How Much Sand To Add In Pool Filter? (Experts Recommendation)

Sand filters are one of the most popular pool pump filters. They are right up there with cartridge filters in terms of popularity. 

Pool pumps and their filters all have one goal – to clean your pool water. They might operate in different ways, but they essentially do the same thing.

how much sand to add in pool filter

Sand filters are much easier to replace. Not only that, but they require little to no maintenance at all when compared to their cartridge counterpart. Let’s take a close look at how sand filters work. We will also offer helpful information to get your sand filter the optimal amount of sand.

Why Should You Change Pool Filter Sand?

Before we can get into the why and how – let’s talk about the sand filters. Unlike cartridge filters, these use actual sand to capture and retain debris. Sand’s granular texture allows it to block even tiny debris particles.

When your pool water reaches the pump, the water needs to travel through the sand filter. It is a canister containing sand. The water flows through the sand, but any particles in the water are unable to pass through. 

The human eye cannot observe particles that are smaller than 50 microns. The sand filter, however, can even retain particles that are only 10 microns large. It catches fine residue, gravel pebbles, leaves, insects, and dirt.

When you first load sand into your sand filter, you’ll notice it is jagged. These sharp, rough edges on sand particles can wear out over time. As you filter your pool water over and over again – they will wear out. Fortunately, this isn’t something that happens overnight. It could take years for your sand to become rounded and appear more worn out. 

You could load the sand canister and forget about it for the next two years. It’s one of the reasons sand filters are more popular. They don’t need replacement often, and they block finer debris than a cartridge could.

If you don’t replace the sand inside of the filter – you’ll notice the changes soon. Your water might lose its clarity. And if you look at the filter during operation, you might see that debris is passing through. The sand filter will slowly lose its ability to block debris effectively. What’s more, it will pump it all right back into your pool.

How Often Should You Change The Sand In Pool Filter?

We recommend to change the sand every three to five years. It isn’t a universal measure, of course. If you have the pump running almost all of the time, you might have to replace it sooner. 

You can quickly tell if it’s time to replace your sand. If your pool’s chemistry is balanced, but you still see that your water isn’t clear – it might be time.

What Type Of Sand Is Recommended?

You might think that just about any sand can go into your sand filter. Masonry sand or play sand won’t work. They could even damage your pool pump. There is a particular type of sand pool filters use. It isn’t natural sand, like what you’d find at a beach.

This is artificially created, high-purity, graded silicon quartz sand. It is approximately .45 to .55mm in size. Commercially, it is much better known as ‘#20 Silica Sand‘. Most pool equipment stores label it as ‘Pool Filter Sand.’

Outside of water filtration, this type of sand has many uses. You’ll find it on golf co
urses; it is essential to glassmakers, and even ceramic dishware and tiles are glazed with it. Be careful when buying new pool filter sand. Some brands sell for cheap but use poor-quality substitutes. Try to research quality brands before buying. To be safe, buy it at a reputable pool equipment store.

How Full Should My Pool Sand Filter Be?

Consult your pump’s user manual to make sure you are putting in the correct amount. If you don’t have the manual, you can google your brand’s model and check. You can usually find specification sheets online. Generally, you only want to fill two-thirds of the sand canister.

Some pool owners believe you should fill it to the top. If you do that, the water might have difficulty moving through the tank. The best answer is to check the user manual. If you put less sand into your canister, your water might get cloudy. Even if the pump runs 24/7 – the results will always be the same.

Can You Put Too Much Sand In A Pool Filter?

You most certainly can! And the consequences are far from good. Too much sand can prevent the filter from function correctly. Too much sand equals more frequent backwashes.

In some cases, if you load the canister exceptionally high, you can even see sand making its way into the pool. Most filters will be able to withstand getting a bit more sand. But if you stuff it to the top – it might shut down. 

Other complications include unnecessary wear and tear or physical breaking of the components. Before you fill it, make sure you understand what the limit is. More isn’t always necessarily better, and this is a perfect example.

How much sand do I need for my Intex pool?

Having a larger pool might mean that you will require more sand. Determining the amount of sand doesn’t have too much to do with your swimming pool. You should look at your pool pump’s performance. Check the GPH (Gallons per hour) rating. For a sand filter pump that goes through 3,000 gallons in an hour, you’ll need 125 lbs. of sand.

Knowing how much sand to buy also goes back to the sand canister’s capacity. You need to be careful and avoid filling it to the brim. If your pool needs the filter to run constantly, you’ll have to swap your sand more often. All of these factors combine to give you a general idea of how much you will need.