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Swimming Pool Sand Filter Maintenance and Solutions 

Pool Sand Filter Maintenance & Pool Filter Problems. Avoid Mistakes & Check Your Sand Filter Pool Pump & Equipment Repairs To Reduce Your Pool Maintenance Cost.

Pool Sand Filter Maintenance & Pool Filter Problems. Avoid Mistakes & Check Your Sand Filter Pool Pump & Equipment Repairs To Reduce Your Pool Maintenance Cost.

Our cars need maintenance.  So do our houses, relationships, health, and our lives.  Let's not leave out our sand filters!!  Pool sand filters are known for being a good filtration system and one that's affordable.  A sand filter works by filtering your pool water through the top of the sand, similar to an espresso machine.  By force, the water is pressed through the sand.  What's left behind is the dirt and debris from the water.  The clean water is then returned back to the pool through the returns found in the pool.  Sand filters are so efficient that they're used for drinking water.  

Over time this dirt and debris accumulates in the sand.  This reduces water flow.  The filtration property and capacity decreases.  This reduction in water flow causes the pressure to increase inside the filter.  When this happens, it's time to backwash your filter to remove that excess dirt and debris.  Good pool sand filter maintenance requires backwashing when needed. 

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Your Sand Filter Multi-Port Valve

Pool Sand Filter Maintenance

Sand pool filters will have what is known as a “Multi-Port Valve” or MPV.   This valve is an all-in-one valve that makes your pool life a little easier.  If you're not familiar with a Multi-Port Valve please read the following and/or consult your owner's manual concerning your sand pool filter maintenance.

If your swimming pool motor (pump motor) is on and you decide to start turning any valves, that could cause all kinds of swimming pool filter problems.

Be sure the filter pump motor is off before turning anything. 

Pool Sand Filter Multi-Port Valve Settings

The multi-port valve (MPV) settings on this type of valve are as follows:


This is the normal setting for the valve.  The pool water is drawn by the pump, passed through the filter, and is then returned back into the pool as clean water.


This setting is used to flush out the filter when the sand filter media becomes overloaded with dirt and debris.  Water is drawn from the pool, is passed through the filter sand and then exits out of the filter as dirty water.  A high pressure sand filter means it's time to backwash.  Once this part of your swimming pool sand filter maintenance is accomplished your system is ready to rinse. 


This setting is used to flush out any dirt, debris, or excess pool filter sand that may remain in the lines after backwashing and only requires about 10 seconds.  This water exits as waste and not back into the pool.


This function allows for the pool water to circulate without passing through the swimming pool filter sand again.  This setting is used when chemicals need to be mixed in the pool.


This setting runs water from the pool directly to the drain and can be used when lowering the water level, when certain adjustments are needed, or when vacuuming large amounts of dirt.


This setting is to be used ONLY when the pump motor is off.  Closing this valve while the pump is running could seriously damage your pool water sand filter. 

Use The Closed Setting When: 

  • Performing any swimming pool sand filter maintenance
  • Replacing pool filter sand
  • Changing sand in pool filter
  • Making any repairs to the sand filter parts
  • Cleaning the filter unit or filter basket

If you have any questions or are not sure about the Multi-Port Valve or any part of your sand water filters, check with your local pool store and find a qualified pool technician.

One Word About Your Sand Multi-Port Valve

Words are used such as "filter" and "circulate" as in "make sure you circulate your water" or "circulation is the key to clear water".  Many people unknowingly use these words interchangeably.  This is simply incorrect on many levels and is symptomatic of a much larger problem.  When you hear the words "filter" and "circulate" you must know they mean different things, have different definitions, and different applications. 

FILTER means the water is being pressed through the sand and clean water is being returned back to the pool.  CIRCULATE means the water has bypassed the filter altogether and is returned back to the pool.  It can also mean the returns are mixing up the water as in the case of pools that are equipped with hydro-jets. We can have circulation without filtration but it is only in rare instances that we have filtration without circulation.  On the MPV we have the settings FILTER and RECIRCULATE.  They are two  completely different settings.  They DO NOT mean the same thing.  This verbiage is similar to so-called pool professionals that will tell you to "turn off your sand filter".  We cannot "turn off our sand filter".  We "turn off the pump motor".  Your pool sand filter maintenance is of the utmost importance and knowing the correct terminology is crucial to your success. 

Word of caution: If you mention this to someone you're speaking with and they simply raise their hands and say, "Oh well, it means the same thing", I suggest finding another avenue for your information. Words and their definitions mean things.  Remember, it's your pool, time, and money on the line, not theirs.  

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Pool Sand Filter Maintenance - Backwash

Pool Sand Filter Maintenance

For proper care of your inground and above ground sand filter, and to keep your sand filter running at peak performance, you'll need to backwash your filter when the pool system calls for it.

This is normally 8 - 10 Psi over the "just backwashed" pressure. 

Once again, if you're even the least bit unsure of performing any part of this pool sand filter maintenance, check with a qualified pool technician.

  • Raise the water level 1"-2" if it's low. Turn the pool filter system OFF and clean the pump basket.  Remove any debris and carefully place the basket back into the filter pump housing and reattach the pump lid. Check the gasket or O-ring.  If it's torn or broken you'll need to replace it.
  • Roll out your backwash hose, if applicable, and turn the filter control valve to BACKWASH.
  • Turn the filter pump back ON and pump out dirty water until the water runs CLEAR through the hose and/or site glass, then turn off the pump.
  • Set the control valve to RINSE and turn the pump on for about 10 seconds.  Turn off the pump.  This will get rid of any loose debris or pool filter media that may be in the lines or pool filter system.
  • Turn valve back to FILTER and you're done.

The entire process should take about 5 minutes for a home pool and a little more for commercial sand filters.  Pool sand filter maintenance is just easy pool maintenance.  A swimming pool sand filter is pretty bullet-proof if you take care of it.

Swim and have fun!!

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