Why Am I Getting Sand In My Pool

A basic high-rate sand filter is just that basic and the parts that operate it are replaceable and can easily crack or break after hours of usage. There are signals to look out for and one is sand on the floor of your pool which is noticeable sometimes at the return lines which should indicate something broken inside the filter that will answer the question. Why am I getting sand in my pool?

If sand suddenly appears in your pool, piled up in front of the return lines, it’s a sign of a broken component in the filter, the most common being a cracked lateral or standpipe made of plastic located at the bottom of the filter that can be replaced once the sand is removed from the filter.

Sand can sometimes be confused with dead algae, so before you call out a professional, take your pool brush and brush the sandy area. If the sand becomes a hazy cloud in the pool, this is algae and will simply need vacuuming. Nothing to worry about. If the sand stays near the bottom and doesn’t create a cloud then the cause is almost certainly a problem with your sand filter.

Why Am I Getting Sand In My Pool

Are you constantly finding sand in your pool?  You’re not alone. It can be pretty frustrating dealing with pool sand that seems to appear out of nowhere. The culprit behind this sandy dilemma is often a malfunctioning sand filter.

Your pool filter is designed to keep your pool water clean by trapping debris and particles, but if the filter sand or other sand filter components are compromised, sand can end up in your pool instead of staying in the filter tank.

Sand in your pool could indicate issues with the pool sand filter laterals or a cracked standpipe inside the filter. These essential parts ensure sand stays inside the filter system, so a problem here means sand is free to escape into the pool water. Sand creeping into your pool after backwashing might also point to a problem with the pumps and pressure system linked to your sand filter. Proper pool care is essential to avoid these issues, and understanding how your pool filter operates is crucial to solving the problem.

Pools rely on well-maintained filter systems to look their best and for safe swimming conditions. Frequent inspection helps avoid the mystery of sand in your pool, ensuring a fun, sandy-bottom-free swimming experience. If sand persists, it might be time to replace the sand and laterals in your sand filter.

Most if not all the pieces in your pool filter parts are made of plastic. If you see it blowing out into the pool, most likely one of those parts is cracked or broken. The most common problem is a cracked lateral, which is one of the perforated finger pipes at the bottom inside of the pool filter that catches water that has circulated through the sand.

Unless your pool sand is old and has lost its shape and filtering ability which passes through to your pool or you just changed the sand in the vessel and overfilled it, then it’s most likely a:

  • cracked lateral
  • standpipe
  • the seal that is worn or broken (less likely) 

In my 30 years operating an inground pool and helping others with theirs, 99% of the time, one or more finger laterals are located inside at the bottom of the pool sand filter. This is especially true if you are opening at the beginning of the season after a cold winter. The only way to know for sure is to open it up and inspect the assembly.

The Secret Lies In Your Sand Filter

When you find sand in your pool, don’t be alarmed; the secret lies in your sand filter. A sand filter uses sand to trap debris as water flows from the pool into the filter tank. If your pool’s sand filter is leaking sand, it’s likely due to issues within the filter’s internal components. One common culprit is the standpipe, which can crack or break, causing sand to escape into the pool. Also, the laterals within the sand filter, located at the bottom of the tank, can be damaged.

These laterals are key to ensuring sand stays inside the filter tank. Another critical step in maintaining your sand filter is proper backwashing. Regular backwashing helps flush out trapped debris but, if not done correctly, can lead to sand getting into your pool water.

Besides, check the condition of the filter tank and all connected pumps. Faulty pumps can cause pressure anomalies, further stressing your sand filter. Remember, a well-maintained sand filter is crucial for a clean pool. By regularly inspecting the filter, standpipe, laterals, and keeping up with maintenance tasks such as backwashing, you’ll significantly reduce the risk of sand infiltrating your pool. Stay vigilant with your filter care, and you’ll enjoy sand-free swimming!

Components of Your Sand Filter

Understanding the components of your sand filter is essential to keeping your pool clean and clear. The main pieces include the filter tank, which houses the pool sand responsible for trapping debris. Inside the tank, you’ll find the standpipe connected to the laterals, a crucial network that evenly distributes water. The laterals are small, finger-like pieces at the bottom of the filter tank that prevent sand from entering the pool.

A valve controls the flow of water and can be set to various functions like backwashing or rinsing. The pool filter is powered by a pump that moves water through the sand filter. If sand is showing up in your pool, it could be due to broken laterals or a damaged standpipe. In such cases, replacing the damaged laterals can be a simple but effective solution. Don’t forget that even your pump and valve need regular maintenance, as they’re vital for proper filtration.

Also, monitor your pumps for any irregularities. By maintaining all components of the sand filter, you’ll prolong its lifespan and ensure your pool remains a pleasant oasis. Performing periodic checks on your pool filter, especially the laterals, pump, valve, and the sand itself, is key to avoiding any episode where sand starts to infiltrate your swimming area, giving you peace of mind.

Pool Sand Filter Laterals

Finding sand in your pool can be a frustrating ordeal, but understanding the role of your sand filter laterals can shed some light on the issue. The sand filter is a crucial component of your pool care regimen. It ensures that your pool water remains clean by trapping debris in the filter sand. However, over time, the laterals—these are small, perforated pipes located at the bottom of your sand filter—can become damaged or cracked.

When this happens, sand can escape the filter and make its way into your pool. It’s an annoying problem, but one that can be fixed. First, you’ll need to shut off the water valve to prevent more sand from flowing into the pool.

Next, you’ll have to open up the sand filter and carefully remove the filter sand so you can inspect the laterals. If the laterals are damaged, you’ll need to replace them. This step is essential to restoring your sand filter’s functionality. Proper pool care involves regular inspections to ensure all components, including the laterals, are in good condition. Even if there’s just a small crack, it can lead to sand escaping. By maintaining your pool filter and inspecting the laterals, you can enjoy clean water without the hassle of errant sand. Fix your sand filter today!

See the source image The laterals are tubes that look like fingers arranged in a wheel-spoke pattern at the bottom of a central pipe. Each lateral has small holes, like a sieve, that allows pool water to pass through them while keeping the sand particles out.

Depending on the design, size, and model, your pool filter has between eight and ten laterals, and a crack in just one could lead to problems. The laterals are tubes that look like fingers arranged in a wheel-spoke pattern at the bottom of a central pipe. Each lateral has small holes, like a sieve, that allow water to pass through them while keeping the sand particles out.

The tubes or fingers fold up and down so that you can pull the whole assembly out of the filter to flush and inspect the plastic piece looking for cracks that can develop anywhere in the finger or where the finger connects to the standpipe.

Replace Sand and Lateral in a Sand Filter

To effectively replace the sand and laterals in a sand filter, you’ll need to gather the necessary parts and follow each step meticulously. Begin by turning off the pool pump and releasing the pressure from the filter valve.

Carefully remove the multiport valve or top valve of your sand filter. Next, scoop out the old sand, paying close attention to avoid damaging the standpipe and laterals. Once the sand’s removed, examine the laterals for any cracks or breaks, as faulty laterals are a common cause of sand leaking into the pool.

If you find any damaged laterals, replace them with new parts. After verifying the condition of the laterals and standpipe, pour new pool filter sand into the sand filter. Make sure the standpipe is centered and all laterals are in place during this step.

Reassemble the filter by securing the multiport valve and making sure all connections are tight. This step-by-step approach ensures your sand filter functions optimally, preventing sand from entering the pool. Finally, backwash the filter to remove any debris before returning it to its normal operation. By following these instructions and ensuring all parts are in good condition, your pool’s sand filter will operate efficiently, keeping your pool crystal clear. Remember, regular maintenance of the sand filter and its components is key to a clean pool.

Once you decide that there is a problem with the pool Sand Filter tank and it’s not the Chemistry of the pool water. Go ahead and:

  • Power down your system
  • Open the main drain plug and drain the tank vessel
  •  Remove the Multi-Port Valve on the filter tank– loosen the collar- if you have a Top Mount Multi-port and need to cut PVC-leave extra hose

    Lateral & Stand Pipe
  • Shine a flashlight inside the filter when you pull the Multi-Port Valve, You will find a layer of hair, grease, and God knows what else is there on the top layer of sand. Use a trowel a take off the top layer.
  • Better yet this is the best time to change all the sand
  • Move the Standpipe aside carefully so as not to break it, inspect the lateral fingers so they may not be broken, and inspect the top of the sand and walls of the inside of the pool filter vessel.
  •  If you don’t want to replace all the sand just replace what you take out. This should be good enough. When I have done this, the sand underneath is normally clean and good to go. I have gotten a few more years out of my sand by adding a bag of sand and an additive that will help clean the rest. The Sand Cleaner is sold in any pool store. If you decide to empty all (normally the best decision unless you like opening your pool filter) the sand and replace it  with the manufacturers recommended size sand, then:
  • Remove the rest of the sand with the trowel, wet vac, small plastic beach bucket or coffee can until you can get down to the Lateral Assemble
  • Fold the ends of the lateral arms up towards you, like an umbrella, and remove it. Rinse it a couple of times. The arms have small slits that the pool water moves through. Sometimes they will clog up. Inspect the Standpipe. Look for any cracks or breaks in the plastic.
  • Before filling the vessel with new sand cover the top of the standpipe, so no sand falls in. Use a plastic cup or a rag
  • Rinse out the remaining sand through the drain in the filter and you are good to go.
  • Fill the tank with new pool sand. Use the fill line on the Inside-top of the filter and always check the Plate on the outside that will tell you the exact amount and type of filtering sand to use. Never use anything but what is specified by the manufacturer.
  • Backwash the pool filter until it clears then filter as normal

How Did Sand Get Into My Pool

Seeing sand in your pool can be baffling and frustrating, but understanding the possible causes can help you tackle the issue effectively. Sand typically ends up in your pool due to problems with the pool’s sand filter.

One common culprit is a damaged standpipe; when the standpipe cracks or breaks, sand can easily escape into your pool water. The laterals, which are essential components of a sand filter, can also cause trouble. If the laterals are broken or damaged, sand can bypass the filtering mechanism and end up in your pool. Sometimes, the sand itself may not have been installed correctly, or it might be the wrong type, leading to sand migrating into the pool.

During backwashing, if the standpipe isn’t securely reassembled, it can allow sand to escape into the pools. In some instances, external sources like wind or kids playing near the pool can inadvertently introduce sand into the water. This guide will walk you through the necessary steps to identify and fix the root cause. Properly maintaining pool parts and periodically checking the sand filter components can save you a lot of headaches and keep your pool sand-free. Step by step, we’ll help you ensure that your swimming pool stays clean and enjoyable.

                      The Inside Parts of a Sand Filter

Sand in Swimming Pool After Backwashing

Finding sand in your swimming pool after backwashing can be a real headache. One major suspect for this problem could be your pool filter. Your pool sand filter might have issues that need attention. When backwashing, it’s essential to ensure your pool filter is in top condition because a malfunction can lead to more filter sand ending up in your pool.

Components like the laterals in the pool filter can break or wear down over time, allowing pool sand to escape the this system and contaminate the water.
Appropriate pool care involves regular inspection of your pool filter.

If you notice that your pool’s water pressure is lower than usual, this could be a sign that your pool filter or pump needs maintenance. In some cases, you might even need to replace the filter sand to fix the problem. Backwashing should be a routine part of your home pool maintenance, but if you keep finding sand in the pool, it’s crucial to check your pool filter and pumps for any signs of damage.

Using a vacuum to clean out any pool sand that’s settled at your pool’s bottom is an immediate solution, but addressing the source of the problem will save you time and effort in the long run. Regularly maintaining the pool filter and monitoring the pressure will ensure a clean swimming experience every time.

When you first install a sand filter or change the pool sand, you may indeed get a small amount of sand coming out when backwashing, rinsing, or filtering. Sometimes excess sand gets into the wrong places when refilling and will sand to come out into the pool or out of the backwash hose. But it should go away after a few runs.

A broken or cracked standpipe or laterals will cause sand to come out during backwash (backflushing), filtering, or rinsing. after backwashing

The standpipe is the thick plastic pipe that runs through the middle of the sand tank and moves the water in and out of the sand tank. The standpipe is connected to laterals at the base of the sand tank and to the multi-port valve at the top of the tank.

If the standpipe isn’t correctly put back in the filter after adding sand or is cracked, it can allow sand to get through it and back into the pool when backwashing, rinsing, or filtering.

Or if the filter is overfilled, which happens a lot. There is a maximum level line for filling pool sand on the inside of the filter.

Also, filter sand can find its way into the multi-valve assembly or handle, especially if the sand was changed or added recently. This will pass, and if not, take the multi-port off, check the gasket, rinse it out, and re-attach it to the filter tank.

How to Get Sand Out of Your Pool—In Three Steps

If you let the sand accumulate for a while then use a long-handle pool brush and sweep the pool sand up against the wall in a pile and vacuum the pile to waste. You don’t want to add old sand that has been cycling for a long time which will end up on the top layer inside the filter or just get rid of it. If the sand was worn down and made its way through the filtering system then it will do the same thing again.

After 4 to 5 years, pool filter sand loses its sharp edges and its ability to filter pool water. When the pool filter sand no longer effectively filters the pool water, you should change it according to the instructions for your brand.

The filter tank of your swimming pool sand filter holds a certain amount of pool sand and is sized to your pump and swimming pool. The sand has a working life. There are different types of pool sand and pool media that will work with your pool filter for a certain time in years.

Finding sand in your pool can be a real headache, but fear not—here’s how to get that sand out in three simple steps.

  1. First, make sure your pool pump and valve are set to the correct position. Turn off the pump to avoid any risk of damage or excess pressure.
  2. Next, use a pool vacuum to gather up all the visible sand on the pool floor. The vacuum should be able to suck up the sand effectively without stirring up the water too much. Finally, backwash your sand filter by turning the valve to the backwash position. This will flush out any sand that might have passed through the standpipe and into the tank.
  3. Remember to rinse the filter afterward to ensure clean and clear water. Be thorough with these steps to ensure all the sand is removed from your pool water. Checking the pool filter and valve regularly can prevent future issues and keep your water sparkling clean.

Following these steps meticulously will help you manage and eliminate sand from your pool, ensuring you can enjoy a sand-free swimming experience. Don’t forget to maintain the right pressure in your sand filter and clean it periodically to keep your pool water in top condition.

Most filters, like Hayward, recommend 3 to 5  years according to usage. Pool care should include sand in your pool filter and the pumps in the filtration system that are controlled by pressure. The pump pressure gauge located on top or the back of the pool filter can guide you on backwashing and share the overall operation of the pool filter. Pool care should include backwashing your pool filter parts of filter tank pressure, and laterals filter sand and years and condition of the sand and parts. 


Maintaining a clean and safe pool requires attention to various factors such as water chemistry, filtration system maintenance, and proper sanitation practices. Regular testing and adjustment of chemical levels, along with routine cleaning of filters and pool surfaces, are essential for preventing common issues like cloudy water, algae growth, and sand contamination. By staying proactive with maintenance tasks and addressing any issues promptly, pool owners can enjoy crystal-clear water and a pleasant swimming experience throughout the season.

How to Protect Pool Equipment From Freezing

For more information on the operation of your swimming pool like this one stay right here at MyWaterearth&Sky-In some areas of the country, lower freezing temperatures are slow to happen and not as common, which can give Pool Owners a choice on when or if to close …………………………………………..… Continue reading

JimGalloway Author/Editor

  1. Why is my pool water cloudy? Cloudy pool water can result from various factors such as improper pH balance, insufficient filtration, or inadequate sanitizer levels. Testing your water regularly and adjusting chemical levels as needed can help clear up cloudy water.
  2. How often should I clean my pool filter? It’s recommended to clean your pool filter at least once a month during the swimming season. However, if you notice a decrease in water flow or an increase in pressure on the filter gauge, clean it immediately to prevent issues with filtration.
  3. What is the ideal pool water pH level? The ideal pH level for pool water is between 7.4 and 7.6. Maintaining the correct pH balance helps prevent corrosion of pool equipment, eye and skin irritation, and ensures the effectiveness of chlorine.

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