Hello all, last year I started to notice what at the time I thought was algae growth in my pool on the bottom around the return areas, well this year after opening I noticed the same thing, but this time upon closer examination it is sand. From some of my readings I know that there is a possibility for a crack in one of the laterals. But I have noticed that my valve has become noisy and a bit harder to turn when going to backwash. Can a bad valve allow sand to enter the pool. I fully intend on going into the pump to check the laterals but is there any kind of checklist that I should go through. Would it be wise to start with the valve, or go straight to the laterals?? Any help is greatly appreciated. I'm just looking for a guideline to follow through my possible repairs as I am doing this myself cuz just don't have the money to spend on a pool service.