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Thread: Spa Drains When Freeze Protection Puts System in Spa Mode

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    Spa Drains When Freeze Protection Puts System in Spa Mode

    Is it me, or does the pool act up during the most inclement weather..?

    Had a cold snap here, and when the spa took its turn during a freeze protection cycle, the spa drained down (level to the pool's water line). I turned the spa off and back into pool mode, and the spa fills up in short order.

    I've read that a bad check valve can cause this, so I pulled the cover and paddle (Jandy) out of its housing. It did look like the rubber gasket on the paddle wasn't in the best of shape; pulled the one from the water fountain check valve (which looked better), and swapped them. No change - spa continues to drain when everything goes into spa mode. Should I go ahead and replace the check valves with a rebuild kit? The pool is about 13 years old, and I don't think I've ever replaced any of the valve diverters (only the o-rings to fix a valve leak), but I've never replace either of the check valve paddles...

    The actuators all seem to work in unison the way they always do when cycling between spa and pool mode. Could the check valve springs I've attached a diagram of my equipment configuration in hopes that someone can give me some ideas.

    Thanks,
    -DBB
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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Spa Drains When Freeze Protection Puts System in Spa Mode

    Does the controller shut off the pump while switching between pool and spa modes?

    Also, is the spa water feature valve open?

    If not, I think that can definitely happen as part of the normal operation. While the pump is running and if during the transition from pool to spa, the spa suction line has less head loss than the pool lines and/or the spa return has more head loss than the pool lines (more likely), the spa will slowly drain with each valve switch. Just part of normal hydraulics.

    Also, the check valves are not really in play while the pump is running.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Spa Drains When Freeze Protection Puts System in Spa Mode

    Thanks, mas985.

    I'm not really sure if the pump stays on when it cycles from pool to spa, or not, but I see the same draining behavior when I manually operate the system and keep the pump off while the valves transition: when I shut the pump off while in pool mode, toggle to spa mode, then turn the pump back on, the spa drains.

    The spa water feature (fountain) valve is not actuated, and stays in the same position regardless of what mode the system is in. But when the return valve is in the spa position, water does not take that path anyway, so the fountain shuts off when in spa mode.

    Regardless, none of the valve settings have changed, so this is a recent development with the same configuration/actuation as it has always had.

    I agree that the check valves would not be in play while the pump is running, but I saw posts from others in my Google searches that indicated otherwise.

    Something has gone wrong with my pool, and this seemed like a potential culprit. What else could it be, the return valve leaking internally?

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    Re: Spa Drains When Freeze Protection Puts System in Spa Mode

    Take a hard look at the CVA-24 handles. They need to be dead on either parallel or perpendicular depending upon your connections. The Jandy valves are very sensitive to position, and will not fully close the port if they are positioned even a few degrees off. I had this problem (spa draining down in pool mode) with one of my actuators and had to adjust the cams inside the actuator to get the actuator to stop movement at the right time.
    38000 Gal, IG, Plaster, 20' x 40' x 10', Attached Raised Spa, Intelliflo VS 3 HP (011018), Pentair Quad DE 60 Filter, Raypak (Rheem) 400,000 BTU (407a low Nox), Easy Touch 8 upgrade, Screenlogic 2 with wireless, IS-4 Spa Side Remote, Stenner 45MPHP10 w/15 gal tank, Intellibrite 5g (3), Dolphin Triton Plus robot with PRO remote, Water Tech Catfish handheld vacuum for spa, TF100 with SpeedStir.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Spa Drains When Freeze Protection Puts System in Spa Mode

    I'm not really sure if the pump stays on when it cycles from pool to spa, or not, but I see the same draining behavior when I manually operate the system and keep the pump off while the valves transition: when I shut the pump off while in pool mode, toggle to spa mode, then turn the pump back on, the spa drains.
    Just to be clear, the spa continues to drain with the pump off and the valves in the spa or pool position or both?

    But I would agree with Gary that it could be a valve position problem or the valves have some debris stuck in them. You mentioned opening the check valves but did you inspect the 3-way valves too?
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Spa Drains When Freeze Protection Puts System in Spa Mode

    The spa drains ONLY while the system is in the spa mode. Transitioning the system to pool kicks the returns and fountain back on, and the spa fills up as quickly as it drained.

    When I took the actuator off of the return valve, I went ahead and opened it up, because it was leaking a little bit around the shaft - I replaced the o-rings, which stopped the leak. The diverter has never been replaced, so it looks like you'd expect after 13 years, but there was nothing obviously torn or deformed. I also poked around in the check valve and return valve plumbing while I had everything apart to see if I could turn up any debris, but everything was slick as a whistle.

    I do have new check valve and diverter parts on order. I will be replacing the cover/paddles on both check valves, and the diverters in both the return and suction valves. Will try to do one at a time to see which one was the culprit, provided it fixes anything at all...

    As far as valve position, everything appears as it should - the valve handle is totally parallel with the plumbing when in spa mode (the same position that it's always moved to). Note from my drawing that while in pool mode, the handle is more at a 1:30 position, so that the return feeds both the spa and pool, so in pool mode, the handle is never parallel or perpendicular to the plumbing.

    Could it just be that the diverter is worn out? I would expect to also have trouble in pool mode, though, if this were the case.

    To clarify on an earlier post when in freeze mode, the pump is not on during the transition from pool to spa, but cycles through the various modes: it kicks on in pool mode for a bit then shuts off. The next freeze run, it kicks on in spa mode. The next run, it kicks on the waterfalls. This cycle then repeats.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Spa Drains When Freeze Protection Puts System in Spa Mode

    Ok, given the symptoms, the likely suspects are the spa check valve or the return 3-way valve. Both need to seal completely when in spa mode to prevent siphoning. Also check the cleaner valve(s) because if those are not turned off, that could also siphon out water in spa mode.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Spa Drains When Freeze Protection Puts System in Spa Mode

    Interesting that you would mention the cleaner valve... When built, this pool had provision for a RayVac cleaner. After it wore out, we moved to a robotic cleaner, but left the cleaner valve as is, since it seemed to act as an additional return for the pool - (nothing in the spa, other than the shared cleaner valve).

    Recently, while having some estimates made for another project, one pool guy said we didn't need that, and monkeyed with it to shut it off - I put it back where it was. But to my knowledge, it's doing what it's supposed to do. I hadn't planned on replacing the diverter in that valve, but maybe I should, while I'm at it. If you look at my diagram, you'll see that there is a manual valve between the RayVac's "energy filter" and the actuated cleaner valve - I suppose I could turn the manual valve off to test/verify that there's no siphoning going on with that valve...

    This begs another general question - how often should the guts of a valve be replaced? If they weren't physically leaking, I assum that they're fine, but it doesn't sound like this is the case. Perhaps I should rebuild all nine valves? Again, the system is about 13 or 14 years old, although I did have to replace one of the actuators once...

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    Re: Spa Drains When Freeze Protection Puts System in Spa Mode

    So... The spa drains in spa mode and fills in pool mode? Are you CERTAIN that the actuators are functioning as installed? Each actuator has a switch (often hard to find) that switches the "polarity" of the actuator. It sounds as though your pump is pulling from the spa and returning to both as the valve is set to do. It appears that your pressure side actuated valve is switched to the wrong polarity/ position. I would verify the proper function of your actuators before purchasing parts. Each actuator switch has 2 positions with "off" in the middle. Try switching the return actuator and see if it still drains.
    20+ years industry experience, pools and spas. Missouri to California.

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    Re: Spa Drains When Freeze Protection Puts System in Spa Mode

    Yes, when I replaced the old Compool with the EasyTouch upgrade kit this summer, the actuators were wired in per instruction, and the actuator switches were kept in the same positions as marked down by the pool builder. I made my diagram above some time ago, based on all the valve/actuator positions while in pool mode, and also verified it against the detailed photos I took of all the equipment back then, complete with all the pool builder's labels.

    I'll try your test, but unless I'm looking at this wrong, if I put the system in spa mode, and then flip the polarity of the return valve, this will mean that while the spa suction is active, the return valve will be in the "pool mode" position shown above (instead of being in the 9 o'clock spa-only position), and will be providing return to both the pool and spa. Conversely, when in pool suction mode, the return valve will go to the 9 o'clock spa-only position, and will only be feeding the spa...

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    Re: Spa Drains When Freeze Protection Puts System in Spa Mode

    You are not looking at it wrong, that is exactly what I am saying. I believe you may be pulling the water from the spa and returning to pool and spa, then pulling from pool and returning to spa only. Thus causing your spa to drain to the pool when in spa mode and re-fill the spa from the pool in pool mode.
    20+ years industry experience, pools and spas. Missouri to California.

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    Re: Spa Drains When Freeze Protection Puts System in Spa Mode

    No, currently when in spa mode, the return valve is fully in the spa return mode (9 o'clock position). Flipping the switch on the return valve would put it into the condition you just mentioned, essentially, returning water to both the pool and spa when the system is sucking water from the spa.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Spa Drains When Freeze Protection Puts System in Spa Mode

    So back to the cleaner valve. Are you saying the actuated valve is off but the manual valve is on? Or is the actuated valve as is shown in the picture which is on for both ports. If so, that is a siphoning condition and the spa will drain over time. Try shutting off the cleaner valve.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Spa Drains When Freeze Protection Puts System in Spa Mode

    Yes, the actuated and manual cleaner valves are on - when in pool mode, water from the pool suction side flows through the pump basket, and up to the cleaner valve. In its current configuration, this sends water to both the filter and the old RayVac port, which now essentially acts as a return outlet in the pool.

    You may have hit on it - in spa mode, I would think the actuated cleaner valve would shut off flow to the cleaner outlet in the pool, correct? I have not noticed whether the cleaner valve moves, or not, when transitioning from pool to spa. If it doesn't, I can test further by closing the secondary, manual cleaner valve mentioned earlier.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Spa Drains When Freeze Protection Puts System in Spa Mode

    You may have hit on it - in spa mode, I would think the actuated cleaner valve would shut off flow to the cleaner outlet in the pool, correct?
    It should shut off or else the spa would drain not only when the pump is off but also while the pump is running and in spa mode. If that is the case, then check the actuator switch. It might have gotten turned off.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Spa Drains When Freeze Protection Puts System in Spa Mode

    The cleaner valve was the problem, mas985, as you suggested. I've got an actuator issue - the cleaner valve stayed open when the system was put into spa mode, allowing part of the water from the spa suction to divert to the pool's cleaner port... Whew. All fixed now.

    Thanks for staying with me on this one..!

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