Do You Vacuum A Pool On Backwash Or Waste?

Do You Vacuum A Pool On Backwash Or Waste? (Answered)

There are many settings on your pool’s pump that can control the direction that water travels through your pool plumbing network. Some of these settings are more useful than others depending on the task at hand.

In this article, we will discuss whether or not you should vacuum your pool to backwash or to waste and any other settings you may need to be aware of.

Vacuuming A Pool: Backwash Or Waste?

Before answering this question, it’s essential to cover some basic information about the multiport valve settings on your pump. For now, we’ll stick to the three settings most essential to vacuuming: backwash, waste, and normal filtration.

Normal Filtration

The normal filtration setting on your pump’s multiport valve sends water through your filter. This is the most common pump valve configuration used when vacuuming because it allows you to remove debris from your pool without losing water or chemicals.

This option allows your filter to clean the water of contaminants as the pump returns it to your pool.


This setting on your pump sends water to sewage lines (or your garden, depending on local council regulations and how your plumbing is set up).

This setting can be used when vacuuming, but because it drains water from your pool, it is recommended that you only use this setting when necessary.

Some situations that require vacuuming to waste include removing flocculant cleaners, vacuuming sand or mud in the pool following flooding, or when draining the pool intentionally.

Note that your local municipality may have restrictions on how much water you can discharge into the sewage system at a time.


The backwash setting allows water to pass through your pool’s filter backward. In doing so, lots of built up debris is released and sent down the wastewater lines.

It is not possible to vacuum your pool while your pump is set on backwash, but backwashing is an essential part of normal filtration vacuuming. After vacuuming your pool through the filter, this process restores your filter condition and allows for the most cleaning efficiency.

Louis from Pool Advisor


A chemical engineer by trade, Louis is committed to debunking myths in the pool industry by explaining the underlying chemistry and making it accessible to all.