Pool Equipment Questions
- What does "Vacuum to Waste" mean?
- How do I backwash my filter?
- When do I backwash/clean my cartridge?
- How do pool filters work? (Sand, Cartridges, DE Filters)
- How do I vacuum my pool?
- What is the difference between my pump and filter (which is which)?
- Should I get a salt generator?
- How can I maintain my equipment, so I get the most life out of it?
- How often do I need to clean my skimmer and pump baskets?
- How do I change the sand in my filter?
- Why is my pump running hot and shutting off?
- What are the functions on the multi-port valve?
- How do I know when it's time to chemically clean my pool filter?
- Why is the pool filter blowing dirt back into the pool?
- Why is the pool filter not clearing the pool water?
- How often should I change my filter cartridge?
- What are the benefits of having a pool heaters?
- Which pool heater should you get (gas, electric, or a heat pump)?
When you “Vacuum to Waste” you are pumping the debris, you vacuum out of the pool and sending the water to the waste line, and not through the pool filter. This method removes a large amount of water from the pool in a short time so be sure the pool is full before you begin. This method is used for large amounts of debris and dirt. This method will only work for circulation systems that use a 6-position filter valve. If you have an older “Push-Pull” style filter valve you must vacuum through the pool filter. Be sure to monitor the location where the waste line is connected to the sewer system in your home, just in case the sewer line cannot handle the large amount of water and overflows.
- Turn off power.
- Push valve handle down and turn in a clockwise direction to backwash.
- Turn on power.
- Watch the site glass until the water running through it turns clear.
- Turn off power.
- Push valve handle down and turn in clockwise position to rinse.
- Turn power on for 30 seconds.
- Repeat these steps until water running through sight glass is clear (minimum of 4 times).
You backwash or clean your cartridge when either the pressure on your pressure gauge is running high (8-10 lbs above normal) or when the flow back into the pool from the return is low. These signs tell you it is time to clean your filter.
Water goes through the multiport valve from the pool to the sand bed in the filter. The sand catches the fine debris particles then, the water travels through the laterals back up through the filter then back to the pool.
The sand bed will begin to plug up over time as the sand filter keeps the water clean. You will notice this when the pressure on the pressure gauge rises. Once the pressure builds up you will need to backwash the filter. (see how do I backwash my filter for information on backwashing). Note* The more a sand filter plugs up the finer the particles are caught so letting a sand filter plug up somewhat is good so make sure you are only backwashing when the pressure is high or the flow from the return is low.
The pump pushes water from the skimmer into the filter. The water flows through the filter into the cartridge, the cartridge captures the fine particles within its pleats then the water is pushed back into the pool. The pressure gauge will build up letting you know when it is time to clean the filter.
The filter tank comes apart usually from a belly clamp or a knob on the top. If you have an aboveground pool, make sure you use your shut-off valves or plug off the skimmer and return before opening the tank.
You will sprinkle the DE powder into the skimmer this draws it into the filter, and it coats the grides, fingers or cartridge in the filter.
- Hook telescopic pole to vacuum head.
- Connect swivel end of vacuum hose to the vacuum head.
- Put vacuum pole, vacuum head, and vacuum hose in pool.
- Take other end of vacuum hose and hold against return until all the bubbles come out of the vacuum head.
- Attach skim vac to vacuum hose.
- Put hose and skim vac onto the skimmer basket in the skimmer.
- Turn off main drain valve & or second skimmer.
- Slowly move vacuum across the bottom of the pool.
- When finished vacuuming turn power off.
- Remove skim vac from skimmer.
- Remove debris from skimmer basket.
- Pull skim vac end of hose up and out of the water, while the vacuum head remains in the pool to allow water in the hose to drain into the pool.
- Remove hose, vacuum head, and pole from water and return them to their storage.
- Turn main drain valve ON and turn on power.
Your filter (left) is the large tank it can either contain sand, a cartridge ( a removable item with pleats up and down the outside usually a black or blue top and bottom with a hole in the center.), or a DE powder (those can contain grids, fingers or a cartridge). It is used to filter that water in your pool to help it stay clean and clear.
Your pump (right) is the small item next to the large filter. It has a round body with either a clear circular front or a square front the pump is used to push water into the filter and then back into the pool. On the pump there is a motor attached and a basket in the inside of the clear portion on the pump.
It is completely up to you, but we do not fully recommend salt generators. For the advantages and disadvantages view the link below.
Salt Pools Advantages and Disadvantages.
To maintain your equipment and get the most life out of your liner, pump, filter, heaters, and other equipment. You must keep your pool water chemically balanced, making sure you are testing it weekly and getting a professional test done monthly.
When the skimmer basket and pump basket is dirty, it restricts water flow. When water flow is restricted in the skimmer basket and pump basket the pool cannot circulate properly. If water ends up being restricted the pump can overheat. Make sure to clean the skimmer basket daily and look for cracks.
Top mount filter- (for side mount filters you will take the dome off and remove the piece in the center then cover the pipe. If it comes apart in half, then you can take it apart that way then, follow the same steps.)
- Remove the drain plug from the filter.
- Take the collar or clamp off the filter neck.
- Unscrew the unions attacked to the multiport.
- Carefully take the multiport off by twisting slightly and pulling upwards.
- COVER THE STANDPIPE! Put either duct tape or a tin can over the pipe to block sand from getting in the pipe.
- Set up a shop vac and start sucking the sand out of the filter.
- Lift up standpipe and check laterals to make sure nothing is broken.
- Hose off laterals if you can get them out, if you cannot get them out, hose them off inside of the filter.
- Rinse the filter tank out with water.
- Put drainplug back onto filter and fill half-way with water.
- Slowly pour filter media into filter to cover the laterals.
- Pack the sand under the laterals.
- Pour rest of sand in carefully.
- Pull off tape or take off can after all sand is in.
- Look at O-rings if cracked at all, replace it.
- Place multiport valve back on, after inspecting O-rings.
- Screw unions back on.
- Replace collar or clamp.
- Backwash filter to get rid of dust (follow backwash instructions).
- After backwashing, set to filter and you are ready to go!
- If the temperature is really hot the pump may overheat. It will restart once it has cooled down. After it has cooled down you can check the air intake vents to make sure they are debris free. That could also be causing it to overheat.
- The power company may be experiencing a power drop this is more prominent during a heatwave. Restart your pump when the weather cools to confirm.
- Make sure your pump is in an area with adequate drainage. Flooding from rain could cause a pump to run hot.
- This also could be due to insufficient power due to an underside wire or poor connection.
- The first 2 are more likely to happen so, give it a day or two before you go tearing your pump apart.
- Filter– Lets the water flow through the media in the filter then directs the water out through the return line.
- Backwash– Use when the pressure rises over 8-10 psi the normal starting pressure, this lets debris to be removed from the sand. (Follow the backwash guide above.)
- Waste– The water is taken from the pump, through the multiport then, out the waste line. The water never goes through the filter tank.
- Re-circulate– Water comes out of the pool goes into the multiport valve and then, back into the pool.
- Rinse– Use with backwash this clears the plumbing lines from debris that is left after backwashing. It also resets the sand bed.
- Closed– This will not let water go through the multiport valve.
- Winter– Used for winterizing, this one is not on all valves. This is between two positions; it allows water to flow in all directions. It is used to prevent water from getting trapped in the multiport valve leading to it freezing and cracking.
You should chemically clean your filter at the end of every season, along with chemically cleaning it if you have a bad case of algae. When chemically cleaning it is different for every filter but the chemical you use is the same. We recommend you use Baquacil Universal Filter Cleaner.
Sand filters– After doing a backwash it is normal to see a small amount of dirt blow back into the pool. Make sure you are rinsing after backwashing and are following the backwash directions correctly. If the problem persists, consider the age of the sand (you should change your sand every 3-5 years) along with when is the last time it was chemically cleaned. Make sure that is not sand that is blowing back into the pool if it is sand then you may have a broken lateral.
DE filters– When there is a tear in the fabric of the DE grids, a loose grid assembly, crack in the manifold, a missing air bleeder or standpipe O-ring, these things could lead to DE getting in the pool (looks like sandy dust).
Cartridge– Incorrect installation of the cartridge filter going into the tank could lead to debris ending up into the return line.
You need Sanitation, circulation, water balance and filtration for your water to clear up. It is not just dependent on the filter but all 4 being present to clear up water.
Sanitation- Make sure you have a strong chlorine level. If you are killing algae you want over 4ppm of sanitizer.
Circulation- You want to make sure the water is circulation in the pool, stagnate water can lead to algae, make sure you are running your filter as much as possible.
Water Balance- Having proper pH, Alkalinity, and calcium are important to clear clean water. Having one of the chemicals imbalanced can lead to it hindering the chlorine and affecting your pool.
Filtration- Gets the debris out of the water and cleans the small particles out of the water.
You should change the cartridge every 2 weeks.
- Longer pool season, spend more time in your pool even when its chilly.
- Water just the way you like it whatever temperature you want.
- Swimming that is enjoyable for the whole family. No more complaining from grandma that the water is too cold with a heater it will always be warm.
- Enjoy night swimming with a comfortable temperature.
- Take advantage of health benefits swimming is easy on joints. Swimming in a heated pool helps prevent aches joint pain and stiffness.
Heat Pumps: A heat pump is an electric system that works similar to how an air conditioner works. It takes the outside air around it and turns it into heat.
Pros of heat pumps:
- Lower operating cost
- Can run all season long to maintain consistent temperature.
Cons of heat pumps:
- Cannot function under 50 degrees.
- Cost more than gas or electric initially.
Gas Heater: A gas heater uses propane or natural gas to heat the pool.
Pros of gas heaters:
- Less of an upfront cost.
- Heats up quickly.
- Functions better in cooler months better than heat pump.
Cons of gas heaters:
- Requires natural gas or propane making it more expensive to operate.
- May cost more in repairs.
Electric Heaters: An electric heater uses electricity to heat the pool similar to how a spa heats water.
Pros of electric heaters:
- Uses a heating element.
- Similar to how a spa functions, does not need gas or the air around it to function.
Cons of electric heaters:
Takes a great deal of electric.
- The house needs to have enough power for it to function.
Aboveground Pool Questions
Have questions on how to set up an aboveground pool and what is an aboveground pool? Check out our Aboveground Pool Questions page.
Not finding the right answer? Check under our other pages, give us a call or send us an email and our knowledgeable staff will be able to help.
Pool Water Questions
Have questions about water balance, sanitizers, water issues and how it affects your pool? Check out our Pool Water Questions page.