How to Make Your Own Above-Ground Pool Filter


Several types of pool filters exist. The most common are cartridge or sand filter types. The easiest to construct yourself is the sand filter, which utilizes know-how that has been employed for many centuries. Essentially, the incoming water is run through a tank filled with sand. As larger particles are trapped, it becomes increasingly difficult for smaller particles to pass through and eventually only the tiniest of debris particles will be filtered through into your pool. Some basic mechanical knowledge and the right tools are all that's required to construct your own sand filter.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic container with sealable lid, 10 gallons or larger
  • Pool sand
  • Tightly woven mesh or nylon stockings
  • Drill
  • Drill bit of same size as existing water supply line
  • Water-proof caulk
  • Plumber's tape or stainless steel clamps
  • Set the container next to the pool's pump. Place it at a location that is convenient for you to work on and out of the way of pedestrian traffic.

  • Drill two holes in the container. One should be about ½ inch up from the bottom of the tank, and the other should be in the center of the lid.

  • Apply mesh or nylon to hose ends with plumber's tape or stainless steel clamps. Put pool hoses into drilled holes. Make sure there is enough slack in the lines to be able to lift off the lid and adjust the filter slightly if necessary.

  • Apply water-proof caulk around the hoses and holes to create a tight, leak-proof seal. Silicone caulk works well for this.

  • Fill the container three-fourths of the way with pool sand. Pool sand is of proper coarseness for filtration, and other types should not be used.

  • Test your filter. Run the pool's pump to make sure that there are no leaks. Use caulk as necessary to repair.

  • Check your sand periodically. When it is a green to black color, it is time to replace it.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you use a plastic garbage can, you can visualize when the sand is dirty enough to need a cleaning. One other way to tell is reduced water flow to the pump. If you see this, the water is getting trapped in dirty sand.
  • If you have a small pump that doesn't like doing the extra work of putting water through your new filter, you can make things better by placing your filter on a stand that puts it where the least amount of work needs to be done to move water. This will depend on where your inflow and outflow tubes enter and leave the pool.
  • If your sand gets too dirty it can virtually stop water flow. If this happens, it puts a strain on your pump, so keep an eye on this.

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