Ways to be sure your pool sand filter is working properly

It’s important to be sure all of your pool equipment is working properly and efficiently at all times. Following these steps will help you determine if your pool sand filter is working correctly or in need of replacement.

Step 1

Does your pressure gauge reset to zero when your pump is off? If not, replace it.

Pressure Gauge

Step 2

Check is to see if there is water leaking from your backwash line while your pool sand filter is set to filter mode. If there is, chances are your multi-port gasket is worn and will need to be replaced. Through normal use, the gasket rubber will wear down and eventually allow water or debris to bypass the intended direction and escape out the backwash port (or return to the pool unfiltered).

Sand Filter

Step 3

Check to see if there is dirt or debris returning to your pool or during a pool vacuum. If there is,  this can be a sign you have a broken lateral. Laterals are plastic parts at the bottom of the sand filter, with slits so small that it keeps out sand grains, until it cracks that is. It could also be a broken standpipe or diffuser.


Step 4

Keep in mind of the age of your sand. If your pool is struggling to keep clear after a backwash, chances are your sand has reached its life expectancy of about 4-5 years. At this point, the sand loses its shape and starts to get full of oils and will clump up and become gunky. Another way to check for this would be  another sign is your pressure gauge normal pressure remains high than it normally was low when you first installed your filter. If this occurs, you will need to replace the sand. It is a good measure to inspect your sand filters internal components at this time.

Internal Components of Sand Filter


  1. Philip Saum


    I am noticing that when the filter first starts up there is a flow of green water through each of the return ports It also seems that when I vacuum the pool, the water is cloudier then when I started. The water is very cloudy and while the chemical balance seems to be in normal ranges, I can’t get ahead of the problem. I have replaced the diverter valve thinking that this was the problem, and it probably was part of the problem, but the cloudy water still persists. Is it possible that I also have bad laterals?

    • Kathi B


      it may be a problem with the filter head, or the laterals but also could just be that a sand filter can’t catch very small particles (like most forms of algae and organic material and many times of environmental fall out)
      the best thing to do is to vacuum to waste/drain when you see this type of debris. you will lose water but at least the debris will be completely gone and the water still clear

  2. When opening my pool this year only my third season. My sand filter says it needs to be cleaned. I have backwashed and rinsed numerous times and can only get my pressure down to 40. Is this OK. Normally operating was 15-20 last season.

  3. David Alonzo


    With my sand filter , the clear hose from the strainer basket ; if my water is green , shouldnt the water passing thru this pipe from basket/ inlet line be green also ?..im struggling trying to clear my water , only to observe green water every day !..Help

  4. Carol


    I bought an Intex above ground pool and immediately the 6 way valve stuck in position and needed to be replaced. My friend took it off and cleaned out some sand and the new one just arrived. However, for 4 weeks now the chemicals don’t register above 50% and there is constant sand returning into the pool daily. It looks clear and just noticed mustard algea yesterday out of the blue. The pool supply store said that something is wrong with the pump or filter and adding additional chemicals is like putting a band aide on an open wound. I have spent a fortune on chemicals and it only brought it from 30% to 50%. Now it is back to 30%. Are the laterals broken? Can you advise because Inte support is a joke…

    • Aqua Tech


      Hi Carol!
      Here’s a link to our instructions for water care in a non-permanent above ground pool! Sometimes the easiest way to solve problems in a pool like this is doing a drain and refill and starting fresh instead of using chemicals. The filter and pump non-permanent above grounds use are very small compared to the volume of water in there, so swimming A LOT helps with circulation, and that will prevent a lot of water issues!
      For any technical support, you can reach our technicians at findmyanswers.ca where you can also include photos!

      Non-Permanent Above Ground Pool Care Video

  5. Reply

    Intex customer support is not only a joke they are pathetic! After spending 500$ for their 5,000 gallon/hr sand filter/pump I’ve had nothing but brown dark tea colored water? After 2 weeks of using this brand new sand filter with brand new sand, the water has not changed! Ph is high, iron I’m assuming content is high cause of well water! After hours of messing with this piece of junk the only things I can come up with is either my drains being at the very top of the pool and all the crud is at the bottom of the pool, or the 6 valve top is malfunctioning? When I backwash the water looks exactly like the pool water, no darker and unfiltered water? Sand bed is full as I’ve checked it numerous times? And I know it should be filtering out the concentrated nasty brown water because when I initially bough it, the thing backwashed nasty super brown water out, what one would expect a filter to do! But due to my ignorance and intex being worthless I went through 3 fifty pound bags of the silica sand only to see that it was escaping out of the filter because they put all the laterals on except 1? When I saw the extra sitting in another bag inside the box I figured it was a spare? Nope it needed to be attached. Anyway, it’s been attached and running/supposedly filtering for a week now and the sand bed remains full and my water is gross! And I can’t see more then 6” down into this Coleman 24’ by 54” POS pool! I just want my poor kids to have a pool to swim in? The cartridge filter that came with the pool did a better job then this expensive sand filter? PLEASE HELP

  6. Nancy Bain


    My pool is cloudy, chemicals are okay. When doing backwash, water is not very dirty.

  7. Emma


    This summer out of nowhere our pool got green and the floor is full of green bits. When I try to vacuum them up the vacuum works for like a minute or so and then eather starts blowing out green water or is barely blows out anything at all. We recently changed the sand thinking it was the problem but it didn’t help.

    • Aqua Tech


      Hi Emma!
      Number one way to prevent this from happening is using an algaecide weekly, we have a product called Banish that works great! Also when you get those bits of algae you need to vacuum up, make sure you’re doing it on the waste option your sand filter will have! This will make sure it gets out of the pool instead of into the filter.
      A lot of the time algae can build up in the spots that don’t get as much circulation as the rest of the pool, so making sure your jets are pointed down at a 45 degree angle will help with circulation as well 🙂

      Banish: https://shop.aqua-tech.ca/products/bioguard-banish-946ml

  8. Sherri


    I have a film (oil like) I guess floating on the top of pool. I can’t physically see it there but on sunny days with filter running I have the shadows of it. It kinda looks like it’s coming out of the return and as it goes around it disappears. I’ve tried shocking and also a clarifier. It seems to getting worse. (More circle shadows) as the weeks go on

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