5 Common Pool Filter Problems and How to Fix Them

5 Common Pool Filter Problems and How to Fix Them

Written by Olivia, In How To, Published On
April 1, 2024

In Short:

  1. Low Water Flow:
    • Clean pump basket and filter, ensuring valves are fully open.
    • Backwash sand or DE filters and clean cartridge filters as needed.
  2. High Pressure on Filter Gauge:
    • Backwash sand and DE filters, and clean cartridge filters thoroughly.
    • Consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or seek professional assistance if pressure persists.
  3. Sand in the Pool:
    • Turn off the pump and inspect and replace broken parts in the sand filter, if necessary.
    • Follow procedures for adding new sand and reassembling.

A swimming pool is like a luxury that comes with its responsibilities, especially in maintenance. Checking that the pool filter runs efficiently is integral to the pool maintenance process. The pool filter is also considered the Pool’s circulation system—the heart. It extracts debris and other contaminants from the water surface, which is instrumental in cleaning and sanitation.

However, pool filters are not without problems. Many hiccups are likely to be experienced in their efficiency. Below are five common issues with remedial measures to fix them and make the Pool a clean oasis.

5 Common Pool Filter Problems and How to Fix Them

Pool Filter

1. Low Water Flow

Symptoms: Low water flow through the filter may imply a dirty or clogged filter, closed or partially closed valves, or a pool pump problem.

How to Fix:

  • Check the pump’s basket for debris and clean it if necessary; inspect the filter.
  • For a cartridge filter, remove and clean the cartridge.
  • Backwash is performed per the manufacturer’s procedure for sand or diatomaceous earth (DE) filters.
  • Ensure all the valves are fully opened to enable proper water flow.

2. High Pressure on the Filter Gauge

Symptoms: High pressure indicates the filter is dirty or blocked, causing the pool pump to work harder than necessary.

How to Fix:

  • Backwash sand and DE filters.
  • Clean cartridge filters thoroughly with a hose.
  • If the pressure doesn’t decrease after cleaning, refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines or consult a professional.

3. Sand in the Pool

Symptoms: Finding sand at the bottom of your Pool or around inlets indicates a problem with the sand filter, possibly a broken lateral or standpipe.

How to Fix:

  • Turn off the pump and open the filter to inspect the laterals.
  • Replace any broken parts with new ones, then reassemble and follow procedures for adding new sand, if necessary.

4. Cloudy Water Despite Filtration

Symptoms: Cloudy water could indicate that your filter isn’t working correctly or the pool chemistry is off.

How to Fix:

  • First, adjust the water’s chemistry as needed.
  • Ensure the filter is not clogged and operates for 8 to 12 hours daily during peak usage.
  • For cartridge filters, replace the cartridge if cleaning doesn’t improve water clarity. Sand and DE filters might need more frequent backwashing or a complete change of the filter medium.

5. Leaks Around the Filter

Symptoms: Leaks may be caused by loose connections, damaged o-rings, or cracks in the filter housing.

How to Fix:

  • Tighten any loose fittings.
  • Lubricate or replace damaged o-rings.
  • If the filter housing is cracked, consult a professional for repair or replacement.

Regular maintenance and prompt attention to minor malfunctions in your pool filter will prevent major, costly repairs down the line. Knowing these common filter problems and how to fix them ensures the Pool remains clean and sanitary throughout the swimming season. When in doubt, consulting with a professional pool maintenance provider can offer peace of mind and ensure the longevity of your Pool.


Maintaining a clean and functional pool filter is crucial for optimal hygiene and enjoyment. Addressing common issues promptly through regular maintenance and appropriate troubleshooting ensures a refreshing swimming experience throughout the season.


How often should I clean my pool filter?

It’s recommended to clean cartridge filters every 1-3 months and backwash sand or DE filters as needed, typically when pressure increases by 7-10 psi.

Can I use any filter cleaner for my Pool?

To avoid damaging the equipment, it’s best to use cleaners specifically designed for pool filters. Follow manufacturer instructions for best results.

Why is my pool filter leaking?

Leaks can be caused by loose fittings, damaged o-rings, or cracks in the filter housing. Tighten fittings, lubricate or replace o-rings, and consult a professional for housing issues.

How do I know if my pool filter needs to be replaced?

Signs include persistent low water flow, high pressure, or cloudy water despite proper maintenance. If cleaning and troubleshooting don’t improve performance, a replacement may be in order.

What’s the best time to backwash my pool filter?

Backwash when the pressure gauge indicates a rise of 7-10 psi above the clean pressure or as recommended by the manufacturer.

Can I repair a broken lateral in my sand filter myself?

With the proper tools and knowledge, broken parts in a sand filter can be replaced. However, if unsure, it’s advisable to consult a professional to avoid further damage.

How can I prevent future pool filter issues?

Regular maintenance, proper chemical balance, and attentive monitoring of water quality are key. Addressing minor issues promptly can prevent larger, costlier repairs in the future.

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