How to change pool filter sand

If you notice your filter isn’t working as efficiently as it used to, or if you’re having to backwash the filter more and more frequently, it’s probably time to replace the filter media


Silica sand is made with ground quartz, and it has rough edges to help trap particulates.The silica sand in a pool sand filter is specially built to trap particles


Glass media filters offer an ultra-fine filtration that removes particles up to 3 micron in size, resulting in crystal clear water.


This lightweight pool filter media will increase the efficiency of your pool cleaner.

Why do I need to change my pool filter sand?

Why do I need to change my pool filter sand? Doesn’t sand last forever? Well, the answer to that is yes and no. Yes, sand basically lasts forever but over time, it loses its potency as a filter media. To the naked eye, the sand used in sand filters look just like any old regular sand out there. But under closer inspection, you would find that the grains of sand are actually rough and textured. This roughness is the component that provides the filtering component. The tiny bits of dirt, algae, dead bugs, and other contaminants gets snagged by the tiny burrs on the sand and clean water passes on through.

Over the years, this texture gets smoothed out due to the amount of water passing through. To illustrate this point, try walking down a beach or a stream, notice how almost all of the small rocks have smooth surfaces? This is called weathering. The surfaces of the rocks (and in our case sand) gets smoothed out over the years, and while you’re left with nice smooth sand, it’s useless as a filter media.

How often do I need to change pool filter sand?

Depending on the usage, pool filter sand can go for years without needing a change. Here are POOL POND SPA, we recommend that you absolutely change your filter media sand at the very least two years and at seven years at the latest. This will not only ensure that your pool water is filtered optimally, but this keeps the stress on your entire pool system low as well. The best way to tell if your sand filter media is nearing the end of its lifecycle is that your pool may cloud up more often and you’ll notice that you’re shocking your pool more often than normal.

Getting Started is Easy

Turn off pump, drain water from filter, and remove the lid or top mount valve.

Take out all the old filter sand, then thoroughly clean and inspect filter components.

Replace filter media with sand or a suitable alternative. Reinstall lid or valve.

Turn on the pump and run a backwash cycle on the filter. Your filter is now ready to use!

How To Change Pool Filter Sand

1. Gather Your Supplies

Before you get started, make sure you have all the essential tools and supplies on hand and ready to go. Taking a few minutes to gather everything you need and place it near the sand pool filter will make the entire process so much faster and easier.

Required Job Materials:

  • Standard Flathead and Phillips Screwdriver (when dealing with filter clamps)
  • Rubber Plug, Sock, Plastic Bag, or Duct Tape (to cover the standpipe inside the filter tank)
  • Wet/Dry  Vac and/or a Small Scoop/Cup
  • Small Tarp or  Buckets (you’ll need at least 3-5 buckets to hold and transport old filter media)
  • Garden Hose with Spray Nozzle
  • SpareLid and/O ring and/screws
  • Replacement Filter Media – Several Options Available
    • Silica Sand
    • Eco Glass Filter Media
    • Eco Fibre Sponge

2. Remove the Filter Valve or Lid

Depending on the model of sand pool filter you have, this step will vary slightly. The important thing here is to remove the top lid closure or top mount multiport valve to gain access to the filter internals. If your top mount filter valve does not have unions installed for easy removal, you’ll need a hand saw to cut the plumbing lines.

Top Mount Valve

If your filter has a top mount multiport valve, be especially careful when removing it from the standpipe. You don’t want to damage the internals in the bottom of the tank! Then, place a sock, sturdy plastic bag, or piece of duct tape over top of the standpipe. Or, if you have a rubber plug that will fit, place it in the opening. This will prevent sand from falling inside, which can either clog up the filter or end up in the pool.

Side Mount Valve

If your sand filter has a side mount multiport or slide valve, set the valve to the closed position, and remove the top lid. You’ll see the baffle/diffuser and air relief tube just beneath the lid closure.

3. Take Out the Old Filter Media


Use either a wet/dry shop vac or a small cup or scoop to carefully remove all the old filter media. Place it into  buckets or dump it onto a nearby tarp, which will make it easier to properly dispose of the old sand. Remember that sand triples its weight when wet, so be careful not to overexert yourself, and take your time. If you’re going to be reaching down inside the tank, wear a long-sleeved shirt or place a towel around the tank opening to prevent injuries.


DIY TIP: What should you do with used filter sand? To avoid the dangers of inhaling silica dust or other contaminants within the sand, the best route is to dispose of it.  If disposal isn’t a viable option in your area, consider burying it in the yard, using it for landscaping projects (underlayment for pavers). DON’T put it back in your pool filter. There’s a reason you took it out, after all!

4. Spray Down the Sand Filter Tank

Using a garden hose with spray attachment, thoroughly rinse the inside of the sand filter tank. This will help you finish removing any remaining filter media stuck to the walls or filter components.

5. Inspect All Filter Components

Be extremely cautious when handling the internal filter components. The laterals/filter fingers are somewhat fragile and can break easily if not handled with care.

If you have a top mount sand pool filter valve with standpipe assembly, you can clip out the laterals and remove the assembly from the tank for closer inspection. On the other hand, if you have a side mount filter, the laterals will be more difficult to remove. You can detach each lateral individually, if needed.

Thoroughly inspect the internals, and replace any broken or worn internal filter components. If any laterals are cracked or bent, now is the time to replace them. If you removed the lateral assembly, make sure they are the correct type and are in place securely . In top mount filters make sure the assembly is positioned correctly in the center of the tank.

6. Add New Media to the Sand Filter Tank

Depending on the type of filter media you’re using, the approach for adding replacement media and the quantity required will differ slightly.

Silica Sand/Eco Clear Glass

Half fill the filter tank with clean water.Once the pool filter tank is half filled with water, you can now start filling it with sand. Remember to make sure that the Rubber Plug, Sock, Plastic Bag, or Duct Tape (to cover the standpipe inside the filter tank)is tight and secure, you don’t want sand to get into the stand pipe. The water is there so that the falling sand will be cushioned by the water and laterals won’t get damaged by the weight of the falling sand.

Eco Fibre Filter Sponge

  • Remove 3 Filter Fingers from the bottom of the filter and ensure the remaining filter fingers are not blocked with sand/dirt.
  • Rinse the filter with clean water doing your best to get rid of excess dirt which may have been left inside. The hard part is done.
  • Add ECO-FlBER and fill to the top of the filter. Remember, ECO-FlBER compacts when wet, so push it in.

DIY TIP: Which type of filter media should you use? Silica sand is cheapest to purchase, but it doesn’t offer the same benefits as Eco Clear Glass. When choosing new filter media, it’s important to not only consider the price, but also the filtration ability, water and energy savings, maintenance level, and longevity. We recommend upgrading your filter with Eco Clear Glass It’s also a long lasting, environmentally friendly, safer alternative to silica sand.

7. Reinstall the Filter Valve or Tank Lid

Depending on which type of sand filter you have, either remove the plug/sock/bag/tape from the standpipe, or move the baffle and air vent tube back into place. Next, replace and/orlubricate with petroleam jelly   the top lid or multiport valve o-ring/gasket. If your o-rings and gaskets are cracked, crimped, or showing signs of wear and tear, now is the perfect time to replace them to avoid leaks and other issues in the future. It’s a good idea to keep a spare o ring  on hand for all your essential pool equipment.

If there is any sand or filter media around the tank opening, clean it off. This is especially important if you have a threaded tank opening.

Now you’re ready to securely reinstall the top lid or multiport valve on the filter tank. If the top mount multiport valve was cut out of the system, we suggest replumbing with unions to prevent the need for future cutting.

 8. Turn On the Filtration System

Set your filter’s push-pull slide valve or multiport valve to the “Backwash” position. Turn the power from the breaker back on, and allow the system to backwash for 3-5 minutes, or until the water coming out from the backwash hose runs clear. 

Once the backwash cycle is complete, if you have a multiport valve, shut the system off, set the valve to “Rinse,” turn the pump back on, and let the system run for 30-60 seconds.

Next, shut the pump off one more time, and set the push-pull slide valve or multiport valve to normal operating “Filter” position. Turn the system on again, and your pool filter is ready to clean the pool!


If this is your first time changing the filter media in your sand pool filter, this whole process might sound a bit overwhelming. But don’t worry! If you run into any issues, the friendly swimming pool experts at Pool Pond Spa are here to help. Call or stop by your local store for more information about filter care, replacement parts, or other routine pool maintenance tips.


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(062) 105-2168

(061) 439-8356

107 Rietfontein Road , Boksburg, Gauteng

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