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Question DetailsAsked on 9/7/2016

After a storm, how do I get the sand and debris out of the inground pool?

I have a multi-port sand filter but I know that I can't just vacuum the pool through the filter. How do I use the waste option to get the debris out of the pool?

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1 Answer


Here is a previous similar question with response which might help -

The sand filter, at least on modern units, is almost always on the output or pressure side of the pump - so if you hooked your vacuum to that it would put water into the pool through the suction hose, not pull it up. Also, you would not want pool debris in the sand filter anyway if you can avoid it.

How you hook up depends on the unit layout - some have an in-line trash and toy basket between the vacuum unit and the pump, some have a bypass port on the output side of the pump or sand filter which you plug the vacuum into so it uses an eduction siphon leading straight to the drain rather than running the water from the pool vac through the pump.

In the latter case the liquid is bypassing the pump so it is OK for sand to go through it - it goes to the same drain as the backflushing from the sand filter does, though putting a lot of sand through it is not a good idea because it could plug up the drain or sewer line. On setups where the vacuum is hooked into the inlet or suction side of the pump (which gives stronger suction so the normal mode), putting sand through it can erode the pump fairly rapidly and can also contaminate the sand filter. BTW - the sand filter is NOT a filter designed to remove sand from the pool - it is a filter with sand in it that is used to filter out small debris before the circulating water goes back to the pool. Some vacuums have a sand and grit filter insert or bag for the debris/toy basket, some run the water through a settling tank (commonly in the floating pool vac pod if you have one) which catches gravel and most of the sand before it can get to the pump, some have an optional snap-in sand trap which normally goes between the vacuum unit and the port the vacuum hose plugs into along the pool edge. Basically a secondary trap or filter to catch finer debris before it gets to the pump.

If you can't figure out which you have, and don't have a system manual for your pool, you may have to get a Pool and Spa (your Search the List category) vendor to come out and explain your setup to you and show where you should connect in.

BTW - if the storm dumped of lot of junk in the pool, obviously it will be tedious to use the pool vac to get it all - try using the pool brush/debris rake and net to remove as much as you can first, sweep the finer sand and dirt into pile(s) on the bottom of the pool and try to remove as much of that as possible (if someone in the family is able to surface dive to the bottom and do a few seconds work at a time) with trowel and bucket, handbrush and dustpan and bucket, slurper, etc before using the pool vac to get the last of it.

For a really trashed pool - like if a stream or ocean overflowed into it and dumped a LOT of vegetative debris or rocks and gravel and sand and such - rake with an extended pool brush or snow rake to get the bulk of it into piles on the bottom in the deep end or ideally to the shallow end where you can manually shovel as much as possible into buckets for disposal, then rent a 2" gasoline trash pump with long suction and discharge hoses for about $50-70/day to suck up and pump out the remainder of the debris to the point where there is only a light amount for the pool vac to do final cleanup on.

When doing this, if your pool is not designed to be dewatered (many in-ground pools cannot be totally dewatered without dewatering the surrounding groundwater or they will crush inwards or float out of the ground) be sure to be adding water as needed to keep the pool near full - meaning you may need to stop pumping out for extended periods while the pool refills.

In very severe cases - like where a stream completely changed course and basically filled the pool with gravel and sand, unless you are a gllutten for punishment (and bearing in mind the possible need to not pump the pool down too much) you may need to contact a Vacuum Truck company to come slurp it out with a large vacuum truck - the kind water and sewer companies use to dewater excavations whilethey work on broken lines. Basically similar to a septic pumping truck but can generally handle solids to 2-3 inches including gravel and small cobbles and such, and empties by dumping out the back rather than pumping out so it can handle typically about 10 tons of sand and gravel and mud and such. Not an Angies List category - google for Vacuum Truck companies in your area, then cross-check names that come up on AL to see if they have any listing in other subject areas (might be listed under Sewer and Drain cleaning, for instance).

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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