What Is Backwashing A Pool And How Often Should You Do It?

It's a hot summer day and you're spending time with your family at the pool. You can't help but notice that the water is starting to get a little cloudy, so you decide to backwash it. But what is backwashing? And how often should I be doing it? Learn more about this process and why it's important for homeowners everywhere!

Pool owners use the term backwashing to refer to a filter cleaning method, which reverses the flow of water through your filter system. The word most accurately describes pools that have sand or other porous medium passing water through it and returning clean water into their pool. 

Pool filters naturally collect large particles as they push more and more dirt out of a pool, but with time these larger particles can decrease the effectiveness of your pool’s filtration process due to increased pressure and even damage to the equipment.

Advantages of backwashing your pool:

  • Save your pool filter from premature failure by using backwashing

  • Protect the environment, since less water is wasted to skimming/hosing off of the surface of your pool

  • Avoid costly repairs and having to replace an entire pump or cartridge system prematurely

  • Backwashing will save you money in electricity usage for a more efficient filtration process

  • You don't have to deal with any algae buildup on surfaces

  • This will reduce maintenance time and increase efficiency


There are two different types of backwashing that pool owners have available to them: automatic and manual. Automated back washing occurs when there's enough buildup that it becomes necessary for you or someone else who can access your filtration system with ease, manually reversing its direction so that coarser debris like dirt gets pushed out while finer particles stay in.

Manual backwashing is a process used to clean sand filters. You do this by turning the pump on, opening all of its valves and letting it run until the water coming out of your pool's surface runs clear.

For an automatic backwash method: Turn off any circulation pumps around the filtration system so they don't interfere with reversing flow  and close any other valves that may allow more dirt into the system (for example skimmers). 

Place a cover over your filtration unit or turn down your heater before beginning this process. Find where your filters are located inside or outside of the ground; most pools will have them near their edge near a wall but if not , you will have to locate them using a pool vacuum.

Raise your pump until it is at least two feet above the surface of the water and open up all valves on both sides of the filter; this is where clean water comes out as well as dirtier water that has been filtered from your system.  

The cleaner, clearer liquid should be coming out first when they are reversed like this so if dark brown or murky liquids come out before clear ones, something may be wrong with your backwash process. Depending on how often you need to do manual backwashing (once every week or once each season) there are specific instructions for doing so but more generally, change filters after three years and always follow manufacturer guidelines.

Automatic backwash improves pool maintenance by:

  • Saving time and effort by using an automatic backwash method

  • Reducing your risk of getting dirtier filters that will have to be cleaned more often

  • Keeping your pool clean longer with less maintenance

  • These simple step-by-step instructions make for easy use

  • Giving pool owners the perfect pool care system to get their pump working at its best

We hope these points have helped answer your questions and given you a better understanding of the benefits to backwashing. If not, feel free to contact a professional pool cleaning service any time!

Do You Need a Pool Cleaning Service You Can Trust?

Cal Pool Care delivers quality pool cleaning services to clients in the Tri-Valley and surrounding areas by providing them with the professional care they deserve. Great service begins and ends with experienced and friendly professionals, which is why we put so much consideration into selecting only the best to join our team. We complete projects efficiently and on schedule, and go above and beyond to form lasting relationships with our clients. Our service formula for success is consistency "same day, same time, same tech.” We offer weekly swimming pool maintenance and cleaning services. Cal Pool Care services pools, spas, and will ensure your fountains, water features and hot tubs are clean alongside regular pool service. Contact us today to schedule your first service!