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Thread: Spa Draining Back Into Pool w/ Pump Running

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    Spa Draining Back Into Pool w/ Pump Running

    Hey everybody, thanks for checking out my post. I just purchased a home with a pool/spa and am having some issues figuring everything out. I've had a pool in the past but no spa and it was set up different. I learned everything I know from this forum! I've been tirelessly researching this issue but haven't had much luck finding my exact situation. So here it goes:

    I don't know how old the pool is, but it has 2 skimmers and the main drain, all coming to the pump from the same line. I have a single valve that controls incoming flow from the pool and the spa. So I can't adjust suction from the skimmers and pool main drain, I can only adjust how much flow comes from the spa and how much flow comes from the pool. The spa is level with the pool and has a small spillway between the two. Right now, I have the spa drain completely off (according to the valve) and the return to the spa is completely off. Even though the drain is off, water is still draining to the pool. Basically, the spa is draining to the point that the pool is always spilling over into the spa. And after 5 days, my spa is down 9-10 inches. When I turn the pump off at night, the pool will overflow into the spa until it reaches the bottom of the spillway. Note: The spa has never done this when the pump is off, the spa will stay at whatever level it is at when the pump is turned off.

    My question is, what could be causing the water to go to the pool when the spa drain is off? I feel like I'm losing more water than I should and I'm trying to test for any leakage. I've been trying to do the bucket test but I can't get an accurate reading because I can't keep the pool and spa levels isolated, I don't know if the pool is losing water and taking excess from the spa, or vice-verse.

    Thanks for any feedback.......

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Spa Draining Back Into Pool w/ Pump Running

    Look under the skimmer baskets, there might be a valve to adjust flow between skimmers and main drain under the basket.

    There is normally a check valve in the plumbing at the equipment pad to stop water from draining from the spa to the pool. There could be debris in the check valve or it could be failing due to age. A pic of the equipment pad might help.

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    Re: Spa Draining Back Into Pool w/ Pump Running

    Thanks for the response pooldv....

    Here are pics of the equipment and pool. You'll see that I have 3 lines from the pool, one for the cleaner suction, one for spa, and one for pool (2 skimmers and main drain). The spa is off right now. The water flows thru the pump, through the filter, through the heater, and I have 2 return lines, one for pool and one for spa. Spa is turned off right now. Right now the pool is overflowing to the spa and the spa is draining to keep the pool at that level, even though the spa drain is off. I don't have a check valve anywhere, would that solve my problem and at what point in the plumbing would it be installed?

    There are no valves installed under the skimmers. There are 2 holes under each and 1 of the holes is plugged under each skimmer. Can a valve still be installed to adjust flow? I've been wondering that because I have problems with one skimmer, it's the only one that sucks air when the pool level drops a little. The other skimmer will still have plenty of water. All I can figure out is that they are not level. Also, the skimmer I have issues with seems to suck harder than the other one. I feel like I could help alleviate the problem if I could adjust or even completely block that one skimmer. I'm not sure....

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    image.jpg

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    image.jpg
    Inground plaster pool/spa (spa level with pool), Approximately 17k gallons, Chlorine
    AC Smith Centurion pump, 2.0 hp single speed
    Pentair System 3 cartridge filter
    Raypack Rheem gas heater
    Thanks to TFP, BBB, and the TFP-100 test kit, water chemistry near perfect!

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Spa Draining Back Into Pool w/ Pump Running

    The valve handles in the first picture are not set correctly (or were installed incorrectly). Normally, when a pool/spa is built, the handles (the thing on the valve you grab) should point in the same direction, they should NOT point at each other. Give that a try and see what happens.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Spa Draining Back Into Pool w/ Pump Running

    In the second pic, it's obvious that you are draining water from the spa drains and returning it to the pool (reverse spillway effect is kind of neat looking)...

    On the suction side of your pump, I think the splitter valve is splitting the intake from the main drain/skimmers and that third pipe coming up out of the ground is your spa suction line. Is that right??
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Spa Draining Back Into Pool w/ Pump Running

    Hello, I did not know that about the valve handles, they must be installed incorrectly. As they stand, I have no suction or return to the spa, it is completely off. The return and suction is coming from the pool.

    and no, I don't have any control over the skimmers and main drain. Here's another pic, the far left pipe is for the cleaner suction and the other two are pool and spa.

    - - - Updated - - -
    Inground plaster pool/spa (spa level with pool), Approximately 17k gallons, Chlorine
    AC Smith Centurion pump, 2.0 hp single speed
    Pentair System 3 cartridge filter
    Raypack Rheem gas heater
    Thanks to TFP, BBB, and the TFP-100 test kit, water chemistry near perfect!

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    Re: Spa Draining Back Into Pool w/ Pump Running

    Suction:



    Return:






    Inground plaster pool/spa (spa level with pool), Approximately 17k gallons, Chlorine
    AC Smith Centurion pump, 2.0 hp single speed
    Pentair System 3 cartridge filter
    Raypack Rheem gas heater
    Thanks to TFP, BBB, and the TFP-100 test kit, water chemistry near perfect!

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Spa Draining Back Into Pool w/ Pump Running

    The way those pipes are labeled is not normal. A typical plumbing design (i.e., a correct design) puts all of the pool suction/return on the right side of their respective valves and all the spa suction/return on the left side of their respective valves. That way, the handles are always pointing in the same direction, never at each other or away from each other.

    Are you sure those pipe labels are correct??

    If the pipes are labeled correctly, then my next guess is your valves are not sealing properly and may need to be opened up and services.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Spa Draining Back Into Pool w/ Pump Running

    Yes, they are labeled correctly. I did that so I could remember. I've used the spa and had the entire pool cut off and both valves were opposite. Everything worked perfectly. And I almost lost my hand in the vacuum suction when I turned that valve on. Haha

    I was wondering if my valves were bad. They are Jandy Never Lube. How do I check them, just turn the pool off and unscrew the cover?


    Inground plaster pool/spa (spa level with pool), Approximately 17k gallons, Chlorine
    AC Smith Centurion pump, 2.0 hp single speed
    Pentair System 3 cartridge filter
    Raypack Rheem gas heater
    Thanks to TFP, BBB, and the TFP-100 test kit, water chemistry near perfect!

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Spa Draining Back Into Pool w/ Pump Running

    Yup. Turn off the pump (always best to do it at the breaker to be safe) and open up the valve bodies by removing the screws. You'll see a sliding window with a gasket in it. Check the gasket for tears or wear. There are rebuild kits for those valves.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Spa Draining Back Into Pool w/ Pump Running

    And my pool guy (he serviced this pool for the previous owner) is trying to help locate the leak, if there really is one. He came out last week and knew exactly which valves went where. He's the one that set it the way it is now. He was trying to isolate the pool and spa. I told him about the problem with the spa draining to the pool but I don't think he was paying attention. I haven't had much luck with him. I'd like to use somebody else but the seller that I purchased the home from is offering to pay for any leak repairs so I'm stuck with his guy.


    Inground plaster pool/spa (spa level with pool), Approximately 17k gallons, Chlorine
    AC Smith Centurion pump, 2.0 hp single speed
    Pentair System 3 cartridge filter
    Raypack Rheem gas heater
    Thanks to TFP, BBB, and the TFP-100 test kit, water chemistry near perfect!

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    Re: Spa Draining Back Into Pool w/ Pump Running

    Great, I'll check that tomorrow to see if I can find anything. Thanks for the advice.


    Inground plaster pool/spa (spa level with pool), Approximately 17k gallons, Chlorine
    AC Smith Centurion pump, 2.0 hp single speed
    Pentair System 3 cartridge filter
    Raypack Rheem gas heater
    Thanks to TFP, BBB, and the TFP-100 test kit, water chemistry near perfect!

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Spa Draining Back Into Pool w/ Pump Running

    If one of the holes under the skimmer basket is plugged, should be the one closest to the pool, then the main drain isn't plumbed through the skimmers. Are you sure the left suction line is for a suction cleaner? It would be unusual for the skimmer line and drain line to merge together underground. Drains are nearly always either plumbed to the pad or to the skimmers.

    How trustworthy/experienced is the person who marked that plumbing?
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    Re: Spa Draining Back Into Pool w/ Pump Running

    There's only one open hole in each skimmer, the other is plugged. And I labeled the plumbing today but I have verified that each is labeled correctly. And I've been trying to get my new Kreepy Krauly to work and I've been using the vacuum suction line. I know for a fact that the left valve controls the vacuum suction. The only other option I can think of is that the skimmer holes shouldn't be plugged and I'm not getting any suction from my main drain? I haven't been able to confirm if it actually has any suction power. I can only verify the skimmers and vacuum suction.


    Inground plaster pool/spa (spa level with pool), Approximately 17k gallons, Chlorine
    AC Smith Centurion pump, 2.0 hp single speed
    Pentair System 3 cartridge filter
    Raypack Rheem gas heater
    Thanks to TFP, BBB, and the TFP-100 test kit, water chemistry near perfect!

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    Re: Spa Draining Back Into Pool w/ Pump Running

    The suction valve: the way it's set now, my skimmers are sucking (I'm assuming the main drain is too) and the spa is not (supposed to be). When I turn it, the skimmers go off and the spa drains. The left valve turns on vacuum suction. There's no suction right now. When I turn it, the vacuum hole in the pool tries to eat my hand.


    Inground plaster pool/spa (spa level with pool), Approximately 17k gallons, Chlorine
    AC Smith Centurion pump, 2.0 hp single speed
    Pentair System 3 cartridge filter
    Raypack Rheem gas heater
    Thanks to TFP, BBB, and the TFP-100 test kit, water chemistry near perfect!

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Spa Draining Back Into Pool w/ Pump Running

    Ok, good info. Sounds like you've got it right. Who knows what is going on with the drain. Pool bottom drains don't have much suction anyway. It is hard to tell if there is suction in a drain even if you know there is.

    So, the way it is set now suction is from the skimmers and returns are to the pool. And it is overflowing into the spa. And it didn't used to do that. That means there must also be some suction coming from the spa, so as you and Matt figured out earlier, there might be a problem with the valve leaking.
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    Re: Spa Draining Back Into Pool w/ Pump Running

    Thanks for the info, I don't think it was doing that before but until the leak detector turned the spa drain off, I had it about 25% on and I had the spa and pool return jets on. The spillway wasn't being used, neither the pool nor spa were high enough. I was having to put water in the pool every 2 or 3 days because one skimmer would start sucking air. I feel like I'm losing water and I tried the bucket test and the pool drained more than the bucket. But I'm uncertain about the readings because the pool and spa drain back and forth, it seems. I can't get them isolated to do a true leak test. I don't know what to do!


    Inground plaster pool/spa (spa level with pool), Approximately 17k gallons, Chlorine
    AC Smith Centurion pump, 2.0 hp single speed
    Pentair System 3 cartridge filter
    Raypack Rheem gas heater
    Thanks to TFP, BBB, and the TFP-100 test kit, water chemistry near perfect!

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Spa Draining Back Into Pool w/ Pump Running

    If the seller is going to pay the pool guy to fix it why not let him try?

    If you are going to work on it I think you should check/fix the valves first so you can isolate the pool and the spa. And then you can do a bucket test to see if you have a leak.

    Does the pool have an overflow?
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    Re: Spa Draining Back Into Pool w/ Pump Running

    Well the leak detector isn't being much help. I've been calling him for almost a month and he keeps telling me to monitor the levels. He finally came out last week but it had rained and the pool and spa were both over the spillway. He turned off everything spa related and said he'd come back. That was last Wednesday. My spa is about a foot lower and my pool is overflowing into the spa. I just need to know this is fixed and fixed correctly while I still have the seller willing to pay. That's why I'm trying to figure all of this out.

    No, there's no overflow. Unfortunately. My neighbor told me that there's issues when it floods because there's no pool overflow and there's no drainage in the backyard.


    Inground plaster pool/spa (spa level with pool), Approximately 17k gallons, Chlorine
    AC Smith Centurion pump, 2.0 hp single speed
    Pentair System 3 cartridge filter
    Raypack Rheem gas heater
    Thanks to TFP, BBB, and the TFP-100 test kit, water chemistry near perfect!

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Spa Draining Back Into Pool w/ Pump Running

    Ok, I thought maybe the spa water is getting in the pool and leaving out of an overflow. Valves is the next step and stay on the pool guy. Maybe the seller can put some pressure on him too. They probably want to get it wrapped up too.
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