9 Reasons You Should Choose a Sand Filter for Your Pool

In the U.S., swimming ranks as the fourth most popular exercise activity. However, did you know that swimming in contaminated water can get you sick?

Contaminated water can happen in a swimming pool that is not properly filtered.

Do you own a pool and want to know the best tips for maintaining your pool? Are you interested in the different types of pool filters, and you’re wondering which type to choose for your pool?

A pool filter will keep your pool water clean from contaminates and microbes that can make you sick.

There are two general types of filters: cartridge filters and sand filters. We think sand filters are the best choice.

Want to learn more about sand filters and how they work? Read on to see our 9 reasons why you should go with a sand filter and how they work to properly clean your pool.

How Do Pool Filters Work?

Whether you have an in-ground pool or an above-ground pool, pool systems generally work the same way.

The different parts of a swimming pool are interdependent. A pool system works to circulate water, filter it, treat it, and send it back out clean to the pool.

The pool pump and the pool filter work together. They are usually located next to each other. The pump circulates the water while the filter cleans it.

Different Types of Pool Filters

A pool filter is essential in keeping your pool water clean from microbes that can make you sick.

In fact, in some states, you are legally required to use a pool filter. Some regulations even stipulate the speed at which you filter your water. However, these laws depend on which state you live in and the size of your pool.

There are two common types of pool filters. Read on to see how each one works.

1. Sand Filters

Sand filters consist of a large tank. The tank is usually made up of fiberglass, metal, or concrete. Inside the tank is special-grade sand which is usually square-shaped.

When the filter is turned on in the pool, the pool pump sends dirty water through the filter’s inlet pipe. The water flows to the water distribution head located in the tank.

Then, gravity brings the dirty water down through the sand. The sand works to capture any debris or particles. The newly clean water goes back through the pick-up unit and out through the outlet pipe.

Different Settings of a Sand Filter

A sand filter has six different settings. Here they are.


This is the setting you will use most of the time. It filters the water and keeps it clean.


This reverses the flow of water and sends water out of the pool. This setting is only used when the water is dirty and the pool needs to be emptied out.


You use this setting when the filter has accumulated dirt and debris. It cleans the filter.


After you backwash, you should set the filter to this setting for about 30 seconds. It makes sure your filter is thoroughly cleaned and puts the sand in the right place.


This setting sends the water from the pump to the swimming pool without filtering it.


If you need to fix the pump and have to turn it off, you would also switch to this setting for the sand filter. This setting closes all the ports.

Be sure to turn your pump off right away when you switch to this setting. The pressure in the ports can build up quickly!

Backwash the Sand Filter to Maintain Your Filter

After a certain time period, a build-up of dirt and particles slows down the flow of water. When there is too much build-up of dirt in the sand, then you have to backwash the filter.

To backwash the sand filter, you have to adjust the pipes and redirect the flow of water. You redirect the flow in order to send the dirty water through the drainage pipe and out to the sewer system.

When you backwash, you get rid of the particle buildup in the sand filter so it’s ready to be used again.

2. Cartridge Filters

Another option is a cartridge filter, also called a diatomaceous earth filter. A cartridge filter contains filter grids covered with diatomaceous earth, which is a powder made from fossilized diatoms.

Dirty pool water pumps through the filter and goes through the cartridge filters.

Clean the Cartridge Filters

When there is a buildup of dirt, you have to remove the filters, which consist of polyester or paper. You have to clean the filters from dirt and algae, which can be difficult and time-consuming.

In order to clean the filter, you soak the filter in a special filter cleaner for a certain amount of time. The filter cleaner works to remove algae, dirt, and other buildups.

After 1-3 years, you must replace the cartridge filters.

Top 9 Reasons to Choose a Sand Filter

Although there is a lot to consider when choosing a pool filter, we think sand filters are the best choice. Here are 9 reasons why.

1. Effective at Keeping Your Pool Clean

A sand filter is effective at keeping your pool clean. On the other hand, a cartridge filter may sometimes let in large pieces of dirt to come back and re-enter the pool.

This can happen if too much water goes through the pool pump at once.

2. Backwashing Is Easy

The process of backwashing is simple. To backwash, you follow these steps:

  • Turn off the pool pump to stop water from circulating
  • Adjust the sand filter’s setting to Backwash which reverses the direction of water flow
  • Set up the waste hose for your dirty water to go through
  • Switch on the Rinse setting to make sure the filter is thoroughly cleaned
  • Turn the filter setting back to Filter and turn the pool pump on

To maintain your filter, you should backwash about once a week.

3. Low Upfront Cost

A sand filter has a cheaper upfront cost than a cartridge filter. If you already spent a lot of money on the pool itself, you can save money by choosing a sand filter.

4. No Cartridges to Clean or Replace

With a cartridge filter, you have to worry about cleaning the cartridges constantly and replacing them every few years.

If you have a pool with a lot of algae buildup, then you will need to clean the cartridges more often. Algae can quickly build up on the cartridges.

With sand filters, there is no need to physically remove any filters and go through the process of cleaning them.

Also, you need to replace cartridge filters on average every 1-3 years.

5. Replace Every 5-10 Years

While you should replace the cartridge filters every few years, you only need to replace the sand in sand filters every 5-10 years.

This means less work for you and you save money since you need to replace it less often.

6. Easier to Deal with Algae

While algae can quickly build up on cartridge filters, sand filters can clean it more effectively and easily. You just need to backwash the filter in order to clean out the algae.

7. Low Maintenance System

Sand filters have a low maintenance system. To maintain your filter, you regularly backwash it and you replace the sand when needed.

8. Easy to Install

Sand filters have simple systems that are easy to install. Sand filters come with a complete kit, and you can usually install them yourself. This is great if you have a new pool and are in a hurry to take a cool dip in the water!

9. Cleans Particles Down to 20 Microns

A sand filter will clean your water down to 20 microns. While a cartridge filter can clean down to 8-15 microns, we think the benefits and ease of use of a sand filter still make it the better choice.

How to Choose the Best Filter for Your Pool

If you swim often, you will need a pool filter that can withstand the constant use and that will last the longest. A sand filter is a better choice since you do not need to replace it as often.

If you are looking to save money, a sand filter is an economical choice.

When you do decide to purchase a filter, make sure to research different types of filters and see which one is best for your pool. Keep in mind that you need to choose the appropriate filter that will work for the size of your pool.

Want to read more tips about maintaining your pool? Read our blog.

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