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Thread: Backwash for dummies?

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    Backwash for dummies?

    Hi all - I am learning as I go with this pool ownership adventure. I need "backwash for Dummies" . When we had the pool installed in October 2012, I insisted that the pool guy write down the directions for daily maintenance and backwash. He told me I would only need to backwash when the gauge pointed to "clean" - and that he expected that would only happen once a year! Wow! ok, that's good - I never had to backwash until now. The gauge is close to the "clean me" indicator. The pool was very green/brown when we opened it and I am in the process of SLAMMING

    So here are the directions for backwash he gave me
    backwash directions.jpg
    You will notice that step 2 says - unroll blue hose - it does not however say where on these gizmos to attach it for the backwash. I know I will be smacking my forehead feeling really stupid when someone reveals the answer to me - but I am willing to do it in order to get things done right. (The whole give a man a fish vs.teach a man to fish thing)
    Would any of you more experienced pool owners describe where I am supposed to hook up the blue hose without making me feel too much more stupid than I do for not seeing it myself? I will be very grateful
    22Kgal (18x36 3.5-6ft), IG,Vinyl,DE 36sqft Filter -90GPM flow rate, Pentair Whisperflow Pump,SWG Intelichlor, UltraTemp Heat Pump, New 10/2012 Bucks County PA

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Backwash for dummies?

    The push-pull valve should be plumbed somewhere between the pump and the filter. There are five ports. One from the pump, one to filter in, one to filter out, one returning to the pool, and one that may have a hose barb on it. That fifth one is where the blue hose goes. It needs to be clamped on or youll have an enormous mess when it bloiws off. Speaking of blowing up, when you unroll that backwash hose, take great pains to ensure it has no twists in it. It will not unkink itself when it fills; it will blow up like a ballon and pop and spray disgusting sludge everywhere before you can even register what's going on.

    If you don't have somethiong that looks like this:


    Post a picture of your filter and pump area. It could be a lever below the filter and an exta pipe sticking out of the base in the most awkward spot.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Backwash for dummies?

    Thanks so much for the advice I am definitely going out to the garage to find a clamp! I am going to go look around for somewhere to connect the hose based on your description. Here are picts of my setup










    22Kgal (18x36 3.5-6ft), IG,Vinyl,DE 36sqft Filter -90GPM flow rate, Pentair Whisperflow Pump,SWG Intelichlor, UltraTemp Heat Pump, New 10/2012 Bucks County PA

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Backwash for dummies?

    It's right there next to the filter. The top picture. Should be an open port at the bottom, unless someone plumbed it to lead off somewhere else. In which case, happy hunting.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Backwash for dummies?

    Okay I am assuming that you mean the bottom of the junction of the pipes right under the black push/pull lever? My instincts told me that should be where it is based on all the plumbing joining there - but I stuck my hand up the bottom of it and it appears to be solid - Does the push pull lever open it up? And how in blazes do they expect you to put a hose up there from the bottom?
    How would I clamp the hose on it when the opening is a pvc pipe that is larger than the hose? Forgive my ignorance - I was my dad's tool gopher, girls weren't supposed to use the tools, just fetch them lol





    - - - Updated - - -

    And what is the hose bib for in this picture?
    22Kgal (18x36 3.5-6ft), IG,Vinyl,DE 36sqft Filter -90GPM flow rate, Pentair Whisperflow Pump,SWG Intelichlor, UltraTemp Heat Pump, New 10/2012 Bucks County PA

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    Re: Backwash for dummies?

    I would think it might be to pump directly to "waste" not filter. You would probably have a valve stop to shut off any inflow to the filter. I'm so glad I have a multi-port valve that is sooooo easy to use.
    Pool size: 24000gal inground Vinyl-Taylor k-2006 and k-1766 test kits and-speed stir
    Intermatic P1353ME digital timer w/freeze sensor
    CircuPool Si-45 SWCG System
    Polaris 280 vacuum/Polaris PB4-60 boost pump
    Pentair IntelliFlo VS 3hp Pump--Pentair sand filter

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    Re: Backwash for dummies?

    tcasto~ The only stupid question is a question not asked. We're all here to learn and help others. We encourage you to ask whatever if is you need so that you can have, not only a trouble free pool, but a trouble free season.
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: Backwash for dummies?

    This is your valve. You can see there's supposed to be some sort of elbow, with a clear section to serve as your sight glass, to connect the hose to.



    You can buy the fittings at the hardware store. For instance, Lowes will sell the PVC elbows you need, and out by the pool stuff, you'll likely find this backwash tailpiece, part 192069 if the link doesn't work right.:

    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Backwash for dummies?

    Thanks so much - you did not have to go through that trouble for me!
    I am going to take my laptop out the filter and compare picts lol!
    I cant imagine that the original pool guy would leave me without the parts I need to connect the backwash hose - I am hoping that I am just not seeing them

    I am also assuming that I will have to replace DE after I backwash- right? Does Walmart sell DE or do I have to go to the pool store? If I don't figure this out tonite I am going to call the pool guy tomorrow - but it takes them a WHILE to get back to me.
    22Kgal (18x36 3.5-6ft), IG,Vinyl,DE 36sqft Filter -90GPM flow rate, Pentair Whisperflow Pump,SWG Intelichlor, UltraTemp Heat Pump, New 10/2012 Bucks County PA

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    Re: Backwash for dummies?

    Quote Originally Posted by tcasto View Post
    Thanks so much - you did not have to go through that trouble for me!
    I am going to take my laptop out the filter and compare picts lol! I am also assuming that I will have to replace DE after I backwash- right? Does Walmart sell DE or do I have to go to the pool store? If I don't figure this out tonite I am going to call the pool guy tomorrow - but it takes them a WHILE to get back to me.
    Yes, you need to replace DE. Walmart may have it. Pool store definitely will. Add only 80% of what they recommend in the manual, because it doesn't wash out as well as it should. Only use the full amount when the filter is brand new or if you've opened it up and manually disassembled and cleaned it all.

    Here's how it works inside:
    backwash.jpg
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Backwash for dummies?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    Yes, you need to replace DE. Walmart may have it. Pool store definitely will. Add only 80% of what they recommend in the manual, because it doesn't wash out as well as it should. Only use the full amount when the filter is brand new or if you've opened it up and manually disassembled and cleaned it all.

    Here's how it works inside:
    backwash.jpg
    Thanks so much again! The pictures make total sense. So the backwash is supposed to come out of the place where I thought it should- under the pull lever. I looked at my set up again just to make sure I am not crazy and I do not have the clear section as a sight glass and I do not have the nice backwash tailpipe which would make things so much easier. Sigh
    I guess I could just pull the lever and observe the result! lol! I really don't want that mess all over the yard.
    I am going to call the pool installer and see if he can help me out. If not, I will be armed with your picts and info to fix the situation.- thanks again!

    I know I can handle the whole backwash/replacing DE as long as I can figure out where to attach the backwash hose!
    I am afraid to ask but what happens if someone doesn't backwash when they need to? We had the pool installed in 10/2012 and it hasn't been backwashed yet - unless the pool guy did it when he closed it when I wasn't here to see what he did. He told us we would only have to do it once a year when indicated. I just noticed the gauge had moved this spring. Before that it was fine.
    22Kgal (18x36 3.5-6ft), IG,Vinyl,DE 36sqft Filter -90GPM flow rate, Pentair Whisperflow Pump,SWG Intelichlor, UltraTemp Heat Pump, New 10/2012 Bucks County PA

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    Re: Backwash for dummies?

    Quote Originally Posted by tcasto View Post
    Thanks so much again! The pictures make total sense. So the backwash is supposed to come out of the place where I thought it should- under the pull lever. I looked at my set up again just to make sure I am not crazy and I do not have the clear section as a sight glass and I do not have the nice backwash tailpipe which would make things so much easier. Sigh
    I guess I could just pull the lever and observe the result! lol! I really don't want that mess all over the yard.
    I am going to call the pool installer and see if he can help me out. If not, I will be armed with your picts and info to fix the situation.- thanks again!

    I know I can handle the whole backwash/replacing DE as long as I can figure out where to attach the backwash hose!
    I am afraid to ask but what happens if someone doesn't backwash when they need to? We had the pool installed in 10/2012 and it hasn't been backwashed yet - unless the pool guy did it when he closed it when I wasn't here to see what he did. He told us we would only have to do it once a year when indicated. I just noticed the gauge had moved this spring. Before that it was fine.
    Eventually, your filter will clog. The pressure will climb higher and higher and higher until it collapses the filter grids, and no water will come out the returns. Who knows? Maybe you'll overheat your pump motor and destroy that, too!
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Backwash for dummies?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    Eventually, your filter will clog. The pressure will climb higher and higher and higher until it collapses the filter grids, and no water will come out the returns. Who knows? Maybe you'll overheat your pump motor and destroy that, too!
    I figured as much - actually I imagined the thing exploding Calling the pool installer tomorrow morning - will let you know how it all turns out. Thanks a bunch
    22Kgal (18x36 3.5-6ft), IG,Vinyl,DE 36sqft Filter -90GPM flow rate, Pentair Whisperflow Pump,SWG Intelichlor, UltraTemp Heat Pump, New 10/2012 Bucks County PA

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    Re: Backwash for dummies?

    So, I'm curious. What's the spigot for just above the pump? I obviously did not answer that correctly.
    Pool size: 24000gal inground Vinyl-Taylor k-2006 and k-1766 test kits and-speed stir
    Intermatic P1353ME digital timer w/freeze sensor
    CircuPool Si-45 SWCG System
    Polaris 280 vacuum/Polaris PB4-60 boost pump
    Pentair IntelliFlo VS 3hp Pump--Pentair sand filter

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    Re: Backwash for dummies?

    The spigot was probably installed for pressure testing at construction. But it's really really handy to use to lower the pool level, like after a heavy rain, or when you need to replace water due to high CYA or high CH. I have one on my outlet pipe and I keep a hose permanently attached to water the lawn with. I'm still trying to get ahead of the astronomical CH!
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Backwash for dummies?

    I see, sorta like my waste setting on my multiport that bypasses the filter altogether, whereas, the bw setting reverses the flow thru the filter to get rid of the stuff that's causing higher pressure etc. When I'm lowering my water level due to rain, I'll bw it to clean the filter while I'm at it.
    Pool size: 24000gal inground Vinyl-Taylor k-2006 and k-1766 test kits and-speed stir
    Intermatic P1353ME digital timer w/freeze sensor
    CircuPool Si-45 SWCG System
    Polaris 280 vacuum/Polaris PB4-60 boost pump
    Pentair IntelliFlo VS 3hp Pump--Pentair sand filter

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    Re: Backwash for dummies?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    The spigot was probably installed for pressure testing at construction. But it's really really handy to use to lower the pool level, like after a heavy rain, or when you need to replace water due to high CYA or high CH. I have one on my outlet pipe and I keep a hose permanently attached to water the lawn with. I'm still trying to get ahead of the astronomical CH!
    That's good to know! Just a question- if I were to use this to lower the pool level, should I shut off the filter or leave it on?
    22Kgal (18x36 3.5-6ft), IG,Vinyl,DE 36sqft Filter -90GPM flow rate, Pentair Whisperflow Pump,SWG Intelichlor, UltraTemp Heat Pump, New 10/2012 Bucks County PA

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    Re: Backwash for dummies?

    Quote Originally Posted by tcasto View Post
    That's good to know! Just a question- if I were to use this to lower the pool level, should I shut off the filter or leave it on?
    Leave it on. You'll have to have the pump running, and the hose turned on full will only flow about 1/4 of what comes out of the pump. Probably even less. So the filter will just be filtering less water and will show lower pressure.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Backwash for dummies?

    Success, sort of..... I actually backwashed the filter today - Thanks for the encouragement. I made a trip to Lowes and picked up PVC fittings that I thought might work and I also picked up the recommended backwash tailpiece which would have worked great if I had also picked up a 2inch to 1inch pvc fitting. The only casualty is my wet foot. A trip to Lowes later in the week will fix that.
    Question: The filter gauge went back down to about 13- I am assuming that is where it is supposed to be?

    I also stopped at the pool store and picked up a 25 pound bag of DE and a 1 pound measuring cup. I could have gotten the box of individually packaged 6 pound bags of DE - but it was more expensive and I was feeling thrifty. I think my bag was 25 bucks including the measuring cup.

    My next challenge - how much DE do I put in the skimmer? Do I remove the basket to do it, or just put it in the basket. Should I disconnect the robot vacuum and put the filter on normal- or do I just let it do its thing? I don't want to mess this up.
    I took a picture of the directions on the side of the filter so I could increase the font and actually read it.
    It says: "add one pound coffee can or 1/2 pound wt. of DE per 5 sq ft of filter area."
    I have a 36 sq ft filter so they are recommending 7 pounds of DE - but I should only put in 80 percent of that which is.... 5.6

    So I should put 5.6 measuring cups (glad I bought it instead of the premeasured bags of DE in skimmer. Should I dilute it in a bucket and pour it in?
    Thanks so much in advance for your help.
    22Kgal (18x36 3.5-6ft), IG,Vinyl,DE 36sqft Filter -90GPM flow rate, Pentair Whisperflow Pump,SWG Intelichlor, UltraTemp Heat Pump, New 10/2012 Bucks County PA

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    Re: Backwash for dummies?

    Recharging is Step 11 in this thread.

    If you have a kitchen scale, that's the best way to measure out the DE. But the cup works. You've done the math right.

    PS: After you've recharged the DE and bled all the air out and the filter has run a minute or two, that's your clean pressure. There's a good chance the pressure will not change just from adding the DE. Very little if at all.
    Last edited by Richard320; 05-19-2014 at 12:50 PM. Reason: PS
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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