How to Backwash a Pool

Backwashing a pool consists of cleaning the filter in a way that allows you to enjoy clear, sparkling water for longer. This process reverses the way your pool’s water flows to get rid of any dirt that’s in the filter. This typically takes only a few minutes to do; however, you will know when the process is complete when the water running through your waste line is clear. So how does backwashing work, and why is it important to do as a pool owner? Below, we’ll be providing you with what you need to know about backwashing your pool.

Different Types of Filters and When You Should Backwash Them

You might be asking yourself, how often should I be backwashing my pool? The standard answer is that you can backwash about once a week or whenever you would typically clean your pool. However, the typical guidelines instruct that if your filter’s pressure gauge reads 8 to 10 pounds per square inch (PSI) over the starting level, then it’s time for a backwash. Although you might be dealing with different filters from one pool to the next, the key is to ensure that your filter is the right size and you’re regularly keeping it clean. Although cartridge filters are a very common choice for pools, it’s best to make sure you’re choosing a filter that fits the size of your pool before anything else.

It’s important to keep an eye on the state of your pool, especially if you do see that you have dirt or diatomaceous earth (DE). If this is the case, then make sure you’re checking your pool for any backwash valve that may have an O-ring or gasket that is damaged. You can also check if your pool has any damaged grids, cartridges, or broken manifolds. When it comes to ensuring the cleanliness of your pool, it’s good practice to keep an eye on the backwash valve, and if you find that it seems to be harder to turn, then you should investigate the reason why this is happening. Maintaining the proper state of your filters will significantly help the state of your pool and its water moving forward.

How to Backwash Your Pool with a DE Filter

Although the process will vary depending on the type of filter you have for your pool, these are the steps to backwashing with a DE filter:

  1. You will turn off your pump and turn on the backwash setting of the backwash valve.
  2. Turn the pump on again until the filter appears clear while rotating between backwash and rinse to remove more of the DE. Remember to turn off your pump as you change from one valve setting to the next.
  3. Discard the DE if your unit does not have a separation tank, and then turn off your pool’s pump to ensure you’re able to disassemble the filter without an automatic timer or system turning it back on.
  4. You will drain your filter out by opening the release valve, and if you’d like to take it one step further, you can completely remove the drain plug.

How to Backwash your Pool with a Sand Filter

The process of backwashing with a sand filter is slightly different and includes the following steps:

  1. Start by turning everything off and clamping your pool’s backwash hose. You will want your water to flow through this hose, so you will need to place the backwash valve to pull or push the water.
  2. From here, you will need to put the handle into the backwashing position and run it until the water is clear.
  3. Once this step is done, you can turn off the system and turn your valve handle back to where it was. Make sure you open the air relief valve and keep it set to open until water comes through.
  4. Lastly, you will need to close the valve and turn off the energy.

Backwashing your pool is an important part of keeping it clean. Regular maintenance is key to ensuring the longevity of your pool and its water. To learn more about owning a pool, download our free backyard escapes guide.


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