The only way I was able to vacuum with a cartridge filter was to cut the PVC piping between the filter and the pump and install a tee that would accomodate a backwash hose. On the return line I installed a ball valve to divert the water without going back into the pool.
Hope this helps.
If you have a pool pump and a swimming pool cartridge filter and possibly a heater the plumbing to and from the equipment pad should be connected on the suction side of the pump to the skimmer. On the discharge side of the filter or heater that pipe goes back to the pool. Your pool vac head and hose should connect into the skimmer at some point inside the skimmer to be able to vac the pool. You have to attach the vac head to a telepole, connect your vac hose to the vac head, feed the hose into the water thus filling the hose - until you reach the loose end of the hose. Place the palm of your hand over the loose hose end while it is still under water - trapping the water in the hose- then while hand still on hose end place that end into the skimmer pulling your hand away just before you plug it into the skimmer hole. At this point your should have some sort of suction at the vac head. It may or may not have much suction depending on how the system is plumbed and at what hp the pump is rated. In other words a 1/8th hp will not produce the suction that a 1/2 hp or 3/4 hp will. If this does not work for you and you don't have those tools as described above you then may resort to a vac that will work off your garden hose -- if you have enough water pressure. The more water pressure the better.
You leave your pool filter set to filter hook up hose with a vacume attachment vacume with filter set to filter or to and then backwash you filter if you have a sand type filter you can also vacume while filter is set to waste but you will need to add water when done. If you have a cartridge type vacume set at filter then remove filter cartridge and clean or replace.
The answer is that, generally, you can't. At least not with the standard plumbing that is installed with a cartridge filter. Why? Nearly all SAND filters come with a valve that lets you direct the water as needed for regular filtering and backwashing, and they usually include a option for backwashing to waste. This type of valve is rarely installed as part of the plumbing in a cartridge fiter installation. What you might need to do is to add a separate valve AFTER THE PUMP BUT BEFORE THE FILTER. This will allow you to direct the water to waste prior to the filter. Hope this helps ...
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