Quick Definition:

Backwashing is the process of cleaning the main swimming pool filter by reversing the flow of water through the filter, dislodging filter debris and removing the debris-filled water from the pool lines, leaving a cleaned filter.

What is Backwashing?

Backwashing is a swimming pool industry term for cleaning the main pool filter by rinsing the filter with the pool water flow provided by the pool pump.

As filters become clogged with debris, the ability of water to flow through filter decreases, causing an increase in water pressure through the pool pump and filter.  The filter is less effective, and the pump has to work harder, potentially shortening its life and increasing the possibility for maintenance.

How is Backwashing performed?

Backwashing is accomplished by reversing the water flow through the filter, with the resulting flow routed to a waste water or other outlet other than back to the swimming pool. The reversed water flow against the filter frees contaminates like particles, dirt, and organic matter attached to the filter, with the reversed water flow then carrying the debris out through the backwash or waste water outlet.

The backwashing process usually only requires a few minutes, as the reverse flowing water will quickly dislodge filter debris.  Once the backwashed water runs clear or near clear, the backwashing can be stopped.

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