Having an in-house swimming pool is nothing short of a blessing as it offers a round the clock opportunity for recreation.
And needless to say that aquatic adventures are the most relaxing of all fun activities.
But all that ever-ready (waiting-to-be availed) enjoyment comes at a cost, and not just the monetary one; you also need to spend a substantial amount of time and energy on your pool’s upkeep to ensure it stays in a pristine condition and provides a healthy swimming environment whenever you need it.
Maintaining a swimming pool entails regular testing and balancing pool chemistry levels with periodic sanitization; otherwise, the sneaky waterborne pathogens would inhabit your pool and wreak havoc.
And no, your high caliber filter is not enough to keep the system running soundly without supplemental cleaning. You must drain, dilute and backwash your pool regularly to ensure it remains sparkly, teeming with crystal clear water.
While chemical testing, draining, and dilution are pretty self-explanatory, backwashing can be a hard one to crack, especially for beginners.
That said, it’s not complicated at all; you just need to have a clear understanding of the procedure, then you can execute it without trouble.
Hence, here enters our detailed guide on backwashing so that you are theoretically equipped after reading it and just have to practically apply your newly acquired knowledge.
Let’s start by looking at what backwashing is and understanding its nitty-gritty details.
Backwashing-Reversing Water to Propel Accumulated Contaminants Out
As pool water passes through a filter to lose all the foreign particles that it might be carrying, the gathered debris coalesces, making a rather massive mass of contaminants that increases resistance to water flow.
As a result, the pool experiences a reduction in water discharge, signaling the need for filter cleaning to restore the flow of water. This is where the phenomenon of backwashing comes into play.
Backwashing is the term used to describe a pool cleaning procedure that reverses water flow to flush out the buildup of contaminants from the pool filter.
Naturally, when dirt keeps collecting over a filter, it will get clogged over time, obstructing the flow of whatever fluid it’s straining. Likewise, a pool filter periodically gets backed up and must be cleared through backwashing.
Backwashing is a straightforward process if you have the lowdown of using the pool pump. Even if you are not familiar with the control valve settings, the imprinted labels will be enough to guide you.
All you need to know is when to conduct the procedure, and you are good to go. That brings us to our next subject before we get to the actual steps involved in backwashing; the frequency.
How Often Should You Backwash Your Pool?
The answer to this question is, unfortunately, the bugbear of the inquisition world; it depends!
As pointless as ‘it depends’ sounds, it is the universal response to dilemmas that require one to exercise judgment to come to a choice. In the case of backwashing, you need to do the same and use your better judgment to decide when it should be done.
The factors that you need to weigh in when making a decision are primarily three; the frequency of use, the type of filtration system installed, and the pool’s placement. Let’s examine each determinant separately.
How fast and severely gunky a pool can become depends on how much it is used. Understandably, a tank that is rarely dipped in is less likely to gather dirt. But if it is situated near dense shrubbery and trees, it will collect dead foliage and dirt more frequently.
Simply put, you have to look at your pool’s likelihood of gathering dirt through either swimmers or surrounding plantation, and then decide if backwashing is required.
Lastly, you need to be sure of your filtration system’s capacity; that is, can it run smoothly for as long as you want it to without getting flushed. If it is a high-functioning contraption and can last a while without backwashing, then clean it as you see fit. But if not, then be as regular as possible.
However, as a general rule of thumb, you should backwash your pool at least once a week, along with your weekly pool upkeep regimen. Another trick to figuring out of you need to backwash your pool is checking the water pressure.
As mentioned earlier, a clogged filter increases resistance in the flow of water, which shoots up the pressure. So, when the pressure gauge displays a rise of 8 to 10 lbs. more than the standard value, know that it’s time for some good old backwashing.
Whether you set a specific day in the week to backwash your pool or do it based on the accumulated buildup of contaminants, be sure to acquaint yourself well with the valve settings.
How Do You Backwash A Swimming Pool?
Backwash your pool as conveniently as possible by following these quick steps.
- The first thing you need to do when you get ready to backwash your pool is turning off the pump. Doing so is essential for safety reasons; you should never shift pump settings while it’s running.
- Once the pump is off, turn the control valve to the backwash point.
- Next, switch on the pump and let the pool effluent outflow through the filter till you can see clear water in the sight glass at the backwash valve or waste piping. Generally, this step takes up about two to three minutes, but it can go on for longer, depending on the accumulated waste. While the dirty water is running back out through the filter, pour a backwash filter cleaner in the skimmer. Doing so will significantly enhance the effectiveness of the process as the chemical will break down organic waste molecules, making cleaning more meticulous.
- After that, turn off the pump and turn the control valve to rinse position so that any sand residue is washed out of the pool through the waste line. Switch on the pump again and let it run for 20 to 30 seconds before turning it off one last time.
- Then move the value control back to the filter point and turn the pump on to resume the filtration cycle.
Does Backwashing Remove Water From Pool?
One of the most frequently asked questions about backwashing is whether it removes water from a pool. Well, the answer is a resounding, yes!
As the water in a pool is flushed out to propel accumulated dirt out of the filter, naturally, the water itself leaves the pool as well.
When pool water passes through the filter, a pipe attached to it channels the dirty water out of the tank. Typically, one round of backwashing consumes 200 to 300 gallons of pool water.
Many people use the backwash water to water their yard and plants, but if you have a septic system, you can hire a contractor to pump wastewater out of your property.
Since backwashing consumes a hefty amount of water, you must only do it when incumbent. This way, you will save a ton of water. That said, don’t become neglectful of your filter’s health in trying to conserve water and go for weeks without backwashing.
Be sure to maintain the right frequency of backwashing to not waste any more water than absolutely necessary.
Can You Backwash A Pool Too Much?
Backwashing is a deliberate process that cannot happen unless the necessary arrangements are made.
In other words, you can only backwash your pool when you decide to do so, which also means that in a manner of speaking, you can backwash a pool too much because you are in control.
But if by over-backwashing you mean damaging your pool somehow, then the chances for that happening are slim to none.
Backwashing is a cleaning process that rids the pool filter of all the accumulated gunk and funk, so if you do it more than the requirement, you’ll just be wasting water, money, energy, and time. But aside from that, you will not be damaging your pool or pool filter per se.
So, although you cannot backwash a pool too much, the judicious thing to do would be not doing that.
To avoid overdoing it, the best practice is to keep an eye on the pressure gauge and as soon as the reading goes up considerably, know that you need to backwash your pool.
Backwashing is a routine pool maintenance practice that should be part of your pool upkeep regime. However, you don’t need to get paranoid and do it every day to keep the filter dirt free.
A pool filter’s job is to pick out debris and contaminants from the water passing through it, which means it will have some level of filth on it most times. Therefore, don’t try to keep it sparkly clean all day every day by backwashing your pool at every chance you get.
Backwashing a pool once a week is generally enough for adequate pool maintenance. But if you think your pool requires more rounds in a week, by all means, increase the frequency without overdoing it.