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Thread: High CYA, Need to Drain Water But Not Sure About Safety of Level Below Skimmer

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    Nagorg's Avatar
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    Question High CYA, Need to Drain Water But Not Sure About Safety of Level Below Skimmer

    Hello,

    I was reading another similar post about high CYA and the OP posted a pic that showed water well below the skimmers though the pump was running.

    Is that safe to do or should I turn the pool pump off and drop in a sump pump?

    My post on that thread:
    "Curious.... I see your water level well below your skimmers and the pump is obviously on since water is pouring out of the return jets.

    Is that okay to do? I'd really like to know because all I've read is to not let the water level below the skimmers.

    I'm a newbie to pools too; well I've got 2 months under my belt. I'm in the same boat as you were with high CYA and the need to drain my pool. I'd love to do what you did but I'm afraid I'll burn my pump up if it runs when the water level drops below the skimmer. I've been thinking about using a sump pump while the pool pump is off and then refilling.

    Just curious as I said, your pic caught my eye and prompted my post..."


    Thanks for any helpful info!

    My Pool: In-ground, ~15,000 Gallons, Fresh Water, Plaster/Gunnite or what ever..
    Shape - Roughly like an oblong figure 8 / somewhat oval
    Depth - ~4.5-5 ft

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    Re: High CYA, Need to Drain Water But Not Sure About Safety of Level Below Skimmer

    Some pools are plumbed so you can turn off the skimmer and draw from a lower inlet. In my case, for example, I have a main drain type of suction port near the bottom of my pool. I can turn off my skimmer and draw down below it.

    If you don't have that type of arraignment, then a sump pump is in order. If you have a slope near your pool you cold try using a vacuum hose to siphon out water.
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Re: High CYA, Need to Drain Water But Not Sure About Safety of Level Below Skimmer

    Good luck and let us know!

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    Re: High CYA, Need to Drain Water But Not Sure About Safety of Level Below Skimmer

    Quote Originally Posted by pabeader View Post
    Some pools are plumbed so you can turn off the skimmer and draw from a lower inlet. In my case, for example, I have a main drain type of suction port near the bottom of my pool. I can turn off my skimmer and draw down below it.

    If you don't have that type of arraignment, then a sump pump is in order. If you have a slope near your pool you cold try using a vacuum hose to siphon out water.
    I do have a main drain and a valve that diverts to an outlet that is for something like a Polaris instead of the normal return jets. I still can feel suction in the skimmers though and I never "feel" the main drains.

    So, still think it's a sump pump I'll need?
    My Pool: In-ground, ~15,000 Gallons, Fresh Water, Plaster/Gunnite or what ever..
    Shape - Roughly like an oblong figure 8 / somewhat oval
    Depth - ~4.5-5 ft

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    Re: High CYA, Need to Drain Water But Not Sure About Safety of Level Below Skimmer

    Quote Originally Posted by Nagorg View Post
    I do have a main drain and a valve that diverts to an outlet that is for something like a Polaris instead of the normal return jets. I still can feel suction in the skimmers though and I never "feel" the main drains.

    So, still think it's a sump pump I'll need?
    Every pool is different, but it should be plumbed so that you can turn off just the skimmers so that the pump is only pulling water from the main drains.
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    Re: High CYA, Need to Drain Water But Not Sure About Safety of Level Below Skimmer

    How many pipes feed into the main pipe that goes into your filter basket? I can't figure out how to say that more clearly......

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    Re: High CYA, Need to Drain Water But Not Sure About Safety of Level Below Skimmer

    Quote Originally Posted by MarianParoo View Post
    How many pipes feed into the main pipe that goes into your filter basket? I can't figure out how to say that more clearly......
    I think the answer is one. In this pic, you can see the pump with one pipe coming into the filter basket from the ground. The one valve will either send water through the filter on the right which returns to the pool via jets or send it to the left which returns via a single outlet that you can hook up a polaris to.

    The skimmers draw water no matter which way its turned but like I said, there are two drains in the bottom of the pool as well. I'm guessing that water would still be pulled into the pump through the drains if the level dropped below the skimmers. But that's a guess... Otherwise I'm not sure what good the drains are!

    PoolEquipment_PumpAndSuch.jpg
    My Pool: In-ground, ~15,000 Gallons, Fresh Water, Plaster/Gunnite or what ever..
    Shape - Roughly like an oblong figure 8 / somewhat oval
    Depth - ~4.5-5 ft

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    Re: High CYA, Need to Drain Water But Not Sure About Safety of Level Below Skimmer

    Okay, plumbing gurus... Can Nanorg use some gizmos or something so she/he can drain and refill? Or is the only option a submersible?

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    Re: High CYA, Need to Drain Water But Not Sure About Safety of Level Below Skimmer

    Some pools don't use a manual valve... If you lift up your skimmer basket, is there a float valve (white plastic thing) under it and 2 pipes under the float valve?

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    Re: High CYA, Need to Drain Water But Not Sure About Safety of Level Below Skimmer

    Yes, you have one pipe providing water to your pump. Most likely your bottom drain is plumbed to the second hole in your skimmer. There may be some mechanism under the skimmer basket to adjust the water flow between skimmer and drain. Bottom drains do not have much suction even though there is plenty of waterflow. I would say you can drain your pool using your pool pump and it will continue to draw water from the bottom drain after the water level fall below the skimmer mouth.
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    Re: High CYA, Need to Drain Water But Not Sure About Safety of Level Below Skimmer

    Quote Originally Posted by MSL View Post
    Some pools don't use a manual valve... If you lift up your skimmer basket, is there a float valve (white plastic thing) under it and 2 pipes under the float valve?
    I see nothing except for the two holes in the bottom of the skimmer. I can only feel suction from one of the holes as I'm sure you'd expect.

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    Yes, you have one pipe providing water to your pump. Most likely your bottom drain is plumbed to the second hole in your skimmer. There may be some mechanism under the skimmer basket to adjust the water flow between skimmer and drain. Bottom drains do not have much suction even though there is plenty of waterflow. I would say you can drain your pool using your pool pump and it will continue to draw water from the bottom drain after the water level fall below the skimmer mouth.
    Interesting... I hadn't thought of the bottom drains being plumbed into the skimmer as well; I can see how that might work! If that's the case, any debris that might get pulled from the drain would not get caught in the skimmer basket. I guess the filter basket would likely catch that if it happened.

    So, I do now think there's a good chance that I could pump and allow the water to drop below the skimmer... BUT... If the pump does lose water supply when I try this, how long do I have before damage is introduced? Would I be okay as long as I was there to realize I had a problem and I was able to shut off the pump quickly?

    Thanks for the info folks! This is a lot of help!
    My Pool: In-ground, ~15,000 Gallons, Fresh Water, Plaster/Gunnite or what ever..
    Shape - Roughly like an oblong figure 8 / somewhat oval
    Depth - ~4.5-5 ft

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    Re: High CYA, Need to Drain Water But Not Sure About Safety of Level Below Skimmer

    If for some reason your plumbing is different or does not respond as noted above, then yes, as long as you turn-off the pump quickly you should still be okay. We never want a pump to run dry, but sometimes it happens. As long as you catch it fairly quickly, you should not have any problems.
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    Re: High CYA, Need to Drain Water But Not Sure About Safety of Level Below Skimmer

    Attachment 43634If your suction line goes to the skimmer first then a line goes down to the main drains you will lose prime as soon as the water level goes below the skimmer. 2 ways around this, remove the diverter plate from the bottom of the skimmer and 1.) Get a vacuum hose with the correct connection to plug into the suction side of the skimmer and drop the hose in the pool (threaded female 2 inch in my pool) or 2.) Use some PVC and fittings to connect the suction side to the main drain in the skimmer. Essentially a U shaped connection to bypass the skimmer and have all the suction come from the main drains. If you go this route you would need 2 fittings to connect down in the skimmer, a couple of pieces of pipe, 2 elbows some PVC glue, and either a flexible coupling or and SxS union. Glue one threaded fitting to enough pipe to screw into the bottom of the skimmer and clear the top of the skimmer above the deck. Glue the other fitting to an even longer piece of pipe so it reaches out of the skimmer past the first one by several inches connect the elbows to this pipe leading back down to the first pipe and join the whole thing together with either a coupling or SXS union. See attached very poor drawing

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    Re: High CYA, Need to Drain Water But Not Sure About Safety of Level Below Skimmer

    You can probably drop in a float valve (under the skimmer basket). One of the main purposes of that valve is to close off the skimmer when water drops below skimmer level and divert 100% of the flow to the floor drain, so your pump doesn't run dry.

    The other purpose is to regulate the flow between skimmer and drain. There is a flap on the bottom of the valve that you adjust. This allows the pump to pull water from the bottom of the pool and redistribute to the top. It's better for filtration.

    You can find one online for 15-30 bucks.

    As far as draining your pool, I would just rent a submersible pump at Home Depot.

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    Re: High CYA, Need to Drain Water But Not Sure About Safety of Level Below Skimmer

    Okay, I've looked up what a skimmer float valve is and I dont have one. I dont think my skimmers are designed to accommodate one either but I will verify; not sure I could just put one in unless it was designed to work with a float valve...

    Also, thanks to the helpful information provided, I do now think that my bottom drain(s) must be plumbed into the skimmer. I dont see any other way that water could even be pulled from the drain unless they are plumbed separately into the single pipe that feeds my pump. That said, I'm not sure I get how the bottom drains are of any real use if they require that the skimmers be full. It just doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to me.

    I guess I can start another thread about drain/skimmer configurations since that's where my questions are heading now... In any event, the responses here have helped me better understand that the answer to my my question is "it depends" and I have some stuff to figure out.
    My Pool: In-ground, ~15,000 Gallons, Fresh Water, Plaster/Gunnite or what ever..
    Shape - Roughly like an oblong figure 8 / somewhat oval
    Depth - ~4.5-5 ft

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    Re: High CYA, Need to Drain Water But Not Sure About Safety of Level Below Skimmer

    Can you take a picture of what it looks like under the skimmer basket?
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    Re: High CYA, Need to Drain Water But Not Sure About Safety of Level Below Skimmer

    Btw, better not to start a new thread. We've already started here!

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    Re: High CYA, Need to Drain Water But Not Sure About Safety of Level Below Skimmer

    Quote Originally Posted by MSL View Post
    Can you take a picture of what it looks like under the skimmer basket?
    Okay, here is the bottom of my skimmer. It looks dirty but I think its stained from being dirty before; nothing wipes off... I do now see where maybe a float valve could be inserted. I think I also might need an o-ring. If anyone here can point me to the right stuff, I'll go get it!
    SkimmerBottom.jpg
    My Pool: In-ground, ~15,000 Gallons, Fresh Water, Plaster/Gunnite or what ever..
    Shape - Roughly like an oblong figure 8 / somewhat oval
    Depth - ~4.5-5 ft

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    Re: High CYA, Need to Drain Water But Not Sure About Safety of Level Below Skimmer

    I think there should be a float valve there... and an o-ring as well. Watch this video: Skimmer Bottom O ring, Float Valve Assembly, Equalizer - YouTube

    -Matt

    - - - Updated - - -

    Also... if you look on the underside of the skimmer lid, it will probably have the brand. Measure the diameter of the gasket and take that measurement and the brand name in to Leslie's. They should be able to match you up with the proper gasket and float valve.
    20k Gunite/Fiberglass
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    Pentair LA-MS05 BoostRite
    Pentair Quad D.E. 100 sq ft

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    Re: High CYA, Need to Drain Water But Not Sure About Safety of Level Below Skimmer

    Is it just me, or does it look like there is something in the left hole?
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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