How to: Change the Sand in your Sand Filter

how to change sand filter

It’s that time again, pool season is here (or right around the corner) and that means getting ready for the pool season. One concern or question often asked is when should you replace the sand in your pool filter. The answer is this: you want to replace the sand in your filter about every five years or so. Over time the sand in your filter becomes worn and is not able to catch contaminants as well as it once did, causing your pool equipment to run longer to accomplish the same task. If left unchanged, the sand in your filter can have the reverse effect, causing water that filters through your pool to become dirty. With that said, we have decided to put together some resources to help our customers get the job done.

Difficulty Level: Easy, although this can take some time.

Time: 2-4 hours

Pool Filter Sand: Check manufacturer for amount
Shop Vac or bucket
Backwash Hose
Duct Tape
Screw Driver
Hose Clamp
Replacement Laterals if needed
Multiport Valve O-ring
Silicon Lubricant

If No Pre Existing Unions were Installed:
Unions (3)
PVC Pipe Cement


Step One:

Before you change out the sand in your filter it will be necessary to pick up any supplies before hand. If you did not have unions installed with your filter, you will have to cut the piping running to and from your filter. We recommend taking the time to install unions when replacing the sand for future maintenance. If you have any sand in your pool you may want to purchase replacement laterals (threaded or pivot-style). As an option, you can also buy replacement o-rings along with some silicon lubricant for your multiport valve. Because you do not have to change the sand out for about five years or so we would strongly suggest replacement of the o-ring.

sand filters

Step Two:

Turn off your pool pump.

Step Three:

Remove the drain cap at the bottom of your sand filter to release the pressure in the filter and drain the water.

pool sand filters

pool equipment

Step Four:

To remove the multiport valve from the top of your pool filter you will have to remove the pump, return and waste pipes. If you have unions installed, simply unscrew them from the multiport valve. If you do not have unions, like our filter, you will have to do as we did and cut the pipes attached to the multiport valve. Make sure you leave enough exposed pipe after the cut to slide on both sides of the unions.

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sand filter

clean sand filter

Step Five:

Grab your screwdriver and start unscrewing the multiport flange that is attached to the bottom of your multiport valve. Unscrew each side and remove flange.

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Step Six:

Twist and remove the multiport valve slowly. If removed quickly the laterals can break under the pressure of the sand.

sand filter change

clean sand filter

Step Seven:

Tape off the top of the filter pipe with duct tape so that sand will not be inserted in the laterals, clogging your filter.

how to clean sand filter

Step Eight:

Use the Shop Vac or a bucket to remove the old sand from your filter.

how to clean sand filter

Step Nine:

After all the sand has been removed reach in the filter and fold the laterals up into a 90 degree and remove the lateral assembly.

how to clean sand filter

Step Ten:

inspect the laterals for any broken pieces. replace laterals as necessary to avoid sand from entering your pool.

how to clean sand filter

Step Eleven:

Wash the tank out with a hose.

how to clean sand filter

Step Twelve:

Replace the drain cap.

how to clean sand filter

Step Thirteen:

Fill your tank half way up with water.

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Step Fourteen:

Replace the lateral assembly and fold down laterals to their original position.

sand filters

Step Fifteen:

Make sure that lateral assembly is centered in the filter tank. Open bags of sand and fill the tank until sand reaches manufacturers specs.

can sand filter

clean pool filters

Step Sixteen:

If needed, replace the o-ring below the multiport valve and apply silicone lubricant.

how to replace sand

Step Seventeen:

Remove duct tape from the lateral assembly.

cleaning sand filter


If you do not have unions installed this will be the time to do so. For a good bond, file down both sides of the PVC pipe that will be inserted into the union at a 45 degree angle. After you have filed down both sides, unscrew the unions and apply PVC pipe cement to the inside of the union and the outside of the PVC pipe where they will be attached. Apply one end of the union with the pvc pipe still connected to the multiport valve and the other to the connection pipe. Do this for the return, pump and waste valves.

how to change sand filter

how to clean sand filter

Step Eighteen

Install multiport and secure with multiport flange by tightening both bolts on sides of flange.

sand filter replacement

clean pool filter

Step Nineteen:

Connect unions to pump, return and waste lines.

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Step Twenty:

Attach the backwash hose with your hose clamp and run the hose to backwash area.

pool filter cleaning

Step Twenty One:

Turn the multiport to the backwash position.

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Step Twenty Two:

Make sure the pump is primed and turn the pump on, letting it backwash for about two minutes.

sand filter maintenance

Step Twenty Three:

Turn the pump off and turn the multiport valve to the rinse position.


Step Twenty Four:

Turn the pump back on, letting it run until the water in the sight glass becomes clear. This gets rid of any small particles of sand that would, otherwise, end up at the bottom of your pool.

check valve

multiport valve

Step Twenty Five:

Turn the pump off and turn the multiport valve back to filter.

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When Kevin’s not enjoying the water himself he’s engaging himself in the wide world of pool and spa knowledge which he passes on to our customers through producing content for our blogs and website. Outside of the pool world you can find him enjoying life with friends, family and his off the wall dog Brixton.