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Thread: New House With a Pool and a Couple Issues

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    New House With a Pool and a Couple Issues

    So I bought this house and had a pool service coming. They kept the water clear but I started to notice a bad chlorine smell. After reading around on here, I decided to fire the pool service and order a TF-100. That should get here Saturday.

    But the chemistry isn't really what this post is about. There are two issues I came across once I really started looking at the equipment. First, one of the skimmers isn't getting any suction. I pulled out the basket and sure enough I started pulling handfuls of leaves and what looks like gravel out of the line. I was able to use a water hose to flush out the stuff at the very top but the line is still clogged. Is it possible to fix it without having another pool guy that doesn't really know what they're doing out to my house?

    Another issue is that the pressure gauge on my sand filter says 30 psi. This was after I backwashed for 3 minutes. Is that caused by the plugged skimmer line or is it potentially another problem.

    FYI, I tried to post pics with this post but it keeps telling me the files are too large. They're only a couple hundred KB each so I'm not sure what that's about. Do I need a certain number of posts before I can post pics?

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: New House With a Pool and a Couple Issues

    Welcome to TFP!

    A few answers, first the chlorine smell is not good. It tells me your CC is too high. You say you have read around the site, but may have missed that the smell associated with chlorine is really combined chlorimines. CC is normally burned off by the UV of the sun. So, do you have a cover you are leaving on all the time?

    If the skimmer basket was filled with gravel/leaves it tells me you pool guy isn't doing his job and should be fired. Now, the gravel may have been put in the basket to weigh it down if the weight that came on the basket was lost. But, if that is the case you should reLly use a rock/weight that is too large to go into the pipe. The only way to clear that clog that come to my mind is,to pressurize that pipe backwards and try to drive the clog back to the skimmer. But, that may require cutting the pipe and reworking it to make it happen.

    What does the pressure gauge read when the pump is off? It is entirely possible that the guage is defective. TFTestkits.net has nice glycerine fill gauges to replace it with. The nice thing about them is that they only read to 30 PSI rather than the normal 60 so you have more distance between numbers to make it easier to read.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: New House With a Pool and a Couple Issues

    I have a $30 test kit from Leslies that tests for CC but it isn't that precise. My CC could be 1, 0 or something in between. We'll find out on Saturday when my TF-100 comes in. One thing about my pool is that it gets very little direct sunlight. It's surrounded on three sides by our house and has several large live oaks on the 4th side. Most of the sun that reaches the pool is through the canopy of the live oaks and is pretty broken up. I don't have a cover.

    It wasn't the skimmer that was filled, but the actual intake pipes under the basket. I'm guessing what happened was that all the live oaks dumped a ton of leaves in the pool and when the previous owner or pool company hooked up the vacuum it clogged the line. There are four full size live oaks within twenty feet of the pool which can dump a lot of leaves. The leaves that were clogged in the drain were actually bleached white, so they had been in there a while. I think I'll try a shop vac to see if I can dislodge whatever is in there, but I'm not sure if I can get a seal. Maybe running a hose back through the pump basket?

    I'll check the off pressure tonight. I did notice that the pressure was about 15 psi during the backwash yesterday. Is that normal? There are several fountains that I have closed to keep the pH from running up. Will that add enough back pressure to cause this?
    24,000 gal IG plaster, Hayward sand filter

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    Re: New House With a Pool and a Couple Issues

    Puma, welcome to TFP!

    There a few options to get more space for pictures. A donation to TFP is one. Photo sharing web sites is another. But what I have found to be the simplest is downloading the phone app called Tapatalk. From it you can easily add pictures to your posts. So I take pictures on my phone and then go to the app and attach the pictures from there
    Free form 17X30. 14,500 Gal. Pentair sand filter and 1.5 hp pump. Aqua-Rite SWCG. TF-100 Test Kit w/Speed Stir

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    Re: New House With a Pool and a Couple Issues

    Here is a tutorial regarding posting photos that explains it much better than me.

    Posting Photo's Tutorial
    Free form 17X30. 14,500 Gal. Pentair sand filter and 1.5 hp pump. Aqua-Rite SWCG. TF-100 Test Kit w/Speed Stir

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    DaninFLA's Avatar
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    Re: New House With a Pool and a Couple Issues

    do you suspect that your return line is clogged with rocks/debris? if so, its going to be a pain to get it cleaned out but you can do it. are there a lot of bends between the return and the pump? if not too bad you could try and force a narrow garden hose back thru the line with the water running to try and force it clean. a plumber's snake could also work as well, again i would come from the pump side to push it out. if you cant do it yourself, i would assume a plumber could handle that for you, instead of a pool guy.
    Dan
    9,000 gallon in-ground Saltwater pool, plaster, cartridge filer, 1.0 hp pump, Hayward T-15 SWCG, TF-100
    Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart; Pool School - Test Kits Compared;

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    Re: New House With a Pool and a Couple Issues

    Here's a pic of the pool to give you an idea of the shade.


    This is what I was able to pull out of the suction line by hand.



    24,000 gal IG plaster, Hayward sand filter

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: New House With a Pool and a Couple Issues

    It looks like they ran the pool with the skimmer basket missing for a while. If it's all leaves like that you may be able to clear it up for the skimmer end with a plumbers snake.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: New House With a Pool and a Couple Issues

    Here's a couple pics of my pump setup. I'm not sure what the two intake lines are from since I have two skimmers and a drain.




    24,000 gal IG plaster, Hayward sand filter

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    Re: New House With a Pool and a Couple Issues

    This thread has got me wondering about my own skimmer... I have 2, one of which has always had good suction. The other has never had much. For instance, 2 weeks ago I pulled the skimmer basket out to clean it and a leaf managed to fall down and into the pipe. It's still there...

    Do you have a main drain? If so, do you have a 3-way or other type of valve to turn it off?

    I'm thinking if you can isolate the skimmer from the drain (again, if you have one), you may be able to rig something up to insert a garden hose into the pump inlet, make a good seal, and run water back from the pump to the skimmer to force the debris out.

    EDIT: You posted your pics while I was typing my original post.

    It would seem to me the 3-way valve on the left in the first pic (going to your primary pump) governs suction between the skimmers and the drain. My thought would be to turn that valve to "full skimmer," cutting off the drain. Then find a way to plug up the non-problematic skimmer and force water from the pump intake to the problematic skimmer.
    25,000 gallon freeform gunnite/plaster, built in the 1970s/80s; Sta-Rite 9463004 575-lb. sand filter; Sta-Rite DuraGlas/Max-E-Glas (P2RA5F-125L) single-speed 1.5 HP pump, manufactured 12/1993 (1M93M).
    Helpful links: TFTestKits; Pool School; ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry; Chlorine/CYA Chart; PoolMath; SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain

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    Re: New House With a Pool and a Couple Issues

    That's what I'm thinking but I'm not sure which intake into the pump is the drain and how to isolate it. I will also need to plug off the good skimmer. Maybe that will flush everything back out of the clogged skimmer.

    There are actually two drains on the bottom of the pool and two on the side (all four in the deep end). After looking at the pool pump pics, I wondering if the two lines into the water feature basket are the drains and the two lines into the main pump are the skimmers. Does that make sense?
    24,000 gal IG plaster, Hayward sand filter

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    Re: New House With a Pool and a Couple Issues

    Only one way to find out...

    With the pump running, turn your 3-way all the way (or almost if you're overly cautious like I am) one direction, then go look at both skimmers to see what they're doing. Then turn it the other way and see what happens.

    Oh, and grab a Sharpie so you can label the pipes at the 3-way. It'll wear/burn off over time, but it will make life much easier until you get a feel for which valve does what.
    25,000 gallon freeform gunnite/plaster, built in the 1970s/80s; Sta-Rite 9463004 575-lb. sand filter; Sta-Rite DuraGlas/Max-E-Glas (P2RA5F-125L) single-speed 1.5 HP pump, manufactured 12/1993 (1M93M).
    Helpful links: TFTestKits; Pool School; ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry; Chlorine/CYA Chart; PoolMath; SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain

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    Re: New House With a Pool and a Couple Issues

    What is the water feature that you have? I don't see anything unless I'm blind or it isn't in your picture. I'm just wondering what the second pump (top of the pic) is for.

    You probably can't tell, but often, MD (main drain) are plumbed to the skimmer and then from the skimmer to the equipment pad. In side the skimmer will be something called a float valve. It looks like this: http://www.waterwayplastics.com/wp-c..._542-62002.jpg

    This regulates water flow that is split between the MD and skimmer. Do you have one of these?

    Your 4 MDs are probably all plumbed to each other to spread out the suction pressure. This is the Virginia Graeme Baker Law. This is also known as splitting the drains.

    So right now we see two lines plumbed into the main pump but we aren't sure what is connected to each line so you need to figure this out as COBrien suggested.
    ----Chris----
    25k IG/Spa Figure 8, 18x36, Pebble Sheen Blue Granite, Sta-Rite S8M150 Cartridge Filter, Pentair 460805 400k BTU Heater & 011018 IntelliFlo VarSpd
    Liquidator, Fafco Solar Heat, Polaris PB460 Booster Pump w/280 cleaner, Katchaleaf Cover, TF100 Test Kit, FAKE MAIN DRAIN

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    Re: New House With a Pool and a Couple Issues

    There is a waterfall that come out from the side that runs off the water feature pump.

    Neither of my skimmers have the float valve you posted. They both have two holes in bottom with a teardrop shaped cover plate that slide back and forth to cover one of the holes. The cover plate is the clogged skimmer will not budge for some reason and has one hole partially covered.


    The cover plate in the functioning skimmer is completely covering one of the holes.

    I tried the intake valve. Turning to the left definitely turns off at least the functioning skimmer. I can't tell if it turns off both since the one doesn't get any suction.

    As for the pool filter pressure, it is 0 when off and 30 when on.


    24,000 gal IG plaster, Hayward sand filter

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    Re: New House With a Pool and a Couple Issues

    The float valve has that teardrop shaped piece as well...your skimmer design just handles it differently.

    So that piece covers one of the pipes in the bottom of the skimmer, obviously. Now what we don't know is if your MDs are split between the two skimmers. Two drains piped to the skimmer and then the skimmer taken back to the pad. I would say the odds are decent that it was done this way as it kind of balances things in your pool.

    So lets assume I'm right about the plumbing. Put the 3-way valve into the position that has the non-clogged skimmer working. Now move that piece that is partially covering the hole and fully cover it. I'm going to further assume that the hole that it is partially covering is connected to a pair of MDs. By shutting them down completely, the skimmer ought to keep on working because the open pipe is one of the pipes at the pump at the pad. Assuming that is true, now move the piece to cover the other hole but do it SLOWLY because if I'm right, you will be shutting down the water flow to your pump and you don't want it to lose prime if possible. You ought to be able to gauge things before prime is lost as things should be sounding different because pressure in the filter should be going up as you restrict the flow.

    If this all works out as I think it will, you will have figured out how the suction lines were plumbed.

    Another way to do this is to somehow block the flow INTO the skimmer. This is harder to do. The obvious way is the let the water level drop BELOW the skimmer but I wouldn't recommend that. If you can block the flow into the skimmer (or minimize it, slow it down), then the MDs will come alive and all the water will be pulled from them. You ought to be able to see, hopefully, any debris around the MDs get sucked into them. At this time, you'll then know WHICH MDs are plumbed to that skimmer.

    Let us know what you find.
    ----Chris----
    25k IG/Spa Figure 8, 18x36, Pebble Sheen Blue Granite, Sta-Rite S8M150 Cartridge Filter, Pentair 460805 400k BTU Heater & 011018 IntelliFlo VarSpd
    Liquidator, Fafco Solar Heat, Polaris PB460 Booster Pump w/280 cleaner, Katchaleaf Cover, TF100 Test Kit, FAKE MAIN DRAIN

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    Re: New House With a Pool and a Couple Issues

    Just got my TF-100 and have my first test results. I was worried my CYA would be too high since the pool guy was using pucks but I was pleasantly surprised.

    FC 3.5
    CC 0.5
    pH 7.8
    CYA 50
    CH 225
    TA 130

    The calculator says to add 107 oz of 8.25 bleach. Should I lower the pH?


    24,000 gal IG plaster, Hayward sand filter

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    Re: New House With a Pool and a Couple Issues

    Do you think these return caps might have something to do with the high pressure?

    They're more restrictive than what I'm used to seeing.

    Also the pressure is still 30 psi on recirculate for what it's worth.


    24,000 gal IG plaster, Hayward sand filter

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: New House With a Pool and a Couple Issues

    I would lower the PH to 7.2 using muratic acid (MA). Keep a close eye on it to see how it does.

    When you test make sure you are keeping a log of your results so you can look for patterns. After a while you will get to know YOUR pool. Each pool is different and does different things according to area.

    Your trees are going to have a huge impact on your pool.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: New House With a Pool and a Couple Issues

    Do I still need to brush if the FC is constantly kept above the recommended level?


    24,000 gal IG plaster, Hayward sand filter

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    Re: New House With a Pool and a Couple Issues

    It is a good idea.
    ----Chris----
    25k IG/Spa Figure 8, 18x36, Pebble Sheen Blue Granite, Sta-Rite S8M150 Cartridge Filter, Pentair 460805 400k BTU Heater & 011018 IntelliFlo VarSpd
    Liquidator, Fafco Solar Heat, Polaris PB460 Booster Pump w/280 cleaner, Katchaleaf Cover, TF100 Test Kit, FAKE MAIN DRAIN

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