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How do I vacuum to waste?

Pool Maintenance

There are not very many times you have to remember how to vacuum to waste because they are few and far between. Once in awhile though, the “how to” part gets a little fuzzy in the old memory bank.

This is an easy one. If you find yourself in the company of those that have to winterize their pools, you know well that when you open it up in the Spring, it looks a lot like a hurricane meets a tornado meets a Mississippi bog. If you find yourself with an algae problem mid-season, because you finally took that driving vacation to the Grand Canyon that you have always dreamed of, you may have some work on your hands when you get home. Sure, you can vacuum up the green stuff like you normally would, but the problem is that when the algae gets trapped in your filter, it can cause ongoing filter issues. If you vacuum to waste, you are bypassing the filter all together and you don’t run the risk of the algae bypassing your filtration and/or sanitation system and kicking back out into your pool. When you vacuum to waste you are sending the water through your sewer line which will drain the pool slightly, but it expedites the algae removal process.

Here are the steps to vacuum to waste:

  • Step 1: Turn off the pump
  • Step 2: Move the multiport valve to the waste setting
  • Step 3: Turn the pump back on (all of your pool water is now dumping into the sewer, this would be a good time to double check your basement to make sure you don’t have any backups)
  • Step 4: Close all skimmer lines except for one
  • Step 5: Close your main drain down to 50%
  • Step 6: Set up your vacuum the way you normally would for regular vacuuming
  • Step 7: Un-kink that garden hose, place it in the same skimmer you inserted your vacuum hose into, and turn on the water
  • Step 8: Vacuum the pool
  • Step 9: Shut off the pump
  • Step 10: Shut the skimmer valve belonging to the skimmer you just vacuumed from
  • Step 11: Open the main drain valve all the way
  • Step 12: Move the multiport valve back to filter
  • Step 13: Turn the pump on. At this point you are pulling water from the main drain as all of your skimmers are closed down. You are circulating water through your filter and sanitation system as you normally would. The water is getting filtered and returning to your pool. Keep that garden hose running until the water is back to the normal level, about half way above your skimmers.
  • Step 14: Open your skimmer valves completely
  • Step 15: Once your pump has achieved full prime turn the main drain valve down to 50%, about half way. (This forces the skimmers to work a bit harder pulling floating debris off of the water surface more efficiently). “At this point you are back in business for normal operation.”

If you are preparing your pool for winterization you can drain your pool using the same steps. The only difference is that you will be closing all skimmer valves completely. Once you have done that you leave the main drain valve open all the way. The valve should be parallel with the pipe. Turn your pump back on and now you are draining. Monitor the water level and let it drain about 1” below the return lines.

Tags :
pool tools,prevent green pool
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