Accidentally Ran The Pump Dry


New member
Apr 18, 2018
Hey all! I'm brand new here, protective plastic still intact and all, but will try to provide as much information as possible.

I have an in ground plaster pool (30k gallons-ish) with a sand filter and an old pump that I don't know the history of as it came with the house. It makes some noise at baseline and isn't super healthy sounding but seems to move plenty of water.

After backwashing a few days ago I neglected to return the backwash valve to it's normal position which, I have learned, allows it to not flood the yard, wash debris and dirt into the pool, and cause general mayhem. The pump then kicked on at 2am and ran until about 8am when I found the pool to be halfish empty sucking gallons of air into the system from the dry skimmer. The pump sounded unhappy but was still running and not on that was a win.

I decided to just bite the bullet and empty it completely, starting from scratch with new water. It was going to be glorious. Power washed walls, no rocks at the main drain, Valhalla of pool ownership. Adding insult to injury, though, in my frantic state I forgot to turn off the auto fill so when I came home from work instead of having a half empty pool it was filled to the tippy top.

My questions are as follows: is there any way to determine if I did a huge amount of damage to the pump? Other than testing the water and adjusting chemicals accordingly (The Taylor 2006 test kit is in the mail) is there anything else I need to do? I have swept it and vacuumed and the pump mercifully appears to still be doing the pump thing. Was all of this water turnover a complete waste? I was chasing some phosphate problems last year and am hoping this ordeal may have diluted that enough to get ahead of the issue.

Thanks a lot!


Gold Supporter
Silver Supporter
Mar 25, 2018
Chandler Arizona
I would dump a couple of gallons of bleach in there as a precaution until you get your kit. Once you have that, you can post numbers and everyone will chime in to help you get it up to speed.


Well-known member
Aug 29, 2017
Van buren, AR
I work on my pool a lot in the afternoon on my lunch break from work. Nice perk of living close to work! I also don't have any auto fill option on my pool so I place my car keys on the hose faucet so I don't forget to turn it off if I am filling on a lunch break

If I fill my pool in the evening when I am not driving anywhere I set a timer on my phone to remind me. I also don't chuck my hose directly in the pool. The running water in the pool for me is also an indicator something isn't right.

I have always had the fear I would leave it on backwash like you did so when I do my filter maintenance I do it all right then and there. Backwash, rinse and back to filter before I leave my equipment pad. Its the only way I can rest at night knowing.


TFP Guide
Apr 12, 2016
Tucson, AZ
Been there, done that, got to sit and backwash every 5 minutes for a few days. Thankfully we had a Kreepy Krauly so it did most of the pickup work for me.

Just posting to say "I feel your pain" and "it will get better soon". :)