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How to Vacuum a Pool

Technology is advancing faster than we can blink, particularly when it comes to automated and robotic pool cleaning equipment. There are many fancy, high-tech pool cleaners on the market today that offer a hands-off approach to pool cleaning. But oftentimes, a little physical labor and elbow grease can't be beat. Manually vacuuming your pool is not as daunting as it may seem. Follow these 6 easy steps, and you'll learn how to vacuum your pool in no time!

Equipment Needed:

check pool filter before vacuuming your pool

Filter Check

Before vacuuming your pool, check the pressure gauge on your pool filter. The standard pressure range will vary from pool to pool depending on plumbing size and equipment, but a common middle ground is somewhere around 10–20 psi. If the pressure is at least 8–10 psi higher than normal, you may need to clean or backwash your filter before you vacuum.

If your pool is especially dirty, you're cleaning up an algae bloom, or you're removing pool floc from the bottom of your pool, set the filter's multiport valve to the "Waste" position. This setting will send the dirty water straight out the backwash line, rather than through the filter. This option is typically only available for sand and D.E. pool filters, but cartridge filter pools with a bypass valve setup can also vacuum to waste. Remember to turn the pump off before changing valve settings.

EXPERT TIP: Your pool's water level will drop if you vacuum to waste. To avoid the level getting too low, turn your garden hose on and place it in the pool to add fresh water while you vacuum. You can also add extra water to the pool ahead of time.

If the pool only has light or moderate debris, you can leave the multiport valve on the "Filter" setting.

Step 1: Brush and Skim Your Pool

Thoroughly brush your entire pool before you vacuum. Brushing will lift soot, dirt, and contaminants out of their hiding places for easier removal. Use your skimmer net to remove any large debris from the surface of your pool. Large pieces of debris can clog the vacuum hose, so it's important to remove them before using the vacuum.

pool vacuum head

Step 2: Assemble Your Vacuum

Next, grab your vacuum head, telescopic pole, and vacuum hose. There will be a swivel handle clip and a suction port on top of the vacuum head. Attach the telescopic pole to the swivel handle clip, and attach the hose to the suction port. Submerge the vacuum and hose until the vacuum head is resting on the bottom of your pool.

Step 3: Remove Air from Vacuum Hose

With the vacuum and one end of the hose in the water, unwind the remaining hose and submerge it in the pool, working your way to the open end. This will force out any air that's lingering in the hose. Once the entire hose is completely submerged, there should be no bubbles appearing.

Step 4: Attach Vacuum Hose to Pool Skimmer

Turn your pool pump off if it's not already. Now that the hose is filled with water, do your best to prevent any air from getting in. If you need to remove the hose from the water, cover the opening with your hand to seal it off. Open the pool skimmer compartment on your pool deck, and remove the skimmer basket. Securely place the end of the vacuum hose into the suction hole at the bottom of the skimmer.

Step 5: Start Vacuuming

Now it's time to turn the pump back on and start vacuuming.

Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to vacuuming your pool! Use long, slow, overlapping strokes as you move the vacuum around your pool. Moving the vacuum too quickly will disrupt the dirt and debris, causing it to scatter around your pool. If this happens, wait until the debris has settled down before you continue vacuuming.

Keep an eye on your pool filter's pressure gauge as you vacuum. If the pressure gets too high, take a break and backwash the filter before continuing.

Step 6: Disconnect Vacuum & Do a Final Clean

test and balance after vacuuming your pool

Once your pool is spotless and you've finished vacuuming, run through this checklist to put the finishing touches on your cleaning process.

  1. Turn off the pump. If you changed the multiport valve setting prior to vacuuming, adjust the setting back to "Filter."
  2. Detach the telescopic pole and hose from the vacuum head. Make sure all water has been drained out of the vacuum hose.
  3. Make sure the water level in your pool is halfway up the skimmer.
  4. Test and balance the water chemistry. Your pool water chemicals may be off if you had to add fresh water.
  5. Rinse off the vacuum head, hose, and telescopic pole with fresh water. Let them completely dry off, then place them in storage.

Vacuuming your pool doesn't have to drain! In fact, it is a fairly simple and straightforward process. With a little patience and effort, you'll have it done in no time. If you have questions, stop in to your local Leslie's and speak with one of our pool experts.

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Leslie’s makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and Leslie’s assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. Leslie’s assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.