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Backwashing Your Swimming Pool Pump

Swimming Pools, Spas and Hot Tubs
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Your swimming pool pump runs for several hours every day, circulating water from the pool through the filtration system. Most filtration systems aren’t self-cleaning, so they need to backwashed from time to get rid of the accumulated debris. Just how frequently you do this depends on the type of filtration system you’re using, but once a week seems to be a pretty good rule of thumb.

Fortunately, the procedure for backwashing a swimming pool pump is fairly simple. In most cases, you won’t need any special tools. However, if you’re serving an older pump, you may need a pair of pliers to move the valves.

Turn Off the Swimming Pool Pump

You should never, under any circumstances, move the valves or adjust the settings on your swimming pool pump while it is operating.

Move the Main Control Valve to Backwash

Some swimming pool pumps may have this setting labeled as “back flush” or “clean,” but the function is the same. Some valves may require you to push down on them to turn them. Others might require you to squeeze or lift up on an attached handle to unlock them for turning.

Turn the Swimming Pool Pump Back On

Once you have the pump valves in the proper backwash positions, you’ll need to turn the swimming pool pump back on. With the flow reversed, the water will flow backwards through the filtration system, flushing the debris and other contaminants out of the filter.

Some pumps are equipped with a sight glass that allows you to see the water as it moves through the system. Others may include a backwash outlet to let the water drain out of the pump. You should let your swimming pool pump run in reverse for at least a minute, or until the water is clear and free of contaminants.

Reset the Swimming Pool Pump for Normal Operation

Once the backwash process is complete, you’ll need to turn the swimming pool pump off again and reset the control valves to their original position. Once they’re set, turn the swimming pool pump back on again.

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