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Effective 5/5/24:

Monday - Friday: 9am – 6pm

Saturday: 9am – 5pm

Sunday: 12:30pm - 4pm

Service & Construction: Mon-Fri: 8am-5pm | Call 316-722-4311

Sand Filters

How to Operate


TO START FILTER FOR FIRST TIME: Make sure the correct amount of filter media is in the tank. One piece tanks should be 1/2 to 2/3 full. The goal is to have the widest diameter with the largest volume of media. Two piece tanks are filled to the top of the bottom 1/2 of the tank. See the manufacturers specifications for more detail. Sand must be No. 20 grade. Do not use finer grade of sand. Load media into tank with the tank half full of water. This will eliminate stress on under drain laterals. One cubic foot of sand equals two 50 lb. sacks. With pump motor off, prime pump by removing lid from pump strainer, and filling pot with water from a garden hose. After the lid is replaced and “T” bolts securely tightened, place valve handle in “Backwash” position. Open air relief valve on top of filter, until all air is expelled. Turn pump on and allow tank to fill for about 2 minutes. After tank is filled, allow system to backwash for three minutes. (This will eliminate any excess fine particles from the system, and not allow them to find their way into the pool water.) Backwash often (once a day) when first starting a new pool until water is sparkling clear. Turn pump off and place valve handle in “Filter” position. Turn pump back on to begin normal filtration cycle. Note starting pressure on gauge provided. If time clock is provided, set for desired start up and shutdown times to provide adequate filter cycle and turnover.

BACKWASH — When tank pressure gauge reads 10-15 lbs higher than starting pressure, backwashing is necessary. Shut off pump. NOTE: clean strainer pot and basket before backwashing. (see To Clean Pump Strainer*) Place valve handle in “Backwash” position and turn pump on. Run for two and one-half (2 1/2) minutes, or until water in sight glass (if one is provided) is clear. Turn pump off and move valve handle to “Rinse”. This will compact the sand back to its normal filter position. Run the pump until water is clear in the sight glass or at the end of the backwash hose. Turn pump back off and move the valve to “filter” and turn pump back on.

*TO CLEAN PUMP STRAINER — turn pump off. Remove strainer lid and quickly remove basket, replacing lid and “T” bolts or clamp band immediately to prevent filter tank from draining while basket is being cleaned. When returning basket to strainer pot, re-secure the lid as quickly as possible, also.

TO VACUUM POOL — turn pump off. Leave valve handle in “Filter” position. Place vacuum cleaner in pool with hose attached to head. Submerge hose slowly, until end is under water and entire hose is filled with water. Insert hose end in suction opening in bottom of skimmer (or fasten to skimmer vacuum plate for through-the-basket vacuuming.) Or, if your pool is equipped with a separate vacuum line in the pool wall, use adapter and fasten hose. Turn pump on. After vacuuming, clean skimmer basket, pump strainer pot and basket, then backwash filter.

TO DRAIN POOL OR REMOVE EXCESS WATER — it is not recommended to drain the pool through the filter in “Backwash” valve position. If system has the multi-position dial valve, draining may be accomplished by setting handle to “Drain” position with the pump running until the desired water level is reached. Do not turn off the pump during the draining process, since the pump may not be able to prime properly with a lowered water level. If the water is clean, the water level may be lowered on systems with the push-pull Unitrol valve, by turning off the pump, placing handle in “Backwash” position and restarting pump. Draining on this type system should only be done with portable submersible pumps or pump cart.

WINTERIZING FOR FREEZING CLIMATES — Unitrol Valve Systems — place valve handle in intermediate position, between “Filter” and “Backwash” positions. Dial Valve Systems — place handle in “Winterize” position. All systems — remove drain plugs from pump body and filter to drain all water. Open all air relief valves. Prepare pool per builder’s or manufacturer’s instructions.


WEEKLY INSPECTION — Remove debris from skimmer basket and pump basket. Bleed air from filter. Check pump seal cavity area for leaks and “T” handles or clamp band on pump strainer for tightness. Do not over-tighten.

MONTHLY INSPECTION — Stop pump and check lid bolts and ‘V’ band clamp bolts. Tighten as necessary. Check the pump location for standing water from rain, hosing, etc. Remove water as necessary. Turn pump off during this time.

BI-YEARLY INSPECTION — Check valves for ease of operation. If handle is difficult to move refer to manufacturing guidelines for maintenance procedures. Check waste line for leaks. Check “V” band coupling and check air relief valve


– Always turn pump off before changing valve positions!
– Never run pump dry as it depends on water for lubrication.
– Do not lubricate sealed electric motor bearings.
– Always maintain an adequate water level in the pool (half way on tile) as not to draw air through surface skimmer.
– If pump priming difficulties are experienced, check all suction lines, valves, gaskets and strainer lid for tightness.
– Clean pump strainer periodically.
– Maintain an adequate chemical balance in the pool.

Download a printable PDF: BUL-130 – SAND FILTERS

Bulletin #130