ULTIMATE Pool Sand Filter FAQ (Everything You Need To Know)


Are you sick of dealing with exorbitant maintenance fees, murky pool water, and clogged filters? Do you want to maintain a crystal-clear pool without having to deal with the inconvenience of routine filter changes? A pool sand filter is the ideal choice for you if so. It not only offers a practical means of maintaining the cleanliness and clarity of your pool, but it also requires little upkeep and can ultimately save you money. You may have crystal-clear water all summer long without spending a fortune if you use a pool sand filter. Continue reading to discover additional ways a pool sand filter can assist you in maintaining a beautiful and healthy swimming environment.


Pool sand filters are an effective and efficient way to keep your pool clean and clear.

  • Sand filters use a combination of sand, water, and gravity to remove dirt and debris from the pool.
  • They require regular maintenance such as backwashing and replacing the sand every few years.
  • They are cost-effective compared to other types of pool filtration systems.

Learn more about how to maintain your pool sand filter with our comprehensive FAQ!

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Do you have a brand-new sand filter, or are you looking to put one in?

Have you decided it’s way past time for a new filter to keep your pool clean?

If so, are you looking for options to figure out whether or not a sand filter might be right for you?

Whatever brings you here, if you’re looking for all the best information you can find about pool filter sand, you’re in the right place. Many times, the first question people ask is “where can I buy pool filter sand?” but there’s a lot more to be learned before you run out and purchase your new filter media.

Below, you’ll find a FAQ packed with several of the most common questions to help you get started. You’ll learn about the cost of pool filter sand, but you’ll also find out about troubleshooting issues you might encounter, how much sand you need to purchase, and so much more.

By the time you get through reading this we hope you’ll be well informed about everything you need to know to get started with your new sand filter. You’ll be ready to pick up the right type of sand for your filter, and you’ll know how to put the perfect amount in your device every time.

It can be a little overwhelming learning about a new type of filter media, especially if you’ve never worked with it before. But with our help, you can learn a lot and be ready for your pool filter sand no matter what. Now, let’s get started!

How do Sand Filters Work?

Before we get started it’s a good idea to first understand a little bit about how sand filters work. If you don’t have a sand filter already, you’re probably wondering just how they can make a difference in terms of filtration level in your pool. And if you’ve already got one, there’s always a chance you don’t fully know how they function and how they help you get your pool water cleaner than many other types of filters can. Either way, it’s time for a brief rundown of how your filter functions.

  • Sand filters work because the individual particles of sand are a great way to remove contaminants from water. These particles, which are fairly uniform in size and shape with just a small amount of fluctuation present, are rough and jagged, which means they can catch dirt, bacteria, and other substances present in your water.
  • A sand filter tank is usually a large round or cylindrical plastic or fiberglass container that’s used to hold your filter sand. Inside the filter tank, you can also find plastic manifolds, which are like long fingers that slowly turn the sand. When the filter is on and running, the manifolds shift the sand around and allow it to be more equally exposed to the water that passes through the filter.
  • A sand filter tank is usually a large round or cylindrical plastic or fiberglass container that’s used to hold your filter sand. Inside the filter tank, you can also find plastic manifolds, which are like long fingers that slowly turn the sand. When the filter is on and running, the manifolds shift the sand around and allow it to be more equally exposed to the water that passes through the filter.
  • As your pump operates, it draws water through the sand in the filter. This water moves quickly enough through the sand to give you a good turnover rate, but it also moves slowly enough to allow the sand to catch many of the contaminants present in the water.
  • As the water exits your filter tank, it’s been stripped of all the unwanted substances that were previously present in it. It’s now clean and ready for swimming. Depending on the size and speed of your filter and pump, this process will repeat usually every few hours.

Sand Filter Q&A

Below, you’ll find some of the most common questions you’re likely to end up asking when you work with sand swimming pool filters. Although some of these might not pertain to you, chances are good that they’ll all be important to you at some point throughout the life of your sand filter.

And if you take extra care to keep up your filter and ensure that it’s maintained and cleaned as needed, you’ll have at least a decade of excellent use and plenty of well-filtered water to enjoy. In all that time, chances are good you’ll want to know the answers to at least some of these questions! Read on to find out more.

BUYING A Sand Filter

1. How much are sand filter for pool prices?

Swimming pool sand filter prices tend to vary depending on several different factors. Below, you’ll find a quick guide to help you figure out whether or not these filters can fit into your budget.

  • Sand filter for pool prices can usually be guessed roughly based on the size of the filter. Smaller filters may come in anywhere between $150 and $300, while more expensive filters top the price range at $800 and up.
  • The brand of filter you choose will have a big effect on the price. As with just about anything, going with a more expensive brand name may be pricey, but it will save you a lot in the long run in terms of quality and customer service.
  • Be sure to figure in the cost of your filter media when you’re looking into the cost of your sand filter.

2. Where can I buy sand filter for pool use?

***Sand filters are available anywhere you can find swimming pool accessories but we have a list of some of our top choices available for delivery online.

3. What size of sand filters are available?

Though you’re asking yourself “where can I buy sand for my pool filter?” you should also be sure to explore a little more information about sand filters themselves. Sand filters are available in a few different sizes to help you find the best one for your swimming pool setup.

  • There are several factors that you need to keep in mind before you choose the right size sand filter setup, and from there, you’ll be able to narrow down the right amount of sand to use when it comes time to get your filter set up and started.
  • Like most other types of pool filters, sand filters are measured based on the square footage of water they can filter as well as the number of gallons in your swimming pool. You can find the number of gallons your pool holds in your instruction manual or by looking up the brand name and model of your pool online. You can also call the company to ask if you’re unsure.
  • From there, choose a filter that’s one size up from the size of your pool for best results. If you have an in-ground pool, you’ll need to go with a slightly larger sand filter than you would for an above-ground pool. Remember that pop-up pools are usually not intended to be used with a sand filter because of potential danger.

4. How can I determine what size sand filter to buy?

Sand filters are available in several different sizes that you’ll usually want to choose depending on the size of your pool. However, it might not always be clear which size is the right one for your needs. If you’re having trouble figuring out the right size filter for your pool setup, check out these tips:

  • For a rectangular or square pool, multiply the length of the pool by the width to get the surface area (area = l x w). If your pool is round or oval, multiply the radius of the pool by itself, then multiply that by 3.14 (area = 3.14 x r2).
  • Look in your instruction manual to tell you the maximum volume of your pool. If you no longer have the manual, you can call the company or find this information online.
  • Divide that number by 360 to tell you the maximum gallons of water that your filter will need to process per minute.
  • All these numbers can help you choose a filter with the right flow right and square footage for your pool.
  • Always choose a filter that’s a little bit larger than the needs for your pool. This way, you’ll always have a little more strength in case your pool gets dirtier than you might expect.


1. What are the steps for pool sand filter installation?

Installing your sand filter may sound like a little bit of a challenge, and it’s maybe not the easiest aspect of pool ownership, but with the right information, it doesn’t have to be too hard either. Don’t get too worried about the installation process, since many modern sand filters are designed to be simple enough for even the regular everyday pool owner to hook them easily without a lot of trouble. You don’t have to have plumbing experience to hook up your pool filter. Follow the steps outlined below to get it taken care of the right way.

1. The right way to install your pool filter may differ slightly from these steps but should be similar.

2. ​Be sure you have all the parts required for your filter beforehand. If you need to purchase a multiport or backwash valve, do so. Pick up unions for your pipes if they aren’t already present, and be sure you have enough sand.

3. ​Place the filter tank on a flat slab of concrete or any other very flat, very stable surface. The ground itself is probably not a good surface for the placement of your filter tank. Be sure that there’s plenty of space around the filter for hookup and regular cleaning and maintenance needs.

4. The right way to install your pool filter may differ slightly from these steps but should be similar.

5. Be sure you have all the parts required for your filter beforehand. If you need to purchase a multiport or backwash valve, do so. Pick up unions for your pipes if they aren’t already present, and be sure you have enough sand.

6. ​Place the filter tank on a flat slab of concrete or any other very flat, very stable surface. The ground itself is probably not a good surface for the placement of your filter tank. Be sure that there’s plenty of space around the filter for hookup and regular cleaning and maintenance needs.

7. Put the filter together. You’ll need to attach the pressure gauge to the side of the filter near the top and attach the drain cap to the side of the tank near the bottom.

8. Fill the tank halfway with water using your garden hose.​

9. ​Take all the lateral and central pipe pieces out of the filter box and make sure they’re attached to each other correctly. Your filter’s instruction manual should provide a diagram to help you put these pieces together. In some cases, these pieces will already be attached right out of the box without you needing to do anything.

10. ​Fold the laterals down so that the whole pipe and lateral piece can be safely inserted into the filter tank.

11. ​Place the laterals and pipe into the tank, and then fold down the laterals so that they sit securely on the bottom of the tank. This will help you hold the central pipe in place. Your filter should still be half full with water.

12. ​Make sure the pipe is placed centrally in the filter tank and cover the open hole in the center of the pipe with duct tape.

13. ​Your filter box should have come with a cardboard sand shield. Remove this from the box and tape it firmly to the filter tank. This shield will help protect your central pipe even further and will make it easier for you to fill the tank with sand.

14. ​Pour sand slowly and carefully into the pool filter. Make sure you’re leveling the sand every now and then so you don’t end up with a big pile in one spot and not enough sand everywhere else. Be very careful not to allow any sand to get into the central pipe. Do not let the central pipe move out of place while you’re filling the tank.

15. Use a silicon lubricant on the o-ring that is part of the valve gasket and slip it into place.

16. When all the sand is in place, remove the shield and tape from the filter’s central pipe and gently but firmly push the multiport valve into place, lining it up with the pipe.

17. Attach the lid clamp and screw it closed so that it’s tight, but not so tight that it could potentially crack or warp the surrounding plastic.

18. Connect the pump side of your multiport valve to the discharge side of your filter pump. You may need to purchase an adapter to complete this step, depending on the size of your existing pool hardware. If you don’t already have unions installed, this is a good time to cut your pipes and screw on union pieces to make this process easier in the future.

19. Repeat the process by connecting the return port on your valve to the pool or to a chlorinator, if you have one. Repeat this process again to connect the waste port to a waste water hose.

20. Make sure the valve clamp is closed all the way and very tight, but not too tight.

21. Backwash and turn on your filter from here according to your instruction manual’s directions. For some filters, you’ll need to run a normal filter cycle before backwashing. For others, the opposite is true. Be sure to consult your guide to find out which is right for your filter.

You’ve installed your sand filter properly and you’re ready to start using it.

2. What are the steps in swimming pool sand filter operation?

The right way to operate your sand filter will change depending on the type of filter you have. When you have a multiport valve installed as part of your filter, you’ll be able to perform regular operations much more easily than you would with an older model that has a two-way filter switch. However, you might encounter both types of valves depending on the type of filter you have. Below, we’ll outline the right way to operate both of these filter types.

1. If you have a multiport valve, normal filter operation will take place with the valve in the filter position.

2. ​If your filter is hooked up to a working pump and your valve is switched to filter, the filter’s cycles will continue as normal without any additional help needed from you.

3. ​You can also use your multiport valve for vacuuming the bottom of your pool and for flushing the filter as well as for backwashing.

4. ​To backwash your multiport filter, first turn off the pump motor. Press down on the multiport valve and twist it to the backwash position.

5. ​Roll out your backwash hose and/or open the backwash valve on the side of your filter tank.

6. ​Open the air release valve on top of your filter and turn the pump back on to allow air to escape from the filter. Let it run for about 3 minutes and be careful to watch the pressure gauge. If it suddenly jumps or drops significantly, turn the pump off immediately.

7. ​After 3 minutes, turn the pump off and twist the multiport valve to the rinse position. Turn the pump back on and let it run for about 20 seconds.

8. ​Turn the pump back off and twist the multiport valve to the filter position.

9. ​Turn the pump back on and read the pressure gauge. Write down the pressure your filter tank reads after a backwash. This is the ideal pressure for your tank at all times.

10. ​Operate your filter as normal.

The steps are similar but slightly different if you have a two-way push-pull valve instead of a multiport valve.

1. ​Turn off your pump’s motor and roll out the backwash hose attached to the tank.

2. Twist to unlock the plunger handle on your valve. Depending on the brand of filter you have, you may need to either pull it out or push it in. Whichever way your filter works, you should be moving the valve to the opposite of its normal position.

3. Open the air release valve on top of your filter and turn the pump on to allow air to escape from the tank.

4. Be careful to notice if your pressure gauge suddenly jumps or drops. If so, you’ll need to shut the pump off altogether.

5. Let the pump run in the backwash position for about 3 minutes or until the water running out is free and clear of sand and debris.

6. ​Turn the pump motor off and push the valve back into place.

7. ​Turn the pump motor back on and write down the pressure reading from your pressure gauge. This is the ideal pressure you should try to keep your filter tank at throughout its operation.

Now you know how to handle regular filter operations no matter which type of filter valve you might have.

Sand Filtration BEST PRACTICES

1. What are the different pool sand filter settings?

Depending on the type of filter you have, you might be faced with a few pool sand filter settings or several different ones you’ll need to learn about. Although the next question will outline more details about how to operate your filter using these settings, below you can find out more about what each of these settings means.

  • Filter – This is the standard setting you’ll be working with most of the time. When your filter is in the filter position, it will cycle like usual. Depending on the type of filter you have, this cycle length may differ slightly.
  • Waste – You can switch the valve to this setting to allow the water to skip the filter and just go to the pump instead. It will exit from the waste port instead of through the filter. This is useful when you need to lower the water level in your pool or when you need to vacuum your pool.
  • Backwash – This setting will allow you to backwash your filter easily in just a few minutes. It will effectively change the direction your water is running in and is used in cleaning your sand.
  • Rinse – You’ll use this setting after backwashing to rinse out the filter before you put it back into its regular position again.
  • Recirculate – You can switch the valve to this setting if you don’t want your pool water to reach the sand in the filter. You might do this when you’re chlorinating or shocking your pool.
  • Closed – This turns off the filter but doesn’t drain the tank. It stops water from moving from the pump to the filter or to the pool.
  • Winter – This effectively shuts off and drains the filter for the winter. You can use this setting when you won’t be using the filter for many months. It will drain the tank and keep the filter from potentially freezing too.

2. How much sand do I need for my pool filter?

“How much sand do I need for my pool filter?” is a common question that comes up pretty quickly when anyone is looking into purchasing a new sand filter or filling up their old one. These tips can help you figure out the right amount of sand for your filter.

  • Your filter’s instruction manual should tell you exactly how much sand you need to use. If you don’t have the manual, you can call the company or look up this information online.
  • Most filters will require at least 50 pounds of sand and no more than 300 pounds of sand, but these numbers aren’t set in stone.
  • If you use a filter sand alternative, like Filter Glass or ZeoSand, you can usually cut the number of pounds needed in half.

3. What is the normal pool sand filter pressure?

Keeping up your pool sand filter pressure is an important part of operating your filter correctly. However, depending on your specific filter, you might have very different pressure needs than someone who runs a different make, model, size, or brand of filter. These tips can help you better understand the right pressure your filter needs to operate at.

  • There’s no universal pressure that’s right for every sand filter. The best way to tell what your regular pressure should be is to replace your sand and start your filter over like new.
  • After the sand replacement process and your first cycle or backwash, write down the pressure your gauge is reading somewhere directly on your tank.
  • Keep an eye on your pressure gauge from there. You’ll notice it changing slightly over time, but it shouldn’t fluctuate significantly.
  • Once you notice the pressure rising at least 8 PSI over its initial reading, this is a good indication that you need to backwash the filter.
  • You should never let your filter pressure go higher than 10 PSI over its initial reading.

Ideal pressure in a sand filter tank?

Again, there is no universally-sound setting to follow but you should aim to have your sand filter stay between 8 and 12 psi. Some filters will be a lot more particular than this, and some will have a larger margin of error. However, if you notice your filter dropping well below 8 or reaching well above 12, this means it’s time to check on the sand levels inside the tank.

This is also a good time to be sure your pressure gauge is working properly. When you check your pressure, be sure you don’t see any cracks or damage on the gauge itself. If you do, make sure to purchase a new one right away so you can keep track of how your filter is doing.


1. What is pool filter sand?

Before worrying about where to buy sand for pool filter systems, you should understand just what it is. Pool filter sand is made of silica, which you might also recognize as the substance you can sometimes find in non-edible packets inside food or boxes of shoes. This is a type of mineral that is part of the quartz family, and it’s very common around the world.

It’s also something that can be found in the human body in small quantities, and it’s a common substance found in sand as well. Pool sand is usually a size called #20, which means the individual grains included are between 45 and 55 millimeters in diameter.

Every now and then, you may come across pool filter sand that’s available in a different size other than #20. If you know where to buy 20 silica sand for pool filters, be sure you stay away from these other potential sizes. You may find that these sizes are simply not right for your pool filter, and that will usually cause sand to wash back into your swimming pool or may keep your water from being properly filtered.

Be sure to stick to the size that’s designed for use with swimming pool filters for best results.

2. How does pool sand clean the water in my pool?

Whether you choose cheap pool filter sand or go for something much more expensive, your sand filter is sure to work in more or less the same way.

  • These filters look like large balls or cylinders that sit near your pool on their own specialized bases. They are attached to your pool as well as to their corresponding pump by valves and pipes.
  • They have a pressure gauge on the top that allows you to keep track of the pressure inside the tank at all times, and they have a backwash valve for cleaning. In this way, they aren’t really any different from cartridge filters or diatomaceous earth filters, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end.
  • When you put sand in a pool filter tank, the attached pump pushes the water through the sand and effectively sloshes it around inside the container. There’s usually a great deal of sand present, so the sand isn’t moving back and forth very much while the water passes through it.
  • When the water trickles past each of the sand particles, their rough edges catch the contaminants present in that water and hold them back. Therefore, when the water leaves the filter tank, it’s clean and free from any of these problem substances.

3. What kinds of contaminants can filter sand remove from my pool water?

Sand is a great way to remove pretty much anything from your pool water. These filters remove 20-40 microns of debris, which means even contaminants that are smaller than a human strand of hair will be taken out of your pool water before it ever makes its way to the pool itself.

  • However, traditional pool filter sand often can’t remove some types of minerals, such as iron, manganese, and even sometimes excess calcium. Therefore, if you have very hard water, you may want to choose a different type of sand such as ZeoSand to help you with your filtration needs.
  • Sand filters can also remove a lot of waterborne bacteria, viruses, and parasites from your pool. This is excellent because it keeps your pool water very safe, but it does mean that the sand left behind tends to be teeming with bacteria after several years of use. Because of this, it’s a good idea to wear gloves and be cautious when cleaning your filter and replacing the sand.

4. What type of sand should I get for my filter?

As we’ve already discussed, #20 silica sand is the best choice for your sand filter. However, if you know where to buy silica sand for pool filter use, you may find yourself faced with other options as well.

  • Generally speaking, when you’re looking at real silica sand, the only differences you should notice are in the brand name. Once again, if you find sand that’s available in different sizes other than 20, you should stay away from these, as they may cause problems for your filter.
  • As for brand name, the choice is entirely up to you. Swimming pool filter sand sale products are available for just about any budget and in just about any size, too. You can always choose one of the cheaper bags that’s available in bulk, and you may have more luck finding these options online.
  • However, if you prefer, you can pay more money for the same product and know you’re getting a better brand name. Choosing a well-known brand name ensures that you’ll have a good quality bag of sand without a lot of dust present, which can, in turn, make your swimming pool operate much more cleanly than it potentially would with cheaper and dustier sand.

However, these aren’t hard and fast rules, and your experiences may differ.

5. Why can’t I use cheaper playground sand or natural beach sand?

Just like with differently-sized silica sand, the grains in these types of sand are not sized correctly for your pool filter. If you put playground sand in your filter, you’ll probably notice a great deal of it washing into your swimming pool on a regular basis. It’s also much too smooth to properly capture contaminants and keep them out of your water.

On the other hand, if you use sand directly from the beach or from nearby nature, you run the risk of introducing a lot of new contaminants into your water. This sand hasn’t been cleaned and disinfected for pool use, so running your tap water through it may actually cause a lot more problems and may bring parasites, insects, and more into your pool.

For best results, always stick to pool sand that’s designed for use in swimming pools.

6. Are there any alternatives to pool sand, and if so, what are their benefits?

If you don’t know where to buy pool filter sand or you just prefer to use other substances for a variety of other reasons, you may want to go with one of the alternatives available. While there aren’t a ton of alternative substances you can use in your sand filter, there are a few, and choosing them can change the way you experience your filter.

  • ZeoSand is the most popular of these alternative filter media options. Instead of being made of silica, this product is made from zeolite, which comes from volcanic rock. Although filter sand isn’t very dangerous, if you’re at all concerned about your health when using it, ZeoSand can give you a little more peace of mind. Since the particles of this sand alternative have a honeycomb shape, they can filter a lot more water than sand can. The end result is that you’ll need only about half as much ZeoSand as you would regular filter sand.
  • FilterGlass is another option if you prefer to stay away from a traditional sand. This product is made from real recycled glass, although it’s polished and filed so that it won’t cut you if it happens to get into your swimming pool and won’t cause any damage to the interior of your filter, either. Because it’s made of glass, this alternative can also remove iron and manganese from your water, which is something silica sand can’t do.
  • If sand for pool filter prices are a concern for you, you might want something that can last even longer. Filter Balls are a product that has recently been designed to work inside your sand filter and remove particles the same way sand does. However, you don’t need to purchase nearly as many Filter Balls as you would need to buy pounds of sand, so you can cut down on costs this way. However, some filters may not work well with this product, so you might want to try a test run before you’re sure.

7. Can I use other filter media in the sand filter?

Aside from sand filter alternatives, you can use a few other things in your sand filter without a lot of trouble.

  • Some people like to add a little bit of diatomaceous earth into their sand filters to increase the level of filtration significantly. This is a great idea if you have hard water or you use your pool very often and find that your sand filter, even with the right pump size, isn’t getting the job done.
  • However, take care when using diatomaceous earth. If you add too much to your filter, you’ll find it washes back into your pool often. This substance can also be dangerous if inhaled, so be sure to wear a mask and gloves when you use it.
  • Of course, using DE along with sand in your filter will increase the cost of your filter’s operation, since you’ll need to purchase two separate types of filter media. Since you shouldn’t be adding a lot of DE back into the filter, however, a small bag should last you a long time.
  • Other than DE and approved sand filter alternatives, you shouldn’t put any other substances inside your filter. Other types of filter media are not approved for use with this type of filter.

8. Is pool filter sand bad for the environment?

Yes and no. Sand is a naturally occurring substance, and silica is as well. If you use ZeoSand or Filter Glass, you’re still using substances that occur naturally. These are all fairly eco-friendly, but traditional silica filter sand is the last environmentally friendly of the three options. This is because it can cause serious water contamination if you aren’t careful about how you dispose of it.

When you backwash your filter, if you let the water filled with old, bacteria-laden sand just drift into your yard, it will seep into the ground and eventually reach the groundwater below. If a lot of people in your neighborhood do the same thing, the contamination in that water builds up and eventually gets carried to your local water sources.

Sometimes, people have reported the quality of water in their own homes deteriorating significantly after sand filters have been dumped repeatedly in their backyards. This is usually because of groundwater contamination.

9. Is pool filter sand bad for my health?

Once again, the answer is yes and no. Since pool filter sand is made from silica, and your body also contains some levels of silica, the substance itself isn’t bad for you. However, there’s a reason you’re not supposed to eat those packets of silica you find in your food, and that’s because it can be toxic when you’re repeatedly exposed to it—or when you swallow it.

  • Several studies have shown that silica can cause lung cancer when it’s inhaled regularly. It’s actually the dust that comes off of the silica that leads to this, so it pays to get a pool sand that doesn’t have a lot of dust on it.
  • When you work with your pool sand, always cover your mouth with a mask and wear gloves. Although the substance isn’t toxic itself, you can prevent a lot of potential health hazards by just taking these simple precautions.
  • ZeoSand and Filter Glass are much less dangerous for your health, but you may still want to wear gloves when working with them, just in case you have any mild skin irritation as a result of touching them. Again, these are not toxic substances.
  • Always be sure you store pool sand of any kind—even ZeoSand and Filter Glass—far away from children and pets. All of these substances are dangerous if swallowed and should be stored safely.

10. How much sand do I need for my filter?

The price of pool filter sand will, of course, change depending on the amount of sand you need to purchase for each refill or cleaning of your filter. In order to determine how much sand to buy at any given time, you’ll need to know how much you need in your filter.

  • Most filters will give you a recommended amount of sand to put into the tank as part of their included instruction manuals. However, some models don’t have this information readily available, and you might also have misplaced the manual over the years if your filter has been in place for a while. If you buy your filter secondhand, you may run into a similar problem.
  • So what do you do when you need to know the right amount of sand for your filter? A good general rule of thumb is that you should fill your filter tank to within about six inches of the top of the filter. Sometimes, you may be lucky enough to have a filter that gives you a fill line suggestion on the inside of the tank.
  • However, if you start your filter back up after filling it and find that the pressure inside the tank isn’t right, then you’ll need to add or remove sand to get it right. If the pressure is too low, you need more sand, and if it’s too high, you need to take the sand out a little bit at a time.

11. How much should I budget for pool sand?

So you’re asking “where can I get pool filter sand?” and you want to know how much to budget for this purchase? While it’s hard to say specifically how much you need to save for your pool sand, you can ballpark it pretty easily. Below are a few tips to help you better understand how to budget for your filter media.

  • Depending on the brand name you choose to purchase, you may be able to get a much better deal on your pool sand than you might think. Going with an off-brand can keep your price around $30 for a 50-pound bag of sand.
  • If you prefer to use a company you’ve heard of before, you may expect to go up to about $40 for a 50-pound bag of pool filter sand.
  • ZeoSand is generally quite a lot more expensive than traditional pool filter sand, but it goes a longer way. It usually clocks in at roughly a dollar a pound, give or take a couple of dollars. You can buy it in 25-pound and 50-pound bags.
  • FilterGlass tends to run around the same prices as ZeoSand. It’s also available in 25-pound and 50-pound bag options.
  • Filter Balls are more expensive than any of these options, but it takes far fewer of them to filter a swimming pool, so you can save money on them in the long run if they work for you.
  • Remember that buying your filter media online will add the cost of shipping to your purchase unless you buy from a seller or company that offers free shipping. Since filter sand is very heavy, it may cost quite a lot extra for shipping, so be sure to keep this in mind.

12. Where can I buy pool sand?

“Where can I buy sand for a pool filter?” is one of the most common questions that sand filter owners have. If you’re just looking into buying a sand filter, you might be concerned about the availability of this filter media. However, you don’t have to be! Sand filters are getting more and more popular with pool owners every season, and therefore, the available of filter sand is getting better and better, too.

If you’re wondering where to get pool filter sand for sale, you have a few options. Follow these tips to help you find the best place to purchase your sand so that you can save money and never be caught without enough sand to operate your filter properly.

*Pool Filter Sand For Sale Online?*

***Here is our list of some of the best Pool Filter Media available for online order and delivery. We've checked out several options and have PROS and CONS listed for each.

  • Buy your sand on Amazon – Amazon is a great place to pick up pool filter sand because you aren’t limited by brand names or bag sizes. You can easily find any type of sand or sand alternative from this online marketplace, and you may have a lot more variety here than you would in a brick and mortar store. However, you may also have trouble when it comes to the cost of shipping. Look for sellers with a flat shipping rate regardless of size, or choose Prime items to get free shipping over a certain price.
  • Buy your sand from brick and mortar pool specialty stores – Many pool owners go this route, especially with local pool shops. If you have a pool store in your area, you may be able to save a lot on the cost of shipping by choosing to get your sand from a store nearby. However, be careful, because you may be charged quite a lot more by these stores than you would end up paying for the same product online. Be sure to check out the prices available from local stores to find the best option. Some of your local pool filter stores may also have online stores, so you can do a little pre-shopping before you check them out in person.
  • Buy your sand from home improvement stores or big box retailers – You can definitely go this route, but it’s usually not the best option for sand filter beginners. You must be careful to purchase the right type of sand if you choose to get your sand from one of these stores. You may be able to get a deal on these products, but you also might not be able to find a lot of different variety. This is usually a good choice for anyone who doesn’t have other local store options but does have a little experience buying filter sand.

It’s easy to find pool grade sand for your filter, and it’s fairly easy to locate sand alternatives if you choose to go this route as well. You have a few options when shopping for your sand, so be sure to choose the one that’s right for you.

  • #20-grade silica sand can be found in pool supply stores, hardware stores, and some big box stores as well. You can also buy this type of sand online. No matter where you buy it, you should have a few different bag sizes to choose from.
  • Filter Glass may be more difficult to find. You may be limited to ordering this product online if you want to use it instead of sand. Some local pool stores may carry it in smaller size bags than those you can find online.
  • ZeoSand falls somewhere in between in terms of how easy it is to find. It’s usually more readily available than Filter Glass, but you still may end up needing to order it online if you want to use it. Some pool stores and even some hardware stores may carry bags in one or two sizes only.

Can I Use Sand In A HOT TUB Too?

Yes! Depending on the type of hot tub you have, you can easily incorporate a sand filter into its operation as well.

  • There are plenty of sand filters recommended for use with hot tub systems, but not all of them are compatible. Be sure to read up on any model you’re interested in to see if it can be used with your hot tub system.
  • If you’re thinking of purchasing a hot tub but haven’t yet, talk to the technicians who will be installing it or speak to the company you’re considering purchasing from. They should be able to help direct you toward the right sand filter for your needs.
  • Additionally, you can use sand filters for koi ponds, indoor aquariums, and even your home’s water supply!

***Check out our extensive section on Hot Tub Filters available for online order and delivery. We've checked out several options and have PROS and CONS listed for each.

Filter Sand is Only Half the Battle...

When it comes to pool filter sand where to buy it is only the surface of the information you need to know in order to use it properly. There’s a lot to learn about filter sand, and it’s a good idea to be sure you understand everything you can about it before you get started working with it. Although it’s not too complicated to use once you get started, you can prevent a lot of potential mishaps and issues by knowing from the beginning just what you’re doing when you bring home your new sand filter.

And if you’ve already got a sand filter installed, that’s okay! Just because you’ve been operating your sand filter for a while with no issues doesn’t mean that will go on forever. When you keep this information in mind, you’ll be able to better prepare for anything that might come your way.

This last point is actually a GREAT segway to...


With regular cleaning and maintenance, how long can I expect my sand and sand filter to last?

If you keep up with your sand filter the way you should, you can expect it to last you anywhere from 7 to 10 years. This also includes making sure your pump stays functioning the way it should and your pool is regularly maintained as well. A little extra effort now and then goes a long way toward improving the lifespan of your pool products.

If you do choose to replace your sand filter before you reach 7 to 10 years, it will probably be because you choose to upgrade the capacity of the filter or the size of the pump you’re using. You may also need to replace a few parts here and there, depending on any damage that might happen due to weather and regular wear and tear.

Cleaning Your SAND FILTER

1. How often should I backwash or clean my sand filter?

Your filter should be backwashed and cleaned on a regular basis. Although the exact specifications may differ depending on your filter itself, there are a few general rules you can keep in mind to help make sure you’re taking care of your filter the right way every time.

  • Backwash your filter once a week to once every two weeks. If you don’t use your pool very often, it might not need weekly backwashing. However, if you swim a lot or if you have very hard water or lots of debris in your pool, be sure you backwash it weekly for best results. With a sand filter, backwashing shouldn’t take more than about 20 minutes to complete.
  • Replace your sand and clean the inside of your filter once every five years to once every ten years. You shouldn’t need to replace your sand more than this unless you have very dirty water or something goes wrong with your filter. It’s actually better for your filter if you don’t replace the sand every year, and it’s better for the environment this way as well.

2. What will happen if I forget to backwash my sand regularly?

There are a few different problems you can expect to encounter if you don’t remember to backwash your sand on a regular basis. This list should help you better understand what to expect in the event you skip several backwash sessions.

  • At the very least, your pool water is going to get murky. If you skip one backwash, this is probably all you’re going to have to deal with. Your pool water may turn a little gray and cloudy, or you may notice more debris and sand floating in it. A normal backwash should solve this problem, and you may need to add a little more sand back into your filter afterward to get it back up to par.
  • After a while, algae may grow in your pool. This usually happens when the pH balance of your pool is thrown off. This, in turn, happens when you haven’t filtered the water properly in a long time. Your pool chemicals may be out of whack when your filter isn’t running the right way, and if your water starts to feel slimy or you see algae growing on the side of your pool, you will know it’s time to check your filter.
  • You may get sick from the water in your pool after a long time. It usually takes a long while for the water to become dangerous enough to make you sick, but if you continue to skip backwashes, this may become a very real possibility.
  • Your filter will eventually shut off altogether. As the pressure builds inside your tank, your filter will start to realize something isn’t right. Sand filters all have a built-in shut-off system that turns them off when they reach a certain level of pressure. This prevents the damage from getting even more out of hand inside the filter, but it does mean your water will no longer be filtered at all.
  • The sand in the filter will need to be replaced and the whole cycle will need to be restarted. If you skip one backwash, you can usually just make it up the next time around. However, if you skip several, you’ll need to start all over again. You can save yourself a lot of time, hassle, and expense in the long run by sticking to your regular backwash schedule.

Cleaning Your FILTER MEDIA

1. How often do I need to clean the sand in my filter?

While there’s no set rule on how often you need to backwash your sand filter, it’s a good idea to perform this regular maintenance task about once a month.

  • In some cases, especially if you don’t use your pool too often or you live in an area with good quality water, you don’t have to worry about doing this every month. You can get away with every two or three months with no trouble.
  • On the other hand, you may live in a place where backwash procedures are necessary every month on the dot. If you have very hard water, you may notice some serious build-up in your filter tank if you don’t take care of this process regularly.
  • When you backwash your filter, you should let it run for about two minutes to be sure all the dirty sand has been removed. Once the water coming out of the tank runs clear, you can add a little bit of sand back into the filter and start up the cycle once again.

Although backwashing every month seems like a lot of hassle to some pool owners, remember that the entire process shouldn’t take you more than about 20 minutes to complete once you get the hang of it.

2. How hard is it to clean the sand in a filter?

It’s not hard at all! You should be sure to keep your sand clean at all times for maximum filter effectiveness. Performing regular backwashing is the best way to ensure that your sand stays cleaner for longer. Follow these steps to backwash a sand filter with a multiport valve:

1. Turn off the pump and the filter.

2. ​Turn the valve on the filter tank to Backwash from Filter.

3. ​Unroll the backwash hose attached to your filter and/or open the backwash valves on the tank.

4. ​Open the air release valve on top of the filter and let it sit for a few seconds.

5. ​Turn the pump back on and let it run for a couple of minutes or until the water coming out of the valve is clean.

6. ​Turn off the pump and filter again.

7. ​Turn the valve to Rinse from Backwash.

8. Turn the pump back on and let it run for 10-15 seconds to rinse out the waste in the bottom of the tank.

​9. Turn off the pump once more and put the valve back in the Filter position.

10. ​Replace any necessary sand that might have been flushed out during backwashing.

11. ​Turn the pump back on and let it cycle.

12. ​The same process can be used to backwash a filter with a side valve, but you won’t be able to rinse the bottom of the sand in the tank with this type of filter.

13. ​If you’re backwashing with a side valve, you’ll also need to change the valve position by pulling and twisting the T-handle plunger on the side of your filter instead of turning a valve to a different position. However, the general idea is the same.

DISPOSING of Dirty Sand

1. How often do I need to change the sand in my filter?

If you’re worried about swimming pool filter sand price issues, you may be wondering how often you’ll need to make this purchase. While it’s true that sand for pool filters can get pretty pricey in some instances, you can rest easy, because you don’t have to buy this filter media very often at all.

  • When you first start up your filter, you will need to buy enough sand to fill up your filter and a little extra in the event of accidental spills or any other problems that might arise while you’re putting your filter together.
  • However, from there, you need only to keep a small bag of sand on hand for regular backwashing. When you backwash your filter, you’ll lose a little bit of sand every time. Over time, the amount of sand lost may cause the pressure in your tank to drop too low, and that means your filter won’t work properly. You’ll notice that your water is getting dirtier when this happens.
  • If this is a problem for you, just open the filter tank and add a little more sand in until the pressure gets back to where it needs to be. Other than this, you won’t need to completely change the sand in your filter for about five years. If your pool water is very dirty or you have very hard water, you may need to change your sand every three years instead.

***NEED MORE DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS? Check out our ULTIMATE DIY GUIDE to changing filter sand for a more thorough procedure.

2. How can I dispose of pool sand after I clean it out of my tank?

The best way to remove sand from your pool filter is with a shop-vac. This way, you can empty the tank of the vacuum into a garbage bag and dispose of it properly. However, if you don’t have one of these handy, you can also remove the sand by hand.

  • To remove filter sand by hand, you’ll need a large plastic cup and some kind of container or bag large enough to hold all the sand. Remove it one cup at a time until you’re about ¾ of the way through the filter tank.
  • Remove the internal manifold that makes the filter operate. Be careful when you do this, as the fingers of the manifold can be very fragile and prone to damage.
  • Set the manifold aside and either dump out the rest of the sand in the filter or continue removing it by hand. When you’re done, be sure to throw away the sand safely and don’t leave it sitting in your yard, garage, or anywhere else.
  • Removed pool filter sand is usually full of bacteria and other contaminants. It’s very dangerous to let it sit for too long without disposing of it correctly.

TROUBLESHOOTING Sand Filter Problems

Dealing with cloudy pool water sand filter problems can be frustrating, but it happens to just about everyone at some point during the life of a sand filter. All types of filters can lead to cloudy water eventually, but with a sand filter, the potential causes may be a little bit different. Below are some of the leading causes of cloudy water that may be related to your filter.

  • Your sand is new – Brand-new sand in your filter may cause the water to become temporarily cloudy as it adjusts. If this happens right after you add new sand, give it a few cycles to see if the problem goes away before you worry too much about it.
  • Your sand is very old – Sand that’s been in your filter for more than seven years may cause the water to get cloudy sooner rather than later. This usually happens when your sand packs together over time and develops tunnels that the water passes right through without actually getting filtered at all.
  • You need to backwash your filter – If you haven’t backwashed your filter regularly, it may be time to do that. As long as your filter and pump are operating properly and you’ve already considered whether or not the age of your sand could be the problem, this is a good next step to take any time you’re dealing with cloudy water.
  • You don’t have the right kind of sand – If you have playground sand instead of pool sand, for example, you may notice your water getting cloudy very quickly. Be sure to use the right type of sand at all times to avoid potential problems like this.
  • You may have a broken internal piece – If all these other issues aren’t helping you figure out what’s going on with your filter, it might be time to take it apart and check the laterals and central pipe for damage. If one of these pieces breaks, you’ll need to replace it, or you won’t have proper filtration.

What are some SAFETY TIPS for working with a sand filter?

Although filter sand isn’t nearly as potentially hazardous as diatomaceous earth, it’s also not as easy to work with as cartridge style filter media, either. By following a few simple safety tips, you’ll be able to enjoy your swimming pool filter with no trouble even if you’re very sensitive to different substances.

  • If you notice yourself or a family member breaking out in rashes frequently after swimming, you may need to choose a sand alternative like Filter Glass. Sometimes, people with very sensitive skin may develop an allergy to filter sand, although this is very rare.
  • When filling your filter tank with sand, always wear a mask and gloves. The dust particles that are released from the sand as it’s disturbed may cause coughing and difficulty breathing if they’re inhaled, especially in high quantities. Sand isn’t dangerous to touch, but it can be abrasive.
  • When emptying dirty sand, be sure to wear gloves and try not to touch it. This sand is contaminated with bacteria from years of pool use.
  • Always safely dispose of your filter sand and don’t just dump it somewhere in your yard. Doing this can cause the bacteria present in the old sand to seep into the soil and it may even contaminate the groundwater in your yard.

What’s the MOST COMMON troubleshooting issue with pool filter sand?

Sand filters, like any other type of filter, can develop problems over time, especially with regular use. However, there are a handful of issues that you may encounter that are a lot more common than others. Knowing what to expect from your filter sand, even when things go wrong, is a great first step toward ensuring the long life of your pool filter and your whole pool system, too.

  • There is sand getting into the pool – This is probably the biggest problem sand filter owners usually face. Many times, sand washes back into your pool and settles on the bottom or floats around in the water, and this causes the water to feel gritty and look cloudy. This usually happens when there’s too much sand in your filter, but it can also happen if there’s not enough. If your sand is very old, changing it may solve the problem too. The first time you cycle your sand filter after setup, a small amount of sand in the pool water isn’t much to be concerned about.
  • The filter isn’t cleaning the water – There are many things that can cause the water in your pool to get dirty or yucky even when you have your filter installed and running. If you don’t have enough sand or if your sand hasn’t been backwashed or replaced in a long time, you may run into this problem. If you aren’t using the right type of sand or if your filter pump is too weak for your pool, this can be a common issue as well.
  • The filter keeps shutting off – Your filter will shut off if the pressure in your tank gets too high. This usually happens because there’s too much sand in your filter, but it can also occur when you haven’t cleaned or backwashed the sand in a long time.

WHY is there filter sand in my swimming pool?

When there’s sand filter sand in pool water, that usually means something’s not right somewhere. There are a few different causes that can contribute to sand frequently showing up in your pool water. Go through this list to determine if one of these issues could be something you’re dealing with in your own pool.

  • You’ve just put in new sand – If you have brand-new sand in your filter, there’s a good chance the dust and smaller sand particles may be escaping into your pool water. This is why it’s very important to check your instruction manual to find out if you need to backwash your filter before you ever run it after putting in new sand.
  • There’s a broken lateral at the bottom of your filter – You might not ever be able to tell if there’s a broken lateral in your filter, but if you start to sand in your water, this can be a good sign. You’ll have to empty the sand out of your filter to get to the laterals at the bottom and check them for potential damage. If one is broken, you’ll need to replace this piece.
  • Sand has gotten into the central pipe inside your filter – As you’re filling your filter with sand, you might accidentally get some sand into the central pipe. This can also cause the sand to end up in your pool water.
  • Your filter sand is very old – If your sand hasn’t been replaced for a long time, it may develop tunnels or blockages that can cause smaller sand particles to drift into your pool water.

What happens if I PUT TOO MUCH SAND in my filter?

Obviously, too little sand in your filter is going to keep the water from filtering properly. But it’s always a good idea to have more filtration, right? Doesn’t that mean you should put a lot more sand than you might think in your pool filter?

Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case, and many times, pool owners have damaged or completely broken their sand filters by putting too much sand inside the tank.

  • Your filter can usually handle a small margin of error, but if you put a great deal too much sand inside, you may notice a lot of problems.
  • The least concerning issue you may encounter is sand washing into your swimming pool from your filter. You might also notice that the sand packs too tightly together in the filter tank and keeps the water from flowing through it well, leading to a lack of filtration or even to blockages in the filter and lines.
  • In some cases, the pressure inside your filter tank may get too out of hand, and the whole system will shut down until you rectify the problem. Although it may seem like a good idea to put more sand in your tank to filter your water even better, it’s not.
  • If you’re not getting enough filtration from your sand filter, you may need to upgrade to a larger tank to solve the problem.

Dealing With Common Sand Filter LEAKS

While operating your filter, you’re likely to encounter a few different leak issues over time. Some of these leaks are more significant than others, but it’s always a good idea to know what you’re looking for when you first notice water where it shouldn’t be. Below are a few of the most common leaks you might have to deal with over the life of your sand filter.

  • Water is leaking from the pre-filter cover – This probably means you need to replace the o-ring on your filter’s lid gasket. Over time, this simple piece can expand and become too stretched out to seal your filter properly. All you need to do is purchase the right size o-ring from a hardware store for a few dollars, add some silicone lubricant, and slip it on in place of the old one.
  • Water is leaking from the flange clamp – This could also be a sign of a faulty o-ring, but it’s usually a sign the clamp itself needs to be replaced. You can usually order a replacement clamp from the filter company, but you might also be able to find one in a hardware store or in your local pool supply shop. Try to determine if the leak is being caused by the filter developing a crack in this area, however. If the clamp is too tight, a crack may be the culprit, and you may need to replace the tank if this is the case.
  • Water is leaking into the outlet port or into the window in the filter tank – This usually means either your gasket or your multiport valve need to be replaced. These are both relatively affordable and simple fixes, and you should be able to simply remove the broken or damaged piece and replace it with a matching new one with no trouble. You can find replacement parts for the gasket and for the multiport valve either at your local hardware store, at your local pool store, online, or by contacting the filter company itself.
  • Water is leaking out of the drain valve at the bottom of the filter – Most of the time, this is a very quick and simple fix that just requires a new drain cap. Sometimes, the connections on the drain cap wear out over time and can cause water to seep through, just like with the o-ring on the valve gasket. However, in some instances, this problem may be a sign that there’s a crack developing around the drain or at the base of the filter. If this is the case, it may be a more expensive fix.


Do you feel like you’ve learned a lot about working with your sand filter? From pool sand filter installation to replacing your sand after years of use and everything in between, we hope we’ve covered your questions and given you some solid answers to help you deal with your filter much more easily in the future. Sand filters can be a confusing and difficult part of pool ownership, but for most pool owners, they prove to be well worth the learning curve when it comes to providing excellent, perfectly filtered water for many years without the need for a lot of maintenance.

Although sand filters may also be a little more expensive to set up, remember that they’re going to pay you back many times over in the future. When you have a sand filter as part of your regular pool setup, you’re sure to benefit greatly from all the excellent features that come built in with every one of these excellent products. And choosing the right sand filter for your pool doesn’t have to be complicated, either!

Once you have a good idea of what to consider, you should have no trouble finding the right filter to upgrade or replace your existing one. And if you’re having issues with a filter you’re otherwise quite happy with, we hope we’ve given you plenty of information to help you figure out how to troubleshoot some of the most common problems you might encounter, too.

With the right maintenance and upkeep, your sand filter is sure to be an important part of your family for a long time to come.

Additional Research:


5 Essential Tips for Maintaining Your Pool Sand Filter

  1. Clean the filter regularly. This should be done at least once a month, or more often if you use your pool frequently.
  2. Check the pressure gauge regularly. If it is too high, it could indicate that the filter needs to be backwashed.
  3. Replace the sand in your filter every 3-5 years. This will help keep your filter running efficiently and effectively.
  4. Make sure to check for any leaks in the system. If there are any, they should be fixed as soon as possible.
  5. Keep an eye on the water level in your pool. If it is too low, it could indicate that there is a problem with your sand filter.

ALSO: Consider investing in a pool maintenance service to ensure that your sand filter is always running optimally!</p

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About The Author

Joseph Bartley
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Joseph Bartley, also known as the WaterFilterFanatic, is a seasoned content writer who specializes in water filtration and water quality topics. On AllAboutWaterFilters, he has written a range of water filtration system reviews, water health and quality articles, swimming pool, hot tub and aquarium filtration guides, DIY methods to assist people clean their drinking water, and much more. Joseph enjoys spending his time working with the #AllAboutWaterFilters Editorial Team to provide some of the best quality water filtration content available on the web.

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