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What is backwashing and why is it important?

BackwashAs a swimming pool owner, you know that there are a number of different maintenance requirements to keep your swimming pool clean and functional. From vacuuming to maintaining proper water chemistry levels, swimming pools require a consistent upkeep. One way to keep your swimming pool’s filter system in working order is through the use of backwashing, or reversing the flow of water through the filter to remove any built-up contaminants.

As dirt accumulates in the swimming pool filter bed, resistance to flow increases, which causes a reduction in water discharge to the pool. When the flow is insufficient for proper water circulation, or when the pressure gage indicates a pressure rise of 8-10 lbs. above the clean pressure, it’s probably time to routinely clean the pool filter. Another necessary time to backwash your pool water is after killing an algae bloom or when treating cloudy water. It’s important to remember that you should wait to add chemicals to the swimming pool until after you’ve backwashed as the process will dispose of some existing water in the pool.

Think of backwashing your filter as emptying your vacuum cleaner’s canister or bag. When that gets full, your vacuum cleaner no longer has the same cleaning ability. It’s the same thing with a sand filter.

Instructions on how to backwash a sand filter:

  • Turn off the pump (Never change the filter control valves with the pump running).
  • Turn the control valve to the “backwash” position.
  • Turn the pump on and allow it to run until the effluent water is clear as seen in the sight glass at the backwash valve or waste piping. This takes about 2-3 minutes. During this process, slowly pour 8 oz. of poolife® Backwash Filter Cleaner into the skimmer. This product will increase the efficiency of your backwashing process tremendously as things like body oils, suntan lotions, etc don’t simply backwash out but need some specially formulated chemical assistance to break down.
  • Shut off the pump and turn the control valve to the “rinse” position.
  • Turn the pump on for 20-30 seconds. This resets the sand bed and sends any residue of dirt into the waste line rather than into your pool.
  • Shut off the pump again and return the valve back to the “filter” position. Turning the pump back on resumes the filter cycle.

Backwashing your swimming pool is a routine and simple process that’s essential for the health and functionality of your filter. If you follow the steps above, in addition to following other common swimming pool maintenance processes, you can be sure that your pool filter is working as efficiently as possible! If you have any further questions, please refer to the manufacturers guide or manual that came with your filter system. Or of course, stop in or call us!