are one of those pool owners who has a sand filter, you have the filter that is easiest to maintain on a week to week basis, but when it comes time to change the sand in that thing, you have a job ahead of you. It is labor intensive and messy and fairly expensive if you pay someone else to do it.

Steps for changing your filter sand, these instructions apply to Triton sand filters:

  1. Turn the pump off at the master switch (so it does not accidently turn on by itself). Make sure the pressure gauge returns to zero pressure.
  2. Open the air relief valve to allow the water to drain from the filter. Remove the drain plug on the bottom of the filter.
  3. Remove the top dome so you can reach into the filter sand.
  4. Push the diffuser aside and dig out the sand. You can do it with a scoop or some people will use a wet-dry vac for this purpose, but it may be the last thing you ever do with that wet dry vac (just warning you)
  5. Be careful about leaning on the fiberglass tank or rubbing on the fiberglass in the opening of the filter. Not a bad idea to wear a long sleeve sweatshirt when doing this.
  6. Clean out all the sand all the way to the bottom of the filter. Be very careful when working around the bottom lateral assembly that you do not break these off.
  7. Wash out the bottom of the filter tank and inspect the laterals for damage. If you are getting sand back into the pool, then you probably have damage in the laterals.
  8. Put the plug back in the bottom of the filter and then fill the tank halfway with water so you do not break the laterals when you pour the sand back into the filter. NOTE: Some filters call for pea gravel in the bottom of the filter. In our experience on home pools, it really does not make much of a difference. We normally just use standard pool filter sand. (do not try to substitute play sand or something else).
  9. Remove the dome o-ring and clean all the residue off of it. If black residue from the o-ring rubs off on your fingers, then the o-ring probably needs to be replaced.
  10. Pull the diffuser back into place and put the top back on the filter.
  11. Start the filter back up in backwash mode to try to remove the dust that is in the sand so you do not cloud up your pool more than is necessary. (If you have a multiport valve, then start the pump up with the valve in rinse mode).
  12. When the sight glass runs clear, turn the pump off and switch back into filter mode and turn the pump back on.
  13. Check for leaks, clean up your mess and move on.

If you don’t have the time to change your filter sand (or just don’t feel like doing it yourself), consider having it done by the pool professionals at Pool Stop.

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