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Deciding which sand filter to install in a swimming pool has to be a logical and thoughtful process, particularly as there are so many different brands and then models within brands to choose from.
Sand filters are efficient, economic to buy and run, with the easy self-maintenance a major plus in their favour. All these factors contribute to make them the popular choice amongst medium size pool owners everywhere. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when making your final decision and these rules will also narrow options down to appropriate models, making the appropriate final choice move obvious.
First and foremost you'll need to consider pool size and the rule here is to buy 1.0 sq ft of filter area per 10,000 gallons of swimming pool water. Small and medium size family swimming pools can take advantage of the smaller less expensive filters. For most in-ground swimming pools a 3.1sq ft sand filter will be the standard size to use, and is big enough to give long and reliable performance. Whereas a large luxury pool has a lot of water to cleanse meaning a larger filter and pump are needed.
Brand names synonymous for large pools include Pentair and Hayward but smaller options are more likely to be an Intex sand filter or Blue Wave. You certainly don't need to buy a brand name sand filter to get excellent results, however there are some good reasons folk do just that. The point about sand filters is their long life and easy economic DIY maintenance, which is great if you can get the spare parts.
Brand names that have been around for thirty years are probably still going to be here in another thirty years, providing pool owners with washers and valves they need to keep sand filters running beautifully for years to come. Thinking five years down the line, newcomers to the industry may not have survived a difficult economy.
Pool activity is another major part of the calculation. Big families who have a small pool are going to need that filter running a lot, the same goes for those living in a dry dusty area where sand dust and other debris is carried in on the wind. Sun cream that's not showered off before entering the water can cause a real problem and certainly reduces efficiency, so an open shower nearby is a good move if you can achieve it.
However if there are two of you having a morning dip and an occasional swim during the day with a bit more activity on the weekends, much less pressure is put on the sand filter to keep the pool clean overall and there are going to be less particulates to deal with.
To be honest if you are the owner or inheritor of a big swimming pool through purchase, you have probably become an expert real fast, or employed an expert to handle the pool. Conversely, smaller pools are well within the scope of any amateur to manage and a great way to learn the 'ins and outs' before moving onto a bigger swimming pool later if you want to.
Swimming pool sand filters generally have a long life and are economic to run. Cleaning the filter, known as 'backwashing' is done when the inbuilt gauge reaches a pressure of 8-10 and again, this will depend on pool activity and size plus any environmental issues.
Backwashing is a simple maintenance chore, again well within the capability of any sensible adult and consists of following instructions, moving switches and running out the backwash hose. Backwashing keeps the sand filter working at maximum efficiency.
The rule of thumb is to change the sand every 7 years, but this is the maximum. It's a simple enough task so better advice is to do it every 5 years unless the sand is clearly still ok. The gradual deterioration in water quality is hard to detect until you begin to get algae problems which are the devil to shift. Not allowing the sand filter to struggle for those extra couple years has to be a better option.
If you ask yourself questions based around pool size, pool activity levels and availability of spare parts down the line, you will have already narrowed down the choices enough to be sure of making the right decision. Enjoy your swim.