What Size Sand Filter For An Above Ground Pool? (Find Out Now!)

Kerry Souder
by Kerry Souder

If you have a pool, you’re no stranger to the work that goes behind maintaining it year after year. One of the most important parts that keeps your pool running in top shape is your pool filter. There are a handful of different filter types from which you can choose depending on your personal preferences. If you are planning to use a sand filter for your above ground pool, it’s important to choose the right size.

The sand filter size you will need for your above ground pool is directly related to the shape and size of the pool itself. As a rule of thumb, you should choose a sand filter that has 1 square foot of filtered area per 10,000 gallons pool capacity.

Not making sense yet? Let’s learn a bit more about how sand filters work and why the sizing matters so much.

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What is a Sand Filter?

A sand filter is a type of pool filter that uses special sand as a natural filtering agent. The sand inside the filter catches debris and other small particulates as the pool water passes through the filter. The filter then sends that clean water back into the pool.

Sand filters don’t have any paper of fiber parts, which means there is no threat of clogs and tearing. Because of this, they are fairly low maintenance and long-lasting when compared to other filter types.

One interesting aspect of sand filters is they actually become more effective as more and more dirt and debris gets trapped inside it. This is because those extra materials will assist the sand in blocking even smaller particles from passing through the filter. That said, you will still have to clean them every so often.

How to Determine Your Sand Filter Size

So, as we said before, you need a sand filter with about 1 square foot of filtered area per 10,000 gallons of pool water. But what does that really mean? Let’s give an example: a sand filter that is 16” in diameter has 1.55 square feet of filtered area, so it is best suited for a 15,500-gallon pool. If you need to determine the measurements of your own pool, you can follow these steps:

  • Measure the pool size
  • Calculate gallons that will be filtered within 8 hours
  • Figure out the maximum flow rate
  • Choose your filter system
  • Install the filter & accessories

Measure the Pool Size

First things first, you will need to determine the diameter and center depth of your above ground pool. Then, multiply the total volume of your pool by 7.48 (the amount of water in a cubic foot of space) to figure out how many gallons your pool holds.

Calculate Gallons that will be Filtered Within 8 Hours

A pool filter that is in good condition can clean your pool water in about 8 hours, so you will use this figure to get to your next solution. Divide the number of gallons in your pool by 8 and then divide that solution by 60. The number 60 refers to the gallons per minute that must be pumped to finish the job with the stated 8 hours.

Figure Out the Maximum Flow Rate

Your pool’s flow rate will depend on the size of the pipe. Most above ground pools use a powerful one horsepower pump and filter system for optimal performance.

As an example, you will want to choose a pipe with a 1.5-inch diameter for a 14,000-gallon pool because it is rated for 30 to 45 GPM (gallons per minute). It’s important to note that you will want to keep the pipe as straight as possible to maximize water flow.

Choose Your Filter System

In this case, you already know you are using a sand filter system. So, will simply move on to the last step!

Install the Filter and Accessories

Now, it is time to install the filter. You’ll want to use a solid base, which will reduce any vibration. Also make sure you store the electrical system under a watertight cover. You will also need to install a backwash hose, air relief valve, a sight glass pipe, and a pressure gage.

Related Questions

How do you maintain a sand filter?

Sand filters are low maintenance but will require occasional cleaning. You will have to check the reading on your pressure gauge and do a backwash cleaning once the pressure has increased by 8 to 10 pounds. This will clear any excess dirt and debris out of the sand and prevent clogs.

How often do you have to replace the sand in a sand filter?

Even with regular maintenance and backwashing, you will eventually have to replace your filter’s sand. Luckily, you will typically only have to do this every five to seven years.

What are the main types of pool filters?

There are four standard types of filters that you can use for your above ground pool. These are sand, cartridge, pocket, and diatomaceous earth (DE). Glass filters are a newer option that has also become more popular.

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Final Thoughts

When determining the right size sand filter you need for your above ground pool, it is most important to consider the size and shape of the pool itself and how that correlates with the size of the sand filter.

Choosing the correctly sized sand filter will be better on the health and lifespan of your above ground pool. More importantly, it will help you save money and energy over time.

Kerry Souder
Kerry Souder

I am a copywriter and editor based in the Las Vegas area with nearly a decade of experience under my belt writing landing pages, cost guides, blog posts, newsletters, case studies, and social media content. I have a degree in Strategic Communication and experience working in both the account and creative spheres. My goal is to always be discovering new interests and bettering myself as a writer and editor along the way.

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