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Thread: Need help understanding my pool plumbing and a possible solution to low flow

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    Need help understanding my pool plumbing and a possible solution to low flow

    Hi, we moved into a new home in AZ and the pool plumbing looks more complicated than what I had in my other house.
    I dont understand the flow fully. Please see the attached pics of the pool plumbing around the pump.

    The details that I know so far.
    the pool has a waterfall with a separate pump to operate it.
    The pool has a skimmer basket on one side, and a leaf catcher on the other side that catches the leaves from the bottom.
    there are at least 5 ports where the water gets sucked. 3 on the floor (main drain and two side ports)
    Two on the side of the wall (is this the port for waterfall pump?)

    Here are my problems and questions. From the picture named "main plumbing"
    On the main pump to the filter, the water gets sucked in either from the main drain and/or from the skimmer basket.
    #1: I know that the turning the "black handle" valve the water suction is controlled between the main drain and the slimmer basket. But how? The handle is not the inlet to the pump, but on the output line of the filter.

    #2: of the 5 lines connected to the line with the black valve, the thinner one is for the water aeration, one with a big ball is the pop-up distributor. What are the other 3 lines and two out of the three have a red handle. What effect is turning the handle is supposed to have?

    #3: this is probably the main thing, the waterflow to the leafcatcher is really low, meaning that the suction from the main drain is not high enough, even after turning the black handle all the way that shuts down the suction from the main skimmer, how to fix this?, perhaps understanding the plumbing will provide an answer.

    Thanks for your help, please let me know if there is anything else from my side that could help better answer this.

    my first post.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: Need help understanding my pool plumbing and a possible solution to low flow

    Welcome to the forum!!!

    - - - Updated - - -

    I am thinking it might be best to copy and paste this thread into "pumping station", and then go back and edit this post to just say "Hi". See my new thread at "..."

    Never mind. You just received a response...!

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: Need help understanding my pool plumbing and a possible solution to low flow

    It appears that you only have one input to your filter pump, so I believe that your main drain is connected into our skimmer. You can pull the basket and see if you have two input pipes. You may have to remove a floating spaceship looking device that controls how much main drain water gets through, but most of the time these are long gone.

    I believe that all five pipes that are connected to the valve with the black handle in your initial picture are returning water TO the pool, none of them are on the suction side of your pump. When you turn the black valve I believe that you are just causing more or less back pressure on your filter changing the overall water flow. I don't think that you are directly adjusting the input between the Skimmer and Main Drain.

    I don't know what a Leave catcher is or how they work. But I'm puzzled at your statement.. "the waterflow to the leafcatcher is really low, meaning that the suction from the main drain is not high enough". Is the leave catcher part of your in-floor cleaning system? Not sure how it collects leaves from the bottom if it is on the other side from your skimmer?

    Another picture of the leave catcher would help.

    Thanks,

    Jim R.
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Calder Spa.

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    Re: Need help understanding my pool plumbing and a possible solution to low flow

    Thanks Jim.
    I have the diverter(spaceship looking device) but not using it. And yes there are two lines under the main skimmer.

    So the back pressure to the filter is enough to make the suction to go from the skimmer to the main drain?

    Yes, the leave catcher waterflow is only present when I turn the black valve all the way to the other side, I hear the water flowing through the distributor cap that feeds the pop-ups (part of in floor cleaning), and the debris/leaves/dirt make its way to main drain, then they sucked into the leaf catcher.

    Attaching more pictures
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Pebble tec, 15,000 gal, two pumps, waterfall and DE filter.

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: Need help understanding my pool plumbing and a possible solution to low flow

    Ok, the main problem here is that I am not too familiar with in-floor cleaning systems. But I did a little research and believe you have a Jandy Leaf-B-Gone or similar system. See this site

    http://www.zodiacpoolsystems.com/~/m...tl/tl-1327.pdf

    The system works off of the pressure side to cause a vacuum that sucks the leaves up from the floor and into the leaf catcher.

    I think the two outside drains (with the grates) are for what I call the Main drain and the drain with the solid cover in the middle of the three drains is part of the Leaf-B-Gone system. Your two outside drains are tied into your skimmer and are not really operating without the diverter valve. (You don't really need a main drain anyway).

    Read over the manual and see if it does not help you understand your plumbing. If not, just ask some more questions.

    Jim R.
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Calder Spa.

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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: Need help understanding my pool plumbing and a possible solution to low flow

    I agree with Jims comments.

    I can tell you the two big intakes on teh side wall are for your waterfalls (scuppers are actually what those 3 things are called).
    The black valve after the water feature pump is to turn the feature on and off. The 3 red valves probaly control the flow to each of the 3 scuppers so you can make them flow evenly, or turn some on and others off.

    The pipe just to the right of the Jandy valve has be stumped. Its obviously returning to the pool, but I dont know where or why. hummm
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
    www.tftestkits.net Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!

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    Re: Need help understanding my pool plumbing and a possible solution to low flow

    Thanks guys. Amazing, how much more understanding of my pool I already have. from the discussions so far, I am going to close the skimmer suction and see if that improves the flow into the leaf catcher skimmer. Also will try and remove the jet nozzle to clean out any debris as described in the PDF from Jim. I doubt this will do anything, since the water pressure there is pretty awesome.
    I read that the there should not be water pooling on top of the clear lid, but I have so much water above that, that tells something is off there.

    What do you think the two red valves in the main pump plumping is for? especially Is there anything you think I can do to increase that suction from the middle drain? Why and how?
    Also when I turn the black valve all the way to the other side, not only the suction from the skimmer is low, the water flows back into the pool through the in floor pop-ups rather than jets (this is just an FYI) obviously the black valve directs the water return.

    Thanks,
    Nathan
    Pebble tec, 15,000 gal, two pumps, waterfall and DE filter.

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: Need help understanding my pool plumbing and a possible solution to low flow

    Nathan,

    Why do you think the small pipe is for "water aeration"?

    Do you have a spa?

    What type of filter do you have and when was it last cleaned?

    Does your Skimmer seem to work ok when the in-floor cleaner is off?

    Do you have standard "eyeball" returns where your filtered water gets returned to your pool?

    For now I suggest you leave the cleaning system shut off, just as your picture shows it. Then I'd concentrate on what the other couple of valves do first. Just turn them on and off and see what, if anything changes.

    Jim R.
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Calder Spa.

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    Re: Need help understanding my pool plumbing and a possible solution to low flow

    Jim,
    There is a port where the water sprays back into the pool, with the turning of the small valve.
    No spa
    DE, backwashed a week ago, dont know when it was cleaned last, might be a while.
    The main skimmer suction is perfectly fine with the black valve set to not use the in-floor system.
    No, eyeball, what would this tell me if I had one, besides if the water is clean or not?

    Yes, sir, thats what I plan on doing, playing with those red handles (man that sounds bad).

    Text back when I have done that.

    Thanks
    Pebble tec, 15,000 gal, two pumps, waterfall and DE filter.

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: Need help understanding my pool plumbing and a possible solution to low flow

    Nathan,

    Most pools have several fittings like this..

    eyeball.jpg

    Where water returns to the pool. If you have no obvious "eyeballs", then the water must return some other way.

    Is the end of the small pipe below the water line or does it spray up in the air? Is it like a bubbler?

    Well, if you know what the small pipe does, then you only have one other pipe to try.

    Good luck,

    Jim R.
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Calder Spa.

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    Re: Need help understanding my pool plumbing and a possible solution to low flow

    I totally misunderstood the "eyeball". I have these, water jets out of these when the black handle is one way, when I turn it all the way around, water returns to the pool via the in-floor pop-ups.
    I was thinking "eyeball" meant some clear glass/plastic where you can see the water return.
    Pebble tec, 15,000 gal, two pumps, waterfall and DE filter.

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    Re: Need help understanding my pool plumbing and a possible solution to low flow

    I tried closing the red valve with the black valve set to direct water to the in floor pop ups(instead of the eyeball jets), no difference in how much sucking from the main drain, I verified this by pushing the leaves towards the middle to see if they are getting swooped in, no just like before, leaves make its way to the leaf catcher just so slowly.
    Pebble tec, 15,000 gal, two pumps, waterfall and DE filter.

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: Need help understanding my pool plumbing and a possible solution to low flow

    Nathan,

    Ok, let me take another crack at this..

    You say.. "I tried closing the red valve with the black valve set to direct water to the in floor pop ups(instead of the eyeball jets), no difference in how much sucking from the main drain, I verified this by pushing the leaves towards the middle to see if they are getting swooped in, no just like before, leaves make its way to the leaf catcher just so slowly"

    When the handle of the black valve is pointed to the right (opposite the direction in your picture) then only the red valve on the right is in the path of the water flow. Since that valve is already fully open the only thing moving it can possible do is to reduce the suction of the Leaf-B-Gone center drain. (This is not the same as the main drains that have the grates). Since no water is flowing to the left of the black valve, the valves on that side would have no effect at all.

    Reading the Leaf-B-gone manual, it is clear that the suction that is needed to vacuum debris and leaves from your "center drain" and bring them up into the leaf catcher basket is developed inside the leave catcher. Water from your pump runs into one side of the Leaf Catcher and into a nozzle. This nozzle greatly increases the water pressure before it is forced to return to the pool. This difference in pressure causes a vacuum in the leaf catcher, which in turn sucks the debris out of the Center Leaf-B-Gone drain.

    So logic says one of the following is the cause..

    1. There is not enough water pressure coming into the Leaf catcher. Low flow out of filter.. or ???
    2. There is something wrong with the nozzle (Plugged or ???)
    3. In order to have a vacuum the lid on the leave catcher has to be air tight. From what you said above, I don't think it is...
    4. The pipe between the Leaf-B-Gone and the Leaf Catcher basket is plugged.

    My vote is number 3. I'd be looking for a missing or broken O-Ring.

    Good Luck and let us know what you find.

    Jim R.
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Calder Spa.

  14. Back To Top    #14

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    Re: Need help understanding my pool plumbing and a possible solution to low flow

    The black actuator valve is a "caretaker" valve, you should replace the 0-60psi gauge on the valve as it appears to have a faded top from age and may make it hard to see gauge face, and possibly questionable for accuracy,etc. same with de filter gauge, make sure gauges function properly. new gauges are cheap enough to justify replacement when ever they might be in question. Now as far as the black caretaker actuator valve you will notice the large union nuts one on the top of the black dome,and the other a foot and a half above it on the piping, with the system "off" loosen the unions and remove the 90* pipe and look at the top of the black valve,there should be a 2'' diameter, by 2'' high dome screen, this has to be checked frequently for accumulation of debris that the screen captures to prevent debris from entering the internals of the valve, this is important to be aware of, as all to often most homeowners new to this type of system have no clue until someone knowledgeable points this out, and these little screens are notorious for accumulating debris, you will have to get a feel for the frequency it needs to be checked, unless you are indeed aware of it already then you understand what i am saying, if not...check it and don't be surprised if its clogged,

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    Re: Need help understanding my pool plumbing and a possible solution to low flow

    if the caretaker screen is clogged bad it will not allow water to pass thru the valve as efficiently, if the valve gauge reading is low and the de filter gauge is high, could indicate flow problems caused by dirty screen, as far as the pipe to the right of the jandy valve, it is a safety feature for the caretaker valve, it is a "check valve" it will open at 30 psi in the event of failure of the valve, to allow water to flow back to the pool. The 3/4 inch pipe to the left of the jandy valve is the aerator, the 1 1/2 '' pipe next to that allows the pool wall returns to return water back to the pool, it replaces the in floor return flow normally used, but thru the eyeball returns on pool walls,this is a nice little feature for when you have to manually vac pool as it allows the pop up in floor heads to be shut off,so when you vac dirt from pool floor the pop ups wont come on to blow dirt around

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    normal pool operation will utilize the caretaker valve for flow back to the pool, and the jandy valve on top will point more off to the left side,than it is pointing now,which is to the right side which means your in floor system is off

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    your entire cleaning system is to the right of the jandy valve it is the 30psi check valve then the leaf trap valve, then the black caretaker valve at the end

    - - - Updated - - -

    simple way to take all the quess work out of this would be to have an experienced pool repair tech come to your home, not a pool cleaner, and have them spend a 1/2 hour service call with you to explain exactly what you need to know

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