The most popular filter pump used by nowadays swimming pools is the sand filter pump. Reliable and easy to install, they have an approximate life duration of 5 years – but you may not have to change it even then. It is usually the sand inside it which is changed – and this is the main reason why they are so popular.
But how can you prolong the life of the filter? As low maintenance as it is, you can do it yourself in a few easy steps. The whole process is called backwashing and it involves the cleaning from all the impurities of the sand within the filter. Once you notice that the pressure is too high or that, simply, there are impurities in the water, you should consider backwashing.
So how does backwashing works? How can you clean your sand filter pump? We can start by saying that these types of pumps are much easier to clean, simply because this involves reversing the flow of the water. Whether it has a T handle, whether it has a multiport one, it is all the same.
First of all, you will need to turn the pump off. Once you have done that, it is just a simple move of the handle, from the filter position to the backwash position. Once you did that, you can turn the pump back on. In this way, the water will flow backwards, thus removing all the impurities. This whole process should last about 3 minutes or so, until the water becomes clear again.
However, the clearness of the water is not necessarily a sign that the pump has been cleaned properly. In this way, even if the water is clean, the water can still flow with a higher pressure – which means that not all the impurities have been removed. In such cases, all you need to do is repeat the process a couple more times, until the water has a low pressure once again. Afterwards, turn off the pump, turn the handle back to the filter position, and then turn the sand filter pump on again.
But what if you need to change the sand within the pump? This is also quite an easy task, which can be performed by yourself. It may take a bit more time than backwashing, but that is about all. First you need to purchase the right type of sand (which is written on the filter label). You will also need some basic tools, such as a screwdriver, PVC glue and fittings and a hacksaw – but the latter are rarely necessary, since most of the filter pumps now have unions which can be easily opened.
So what you need to do is open the top cap of the filter, open the unions (or cut with the hacksaw as straight as possible), and then remove the sand from the sand filter. After doing so, place everything exactely in the initial position (if you used a hacksaw, the PVC glue and fitting will be of help), then turn the pump back on.
Make sure to use some long sleeves and gloves, since there is fiberglass within the filter.
As you can see, the sand filter pump is indeed low maintenance and you may not have to change it, even after the 5 years since you have installed it have passed.