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Thread: Professional skimmer line un-clogging cost?

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    Professional skimmer line un-clogging cost?

    Has anyone ever needed to have their skimmer line professionally unclogged, and if so, what price range is that in?

    I've successfully cleared a skimmer line clog before with a Drain King, but this time I simply can't seem to unclog my line, and the pool is now green because I don't want to risk burning the motor out (water does flow, but not enough to fill the strainer pot or the filter, 0psi in filter tank.) I've read that pool companies can use CO2 to blow out the line using higher pressure than a Drain King can provide.

    My belief that the skimmer line is clogged is based on the fact that when using the Drain King, I will get little bits of leaves and debris to come back up into the skimmer, but if I run the pump, they don't end up in the strainer pot. The basket in the strainer has broken down and I've got a very bad feeling that yard debris or a neighbor kid's toy may have ended up in the line, stuck in a 90 degree elbow or something.

    My next step after finding a price range is to figure out if there's a company in San Diego that can do this. As my (fairly limited) understanding goes, this is generally a procedure reserved for emptying pool lines in places where it freezes in winter? Am I even going to find a company in San Diego that will have this gear?

    Thank you, in advance, anyone who can give me any helpful info.
    10k gallons, IG plaster, Cartridge filter (will add brand as soon as I get home), one-speed pump (will add brand if I can find it on the motor). Built in late 70s by my grandparents, using single-dip test strips. No spa, SWG or automatic cleaner.

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    Re: Professional skimmer line un-clogging cost?

    Call some plumbers. They may have what you need.
    In ground, 14,000 gallon, white plaster, unheated, stone waterfall, DE Filter, Rainbow 320 Cl, Polaris 3900, FloVis flow meter, F100 test kit, Circupool RJ30+ SWG, Circupool VJ1/Speck Badu EcoM3V variable speed pump.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Professional skimmer line un-clogging cost?

    Yeah, a plumbers snake from the equipment pad side should be able to clear that. I'd go to Lowes and buy a snake for 20 or 30 bucks. Plumber will probably charge a $75 trip charge, they should be able to clear it quickly.

    Add bleach to your pool and stir it up with a net, broom, canoe paddle or something so it doesn't turn green.
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Professional skimmer line un-clogging cost?

    Slow down a little. A year or two ago someone here reported they hired someone to blow the lines clear and there was a bang and then the pool sprung a leak... The deck needed to be cut out and the cracked pipes dug up. You don't want that.

    Also a year or two ago someone had a similar problem and, by opening up a Jandy three way valve, located the offending hot wheels car stuck inside it.

    If there is a valve between the pump inlet and the skimmer, that's where you should start. Get you a rebuild kit in advance and then remove the handle and unscrew the cover and go in that way with a drain king or a snake. If you don;t have a valve, then go at the line with a snake. I'd start from the skimmer end. The snakes usually get hung up on elbows, which is okay, because so do wads of leaves and pine needles. Possibly try the drain king at the pump inlet and the snake at the skimmer.

    My two cents.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
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    jrs_diesel's Avatar
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    Re: Professional skimmer line un-clogging cost?

    I have the same concerns as Richard. I have seen the pressure systems work on clogs, but that is on metallic piping, not PVC pipe. High pressure air and PVC pipe do not get along. Heck, OSHA prohibits its use in compressed air systems.

    A plumbers snake is much safer for this kind of pipe.

    I also reccomend you find a way to move the water around in the pool so you can circulate some liquid chlorine and keep the pool clear.
    J.R.

    20K IG gunnite pool
    2HP Hayward single speed pump
    Cartridge filter

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Professional skimmer line un-clogging cost?

    Quote Originally Posted by jrs_diesel View Post
    I also reccomend you find a way to move the water around in the pool so you can circulate some liquid chlorine and keep the pool clear.
    A submersible pump in the deep end with the discharge hose in the shallow end should move the water around so you can start introducing chlorine to kil the green stuff. You will not be able to do a complete SLAM this way, but you can hold your own until you get the clog cleared.
    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: Professional skimmer line un-clogging cost?

    I just had this problem. Because the line was not completely plugged, the drain king just could not build up enough pressure to unclog the line. What finally worked was using the drain king in the pump side, and holding a tennis ball over the skimmer pipe to build up pressure.

    With the drain king running in the pump side, I'd hold the tennis ball over the pipe in the bottom of the skimmer until the water pressure would start pushing water past the tennis ball and then I'd release the tennis ball to relieve the pressure at once. After doing this about 10 times, a clump of pine straw shot into the skimmer.
    16x36 Vinyl Pool - 22.5K gallons.
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    Re: Professional skimmer line un-clogging cost?

    Adding to what Richard said......

    This reminds me of a story, told to me by a friend that was a contractor. One day, at the breakfast restaurant, he was bemoaning the fact that he had a clog in one of his toilets that he just couldn't clear. One of the other contractors said, "I've got just the thing to take care of that!" and they made an appointment to clear the clog Saturday morning. On Saturday, about mid-morning, contractor #2 pulled into the yard with a gigantic diesel air compressor. They clogged all of the sinks and toilets with rags, except the offending toilet and drug the 3" hose through the house to that toilet and clogged around the hose with other rags. Of course, Mama was not a fan of big dirty hoses being drug through her home, but ya' gotta' do what ya' gotta' do....

    So, everything being properly hosed and clogged, they retreated to the yard and cranked up the diesel behemoth.... as it was warming up and belching huge quantities of black smoke, they returned to the house to double check their set-up. All seemed in order, so the order was given to let 'er rip.....

    I don't know how much pressure was involved, but I'm sure there was a HUGE quantity of air. It blew the rags out of all of the fixtures, shooting sewer water from the sinks up to the ceiling, drenching curtains, carpets, and furniture; ditto the other toilets in the house, just add a liberal quantity of poo on the ceiling. Mama was screaming things that weren't very ladylike.... and the clog held firm.

    Contractor #2 got the hose back on the air compressor in record time and barely escaped the clutches of a temporarily insane Mama (actually, I don't think any jury would have convicted her of even justifiable homicide). A plumber was called and the whole matter was diagnosed as a full septic tank.

    Take away:

    1) Make sure you diagnose the problem properly, and
    2) Tim Taylor notwithstanding, sometimes MORE POWER isn't the best solution...... YMMV.

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Professional skimmer line un-clogging cost?

    Oh what a story!

    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: Professional skimmer line un-clogging cost?

    Quote Originally Posted by tim5055 View Post
    A submersible pump in the deep end with the discharge hose in the shallow end should move the water around so you can start introducing chlorine to kil the green stuff. You will not be able to do a complete SLAM this way, but you can hold your own until you get the clog cleared.
    Great idea. I'll keep this tucked away for future use (hopefully won't have to use it).
    Inground, vinyl liner, 16 x 32 (approx. 21k gallons), roman end w/ bench, 2 Jandy LED lights
    Pump: Jandy Flopro, 1.5 hp Heater: Raypak, 266k btu (P-R266-A-EN-C; nat gas) Filter: Jandy C340 (cartridge filter) Robot: Doheny's Dolphin Discovery

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    Re: Professional skimmer line un-clogging cost?

    twhitehouse, do you know what your skimmer lines are connected with? I was working for a pool service company and we serviced a skimmer line that used flexible pipe. We called it Tiger-Flex it was flexible pvc pipe with metal wire in it. It eventually collapsed and the skimmer would not work. This pool only had the one skimmer so it was sucking pretty hard and just gave out after years of use. If you are sure you have PVC all the way through that won't be your problem. I hope it's not your problem. I just wanted to throw out troubleshooting possibilities. A camera can tell for sure. If you're calling someone in it might be worth it to be sure they have a camera. A run of the mill pool company might not.
    Inground, vinyl liner, 16 x 32 (approx. 21k gallons), roman end w/ bench, 2 Jandy LED lights
    Pump: Jandy Flopro, 1.5 hp Heater: Raypak, 266k btu (P-R266-A-EN-C; nat gas) Filter: Jandy C340 (cartridge filter) Robot: Doheny's Dolphin Discovery

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    Re: Professional skimmer line un-clogging cost?

    Hey all, thanks for the replies. I've been ridiculously busy at work and haven't had time to reply until now. Unfortunately there's no valve between the skimmer and the pump, so nothing to take apart. I've tried the tennis ball trick (which actually was what helped me out with the last time I got a clogged line; that time was my fault, I vaccumed up debris into the line). but no luck this time, and I did it over and over, before giving up and then trying the same again the next day... felt like banging my head against a brick wall. I can't actually say 100% for sure what the line is made of, I only believe it's PVC because that's what comes up from the concrete and goes into the pump. My grandparents built the pool a long time ago, probably before I was even born, so there's no one I could ask for a definitive answer. I think I'll give that submersible pump trick a shot, because the pool is just awful by now. My grandfather-in-law just passed away, so there was a while there that I was just ignoring the pool in favor of spending time with the family. I've gotten ahold of a pool company that says they do unclogging with air pressure, and they have good reviews on yelp, so my hope is that they know enough to get it done without blowing anything up.
    10k gallons, IG plaster, Cartridge filter (will add brand as soon as I get home), one-speed pump (will add brand if I can find it on the motor). Built in late 70s by my grandparents, using single-dip test strips. No spa, SWG or automatic cleaner.

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    jrs_diesel's Avatar
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    Re: Professional skimmer line un-clogging cost?

    If you have PVC pipe above ground going into the pump, then you also have PVC underground. I've never heard of anyone building a pool with anything other than PVC in recent years (flex pipe to connect a pump not withstanding).

    Just want to re-emphasize to not use a pressure type un-clogger. PVC is far more prone to fracturing/cracking under pressure spikes than metallic pipe. A plumber's snake is much safer on PVC pipes.
    J.R.

    20K IG gunnite pool
    2HP Hayward single speed pump
    Cartridge filter

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