When Should I Backwash My Filter For My Inground/Above Ground Swimming Pool?
If you’re an experienced pool owner you probably know the answer to this question. If you’re a new pool owner this simple question can make you scratch your head! The good news is there is a really simple answer!
Look for the gauge
No matter what kind of filter system you have, sand, DE, or cartridge, they all have a pressure gauge somewhere on the housing of the filter. The pressure gauge is how you can tell if your filter media is dirty and needs to be backwashed. A simple glance will tell you if your filter needs to be backwashed.
Some other signs that your filter may need backwashed is decreased pressure at your returns. Due to the filter being dirty the water will not flow as fast as it should as it returns to the pool. Your pool also may become cloudy due to the water not being turned over as much as it should be.
When you first start your pool pump system you need to make note of what the psi reading is on your pressure gauge. On most sand and DE filters we have found they will typically have a starting psi of between 10 and 14. We have noticed that if you have a cartridge filter your starting psi may be a little lower than that.
Your starting psi is important because you need to know that to determine when you need to backwash your filter. Once your pressure gauge reads 10 psi above where it started, its time to backwash! So if your filter started at a psi of 12, when it reaches 22 psi you need to backwash your filter system.
If you are using a sand filter backwashing is as simple as turning off your pump and rotating the handle of your multi-port valve to backwash. Turn your pump back on and backwash until the water in your sight glass clears up. Turn your pump back off and rotate the multi-port handle to rinse. Turn the pump back on and rinse for between 15-30 seconds.
Once you do that repeat the backwash procedure again. You may need to rinse again and possibly run the backwash cycle again depending how dirty your filter is. Once your filter is backwashed, once you turn it back to filter the psi reading should be the same as when you started the filter system up.
If you have a DE that you can “charge” with DE powder you will go through the same procedure as backwashing a sand filter. Once you have the filter completely backwashed, you will need to add DE powder back into your filter. This can be done by adding the DE powder through the skimmer. Be sure to look on the side of your filter housing for the required amount of DE powder for your filter system.
If you have a bump handle DE filter system, there is no way to discharge the DE powder from your filter. You bump the handle and this should clean the Flex-tubes of any dirt and DE powder. We do not care for this type of filter system because you cannot backwash the dirty filter media out of the filter.
Cartridge filters do not require backwashing. Once your pressure reading is 10 psi above the starting psi you simply remove the cartridge element and clean it. We provide two cartridge elements with any new pool install with a cartridge filter. This way you can exchange the elements, continue operating your pool and clean the filter at your leisure(sooner is better).
Keeping your filter backwashed and running properly will help keep your pool sparkling! While you may be tempted to backwash before your filter needs it, you will just end up wasting water. Watching your pressure gauge will let you know exactly when its time to give the filter a good backwashing!