How A Backwash Valve (Multi Port Valve) Works
This video is a little tutorial on how a backwash (or multi port) valve works. It is not a “how to backwash” video (but there is one further down this page!). Hopefully it will give you an understanding on what the positions on your filter can do for you. Enjoy!
How To Backwash
This video is a quick tutorial on the process of backwashing a filter. Please excuse the poor quality of the video… I was filming it with one hand while trying to hold my phone as a torch with the other because I was basically in a dungeon. I’ll probably re-shoot the video soon.
The basic rule for backwashing is to always have the pool pump switched off whenever you move the handle on the backwash valve otherwise you could do quite a bit of damage to the equipment. The second rule that I point out in this video is that, if you are backwashing for the first time, you need to make sure that you do not have a gate valve on the pipe that carries the backwash water away. There is a simple way to check this which is outlined in the video.
Another thing to consider would be to turn off all other pumps while you are backwashing because they may be linked to the pool filter pump in some way. Don’t fret too much about this because generally a backwash process only takes a couple of minutes and it is very unlikely to do damage to other pumps in this short a time, but it is good practice and if you know how to do it, you might as well.
Lastly, if your filtration system is extremely complicated or you are just not confident on what you are doing, it might be best to call in a professional, film them backwashing your system and keep that video for future reference.
Good luck with it!
The Bucket Test for Pool Leaks
This video gives you instruction on how to test to see if your pool is leaking or if you are just losing water through evaporation. It is easy and free!
The short version is this: stick a bucket of water inside your pool on the top step and mark the water level on the inside and outside of the bucket. Come back a coupe of days later and if the water has dropped further from the mark on the outside of the bucket than it has on the mark on the inside of the bucket, then you have a leak. If you do have a leak then you’ll likely need to contact a swimming pool leak specialist. It is not a skill that most pool companies have and specialist equipment may need to be used.
There are a few tips on the video you’ll need to follow while doing this test, so enjoy the video!
Choosing a Heating System
Solar heating is the cheapest to run BUT is dependent on the weather. So let’s say you are having a party in mid spring and think you may use the pool if the weather is nice – well the pool may not be warm. It really depends on the weather the week before (and of course the climate in your area) as it takes a few warm days in a row to heat up a pool. Unless it is a particularly late starting or early finishing summer, you could expect to keep your pool above 26 degrees with solar heating from around mid November through until the end of March. More and for longer if you have a cover over it. I am, of course, referring to the southern hemisphere. You need to take in to consideration the climate you live in and advice from a local pool company.
Gas is a more “on demand” style system with you being able to notice a reasonable difference in temperature within a few hours of operation if the heater is sized correctly. Gas is the most expensive to operate these days and you would probably only go for gas if you were the sort of pool user that only wanted the pool heated occasionally. Say you knew people were coming over tomorrow, you could turn the heater on today and know it would be warm by tomorrow.
Electric heat pump (definitely not to be confused with an electric element heater!) is a good, cost effective way to heat the pool for the whole season, or even the whole year. It takes a few days to heat the pool up initially but then just keeps it topped up each day as the filter runs. If, for example, you have young kids and know that they are likely to swim most days then this is probably the best way to go. The initial installation of the heater may be slightly higher than a gas heater but the savings in running costs will more than makeup for that. An initial cost burden can also be the $$ you may need to spend running the correct power source to the heater.
All three systems will cost about half as much to run if you have a blanket over the pool. The problem with a blanket is that people get tired of putting it on and off, so what we would suggest is that when you get the heater sized up, you get it sized as if you are not getting a blanket. If you then decide to get a blanket the heater just works less, and if you ever get tired of the blanket you’ll still have a heater that can cope.