Pool Sand Filter Problems

Pool Sand Filter Problems & Sand Filter Maintenance & Troubleshoot Pool Filter Sand Issues.

Pool sand filter problems can be a pain to troubleshoot simply because of the amount of pool filter media involved.

You need to have the best information, tips, and maintenance tips for your inground and above ground pool sand filter.

Troubleshooting a swimming pool sand filter, unlike a torn pleat in a cartridge filter or a torn grid in a DE pool filter, might be hard to find.

If the pool filter media is bad or there's a broken lateral, you can't know simply by opening the lid on the swimming pool sand filter and looking inside.

pool sand filter problems,sand pool filter,pool filter cleaning,pool pump motors

If things need replaced in the sand pool filter there's going to be some scooping and scraped-up forearms.


Due to the nature of a swimming pool sand filter, caution needs to be taken in order to stay safe.  First, turn off the filter pump and relieve the pressure through the air-relief valve or the pump lid before servicing the sand filter.

Clean Pool & Spa is not responsible for any injury and/or damage by work associated with attempted repair of a sand filter.  This is for information purposes only.

Sand Filter Maintenance - Pool Sand Filter Maintenance & Pool Filter Problems. Avoid Mistakes & Check Your Sand Filter Pool Pump & Equipment

Pool Sand Filter Problems Troubleshooting

Swimming Pool Repair & Pool Maintenance

Here's a list of pool sand filter problems that can occur:

Pool Sand (Pool Filter Media) Is Bad/Old - Slow Sand Filter

  • Your swimming pool may experience clarity problems.
  • Your pool filter sand may look good, but it's not doing its job at filtering out debris from the pool water. First, check your pool water chemistry with a good water testing kit to be sure the water is balanced correctly.
  • Next, backwash your sand filter, check the backwash valve to be sure it's working properly, and be sure you have an adequate flow rate.
  • If everything checks out and you don't find any pool sand filter problems and the water is still bad, you probably need to change the pool filter sand in your sand filter.
  • Measure the freeboard. This is the measurement from the top of the sand to the top of the filter. Your owner's manual should have this information.

Broken or Bad Lateral

  • When your sand filter has a broken or bad lateral you will usually have sand returning back into the pool. If you have any pool sand filter problems, here's where the fun begins. 
  • You'll probably need to remove all of the pool filter media and replace the lateral. The actual replacing of the lateral is like screwing in a light bulb, about 10 seconds. 
  • Getting to the lateral means much bending and scooping.
  • You might also check the air relief tube. This can be done without removing much, if any, pool filter sand.

Dirty Or Greasy Pool Filter Sand

  • When you have shorter back-washing cycles, oily or greasy sand could be the problem. This is one of the reasons we require people at the YMCA to take hot soapy showers before entering the pool. 
  • Pool sand filters can basically become like sandy lard which causes "channeling" down the side of the sand pool filter. This is when the water doesn't get pressed through the pool filter media, it forms an actual channel down the side of the filter and is returned to the swimming pool as dirty water.
  • There's a good pool filter cleaner that I've used and like.  It's called GLB Filter Fresh. Follow the directions on the bottle. This may only buy you a few months. Your best bet is to replace the swimming pool filter sand.

Short Backwash Time

  • Most of the time a good 2-3 minute back-washing will do the trick. Normally the water will run clear or a sight-glass will help you see when the water turns clear.

Keep The Water Properly Balanced

  • Using the best pool tips and proper pool water maintenance is vital to the health and well being of your pool. Be sure you have the swimming pool chlorine, pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, and cyanuric acid level adjusted.

Wrong Size Pool Filter Sand Or Type 

  • Too big or too small pool filter will cause bad filtration and the sand filter may clog up. Most manufacturers recommend No. 20 grade silica pool filter media. Check with your owner's manual for the correct size of pool filter sand.

Over-Sized Pool Filter Pumps 

  • Having too big of a swimming pool sand filter may break up sand particles which may allow them to pass through the underdrain or laterals.

Under-Sized Swimming Pool Filters and Pumps 

  • Having too small of a pool filter pump will cause the pump to work harder and it won't be able to filter the dirt out of the swimming pool. Normally a residential pool filter pump should turn over the water at the most every 8 - 10 hours. Commercial pools may do it a little faster.

Damaged O-Rings or Gaskets 

  • The gasket or O-ring on the bottom of a multi-port valve might be damaged. If you have a push-pull piston type backwash valve, the O-ring may need to be replaced.
  • When an O-ring or gasket becomes worn, water will go right past the filter and back to the pool. 

Your pool sand filter problems don't have to be a headache.  If you stay on top of your pool water chemistry and check your equipment weekly, you'll be able to keep your pool sand filter problems down to a minimum, or maybe none at all.

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What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Half Of Pool Drained Through Backwash Hose 
My husband backwashed sat.and left the hose rolled out into the yard. We noticed on the way to church Sunday but forgot to put it up when we got home. …

Why Am I Losing Sand After Backwashing 
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Leaking Water Sand Filter 
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Pool pump capacitor went out. Took over a week to get it repaired. Pool looking pretty green/cloudy. Had to put several chemicals in and set multiport …

Why Is There Sand At Bottom Of Pool 
How could I clean the sand out of the bottom of my above ground pool without having to empty it every time? Thanks for the question Jonathan …

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I just replaced my backwash valve within the past year. I noticed my water level kept dropping and started looking for why, which is when I noticed …

Do I Have Sand Filter Or Pump Problems? 
The filter runs well on backwash after many repairs (new sand and laterals, new multi-port top...it was leaking) But has very little water (low flow?) …

Multiport Valve Filter Setting Issue..Water Coming Out Of The Backwash Hose.. 
I have a Hayward S244T top mount sand filter. Today I vaccuumed to waste, finished, turned off pump, changed setting to filter but water is still coming …

Change The Sand In Above Ground Pool Sand Filters 
We have a Jacuzzi Laser 192 sand filter for an above ground pool. When & how often should the sand be replace & could I do it myself? Thanks …

My Pool Sand Filter Has Low Pressure..Low Psi & Multiport Valve Is Leaking 
I have a Hayward S166 Sand filter that has no PSI's in any setting except recirculate. There is water leaking from the backwash valve and I am getting …

Manual Air Relief Valve..When To Relieve Air Pressure From A Sand Filter.. 
Need to know when should I relief air from sand filter. Last Friday my filter's top poped up and almost quater of my pool water wasted. What could …

Sand Filter Dry and Lateral Is Stuck & Filter Not Working 
After emptying the skimmer box / tray situated at the filter system (not the one in the pool), I resealed the lid and turned filter on but water not sucking …

High Pressure Problem On A Swimming Pool Sand Filter 
We have back washed it several times and the pressure remains high. The filter is not strong anymore like when we first bought it. The sand and pump are …

Problems Centering A Sandpipe For A Hayward Pro S210T Filter 
I have a Hayward Pro S210T Filter. When we opened up the pool this year and started up the filter, all seemed well. We shocked the pool water …

How Do I Stop Sand Going Back Into The Pool..Pool Keeps Getting Dirty.. 
Have a sand filter. About 4 years old as is pool. Lately I've noticed that after my automatic pool cleaner completely cleans the bottom and the skimmer …

How Often Replace Sand & Pressure Increases Valve Not rated yet
I have an above ground pool (17000) gallons that is going on our 4th year. Should I replace my sand in my filter? Thanks Larry Carbo …

Small Particles In Pool & Replacing The Sand Problems Not rated yet
I have a 20' x 48" intex pool with a swimline Sand Master Filter System. I'm using Aqua Chem filter sand plus in the filter. But my water is cloudy …

High Sand Filter Pressure Not rated yet
The hose that I am connecting to my pool tank (water going into tank from the fileter to be cleaned) will not stay connected - - it keeps popping off. …

Water Coming Out Of Backwash Hose & Meteor Sand Leaking Not rated yet
I have a sand filter and water keeps coming out my backwash hose on every setting except recirculate. Water doesn't come out on filter setting unless …

Replace Lateral Sand Still In Pool & Zeosand Not rated yet
I had sand in my pool so removed top of split tank on the filter, removed sand, and found the end of one of the laterals in the sand. Laterals were …

Sand Filter Draining & Leaking in Filter Position Not rated yet
The water is draining out of my sand filter when it is in the filter position. Thanks for the question The question didn't mention a general …

How To clean Sand Filter & Filter Won't Work When Dirty Not rated yet
The swimming pool sand filter is not working properly. It's not backwashing at all. I'm not sure what the problem is and hope you can help out. …

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