Commonly Asked Questions

Commonly Asked Questions......

Question:  How do I backwash my Sand Filter and how often should I be backwashing?


Answer:    First.. you should be backwashing your filter once a week or the very least every 10 days.  Some larger pools (like real large) may need backwashing 2x @week.  Why do we need to do this?  Think of that Filter (the big huge thing back at the Equipment) as a large Vacuum Cleaner Bag.  The job of that filter is to "catch debris" that has been in the pool.  Just like your Vac Bag at home.  Well you need to empty your Vac Bag at home or change it out - right?  Or it won't pick up all the dust, dog / cat hair in the house....Same concept here.  You need to Backwash - or clean out - that Filter, so it can continue to catch debris and continue to have proper pressure to have your entire system function properly.  (note:  Heaters are extremely temperamental and MUST have proper pressure to function so if your heater is not kicking on - could be you need to backwash.) 


I don't have a sand filter - I have a cartridge filter... same concept here only you'll be stopping the pump/motor and opening up that filter and taking out the cartridges and hosing them down.  It's nice to have a spare so you can have one already clean and pop back in while you're hosing off the other.  Do this just as often - maybe more often with the dumb Cottonwood Files around.. ugh!


I don't have a sand filter or cartridge filter - we have a DE Filter... You need to hose off the grids inside that filter usually 2 to 3 times a summer.  Same applies.. turn off the pool pump/motor and open and take grids out and clean.


So How Do I Backwash to filter.  First and foremost you must turn off the switch of the pool pump - so the entire pool STOPS.  Next, take the flat backwash hose that is attached to your filter and spread it out so it is laying flat somewhere where you don't care water comes.  Once that is flat, You can turn the Handle of the "multi-port", it's the handle Valve that is right there either on top of the filter or right next to it.  It is currently pointing to FILTER with the little arrow.  Push down on the handle and move it "Clockwise" all the way around so the little arrow is now pointing to BACKWASH.  Now, head to the pump.. this is a good time to empty that pump basket of any and all debris that is inside it.  Open that pump lid and take basket out.  Empty it.  Put it back in and close the lid again.  Now you are ready to turn the switch back on and start the pump motor.  Do that.  You will see water start coming out of that backwash hose.  For those that have hard plumbed PVC that goes directly into the ground, you may not be able to see the water.  For those that have the flat backwash hose, head over to where it's coming out.  You'll see, clear water, then dirty water, then when it's clear again... You're Done - or roughly a couple minutes.  Head back to the Pump/Motor and TURN IT OFF.  Pool has Stopped now again.  Go back to the Multi-Port Valve Handle and turning the handle the same direction you did before (Clockwise) turn that handle back to FILTER.  Go back to the Power switch of the pump/motor and turn it back on.  Now you are back to Filtering and you should have better pressure, and you've got a cleaner filter.  Go back to your flat backwash hose and roll it back up and get it off your grass or area, until you're ready to do this next time.


ALWAYS REMEMBER TO TURN OFF THE POOL WHEN YOU'RE GOING TO BACKWASH... YOU CAN NEVER TURN THAT MULTI-PORT HANDLE WHEN POOL IS RUNNING... IT'S LIKE DRIVING IN YOUR CAR.. 40 mph AND ALL OF A SUDDEN THROWING THE CAR IN REVERSE!  You would ruin your transmission and car.. same thing here.

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Question: Help.... We are backwashing while we are on Filter??  What do we do??  I'm losing water?  


Answer: Relax.. it will be fine.. Turn off the pool - stop motor.  If you're handy (and quite frankly even if you're not) there are screws that hold that valve on.  Sometimes 6 screws.  You can take those screws off and lift up that valve top and there is a Gasket there.. it's either MOVED or it needs replacing.  If it's moved.. place it back where it should be and put top back on and screw back on.. IF it's destroyed head to the pool store and buy a new one and replace.. Then put top back on / screw it back on.  Try it now.  Fixed?  If not..

IF you've tried this and it's still leaking, you may need a whole new Top Valve Seat.  In the meantime you can plug it so you're not losing water until repair can be done.  Take the Flat Backwash Hose off... it's on by a simple clamp.  Now, find your winter plugs - one of those may fit inside that pipe that is coming from the Multi-port valve.  Or head to Home Depot to grab a plug or cap.   Cap it so the water can not escape through that pipe until repair can be done.

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Question:  I have a Safety Cover on my pool and when I open it, it takes forever to clear up - What can I do?


Answer:  First of all, open as early as possible.  The sediment and algaes will form and be nasty to clear up.  The later you open the harder to clear.  Unless your willing to wait weeks you should have your pool Power Vac'd at the opening.  Even if you can't see the bottom, you must have it "Blind Vac'd" with a trash pump to get everything off the bottom.  After this you add the appropriate amount of chlorine to clear it as soon as possible.  The homeowner in most cases MUST Backwash their system or hose out the cartridges as much as 2-3 times a day until it clears.  (Generally 1 day).  


If you're a "Do-It-Yourself'er".. with a Safety Cover... some tips... open up a corner of the cover and pour in some liquid chlorine as early as you can.  A couple gallons helps.  Do this a few times if you're going to open late May or June.  If not, once should help.  Once cover is off, you'll need to vacuum the pool as slow as you can and backwash or clear out the cartridges OFTEN.  Pour more liquid chlorine into the pool and depending on how GREEN it is... really GREEN.. about 2 cases... less liquid chlorine the less Green it is.  You'll need to BACKWASH or CLEAR out the Cartridges a lot.. like 2-3 times a day until the water clears up.


Liquid Chlorine + Power Shock will help clear up the pool.  Backwashing is the most important thing you can do.  Even if you have me open your pool - YOU MUST DO THE BACKWASHING!!  Unless you want to pay $100.00 + for me to do it - it's simple and easy.  We can teach you in a matter of minutes and even over the phone.  In fact look at the top of this page, I've explained How To Backwash.


This information is provided to those who are "Do-It-Yourself'ers" and can probably help.


Another Tip from one of our customers.....when closing the pool and you have a Safety Cover....take a gallon size Zip Lock Bag...put a couple of chlorine pucks inside along with a portion of kids styrofoam noodle (so it will float)...poke a few holes in the bag.  Maybe make Two (2) of these and place on either end of the pool.  Now put on the Safety Cover.  This will slowly dissolve over time - freeze - then thaw and dissolve.  This can help with some of the "greenish" color once cover comes off, if you open early enough.  Also some folks have taken one corner off of cover in the spring so it opens a tiny bit, poured some liquid chlorine in...then go to other side of pool and do the same thing....put back corners of cover and when taken off later, it's not as bad.  You'll still probably have a greenish pool but may not be as bad.  Worth a try!

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Question:  How long should I be running my system?   


Answer:  Quite frankly you should run that system 24/7, as water that is not moving is basically a pond....especially when it's hot out during the summer with continuously warm and sunny days.  We tell all our customers that you should be running at the very least 12-15 hours a day.  Are you running out to your pool equipment and turning on and off your system?  You may benefit from some automatic timers, call us we can help 248-481-3345.

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Question:  My Heater won't kick in or fire up?  


Answer:  Have you backwashed your system or cleared out the filter cartridges?  Have you emptied your baskets, all of them?  Simply doing all these tasks can clear up that problem.  Heaters are temperamental and need proper pressure, or good water flow thru your entire system in order to function.  If you've done this and it's still not kicking in check your pilot, has it blown out?  Or do you have Electronic Ignition?  If that is the case there is no Pilot to light and you may need Service (I can recommend a great Heating & Cooling company that I refer all my clients to). If the pilot won't light and you've tried several times, depending on the age of your heater, an old fashioned fix sometimes works - the pilot generator could be stuck.  Just like the old days when you or your Dad would hit the side of the TV to get the picture to come in, you can pound on the side of the heater, just above the door where you light the pilot.  This may "jiggle" the pilot generator enough so it will ignite.  If you've done all these things and still nothing, call us we can get you touch with a heater repair person, we don’t service them, but we refer to a company that specializes in just that.  Call us at 248-481-3345