Hayward Sand Filter Basics: Installation & Initial Start-Up

{ article based on the Hayward S180T, S210T, S220T, S244T Pro-Series High-Rate Sand Filters }

Your filter uses special filter sand to remove dirt particles from pool water. Filter sand is loaded into the filter tank and functions as the permanent dirt removing media. The pool water, which contains suspended dirt particles, is pumped through your piping system and is automatically directed by the patented filter control valve to the top of the filter tank. As the pool water is pumped through the filter sand, dirt particles are trapped by the sand bed, and filtered out. The cleaned pool water is returned from the bottom of the filter tank, through the control valve and back to the pool through the piping system. This entire sequence is continuous and automatic and provides total recirculation of pool water through your filter and piping system.

After a period of time, the accumulated dirt in the filter causes a resistance to flow, and the flow diminishes. This means it is time to clean (backwash) your filter. With the control valve in the backwash position, the water flow is automatically reversed through the filter so that it is directed to the bottom of the tank, up through the sand, flushing the previously trapped dirt and debris out the waste line. Once the filter is backwashed (cleaned) of dirt, the control valve is manually re-sequenced to Rinse, and then Filter, to resume normal filtering.

Sand Filter Installation

Only simple tools (screwdriver and wrenches), plus pipe sealant for plastic adapters, are required to install and/or service the filter.

    1. The filter system should be installed, not more than 6 feet above pool water level, on a level concrete slab, very firm ground, or equivalent, as recommended by your pool dealer. Position the filter so that the piping connections, control valve and winter drain are convenient and accessible for operation, service and winterizing.
    2. Assemble pump and pump mounting base, No. S160TPAK1, or S160TPAK3 (if supplied) to the filter according to instructions packed with the base.
    3. Filter sand media is loaded through the top opening of the filter.
      • Loosen flange clamp and remove Filter Control Valve (if previously installed).
      • Cap internal pipe with sand shield to prevent sand from entering it. Be sure pipe is securely in place in bottom underdrain hub.
      • We recommend filling tank approximately 1/2 way with water to provide a cushioning effect when the filter sand is poured in. This helps protect the underdrain laterals from excessive shock. (Be sure the winter drain cap is securely in place on drain pipe). NOTE: Check to confirm all laterals are in the down position before loading with sand.)
      • Carefully pour in correct amount and grade of filter sand, as specified on Table 1 below. (Be sure center pipe remains centered in opening). Sand surface should be leveled and should come to within 6″ of the top of the filter tank. Remove sand shield from internal pipe.

how much sand to put in your sand filter

  1. Assemble Filter Control Valve to filter tank.
    • Loosely pre-assemble both halves of the clamp with one screw and one nut, turning the nut 2 or 3 turns. Do not tighten. Wipe filter flange clean.
    • Insert Filter Control Valve (with valve/flange o-ring in place) into the tank neck, taking care that the center pipe slips into the hole in the bottom of the valve. Install clamp around tank and valve flange and assemble second screw and nut. Tighten just enough so that the valve may be rotated on tank for final positioning.
    • Wrap two turns of Teflon pipe sealant tape manufactured for plastic pipe on the ¼” NPT male end of gauge. Carefully screw pressure gauge, into ¼” NPT tapped hole in valve body. Do not over tighten.
    • Connect pump to control valve opening marked PUMP according to instructions. After connections are made, tighten valve flange clamp with screwdriver, tapping around clamp with screwdriver handle to help seat valve flange clamp.
  2. Make return to pool pipe connection to control valve opening marked RETURN and complete other necessary plumbing connections, suction lines to pump, waste, etc.
  3. Make electrical connections to pump per pump instructions.
  4. To prevent water leakage, be sure winter drain cap is securely in place and all pipe connections are tight.

Initial Start-Up of Filter

  1. Be sure correct amount of filter sand media is in tank and that all connections have been made and are secure.
  2. Depress Vari-Flo control valve handle and rotate to BACKWASH position. (To prevent damage to control valve seal, always depress handle before turning.)
  3. Prime and start pump according to pump instructions (be sure all suction and return lines are open), allowing the filter tank to fill with water. Once water flow is steady out the waste line, run the pump for at least 2 minutes. The initial back-washing of the filter is recommended to remove any impurities or fine sand particles in the sand media. WARNING: ALL SUCTION AND DISCHARGE VALVES MUST BE OPEN WHEN STARTING THE SYSTEM. FAILURE TO DO SO COULD CAUSE SEVERE PERSONAL INJURY!
  4. Turn pump off and set valve to RINSE position. Start pump and operate until water in sight glass is clear – about ½ to 1 minute. Turn pump off, set valve to FILTER position and restart pump. Your filter is now operating in the normal filter mode, filtering particles from the pool water.
  5. Adjust pool suction and return valves to achieve desired flow. Check system and filter for water leaks and tighten connections, bolts, nuts, as required.
  6. Note the initial pressure gauge reading when the filter is clean. (It will vary from pool to pool depending upon the pump and general piping system). As the filter removes dirt and impurities from the pool water, the accumulation in the filter will cause the pressure to rise and flow to diminish. When the pressure gauge read ing is 8-10 PSI (0.55-0.69 BAR) higher than the initial “clean” pressure you noted, it is time to backwash (clean) the filter.

NOTE: During initial clean-up of the pool water it may be necessary to backwash frequently due to the unusually heavy initial dirt load in the water.


IMPORTANT: To prevent unnecessary strain on piping system and valving, always shut off pump before switching Filter Control Valve positions.

To prevent damage to the pump and filter and for proper operation of the system, clean pump strainer and skimmer baskets regularly.


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