pool filter backwashing needs timing

Cleaning and maintaining your pool’s pump and filter system is one of the most important upkeep responsibilities you’ll have as a pool owner, helping keep your water clean while also extending pool lifespan. And if you utilize pool sand filters, common for many inground pools today, this process of cleaning your filters is known commonly as backwashing.

At Dolphin Pools & Spas, not only do we offer the very best custom swimming pool construction and installation services in the business, we also provide our clients with unmatched expertise and advice on how to maintain and utilize their pools. What is backwashing for a pool filter, how often should it be done, and what should be done with the backwashed water that’s present once it’s done? Here’s a primer.

Swimming Pool Filter Backwashing Basics

When we talk about backwashing a pool filter, we’re really just referring to cleaning out the sand and other medium in the filter. This is accomplished through a rigorous draining process, which sends water from the pool to the filter system, then through a series of chambers that are filled with different filtering materials.

As water passes through each chamber, it’s cleaned of ever-increasing amounts of contaminants as we make our way up towards the pump. Eventually, though, the water will become dirty enough that it needs to be pushed out of the filter and back into the pool.

This is what we refer to as a backwash — essentially, it’s done when all of the water in each chamber has been cleaned through this draining process. The fiberglass or sand media becomes dirty from passing through the water, and must be cleaned of this debris before it can start to filter anything else. Typically, backwashing means draining a substantial amount of water that’s removed from the pool system at once.

How Often Should Backwashing Happen?

For sand filters in your pool, the backwashing process should be done every few weeks if you’re using the pool regularly. The simplest way to check how often this needs to be done is by keeping track of your pool’s pressure gauge — as more and more debris builds up in the filter, pressure will rise in the filter housing. When this pressure reaches 8 PSI or higher, you should run the filter through a backwash to release this pressure.

Excess Backwash Water

Backwashing pushes water through the pool’s filter system at a high rate, and the water that comes out is considered wastewater — meaning that it should be drained from your property. It won’t generally be usable in your yard, either. In some cases, you may have to contact your local water authority to find out the best method for wastewater disposal.

For more on backwashing pool filters, or to learn about any of our swimming pool or spa construction and installation services, speak to the staff at Dolphin Pools & Spas today.