Swimming Pool Sand Filter Maintenance

Written by tom raley
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Many residential pools are equipped with a sand filtration system. These systems are simple in design and, when properly maintained, are efficient and reliable. Maintenance on these systems is minimal and, in most instances, quite easy to accomplish. The most important aspect of the maintenance routine is to create a schedule and stick to it.

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How the Filter Works

Your pool's filtration system features several components. The pump will draw the water from the pool through a strainer. This strainer will capture any large pieces of debris, such as leaves, and prevent them from entering the filter. To keep your system working at peak performance, you should empty the strainer on a regular basis. The water leaves the strainer and is pumped into the sand filter tank. The water passes through a series of pipes and is forced up through the sand. Dirt particles become attached to the sand, and the clean water is returned to the pool. When you backwash your filter system, you are partially cleaning the sand and flushing the dirty water from your system.

How Long Can the Sand Last

With regular backwashing, the sand in your filter system will last for several seasons. In some cases, pool owners have gone as long as 20 years without changing the sand in their filters. This is not recommended. While backwashing helps clean the sand; after time, there is a build-up of dirt, and the sand loses its ability to keep the water clean. More frequent backwashing will help, but the efficiency of the filter system will continue to decline until the sand it replaced.

How Often Should the Sand Be Changed

How often you change out the sand in your filter system will depend a great deal on your individual circumstances. If your pool is in an area where more dirt and debris enter the system, you may need to change the sand more often. For a pool that remains covered for much of the time, you can expect the sand to have a longer lifespan. As a general rule, you are encouraged to change the sand in your filter every three to five years. This should allow your filter system to operate near its peak performance and keep your pool clean and ready for use.

What Kind of Sand Is Used

The sand used in your filter system is ground down to a size of approximately .50mm in diameter. You can purchase this sand at most home improvement centres. The sand, when new, will be rough. The roughness is what allows the dirt to adhere to the sand and prevent it from returning to your pool. Over time, the sand becomes smoother and is no longer capable of capturing as much dirt. The water must be circulated through the filter more often to achieve the same results.

Best Time of Year for Maintenance.

Changing out the sand in your filter system is not a complicated task. Depending on the location of your filter, and the plumping set-up, the task can be accomplished within a few hours. While the maintenance can be done at any time, it is recommended it be done at the beginning of the season. This will allow you to know your filter is at peak performance for the entire season. There are also advantages to changing the sand at the end of the season. Since you will need to drain the system for winter anyway, it is a good time to change out the sand and simply not refill the system until you start up the pool the following year. Pick which works best for you and your situation. Keep a careful record of when this maintenance is performed. Routine maintenance will help keep the filter system working well and your pool clean and ready for fun.

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