Sand Filter Troubleshooting: keep your pool clean this summer!

Using a sand filter to keep your pool in top shape is a smart choice: not only are sand filters simple to use, but quite often when things go pear shaped, there’s an equally simple solution!

Here’s our simple troubleshooting guide to some of the most common sand filter problems.

My sand filter isn’t keeping my pool water clean

First of all, is the pump still circulating water into your pool? If the answer is yes, then we need to know if it’s a strong flow or a trickle: if the answer is a strong flow, then it would appear that the pump is in actual fact doing what it’s supposed to do, and that the answer may lie in how often you are backwashing (cleaning) your sand filter. Believe it or not, backwashing your sand filter too frequently will reduce the efficacy of the filtration process, as a dirty sand filter cleans best! As contrary as this may sound, it’s absolutely true. You will still need to backwash your sand filter, however the key indication for when this is needed is the amount of water being circulated. When your circulation slows down to a slow trickle, then it’s time to backwash your sand filter!

Sand or dirt is coming into my pool through the pump

This could well be a sign that you may have a broken lateral. The lateral arms are located at the base of your sand filter, and are the sections of your filter that collect the filtered water for circulation into your pool. If one of these lateral arms have been broken, then the filtered water will be circulated into your pool along with sand, dirt and grit. Another possibility could be that the sand is being worn down and may need to be replaced (the smoother, finer particles may come through the filter) or perhaps it’s even possible that the wrong grade of sand has been added. Rougher, sharper-edged sand traps dirt better, which is why it’s a good idea to replace your filter sand about every 4-5 years, but be sure to use the right kind of sand! See the next question…

I opened my filter to check it, and even after a backwash everything is dirty and full of gunge.

This could mean that you have very old sand and a very dirty filter! No amount of backwashing will clear out an old dirty filter, at this point you have a couple of options. You could try cleaning the existing sand by running a garden hose on a low flow into the sand, allowing the scum and dirt to overflow, but keeping the sand in the filter. Or, you could opt to remove and replace the sand in your filter. And yes! You can do this yourself! Just be sure to dig carefully, keeping a careful eye on the floating lateral arms at the base of your sand filter. You can use a garden hose to flush out the last few particles. Give the inside of your filter a good scrub clean, then simply add pool filtration sand – NOT regular beach or play sand! – to the clean filter. Be sure to add this sand slowly and carefully, under and around the lateral arms so that they are well supported.

My pump has stopped running altogether, or is refusing to prime

Again, there could be a number of reasons why this has happened, but a common problem can be air trapped in your filter. If this is the case, you will need to bleed the air out: this can be more complicated and may require the services of a professional: especially if it is a recurring issue! That could indicate that you have an air leak in your pool around the pump intake or somewhere along the pipelines or valves.  Common air leak locations include the pump intake, the pump discharge, the jandy valve o-rings and the pump lid o-rings.

For more information on sand filters, and to check whether a sand filter is the right choice for you, contact our friendly team at Arnold Franks.