changing filter sand BEFORE opening... legit??


New member
May 13, 2017
Center Point, IA
hello all -- long time lurker, learned a lot from this site since we inherited a pool w/ our new house a few years back. i test-drove TFPC mid-way through last summer and have no plans to turn back -- happy to ditch almost all of the chemicals the pool store shoved at me!! :D

getting ready to open, but need to replace the multiport valve (broken plastic bits under the handle, and faded labels) and i would also like to change the sand while i'm at it -- two birds, one stone. and i figure the sand will be easier to shopvac out now while it's dry.
(FYI, i want to change out the sand b/c it's probably 10+ yrs old, previous owner had mega issues w/ algae, and we always get some silty stuff on the pool floor in a few spots... i figure new sand might be beneficial.)

but, because i'll have to backwash after replacing the sand, i'm not sure if i can do that first before allowing the water to circulate. i can't find any info on opening the season w/ a backwash first.

so, can i open my pool in this order??
- replace sand
- install new multiport valve
- (fill pool)
- backwash/rinse (for new sand)
- (refill pool)
- vacuum to waste (to clean from winter)
- (refill pool)
- set to filter, shock, etc.

thanks in advance,


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
Sebring, Florida
Welcome to the forum:wave:

Rethink changing the sand. No one here at TFP believes it to be a necessary practice.

Certainly inspect it, deep clean it, and add to it if you need more, but there is no reason to change it.

I would add that algae has nothing to do with your filter.......that's water chemistry.


New member
May 13, 2017
Center Point, IA
thanks, Dave!!

good to know about the sand. i've read it's not necessary, but thought it might help since the sand in there is likely original to the pool.

that makes my question null, and opening everything easier. i'll look into a deep clean, and check to see if any needs to be added.

at least i'll get my $$ back on these bags of sand!!

thanks again,


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jun 12, 2009
NW Ohio
How old is the pool? Sand in a sand filter only lasts about 100,000 years or so. If you are nearing that limit then it might not be a bad idea, but if not then a deep clean and inspection should more than suffice.



Well-known member
Jul 31, 2015
Pittsburgh, PA
I had to change my sand. We moved the pool pad and the filter was too heavy to lift with the sand in.

A shop vac sounds like an awesome idea until you try to do it. The sand isn't really dry in there, there is moisture, so it's damp sand. You'll be banging the clogged lines every two minutes to get the vac to pull anything.

I ended up taking off the top and using one of my kid's sand box scoops. I was out there for hours scooping little shovel by little shovel. It was tedious and slow, I don't ever wish to repeat it.

As others said sand is fine. The sand I pulled out that was 30 years old looked the EXACT same as the new sand I was putting in.

I wouldn't waste your time.