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Thread: Intex sand filter - sand problems

  1. #1

    Intex sand filter - sand problems

    My mother bought an 24'X52" Sand 'n Sun pool (manufactured by Intex) at Walmart about 5 years ago. About 3 years ago, I purchased an Intex 4000 gal pump for the pool, and 2 years ago I purchased an Intex saltwater system to convert the pool.

    Lately, besides leaves, she is having problems with dust. The local farmers have clearcut all the trees from their land, so we pretty much have a dust storm any day the wind gusts above 10mph (which it, unusually, has been doing frequently here this year). I spent 6 1/2 hours cleaning out the pool for her last Saturday, and yesterday it filled up with dust again.

    Now, to my question. The Intex cartridge pumps don't work very well for vacuuming dust and sand out of the bottom of a pool - I've literally had to hook up the old original pump and use it to vacuum while pumping the dirty water out of the pool, a time consuming and wasteful process.

    I have no personal experience with sand filters. For those of you using the Intex sand filters, how well does vacuuming work with them? Would the sand filter be able to vacuum and filter the sand and dust from the pool in a more efficient manner? I don't mind putting in the time and investing the money if it will improve the situation; otherwise, if I can't find a solution, I'm about ready to pack it in, drain the pool, and give it away.

  2. #2
    Administrator JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Intex sand filter

    Welcome to TFP!

    The Intex sand filters are dramatically better than the small Intex cartridge filters. Sand filters don't catch the very finest dust, particles so small you can't see the individual grains, but they catch just about everything else, and are in every way better than the small Intex cartridge filters.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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  3. #3
    Senior Member crookm11's Avatar
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    Re: Intex sand filter

    Welcome to TFP!

    I have the Intex sand filter on my 24' x 52" Ultra frame and love it. I added an AGP thru-wall skimmer to my pool and turned the normal suction port on the pool in to a vacuum port. The sand filter has enough power to vacuum up the dirt and dust. As Jason stated the only thing the filter won't filter out is the fine dust.

    Here is a pic of my set up.


    Mark Crook
    13,500 Gallon 24' x 52" Intex Ultra Frame
    Intex Sand Filter and Pump, Intex SWG (All hard PVC plumbed)
    TFTestKit-100---Pool School---The Pool Calculator
    Location: Copperas Cove, Texas --- My Pool Build---Useful Links for Intex Pool Owners

  4. #4

    Re: Intex sand filter

    Quote Originally Posted by crookm11
    Welcome to TFP!

    I have the Intex sand filter on my 24' x 52" Ultra frame and love it. I added an AGP thru-wall skimmer to my pool and turned the normal suction port on the pool in to a vacuum port. The sand filter has enough power to vacuum up the dirt and dust. As Jason stated the only thing the filter won't filter out is the fine dust.

    Here is a pic of my set up.


    That is a very cool setup - I saw it first thing when I was looking over the website before I posted. When I looked around 2 years ago, I couldn't find any workarounds to adapt the Intex connectors to standard PVC - things have definitely changed for the better since then. Which Intex sand filter are you using?

  5. #5

    Re: Intex sand filter

    Well, I received the Intex sand filter and got it installed. Followed the instructions to the letter, backwashed, rinsed, and turned on the filter.

    Guess what I then preceeded to find out? The local pool supply company apparently has no clue about the filter sand they sell - they had assured me it was #20 silica sand that met the quoted Intex specs. Turns out it wasn't as the sand filter proceeded to pump at least 10lbs of sand into the bottom of the pool before I figured out what was going on. Which I then spent an hour cleaning out with my old Pool Buster vacuum (I was shocked it still worked as the batteries in it are 3 years old).

    You know how sometimes you just can't win for loosing? I guess I'm having one of those months.....

    Now I just have to dump the sand out of the filter and locate a supplier who sells useable sand. Which, around here, is apparently going to be a major chore.

  6. #6
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Intex sand filter

    How do you know it was the sand and not something going on in the filter?

    What did the bag say on it? Did it say Pool Sand on it?
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 1.5hp Dynamo pump. 24" Pentair Sand Dollar Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    You can stop SLAMing your pool when you pass the OCLT (You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & You have .5ppm CC's or less) & your water is clear.

  7. #7

    Re: Intex sand filter

    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    How do you know it was the sand and not something going on in the filter?

    What did the bag say on it? Did it say Pool Sand on it?
    Yes, it was definitely labeled as silica pool filter sand. However, it doesn't have any grading information on the bag, so we were going by their word that the sand would work in the filter. I did notice when we were picking it up that this was the only kind of sand that the stocked in their warehouse.

    And, you are correct - though the sand filter is new, there could be a problem with the 6 way valve. However, I examined it and everything matches the diagrams. I was very careful with the installation and triple-checked everything. I can't think of anything that would cause it to spray out as much sand as water into the pool. It seemed to backwash and rinse properly as far as I could tell.

    I just hope it didn't do any permanent damage to her saltwater chlorine generator - shooting a few pounds of sand through it can't have been good on the plates.

    Looking around, I found a local Home Depot that has some pool filter sand in stock. Called and, of course, they can't tell me anything about it other than it is "pool filter sand". I'm going to try to run over there in a few minutes before they close and pick up a hundred pounds and see if it works any better.

    Just to be safe, though, I think I'll disconnect the chlorine generator and run the filter into a white 10 gallon bucket bucket after I set it up again tomorrow.

  8. #8
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Intex sand filter

    I would inspect the filter internals very well while the sand is out. I'm betting that the sand you got was the correct grade and there's something wrong in the filter.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 1.5hp Dynamo pump. 24" Pentair Sand Dollar Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit
    You can stop SLAMing your pool when you pass the OCLT (You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & You have .5ppm CC's or less) & your water is clear.

  9. #9

    Re: Intex sand filter

    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    I would inspect the filter internals very well while the sand is out. I'm betting that the sand you got was the correct grade and there's something wrong in the filter.
    Yeah, the Home Depot sand is way too coarse to use in the Intex filter (up to four times the Intex quoted max size). The trip wasn't wasted, though, as I also went looking for some PVC parts to fix the run drain trap on my external A/C package unit and came across an interesting PVC part that might allow direct connection of the Intex threaded strainer connectors to 1 1/2" PVC (using a 1 1/2" slip/female threaded coupler, this part along with a rubber washer and the Intex split nuts from the plunge valve). Once I figure out what I have (some sort of p-trap adapter which Home Depot, of course, has the wrong UPC code on), I'll post the information to the thread on this issue.

    Getting back to the filter, I don't know much about sand filters but looking at the construction the only way I see the sand could get into the outlet valve and into the pool is if it is getting through the bottom filter grid (i.e. by design, water filters down through the sand under pressure and gravity, leaves the sand and pools below the lower filter grid, and is then ejected back up the center tube through the valve and into the pool via the path of least resistance. Thus, the only way I could see the sand could be sprayed out back into the pool is if the lower filter grid is defective or not installed right, or the sand particle size is small enough that it is simply washing through the filter grid and getting below it).

    Guess I'll try to empty it tomorrow and inspect everything under the sand. Worst case, I'll clean it out, install the filter grid, spread a thin layer of sand over the grid, gently fill it up with with water and open the bottom drain plug to see how the sand might be getting below or through the grid.

    If that doesn't work, guess it'll be time to make that much dreaded call to Intex tech support's endless hold line.....

  10. #10
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    Re: Intex sand filter

    Im having the exact same problem, but mine seems to spit sand when initally starting up the filter..Just curious if the sand was Quickrete product that you used...also how far the tube did you fill to? I took mine to the max line and now wondering if I shoul take some sand out down to the min line? I also have backwashed a couple of times, but also wondering if It needs to be backwashed some more...not trying to hijack your thread but it seems like we have something in comon

  11. #11

    Re: Intex sand filter

    Quote Originally Posted by drg
    Im having the exact same problem, but mine seems to spit sand when initally starting up the filter..Just curious if the sand was Quickrete product that you used...also how far the tube did you fill to? I took mine to the max line and now wondering if I shoul take some sand out down to the min line? I also have backwashed a couple of times, but also wondering if It needs to be backwashed some more...not trying to hijack your thread but it seems like we have something in comon
    My issue is more that it starts spitting sand and will apparently never stop until it has dumped the entire 100lbs of sand in the filter into the pool, so you are ahead of me if yours just spits a little sand and then stops. As long as it is below the max line after it is wet down and leveled, the installation instructions say you should be okay. I filled mine about 3/4 of the way up between minimum and maximum on the tube. Of course, given that mine isn't working, you're probably asking for info from from the wrong guy here...

    As far as the sand goes, are you using this Quikrete pool sand (comes in a white bag)?

    http://www.quikrete.com/ProductLines/SandPoolFilter.asp

    If so, this is what Home Depot carries and definitely isn't the right sand to use with the Intex filter. The particle size range of this sand is between 0.85mm and 0.425mm, which is is way too big for the Intex filter (which requires #20 silica sand w/particle size 0.45mm minimum to 0.85mm maximum). The filter will operate with it, but I don't think that it will filter very well (if at all).

  12. #12
    Senior Member poolnew-b's Avatar
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    Re: Intex sand filter

    Just wondering. Is it possible that you dumped some of the sand into the center tube while filling it with sand ?

    Edit: Nevermind. I doubt you would have dumped 10lbs of sand in it without noticing. lol
    Intex Ultra frame 16x48
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  13. #13
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    Re: Intex sand filter

    so were you able to find any replacement sand yet of the right size

  14. #14
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Intex sand filter

    Intex doesn't use laterals as such they use a grid and if it gets damaged or the center pipe gets damaged or disconnected it will pass sand to the pool as long as the filter has sand in it.

    When filling the filter with sand you should fill it about a foot deep with water first. That stops the sand from impacting the grid hard enough to damage it.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 1.5hp Dynamo pump. 24" Pentair Sand Dollar Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit
    You can stop SLAMing your pool when you pass the OCLT (You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & You have .5ppm CC's or less) & your water is clear.

  15. #15
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    Re: Intex sand filter

    since the grid does not make a sealed surface around the edge of the tank will sand/particle be able to make its way pass the grid down into the bottom of the tank? Im thinking that this might be some of the problem

  16. #16

    Re: Intex sand filter

    Quote Originally Posted by drg
    so were you able to find any replacement sand yet of the right size
    Nope. The only thing I can find is at Home Depot and the particle size is way too big for this filter. I'm going to try to call the pool supply company again tomorrow if I can manage to get off work a few minutes early.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    Intex doesn't use laterals as such they use a grid and if it gets damaged or the center pipe gets damaged or disconnected it will pass sand to the pool as long as the filter has sand in it.

    When filling the filter with sand you should fill it about a foot deep with water first. That stops the sand from impacting the grid hard enough to damage it.
    I totally emptied the filter of sand and carefully examined everything. Everything looks good, grid is whole and undamaged - nothing appears broken or mis-aligned.

    Then I ran a test. I placed the grid in the filter body, filled it half way up with water, carefully put a few inches of sand on the grid, then opened the drain plug at the bottom of the filter. The water drained without appearing to carrying out sand particles -- sand stayed on the grid. Ok to this point.

    Cleaned it out again. Placed the grid solidly in the bottom of the tank, and filled the tank halfway up with water. With two people helping me, we placed a cup over the center pipe. One person kept the grid and center pipe absolutely locked in place while the other two scooped sand into the tank with pint plastic containers making absolutely sure the grid does not move at all. As you can imagine, it took a while to load 100 lbs of sand (in humid 98 degree sunlight to boot). Carefully placed the lid back on with the center pipes properly aligned, locked everything down, and followed the startup instructions. Opened valves to fill up the pump and tank. Turned off power, set to backwash - appears to work right, totally clear sediment jar. Turn off pump. Switch to rinse for one minute to level the sand - a little sand appears in the sediment jar, but not a lot. Turn off pump, switch to filter. Sand sprays continuously out into the pool.

    I'm totally at a loss here.

  17. #17
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Intex sand filter

    If it's not the internals it's got to be the multiport valve. Take the top off and see if everything looks fine.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 1.5hp Dynamo pump. 24" Pentair Sand Dollar Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit
    You can stop SLAMing your pool when you pass the OCLT (You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & You have .5ppm CC's or less) & your water is clear.

  18. #18
    Senior Member crookm11's Avatar
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    Re: Intex sand filter

    Quote Originally Posted by EJohnson
    Quote Originally Posted by drg
    so were you able to find any replacement sand yet of the right size
    Nope. The only thing I can find is at Home Depot and the particle size is way too big for this filter. I'm going to try to call the pool supply company again tomorrow if I can manage to get off work a few minutes early.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    Intex doesn't use laterals as such they use a grid and if it gets damaged or the center pipe gets damaged or disconnected it will pass sand to the pool as long as the filter has sand in it.

    When filling the filter with sand you should fill it about a foot deep with water first. That stops the sand from impacting the grid hard enough to damage it.
    I totally emptied the filter of sand and carefully examined everything. Everything looks good, grid is whole and undamaged - nothing appears broken or mis-aligned.

    Then I ran a test. I placed the grid in the filter body, filled it half way up with water, carefully put a few inches of sand on the grid, then opened the drain plug at the bottom of the filter. The water drained without appearing to carrying out sand particles -- sand stayed on the grid. Ok to this point.

    Cleaned it out again. Placed the grid solidly in the bottom of the tank, and filled the tank halfway up with water. With two people helping me, we placed a cup over the center pipe. One person kept the grid and center pipe absolutely locked in place while the other two scooped sand into the tank with pint plastic containers making absolutely sure the grid does not move at all. As you can imagine, it took a while to load 100 lbs of sand (in humid 98 degree sunlight to boot). Carefully placed the lid back on with the center pipes properly aligned, locked everything down, and followed the startup instructions. Opened valves to fill up the pump and tank. Turned off power, set to backwash - appears to work right, totally clear sediment jar. Turn off pump. Switch to rinse for one minute to level the sand - a little sand appears in the sediment jar, but not a lot. Turn off pump, switch to filter. Sand sprays continuously out into the pool.

    I'm totally at a loss here.
    Let me add a little to this conversation. As you know I have this filter on my pool from the pictures above. I had the same issue with sand blowing in to the pool and I used the recommended size sand that Intex suggested and the sand particles are TOO SMALL for the plate on the bottom of the filter to keep the sand from blowing in to the pool. The slots on the plate are too big and under pressure the sand just blows thru. I went to Home Depot and bought the Pool sand by Pave Stone (I think). The sand particles is bigger than what is recommended but will not flow thru the slots on the bottom plate in the filter. From my research is that the size of the sand effects the filtering properties of the sand. I don't think the filter really cares what size of sand is in it. I have no sand blowing in to the pool and the water is sparkling clear and clean.

    Mark Crook
    13,500 Gallon 24' x 52" Intex Ultra Frame
    Intex Sand Filter and Pump, Intex SWG (All hard PVC plumbed)
    TFTestKit-100---Pool School---The Pool Calculator
    Location: Copperas Cove, Texas --- My Pool Build---Useful Links for Intex Pool Owners

  19. #19
    Senior Member jsf0656's Avatar
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    Re: Intex sand filter

    ace hardware is where i got mine. they have the #20 silica sand.
    18x52'' intex AGP, 6981 gal, 2650 intex sand filter,
    thru wall skimmer, BBB method

  20. #20
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    Re: Intex sand filter

    Im thinking that this is the problem aslo, that the too small particles are getting past the grid , and are being forced into the water..just curious do know the sand spec. on the pavestone sand?

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