How to vacuum your pool and backwash the filter

Getting your first pool, and learning how to clean it yourself, can be quite confusing at first. Learning how to vacuum properly and efficiently is probably the most important thing to learn. So a question many people first have when getting a pool is should I vacuum a pool on backwash or waste or filter?

You can vacuum a pool on backwash, in theory at least, but it would be similar to vacuuming to waste. The water would be pumped backwards through the filter before passing out through the backwash hose. But some dirt would be trapped in the filter and would then end up back in the pool once the pump was back on the filter setting.

I will try and explain why it would not be worthwhile to vacuum on backwash fully so that you can understand better.

Why shouldn’t you vacuum on backwash?

The reason for this is that when the multiport valve is in the backwash setting the water flows from the pump into the bottom of the sand filter, rather than into the top as it does normally.

When you run the filter on backwash, the water passes through the sand or filter medium from the bottom, picking up trapped debris as it goes, and then expels the water containing the debris out of the waste pipe into the yard, down the drain or wherever your pool expels water to.

If you were to vacuum a pool on backwash then all of the dirt you pick up from the pool would get pushed through the layers of the sand before being expelled out of the system.

Some debris would inevitably get trapped in the bottom of the filter. Then, when you had finished vacuuming and you put the multiport valve back to filter, much of that dirt that had become trapped in the bottom of the sand filter would be pumped back into the pool. This would rather defeat the object of vacuuming the pool in the first place.

So in effect, vacuuming on backwash would have a similar effect to vacuuming on the waste setting of the multiport valve as the water containing the dirt and debris would be expelled from the pool system without going back into the pool. But it would add a pointless step with the water having to pass through the filter medium before being expelled from the system.

See my post Where does backwash water go for more information.

How to vacuum your pool and backwash the filter

What setting should my pool pump be on to vacuum?

There are only two settings on the multiport valve to use to vacuum a pool and which one you would use largely depends on how dirty the pool is.

Vacuum a pool on filter setting

This is the setting you will use most frequently. You would vacuum on this setting for your routine cleaning when the pool is not very dirty. When you use this setting the dirt is trapped in the sand, or whatever filter medium you have, and clean water returns to the pool via the return jets.

You would often then backwash the filter for a few minutes to clean out this dirt before returning to the filter setting.

Vacuum a pool on waste setting

You would generally only use this setting if the pool is very dirty, perhaps when you do the first clean of the year after the winter or if you had a period of very bad weather when lots of debris ended up in the pool. When to vacuum a pool to waste.

See my full guide How to vacuum a pool to waste to learn how to actually do it.

Can you backwash a pool while vacuuming?

I sometimes have to stop while I am vacuuming my pool on the filter setting (so the water is passing through the sand filter) because the suction begins to reduce. This is due to the sand in the filter becoming clogged which reduces the amount of water that can pass through the sand increasing the back pressure.

You can often tell if this is the problem as the reading on the pressure gauge is likely to be higher than normal because of it.

To restore the suction I switch off the pump and then move the multiport valve to the backwash setting. I then run the pump again for a few minutes to remove the dirt that is blocking the sand and then resume vacuuming once I have put the multiport valve back to the filter setting.

I leave the vacuum hose connected to the skimmer port while I do this so no air gets into the system and I can resume vacuuming straight away after the backwash. Read my full step by step backwash guide for further details.

Pool Maintenance Course

When I first bought my house with a swimming pool I knew nothing about how to clean and maintain it. I was recommended Swim University’s Pool Care Handbook and video course so I bought it and have never regretted it.

It was probably the best money I spent that year as I have saved thousands by doing it myself.

How to vacuum your pool and backwash the filter

My top 3 pool cleaning tools

These are the pool cleaning tools I have found the most useful since I have had my pool.

Step and corner vacuum brush

This is a really useful tool for getting into the areas that a standard vacuum head simply cannot reach. Aquatix Pro Pool Step & Corner Vacuum Brush

Leaf rake net

If, like me, you get plenty of leaves at the bottom of your pool then a good leaf rake/net is a must. The Stargoods Pool Skimmer Net gets under the leaves easily.

Robotic pool cleaner

These are quite expensive and it was a number of years before I bit the bullet and bought one. I have never regretted it. The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus is the most recommended pool cleaning robot on all of the pool forums. It not only cleans the bottom of the pool but also the sides and the waterline.

Further Articles

You may find the following articles useful, particularly if you are a new pool owner. I have tried to answer most of the questions that I had when I first bought my house which came with an in-ground pool with a sand filter system.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, we may earn a small commission for qualifying purchases.

How to vacuum your pool and backwash the filter

When you are performing “Vacuum to Waste” in your swimming pool, the debris you scoop out of the pool is pumped directly out of the pool, and the water is pumped out via the backwash line instead of the pool filter. Although this method removes a lot of water from the pool in a short period of time, ensure the pool is totally full before you proceed with your vacuum to waste activities. When you want to vacuum to waste with a cartridge filter, follow this step:

  • Switch off the pump Locate the back of your filter and unscrew the drain plug
  • Switch on your pool pump and let the water run until it gets to your desire level that you want to vacuum the water out of the pool
  • Shut off the pump and screw the plug back into the drain plug
  • When the vacuuming is complete, remove the vacuum from the pool and dismantle the hoses.

Pool Vacuum Valve

The pool vacuum valve is an essential component of the swimming pool that determines the direction of flow. Pool vacuum valves can be operated manually, electronically, or electromagnetically. Valves feature various switches for controlling the flow and switching pressure as required by the process being run.

Pool Waste Line

The pool waste line provides easy and the best pool vacuuming methods for every pool owner. A pool filter with a multiport valve will definitely have a 1 ½ built-in waste line feature as one of the valve modes. But a cartridge filter is likely not to have this notable feature which means you’ll spend much time vacuuming your pool with a garden hose.

How do I Vacuum my Pool to Waste

Vacuuming to waste is an essential aspect of pool maintenance that removes debris from the pool dirt that can clog up the filter sooner than later, which requires the pool owner to clean the filter. While vacuuming the pool, the water does not go into the filter basin but is pulled out of the waste port and pumped out through the pipe or backwash hose. Follow the below simple step to vacuum your pool to waste:

  • Ensure your pool is filled with water before you commence and run the pipe while vacuuming
  • Switch off the pump and align the multiport faucet to the drain to adjust
  • Clean as swift and rapid as possible so that the water level can reduce swiftly
  • Halt vacuuming when you notice that the skimmer is sucking air and give your pool chance to restore water
  • Prevent oversaturation by frequently moving the backwash hose
  • Vacuum the pool until all or a large portion of the debris is no longer present in your pool water. On the off chance that the pool isn’t clear after you do this, start the process all over again.

Filter to waste

Filter to waste simply means the filtration volume created following the discharge of a filter or following the underlying development, reconstruction, or upkeep of a filter. Filter to waste is an arrangement in a filtration cycle to permit the initially separated water to be disposed of or recovered in the wake of backwashing a filter.

For routine vacuuming, the filter valve is left in the normal “Filter” position. This directs dirty vacuum water through the pool filter to remove the contaminants, then conveys filtered water through return lines back to the pool. The “Filter” setting is used for light to moderate levels of pool sediment.

  1. Sink the hose and plug it into skimmer.
  2. Connect the vacuum head to the pole and then connect the swivel cuff on your vacuum hose to the vacuum head.
  3. Drop the vacuum head into the pool and “sink” the hose.
  4. Push the other end of the vacuum hose into the suction port at the bottom of the skimmer nearest to the pump.

Similarly, it is asked, do you vacuum a pool on backwash or waste?

To begin vacuuming your pool: If you do have this option, it is highly recommended that whenever you have algae, you will need to vacuum to waste. This option allows you to vacuum the algae up and send it out through the backwash line, avoiding getting algae into your filter sand.

Can I vacuum my pool on backwash?

Vacuuming pool with filter valve in “backwash” position. The pool will clean up nicely like this until the valve is turned back to the normal “filter” position. That’s when all of the dirt and debris (that was just vacuumed out of the pool) blows back into the pool through the returns.

How to vacuum your pool and backwash the filter

Pool season is here and one of the most common mistakes we hear involve pool maintenance. Neglecting pool maintenance can mean time and money spent trying to make the pool usable again. Many people hire a professional pool care service, like Smith Pool, to take care of their ongoing pool care needs. However, you can handle the process yourself. Here are some quick tips on how to properly vacuum your pool.

  1. Backwash your filter and clean your pump basket.
  2. Connect the vacuum head to the telepole. Connect one end of the long white vacuum hose to the vacuum head. Place this in the pool opposite the skimmer.
  3. With the filter running, take the other end of the vacuum hose and hold it over the eyeball to fill the entire vacuum hose with water. You will notice the air bubbles coming out of the other end of the hose.
  4. Once all the air is out of the hose, turn your pump off.
  5. Place the vacuum plate (the round flat piece with a nozzle on top) inside the skimmer on top of the skimmer basket. Bring the end of the vacuum hose through the front of the skimmer and put the hose on the nozzle on the vacuum plate in the skimmer.
  6. Turn the pump on and the suction will start. If you do not have suction after a minute or so, go back through the steps making sure that all of the air is out of the vacuum hose.
  7. As you vacuum, your filter will become dirty, and you will begin to lose suction. To regain suction you may need to backwash your filter and clean your pump basket. Do not vacuum while the filter is in the backwash position. Normally, you will vacuum in the filter position.
  8. If you pool is really dirty or algae is growing, vacuum to waste. This will expel the debris out to the yard instead of going into your filter. Then refill pool as needed.

If you’d prefer to let the professionals handle it for you, contact Smith Pools today!

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is made of pulverized plankton fossils (called diatoms) that coat the filter element and acts as a filtration medium. This powder works with a specific type of filter that pushes the pool water through a set of grids. The grids get caked with the powder that collects impurities to keep the water in your inground pool or above-ground pool crystal clear and to help maintain your filter’s pressure.

Are you noticing cloudy or dirty pool water? Or are you seeing a pressure gauge reading 10 psi higher than normal? These are strong indicators that it’s time to “recharge” those grids by backwashing your DE filter to strip off the current power and replacing it with a new coat.

Backwashing a DE pool filter is the act of reversing the flow of water inside your filter tank. By changing the direction of the water, you can knock off the caked-on DE powder that has accumulated impurities from your pool water and flush it out. This will restore your filter to its highest efficiency to circulate your pool water and keep it healthy.

Did You Know?

During backwash, you can expect to replace about 4-6 pounds of DE powder. Make sure you have enough powder on hand before you start the process. If you don’t add enough new powder, the grids won’t be completely coated, and the dirt in your filter will attach itself right to the fabric on the grids and won’t backwash off. You’ll know when you’ve added enough new powder by checking the reading on the air pressure gauge. When the gauge hits its “normal” operational levels, stop adding powder.

How to vacuum your pool and backwash the filter

When to Backwash a DE Pool Filter

You should backwash your DE pool filter about once a month during pool season. In addition to the regular schedule, you’ll want to perform additional backwashing if:

  • You’ve been running your pool filter for 48 hours straight. This can cause a pressure build-up, even if the filter grids look clean.
  • Higher-than-normal amounts of debris have entered your pool water. A heavy summer storm that washes sediment into your pool or a large potted plant that tips over into the pool can overtax the DE system.
  • Your pool has had a heavy swimmer load for an extended period of time. If you’ve had houseguests for several days or your kids had friends over every day of the week, you’ll need to clear out the remnants from all the extra sunscreen, beauty products, and even sweat that will clog up your DE filter.

Pro tip: At least once during each pool season – and anytime your filter pressure remains high after backwashing – take the grids out of your DE filter and clean them more thoroughly.

How to Backwash a DE Pool Filter

Following a handful of easy steps for a standard three-cycle backwash is usually effective in keeping your DE filter clean:

Step 1: Turn off pool equipment.

Shut off the pump at the main power switch or, even better, at the circuit breaker box. Don’t change modes of operation on the valve with the pump on, or you can damage the spider gasket in the valve.

Step 2: Rotate the valve to the “Backwash” position.

For slide valves, turn backwash handle and pull the valve piston straight up to the backwash position. Lock it into position so it doesn’t slide up during operation. For multiport valves, push the handle down and rotate valve to the backwash position. Be sure the handle is pressed down all the way as you rotate it.

Step 3: Turn equipment back on and run the first cycle.

Turn the pump “in reverse” and run it for 1-3 minutes to strip the old DE powder and impurities off the filter grids. If you have a sight glass, you will see the water change from cloudy to clear as it flushes out.

Step 4: Turn the equipment off again.

Step 5: Rotate the valve to the “Rinse” position.

Step 6: Turn equipment back on and run the second cycle.

Switch the pump back on for about 30 seconds to rinse the grids from the “normal” filter side. The water will flow in the same as in “Filter” mode, except the water and any remaining impurities are purged out the waste line.

Step 7: Repeat steps 1-6 two more times.

Decrease the amount of backwash time to 30 seconds, then to 15 seconds. Repeating the cleaning cycle helps clear the really stubborn DE powder.

Step 8: Turn the equipment off again.

Step 9: Rotate the valve to the “Filter” position.

Step 10: Turn equipment back on and add new DE powder.

Add DE powder to the filter to replace the amount that was backwashed out. Uncover the skimmer closest to the pump and filter, and slowly pour the needed amount into the skimmer while the system is running. The powder will travel through the plumbing and effectively recharge the filter.

How to vacuum your pool and backwash the filter

The question “how often should you backwash your pool” is often on every pool owner’s mind. You have to do a backwash if you want to clean your pool and ensure your filtration runs efficiently. This article will teach you what backwashing is, how to do it, and how often to do it.

Proper maintenance on a pool is key to ensuring the pool will last and you are able to avoid remodeling your pool. You will want to clear cloudy pool water before and after the process of backwashing your pool.

What Is Backwashing?

How to vacuum your pool and backwash the filter

How Often To Backwash Pool

Backwashing is a filter cleaning process through your filter system that reverses the flow of water. Pool filters allow the removal of organic material by directing the water into a porous medium such as sand. But, even as they take clean water back to the pool, there’ll be a build-up of much larger particles in the filter over time.

The build-up of unwanted particles often results in increased pressure to the filter reducing its efficiency – it can lead to damage. Backwashing a pool dislodges any contaminant and debris and pushes them out into a hose via the pool pump or the waste line. If you’d like to drain an above-ground-pool, talk to an expert on how to do it.

How Often You Should Backwash A Pool

One of the most frequently asked questions regarding pool maintenance is, “how often should you backwash a pool.” Figuring out when to backwash pool and how often to do it depends on the type of filtration system you use and how often you use your pool. Additionally, you will need to rely on a backwash pool expert more often if trees and shrubs surround your pool.

The next question most pool owners will ask is, “how long do you backwash a pool for.” The amount of time it takes to backwash your pool will depend on the amount of debris or dirt in the filter system.

Your maintenance schedule will guide you on how often to backwash a pool, but ideally, you should do it once each week. If you’re wondering how often to backwash pool filters, you should look out for the industry standard.

Typically, you should backwash a pool if the pressure gauge on your filter is at 8-10PSI at the starting level. So, to answer the question of how often should you backwash your pool, check your PSI. If the filter runs well at 16PSI and then goes up to 25PSI, your pool needs a backwash.

“How often should I backwash my sand filter”? Ensure you do it if there’s an algae outbreak or after a significant storm. A DE( diatomaceous earth)filter system needs cleaning six or more times each year. If you have a sand filter, backwash it every month and tear it down twice every year.

When Not To Backwash

As much as backwashing is vital to emptying clogged filters, there are times when it isn’t necessary.

For instance, live algae can pass easily through your filter system and get back into your pool. If you have an algae problem, don’t backwash; instead, vacuum directly to waste. When your pool has a lot of dirt and debris, don’t pour baking powder into it. Ensure to vacuum to the water straight down the drain.

How To Backwash A Pool Filter

The question “how often should you backwash your pool” is best answered by an expert. Ideally, it would be best to leave backwashing to a professional since they have experience handling the task. Also, they can advise you on whether or not to install a waterfall to your pool.

However, if you have to do it yourself, here’s how to do it:

  1. First, ensure the filtration system and the pump is shut.
  2. Next, you have to clamp the hose used for backwash to your outlet.
  3. Confirm that the handle locks are in place and set the filter to “Backwash.”
  4. Wait until the water is clear.
  5. Stop the backwashing by turning off the pump.
  6. Again ensure the filter handle locks are in place and set the valve to “rinse.”
  7. Allow the water to clear for a minute.
  8. Turn the pump off.
  9. Shut the skimmer valve to ensure water can’t get into the filter from the pool.
  10. Wash the hair catcher and the skimmer basket, then put them back in place.
  11. Set the skimmer values and then turn the filter valve to “filter.” Lock the handles then turn the pump on.

Follow the steps below if you want to backwash a DE filter.

How to vacuum your pool and backwash the filter

  1. Switch off the filtration system and pump.
  2. Set the filter to “backwash” and keep the handle locks in place. Switch on the pump.
  3. Ensure the water turns clear on the filter view glass.
  4. Change to rinse and then backwash a few times. This removes the DE. Ensure the pump is off while alternating values
  5. Discard the DE into the trash.
  6. With the pump off, pull the filter apart, or disassemble it.
  7. Drain the filter after opening the release valve.

Essential Backwashing Tips

-Always turn the pump off when you reset the filter valve or when you run a backwash. If left on, it is likely to cause permanent damage to your system, which is costly to replace.

-Reduce water loss by keeping a lookout on the color of the water. Stop it immediately after it clears.

-Top up the sand in your filter after a backwash since the process will wash out a lot of it. Run the rinse setting while you top up the sand to ensure it doesn’t go back to the pool.

-Lubricate the backwash valve often.

-As you reassemble the filter system, ensure that you take note of all the parts. If you forget some, the filter may leak.

Accumulating dirt and debris at the bottom of your pool, you need not only a pump but also a vacuum to clean it. Without a vacuum, you can not think how to clean at the bottom of the pool. Your pool is always threatened by dirt, debris, and algae in the bottom and upper side of the pool.

It is your routine work to clean and maintenance to run the pool pump. But this is not enough to keep you satisfied. You need more because you want a perfect pool to swim in. We know that skimmer is only suitable for removing leaves, dirt, and debris. And those things are floating on the surface label of the water. What about those things, are you staying at the bottom of the pool? It is a first-class idea to use a vacuum your pool with filter.

How to vacuum your pool and backwash the filter

Most of the debris floats on a pool for 3-4 hours, but after these sinks into the water with sand. A vacuum is a standard gadget to relieve you. It is an product to work underwater. On the other side, you can not remove by using skimmers and do not work to the bottom and the sides of the pool. A vacuum is a complete solution to solve this problem if you want. A pool vacuum works with two valve settings in the sand filter depended on the level of the water part. It is better to vacuum your pool at least once a week.

How to Vacuum Pool with Sand Filter

You have to use a sand filter to vacuum the surface label of your pool. So follow these processes and tips on how to vacuum with sand filter.

Remove large debris and leave: Use a scoop net to remove large leave and debris that might block the vacuum hose pipe and head.

Attach the telescopic pole: Attach the telescopic pole and hose pipe with vacuum head before you vacuum the pool.

Fill the Hose Pipe with water: Before submerging the hose pipe, allow it to flood with water. It removes an air block trapped into the hose pipe.

Vacuum the Pool: After that, you should move the vacuum head slowly and consciously through the bottom and side of the pool. Finishing vacuum the pool disconnect the hose pipe from the skimmer.

Turn off the Pump: Then you will turn off the pump.

Backwash: turn the filter valve to the Backwash position, when the sand filter block with debris, dirt, leaves, and algae, then the Backwash reverses all of these things via the ground or drain.

Rinse position: Turn the filter valve to the Rinse position. You will turn on the pump and run the rinse process for 1 or 2 minutes.

These processes are not easy. It will take a little bit of time, but you have to do all of these things properly.

The Vacuum Process

A pool vacuum operates the vacuum head near to the vacuum skimmer line. Then the vacuum constructs by the circulation pump to the skimmer line and towards the pump at negative pressure. After that, it pumps at positive pressure by using a sand filter and delivers it to the pool throughout the return line.

Force down the hose into the skimmer draft after the vacuum hose filled with water.

When the vacuum head is rotated to the bottom and side of the pool, it will suck all the dirt and other debris. After that, you should observe there any dirt or debris, then deliver the sand filter into the water.

If you want to use a sand filter with your vacuum filtration process, you will need a proper setting. Usually, these types of filter systems have multiple setting such as rinse, recirculation, backwash, waste, and filter, or closed.

Filter setting is the most common that you will handle with minimum debris were no visible algae. Choose the waste setting when your pool is dirtier than average. Running it properly, you should follow manufacturers’ instructions for clean and backwashing. It varies important to understand which setting is more suitable for cleaning with a lot of algae or debris and removes the sand from the pool.

Tools you need for vacuum manually

When you vacuum your pool manually, you need something I recommend bellow.

Pool vacuum head: First, you need a vacuum head. It should be weighted so that it can stay on the bottom of the pool without floating. It will make you easy to end the cleaning surface of the pool.

Telescoping pole: This kind of tool makes you sure that you can reach the bottom of the deepest area where you need to clean. Sometimes, it extends your reach 7.5 to 20 feet with a 3-stage telescoping extension pole. This pole connects to the pool skimmers with nets and hooks also.

Vacuum hose: You will need a vacuum hose; it makes you sure that you can reach every area of the pool where a vacuum can clean.

How to Vacuum Your Pool Manually

Though you have all of these types of equipment, you do not know how to deal with it. So follow us, it will save you time and energy.

Prime your vacuum: Firstly, you need to remove all the air from the vacuum system that is more important to your vacuum. The air pocket can lose your unit suction, so remove it from the vacuum to keep it longer. To do this, snap the vacuum head over the telescoping pole and let it go down to the bottom of the pool. Then you will see air bubbles floating from the vacuum head.

Connect to the pump: Your vacuum system works by connecting to a schemer inlet driven by the suction of the pool conduction pump. You will get to remove the strainer basket before you attach the open end of the hose to the inlet.

Vacuum your pool: New; you should turn on and move the vacuum head on the surface of the pool until it’s clean. It will provide suction for the vacuum hose, which allows you to vacuum the bottom of your pool with a vacuum head.

If you want, you can attach a skimmer vacuum plate, which designed to go on the end of the hose and cover the pool. It makes you a secure connection.

Final Words

It varies crucial that a good filtration system is needed for you to clean your pool. You can choose a better tool to do it, and it will be fantastic to keep your pool sparkling, clean, and clear. You will need to use any cleaning method at least once a week. So you can choose an automatic pool cleaner, which is a worthy investment to save your time and energy.

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How to vacuum your pool and backwash the filter

How To Vacuum Your Pool With A Sand Filter

• First turn off your heater if it is on. You don’t want it cycling.

• Shut off pump and clean out your pump basket and skimmer baskets.

• Put your pump basket back in correctly.

• Backwash your filter. To do this you must turn the handle on top of the filter until the notch is on backwash. Then turn on the pump for 2 minutes or when your site glass is clear. Next shut off your pump and turn the filter handle to rinse. Turn on pump for 15 seconds. Then shut off the pump and turn the filter handle to filter.

• Next you should shut off your main drain. To do this just turn the handle in front of your pump to the position where it says off main drain.

• Connect your pole to your vacuum head, then the hose to the vacuum head. Put the vacuum head into the pool and begin filling the hose up with water. When this is done you must close one of your skimmers with the flap that is on the bottom of your skimmer. Now put the end of your vacuum hose onto your vacuum plate and place it in the other skimmer with the skimmer basket.

• Turn on the pump. You are ready to vacuum your pool!

• When you are finished you can pull the vacuum out of the pool and out of the skimmer. Clean out your skimmer baskets and open up your main drain by the pump.