Backwashing a pool filter may cause some pool owners a bit of worry, or running to their phones to call a pool tech. It doesn’t need to be intimidating. Whether you have a home pool or you're a commercial pool operator, chances are you can easily handle regular pool maintenance.
This section will walk you through your backwashing process and answer some of the most common questions. After this, you'll be able to backwash a pool filter like a 20 year pro.
Backwashing your filter means that you're cleaning out the filter media to make sure it's always running at peak performance. A dirty filter will not clean or circulate the water properly, and can lead to high pressure and possibly system failure. We will never clean dirty water with a dirty filter, so keeping our pool filter clean is an important part of regular pool maintenance.
You might hear a variety of opinions on this matter. Some may say every week, while others will say once per month. The truth is this: it all depends on your pool's needs. A heavily used pool with a lot of debris will need to be backwashed more often than a lightly used pool with rock landscaping.
A good rule of thumb is to backwash when your psi (pressure) gauge reaches 8 - 10 psi over your "just backwashed" pressure. You start with that number, then check your pool every week to see when the pressure rises. When the pressure gets to the 8 - 10 psi over your just backwashed number, it will be time to backwash your filter.
Backwashing a sand filter is an easy process that takes just a few minutes. It's done by reversing the flow of water back through the filter in the opposite direction and sending the dirty water to waste.
It's pretty straight forward.
The entire process of backwashing your sand pool filter should take about 5 minutes.
IMPORTANT: Never turn the handle on your multiport valve when the pump motor is on. Always turn the pump off before adjusting valves on your pool.
Backwashing a D.E. filter kind of the same, but different, compared to backwashing a sand filter. For this procedure you'll need:
Diatomaceous earth, or D.E., is a powder made from fossilized algae and skeletons of one-celled organisms found in water and are called diatoms. This powder is added to your skimmer and coats the grids of your DE filter. It's this end product that captures all the organic matter in your pool and makes the water sparkle.
Long term exposure to pool grade D.E. can cause respiratory issues, so it's recommended that a mask be worn when handling pool D.E. powder.
The first step in cleaning your D.E. pool filter is top off your pool. You're going to lose some water from backwashing and you don't want the water level to get below the skimmer.
IMPORTANT: Watch the returns for D.E. returning back to your pool. If you see a powdery smoky poof coming out of the returns, immediately stop adding D.E. You should inspect the grids for any tears or rips. If there's no D.E. poofery going on, run the pump motor for 15 - 20 minutes to allow the D.E. to fully and properly coat the grids.
We should do everything we can to conserve water. This just doesn't make "go green" sense, it makes economic sense, or "cents". Water conservation helps our environment and our wallet.
Here are some ways we can help conserve water and still have a great looking pool.
Follow the right procedures and gather right tools and equipment, and you'll be on your way to having a pool the entire neighborhood will envy.