Vacuuming your above-ground pool is a maintenance procedure you must not overlook. Using skimmers will only help you remove debris and dirt that is suspended in the pool water.
You can use the same skimmer to remove contaminants that stick to the side of the pool or the ones that settle at the bottom.
Frequently, you can brush off these particles from the bottom and sides of the pool and stir them up to make them clear through the skimmers.
But you might not be able to clear all the contaminants, and some of them will still sink to the bottom and settle again. So, occasionally, you need to use more efficient equipment to get better and faster results. Those are the things vacuuming will help you achieve.
That takes us to the question: Can you vacuum a pool with a sand filter?
Yes, you can easily vacuum your swimming pool with a sand filter. Depending on the amount of contaminants in the pool, the vacuum can be used with two different valve settings.
The Vacuum Process
A normal vacuum uses force in the skimmer lines. The circulation pump generates a vacuum that pulls water under negative pressure into the skimmer line and then back to the pump.
Under positive pressure, the water is pumped through the sand filter and sent back via the return lines.
Once the vacuum hose is filled with water to prevent air bubbles, the hose is tightly fitted into the skimmer inlet.
As the vacuum head is rolled over the sides and bottom of the pool, the skimmer pulls water through it to pick up dirt and debris. The contaminated vacuum water is then sent to the pump before it is pumped to the sand filter.
Then the water can be vacuumed to Waste or Filter, depending on the aim and settings of the vacuum filter. The process is straightforward.
How often should I vacuum the pool?
Remember that skimmers can only remove debris, leaves, and larger dirt particles floating in the water. So, you can’t rely on them to keep your pool clean all the time.
There are very tiny particles afloat that the skimmer can’t remove. Later, they will settle at the bottom or sides of the pool. Moreover, you can have algae that sticks to the bottom or sides of the pool. All these things can’t be handled by the skimmers.
So, it is important to vacuum clean your pool often, at least once a week.
What equipment do I need?
You only need four basic tools:
- A vacuum head
- A telescopic/pool pole
- A vacuum hose
- A sand filter
You can easily get this equipment from any pool supplier or shop close to you. You can also order them online.
How to vacuum the pool with a sand filter
To use a sand filter to vacuum your pool, you need to adhere to the following steps:
- First, remove debris and large particles.
Check your pool to confirm if there are large particles like levels and debris. If they are present, do your best to remove them first because they can block the hose pipe or vacuum head.
Such occurrences can disrupt the whole process. So, remove them with a scoop net.
- Attach the hose pipe and telescopic pole to the vacuum head.
To start, you need to assemble the vacuum tools. Fit the hose and the pool pole to the vacuum head and then gently put them in the pool.
- Fill the hose with water.
To avoid air bubbles that might create an airlock, fill the pipe with water to remove any trapped air before fitting it to the skimmer inlet.
So, submerge the hose in the pool water and allow it to fill. To quickly fill it with water, all you need to do is to bring the pipe closer to the return outlet. It will be filled up immediately.
- Fit the hose to the dedicated suction port or skimmer.
Does your pool have a dedicated suction port? If so, attach the pool hose to the suction. If it doesn’t have it, you can use the skimmer to vacuum.
For most pool skimmers, you have to remove the skimmer basket to be able to attach the hose. You will see the hose port at the bottom of the skimmer.
- Set the multiport valve to filter.
Check the multiport valve on the filter settings and make sure that it is set at the filter. If not, push the handle down and move the settings to filter.
- Switch on the pump.
Turn on the pool pump. Before you start vacuuming, ensure that all the air bubbles are removed and the water is pumping.
Note: If your pool has more than one skimmer, you need to switch off the one you are not using. If you can’t do that individually, you can block it with a tennis ball. Just place the ball there and the suction will hold it.
- Vacuum your pool.
Once you confirm that everything is working properly, vacuum the pool by gently moving the vacuum head across the pool’s sides and bottom.
Do this gently to avoid stirring up the particles. If you stir the particles up, they will suspend in the water, making it difficult for you to remove them all.
- Disconnect and disassemble.
After vacuuming the whole pool completely, you will need to disconnect the hose from the suction port or skimmer. Then take the tools out of the pool and dismantle them.
- Switch off the pool pump.
Once you disconnect, you can then turn off the pool pump.
Remember that the purpose of the sand filter is to block dirt, debris, and oil. As the vacuum water passes through the sand filter, all those tiny particles are trapped there.
To remove the dirt and contaminants from the filter sand, you need to let water flow in the reverse direction. So, set the sand filter to Backwash and turn on the pump. Run the water through the waste line into the drain or ground for about 2 minutes. The sight glass on the filter will help you know when to stop. Once it becomes clear, you can stop backwashing. Then, turn off the tap.
- Rinse the filter.
Push down and set the filter to Rinse. Run the pump and allow it to rinse for about a minute. Turn off the pump.
- Clean up the filter.
Close the valve and empty the skimmer basket. Clean the hair catcher and reopen the skimmer valve.
- Once done, push down and reset the valve to Filter. Then turn on the pump.
What setting do you put your sand filter on to vacuum? Multiport Settings
A standard multiport valve usually has six different settings: Filters, Backwash, Rinse, Recirculate, Closed, and Waste.
The settings to choose when vacuuming depend on the amount of particles and dirt, and the aim of the process.
For residential pools, the particulates are usually at moderate levels. So, there is no cause for alarm. Such a pool can be vacuumed with the Filter setting, which redirects the vacuumed water back to the pool after filtration via the return lines.
The particles filtered by the sand are then removed through a routine backwash.
However, there is a level of particles you will have in your pool, you don’t need one to tell you that you need to vacuum to waste. If there are many contaminants in the pool, there is no point trying to vacuum to filter, just vacuum to waste.
How do I vacuum my above-ground pool to waste?
Set your multiport valve to Waste if vacuuming to a sand filter is not advisable.
With this kind of setting, the vacuumed water bypasses the sand filter and goes straight to the sewer or down the drain.
But take note that the pool water will drop because the vacuumed water doesn’t return to the pool again. So, you need to add more water to the pool after the process is completed. This means that you need to test the water to know whether the water’s chemistry is balanced. If not, you need to balance the water chemistry with the appropriate chemicals.
Do you vacuum a pool on waste or filter?
Most often, you realize that pool owners use the Filter setting to vacuum. However, this is so because they do not have much debris or other contaminants in their pool.
If you don’t have a high level of contaminants in your pool, using the Filter setting is all you need. This setting allows the vacuumed water to flow through the filter bed before returning to the pool.
When not to filter,
As we pointed out earlier, some pool conditions don’t require sending water to the sand filter. Some pools, especially those left unused for a very long time, get infiltrated with algae and debris, forming thick layers on the pool bottom.
If you send such pool water to the filter, it will overload the filter media. Moreover, if algae are shocked with a high level of chlorine dose, the algae dust is likely going to pass through the filter and return to the pool.
Once a flocculent has been used to clear the pool, there is no need to send the pool water to the sand filter.
It’s better to vacuum to waste where the water doesn’t return to the pool.
Do you remove the skimmer basket when vacuuming above ground pool?
Well, the skimmer basket is removed in most cases. But, it depends where you are connecting the vacuum hose. Are you connecting it to a vacuum plate, a dedicated vacuum port, or the bottom of the skimmer?
For most skimmers, the basket must be removed before you can attach the hose because the hose port is at the bottom of the skimmer.
If you are using the skimmer bottom hole, you have no other option than to remove the skimmer basket in order to have access to it.
If you are using a vacuum plate, you don’t need to remove the skimmer as the plate is attached above it leaving the basket in situ. This can help to trap the large debris.
For a dedicated vacuum port, you don’t even need to touch the skimmer basket.
Why does my sand filter keep putting sand in a pool?
If your sand filter is putting sand in your pool, then know that something is wrong somewhere. The sand is meant to remain in the filter media.
For the sand to blow into the pool, means that something is broken in the filter. The problem could be the perforated pipe that catches the water that circulates through the filter at the bottom of the filter. It is a cracked lateral. It could be the standpoint.
Also, a worn-out or broken seal can cause the same problem. However, it can be fixed.