How Often Does Sand Need to be Replaced on a Sand Filter?

Generally speaking, pool filter sand in a private pool must be changed out every 5 years or so. There are those who claim the sand never needs to be changed and many people who let it go for a decade or more. While it’s true that sand will continue to filter under these conditions, it is also true that it will not filter as well as it would if changed every 5 years. After all, that’s pretty seldom, so it really isn’t much of an inconvenience or expense, and the added efficiency you will get by having your swimming pool service personnel change your pool filter sand and perform needed maintenance and upgrades will more than pay for the cost of the service.

You might think that just backwashing the filter regularly to get the dirt out of the sand would keep the sand clean enough to go on filtering forever, but the fact is, sand wears out! The grains of sand in a sand filtration system are between .45 – .55 millimeters. When the sand is new, it is very coarse and rough. It has a lot of surface area to comb out dirt and other contaminants from pool water. However, just like rocks in a stream, as time passes and water passes over the grains of sand, they become smooth. When this happens, they do not filter as well as they did when new.

Old, worn sand filters inefficiently and causes chemical costs to increase as more and more are needed to keep the pool water in optimum condition. Additionally, as sand ages, more dirt gets past it. This means the system has to be backwashed more often. This is both inconvenient and costly in terms of more frequent pool maintenance calls. By having your pool filter sand changed by a reliable pool service company once every five years, you can be sure that any damaged or outdated filter parts are replaced, and your pool filter will continue functioning at the best possible level.

All this adds up to good reasons to have your sand in your pool filter changed every five years. While it may seem that changing the sand would be a simple matter that anyone could do, that’s really not the case. Changing pool filter sand is a multi-step process that involves quite a bit of mechanical expertise and knowledge of plumbing. If your filter is set up in such a way that some of the plumbing must be severed in order to access the filter, it is advisable that this plumbing be replaced with pipes equipped with unions that can be detached and reattached next time the sand is changed or the pool filter needs some other kind of repair or maintenance.

Actually removing the old sand is somewhat risky in that damage to the filter could occur in the process. It is important to have the right tools and the knowledge and experience necessary to do the job without causing harm. Since this is a job that only needs to be done once every five years, the chances of the pool owner having the experience, expertise and tools necessary to do the job properly, safely and efficiently are slim. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have a pool service company come in and take care of this important task.

Your weekly pool cleaning service tech is just the right person to do this job. Being familiar with your pool and its filtration system, s/he will know exactly what’s needed to perform the job quickly and efficiently. You won’t run the risk of being in the middle of changing your pool filter sand and suddenly realizing you need a part or a different kind of chemicals. When you use the services of a good pool maintenance company, you can count on having every needed part, tool and chemical on hand to get your pool filter sand changed and have any necessary repairs or upgrades performed at the same time.

Additionally, it’s important to realize that disposing of used pool filter sand is not a completely simple matter. This material is a potential biohazard that could contain viruses and bacteria. It should be handled by a professional and disposed of properly.

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