Backwashing Pool Filters: Simple Processes

In part one of this two-part blog series, we looked at some of the basics and frequency recommendations for backwashing your swimming pool’s filter. Backwashing a filter refers to the process of cleaning it out by reversing the flow of water through the system, which is important for keeping your pool water in great shape throughout the year.

At Packman’s Pools, we’re happy to offer a wide range of swimming pool design, construction and maintenance services to clients around Salt Lake City and other parts of Utah, including recommendations on simple care areas like these for any pool. In today’s part two of our series, we’ll go over the basic steps for backwashing the three most common pool filter types.

backwashing pool filters processes

Sand Filter

Sand filters, which refer to the most widely used type of pool filter, work by trapping dirt and debris as water passes through a bed of sand. After enough debris accumulates in the sand, it will hinder its ability to trap additional particles, requiring backwashing to be done. Here are the basic steps for this process:

  • Pump turn-off: Firstly, you’ll have to turn off the pool’s pump. This will ensure water doesn’t keep flowing through the system while you’re trying to backwash it.
  • Attach backwash hose: There are some filters where this piece of the process will come a bit later, but for a sand filter, you’ll usually attach the backwash hose to the waste port. This will allow dirty water to flow out and away from the pool area.
  • Valve handle to Backwash position, turn back on: After attaching the hose, you’ll be able to move the valve handle to the backwash position. This will allow water to flow through in reverse, carrying accumulated dirt and debris out of the filter.
  • Rinse and resume normal operation: Once enough time has passed for water to run clear out of the waste port (usually about 2-3 minutes), you can turn the valve handle back to its original position and resume normal pool operation.

Cartridge Filter

This section will be much shorter, and for one simple reason: Cartridge filters aren’t backwashed! Rather, you have to clean them out with a high-pressure hose every few weeks. Problem solved!

Diatomaceous Earth Filter

The process of backwashing a DE filter is almost exactly identical to sand filters, but with one major exception: Once the process is finished, you have to add more DE powder to your filter before turning it back on again. Be sure to consult with a professional for guidance on adding the right amount of powder, but this is generally a straightforward process.

At Packman’s Pools, our experts are here to assist you with all areas of swimming pool maintenance, from backwashing your filter to any other needs that arise. For more on this or any of our swimming pool services, speak to one of our staff members today!