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How Much Sand Do You Need for an Intex Pool Filter?

Intex pool filters use cartridges or sand to remove fine debris. Using too much sand will cause it to leach into the water, whereas not enough sand won’t get the job done.

Pool sand is often sold in 50-pound bags, so you should know how many you have to buy before installing the sand filter.

You need 25 to 100 pounds of sand for an Intex pool filter, depending on the tank’s size. A 10-inch diameter requires 25 pounds of sand, whereas a 16-inch diameter calls for 100 pounds of sand. Cover the center pipe when pouring the sand, then fill the rest of the tank with water after the sand.

Throughout this article, I’ll show you how much sand your Intex filter needs, what kind of sand you should use, and whether or not chlorine is necessary.

I’ll also talk about what happens if you put the wrong amount of sand into the filter. Let’s get started!

How Much Sand Does My Intex Sand Filter Take?

Here’s a quick breakdown of how much sand your filter needs:

Filter DiameterPounds of #20 Silica SandSand Bags Required
10 inches26 pounds0.5 bags
12 inches50 pounds1 bag
16 inches100 pounds2 bags
19 inches150 pounds3 bags

Intex pools last longer when you use the proper type of filtration. Head to the next section to learn how to find the best sand for your Intex sand filter.

What Kind of Sand Do I Use in My Intex Sand Filter?

You should use #20 silica sand in your Intex sand filter. It’s designed for swimming pool filtration, so you don’t have to worry about abrasive sand, loose particles, or lack of proper filtration.

The sand should be poured directly into the filter when the pump is off. Using the wrong type of sand can ruin your pool equipment.

I suggest using FairmountSantrol 20-Grade Silica Sand. These 50-pound bags come at a budget-friendly price and include chemical-free filtration.

The sand can remove oils, dirt, and most debris that enters the pool. You can also store this sand for as long as you need to without it expiring, so it’s perfect for sand filters of all sizes.

Another option is ZeoSand. ZeoSand, also known as Zeolite sand, is a modernized version of silica sand. It filters almost twice as much as #20 silica sand.

The major drawback — and the reason I prefer silica sand — is that Zeolite sand sometimes restricts the water flow since it filters so efficiently. You’ll have to backwash and clean the sand filter twice as often.

Pro-tip: Some filters can’t use Zeolite sand due to its fine filtration. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines to know if your Intex filter can use Zeolite sand. (Twenty-grade silica sand is always a safe bet for any swimming pool filter.)

Do I Still Need Chlorine for My Intex Sand Filter?

You still need chlorine for an Intex sand filter because chlorine is a sanitizer. The #20 silica sand is added for filtration, but it doesn’t kill bacteria, algae, and other contaminants.

Failure to use a proper filtration system with a sanitizer will result in a cloudy, dirty pool. You can use tablets, liquid chlorine, or low-concentration chlorine powder.

So, why can’t you use an Intex sand filter without chlorine?

  • An Intex pool filter can remove fine particles down to 20 microns. However, it doesn’t remove the bacteria from the pool. These filters are great at removing dirt, hair, and everything in between, but they can’t sanitize the water.
  • Sand filtration is technically the least efficient of the three major filtration methods. Diatomaceous earth, also known as DE, can filter almost twice as efficiently as a sand filter (especially a quad-DE filter). Cartridge filters can filter between 5 to 10 microns finer than sand filters. In other words, the sand needs additional sanitizing from chemicals.
  • Your sand filter will get clogged significantly quicker if you don’t use chlorine. The pump cycles the algae into the sand, which needs to be backwashed once every week or two rather than the regular once-per-two-month schedule for most Intex filters. Chlorine kills the algae; Without it, your sand filter is the only thing cleaning the pool.

As you can see, chlorine is more than necessary for every swimming pool. Even salt systems use chlorine because they convert the salt into useable chlorine.

Keep in mind that too much filtration can be worse than not enough sand. If you want to know what happens if you overload the filter with too much sand, read on.

Can You Put Too Much Sand in a Pool Filter?

You can put too much sand in a pool filter if it exceeds the maximum capacity. The sand should never go above the opened center pipe inside of the filter.

Failure to follow these guidelines will send sand particles into the pool, causing excessive cloudiness. The sand can damage the pool liner if it’s not removed.

Keep these tips in mind when filling an Intex sand filter:

  • Never pour the sand over the center pipe, or it’ll get into the plumbing.
  • The sand shouldn’t go too far beyond the middle of the tank.
  • Don’t forget to add a little bit of water before the sand to prevent it from getting too dry.
  • Fill the rest of the tank with water after adding the sand to soak the filtration system.
  • Always prime the pump after filling the filter with sand to replace lost water.
  • It’s normal for a little bit of sand to get into the water after filling the filter, but it should stop after a couple of minutes.
  • Vacuum excess sand from the bottom of the pool to return it to the filter.