Vacuuming after a storm and keeping pool balanced during rainy weather


Active member
Oct 21, 2018
Northern Tennessee
It has rained off and on for the past two weeks and rain is the forecast for the next 5 days. Our pool is surrounded by trees so leaves and mulch is getting blown into the pool constantly. I don't own a robot so I'm going to have to vacuum the pool manually. I'm new to all of this so I have a few questions on how to vacuum the pool the correct way, and what I need to do to keep the pool from turning into a swamp during all of this rainy weather.

1. If I vacuum the pool to waste, can I vacuum up all of the leaves or do I need to remove most of them with the net before vacuuming?
2. If I bought a leaf canister that you attach to the end of the vacuum hose, would it allow me to vacuum up all of the leaves on filter mode? Does it decrease your suction when you use one? (The guy at the pool store recommended that I buy one but I've never used one before.)
3. If I vacuum to waste, do I need to backwash and rinse the filter afterwards, or do you only need to do this when you vacuum on filter?
4. If I get out most of the leaves but there is a lot of dirt, fine debris, and mulch in the pool, can I vacuum on filter instead of to waste? I am going to vacuum to waste the first time since my water level is already too high but I don't want to do this again since it is depletes the salt and calcium levels.
5. If a storm with high winds is expected during the day when I'm not home, should I shut the pump off since I won't be home to dump leaves out of the basket, or should I keep it running and turn off the skimmer so I won't have to worry about damage to my pump?
6. Since there has been a lot of debris in the pool and has rained off and on for two weeks, should I shock the pool, even if CC is .5 and there are no signs of algae?
7. Should I keep the chlorine level a tad bit higher than normal since it will be raining all week and there will always be some debris in the pool?

I'm sorry to be asking so many questions but I'm new to all of this. In years past, a pool company maintained my pool so I'm trying to learn how to take care of everything myself.


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
If you install that canister you can just vacuum through the filter. When the canister is full, you'll lose pressure and suction. Empty it and resume.

Certainly use a skimmer or leaf rake to grab what you can before vacuuming. It's much easier to maneuver than the vacuum -- no hose. Also easier to empty than the canister.

Enough leaves to clog the skimmer is outside my experience. But if it's been yours, why not just set the timer so the pump only runs when you;re home?

You don't need to SLAM unless you see algae. But raising the FC in anticipation of a high organic load is certainly prudent.

If you need to lower the water level you can vacuum to waste. You won't need to backwash because nothing went through the filter. Use the canister anyway, so you don't clog the pump impeller with leaves.

You may not need to backwash even after vacuuming to filter unless the filter pressure rose 25%.
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