Do I have to vacuum to waste?

Oct 14, 2016
Virginia Beach
Hey all. I'm a new pool owner and I'm trying to get a handle on our pool for this season. When we bought the house last fall, we saw what we thought was sand in the bottom. We thought nothing of it and left the pool open all winter, where a little more ''sand'' accumulated. After an algae bloom a week ago, we got the water blue, but it was still cloudy, so we cracked open the filter to find one grid was shredded, and another had a small hole along with a cracked manifold. All of that has been repaired and we're trying to clean what we now believe is DE, not sand from the bottom. Vacuuming to waste drains A LOT of water. Since there is not much else bigger we are sucking up than old DE, can we vacuum to the filter and save the water? Thanks!


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
Franklin, NC
Welcome to TFP!!:handwave:

I guess my first suggestion is to please edit your signature and add the following information so we can better frame our answers to you.

  • The size of your pool in gallons
  • If your pool is an AG (above ground) or IG (in ground)
  • If it's IG, tell us if it's vinyl, plaster/pebble, or fiberglass
  • The type filter you have (sand, DE, cartridge)
  • If you know, tell us the make and model of your pump and filter.
  • List any other equipment you have: SWG, second pump, etc.
  • Please mention if you fill the pool from a well or are currently on water restrictions

As a new pool owner I'm guessing that you have no history of how the pool was maintained. We find that many pools are maintained by the "pool store" method. That means take a sample of water to the pool store, they analyze it in their magic machine and sell a bunch of stuff to throw in the water.

We base our pool care system on accurate testing and only adding what the pool needs, when it needs it. To do that you need your own accurate test kit.

I suggest you take control of your pool and order a TF100. That kit will probably give you enough reagents for a couple of years normal use.

The only other real option for a test kit is a Taylor K-2006. Be careful comparing prices because the K-2006 comes in sizes, designated by a letter. The basic K-2006 has .75oz bottles. You need to get the K-2006-C to get the larger bottles that you want. Even then it is a little short on the reagent & powder for the FAS/DPD test.

I also have the SpeedStir and Sample Sizer. They speed testing and accuracy.

What we find is that pools maintained by the pool store method have underlying chemical imbalances which may necessitate a large exchange of water, so the vacuum to waste may not end up being such a bad idea.
Oct 14, 2016
Virginia Beach
Man, I've lurked here awhile, so I knew about the signature so I created one, but it's not showing up. weird. Until I get it figured out:

~20000 gallons (estimated, it's peanut shaped)
In ground
Vinyl liner
Hayward Pro grid DE6020
Pump is unknown
Hayward SWG
using city water

I have a Taylor 2006 and have been testing FC and CYA while SLAMing. Last reading today was: FC 19, CC 1, CYA 50. I think I'm still low on CYA.
Oct 14, 2016
Virginia Beach
Forgot to comment on the second half of your post. It was maintained by a pool service up until October of last year. The previous owner must have bought whatever they told him as there are tons of chemicals in the shed, along with lots of things that aren't recommended here. I've got the smaller Taylor kit unfortunately. Anyways, as winter was approaching when we bought it, and my wife wanted to keep it open, we didn't really do anything to the pool all winter except run the pumps 5 hours a night. There were many storms that required wasting water and I didn't know how much DE to put in, so I was probably under charging it. It stayed clear up until last month.

- - - Updated - - -

pics of equipment if that's helpful



Silver Supporter
Sep 1, 2016
Yakima, WA
I ended up buying the smaller Taylor kit, too. I actually really like it - compact and convenient, and I bought a couple of large refill bottles from tftestkits and refill the small taylor bottles.