How To Vacuum Pool To Waste

How To Vacuum Pool To Waste - A Step By Step Guide

If you are a new pool owner, you may be relying on lots of online resources to help you keep your pool in top condition. Although these articles can be informative, sometimes, they may use vocabulary that you aren’t yet familiar with.

In this article, we will discuss what it means to vacuum a pool to waste, why or when you would want to do this, and a step-by-step guide for how to complete this process.

What Does It Mean To Vacuum A Pool To Waste?

When you vacuum your pool on the normal pump settings, the debris you collect gets processed by your filter system.

By vacuuming your pool to waste, the debris that you collect bypasses your filter and is expelled from your pool. This may be into a sewage line, or simply onto the ground or even into the garden. There are various regulations for disposal of this water to sewage.

Unlike when vacuuming your pool on the normal pump setting, when you vacuum to waste, the water level in your pool will drop. Afterward, your pool will need to be topped back up with water and rebalanced chemically.

When To Vacuum Your Pool To Waste

Vacuuming a pool to waste is typically done when heavy debris is present. Most often, this can be a part of the cleanup process if your area has undergone a severe storm or flooding.

You should also vacuum debris to waste when using a heavy-duty chemical cleaner, such as a flocculant.

These products cause all debris in the pool to clump together in a thick gel and settle to the floor of the pool. This goop must be vacuumed to waste, or else it can damage your filter system!

How To Vacuum Pool To Waste

Turn Off The Pump

Locate your pump’s power switch and turn it off entirely.

Change The Valve Setting

Find the multiport valve settings on your pump. While the unit is off, turn this dial until it indicates that you are directing water to disposal lines.

Connect The Vacuum

Try to remove most of the bubbles from your vacuum hose. Securely connect your vacuum to your pump’s intake lines, making sure that each seal is fastened securely.

Turn The Pump Back On

Turn the pump back on and begin vacuuming your pool. Because the water you are using to vacuum is being drained from your pool, it is recommended that you work quickly in order to avoid substantial water loss.

After Vacuuming To Waste

After you have finished, shut the pump back off. Then, disconnect your vacuum and put it away. Reset your pump’s valve settings so that water passes through the filter unit once again. Then, top up your pool’s water to its pre-existing levels.

After topping up your pool’s water, you will likely need to balance it chemically. We recommend that at minimum you measure and adjust your free chlorine and pH levels if you don’t have time to run a full panel.


Vacuuming your pool to waste can sound complicated, but once you’ve figured out the basics, it’s very easy! Now you can use this vacuum setting any time that you don’t want the debris you are removing to be passed through your filter system.

Do you have any questions about vacuuming a pool to waste? Leave us a comment, we’d love to help!

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.