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Thread: Why do each of my skimmers have an extra port?

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    Question Why do each of my skimmers have an extra port?

    I have two skimmers, one on the west side and one on the east side of the pool. Each of them have two holes at the bottom, but the skimmer on the east side has the 2nd port plugged off with some kind of cap. The west skimmer's 2nd port is not plugged off, but doesn't seem to serve any function as I cannot establish any kind of circulation through it and it has some debris in it. I was thinking maybe it has something to do with the drain at the bottom of the pool, since I cannot figure out for the life of me how to establish circulation through that thing.

    What do you experts say?
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    IG, Plaster, 15,000 gal, Free-form (angular)
    Pentair FNSP 48 DE filter (48 sqft)
    Hayward SP3010X15AZ pump with 1.5 HP motor (installed 3/2015)
    Rock waterfall, large live oak shades half the pool
    Re-plastered April, 2017

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    Re: Why do each of my skimmers have an extra port?

    I suspect the second port is plumbed to the drain. That is common. Do you ave a diverter valve in the bottom of the skimmer? It looks like a thick round plate.

    Something like this:

    Pentair Valve, Float Assy. (506160) - INYOPools.com
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Re: Why do each of my skimmers have an extra port?

    No, I don't have that plate. I did just take a vacuum hose and hold it in the suction port so there was good circulation through the other end of the hose which I started to put in the 2nd port. However, when I did, the suction became so great that I almost lost the hose in the suction port. This tells me that if the 2nd port leads to the main drain, there could be some blockage in the piping. Thoughts?

    If I did have that diverter valve and put it in my skimmer with a block in the main drain plumbing, what would happen?
    IG, Plaster, 15,000 gal, Free-form (angular)
    Pentair FNSP 48 DE filter (48 sqft)
    Hayward SP3010X15AZ pump with 1.5 HP motor (installed 3/2015)
    Rock waterfall, large live oak shades half the pool
    Re-plastered April, 2017

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Why do each of my skimmers have an extra port?

    My guess is that the extra port goes to the main drain and it's either plugged up with fine sludge from disuse or someone put a plug in it and never removed it. Try using a drain-king rubber bladder in the mystery hole and see if you can blow it out. If it's years' worth of fine dust, you'll see it coming up out of the main drain. Picture clay dust... grow your own sedimentary rock. The alternative is to swim down and try to remove the drain cover for a look, and that's no fun at all. A good way to give yourself a heart attack if you ask me, since you'll be trying to unscrew screws while you're running out of air and buoyant.

    As for massive suction when connecting the vacuum, don't let the hose get stuck in there. People have had all kinds of grief when the collar pulled off the hose and got stuck in the plumbing. What I did, since I can't stop the suction to the main drain and use a skimmer plate, is stick a threaded PVC adaptor in the hole. It's just the right size to fit in the hole and sit on the lip inside. The vacuum hose will easily cram into the threaded end and stick there by friction.

    If you do get the line open to the main drain, here's how a diverter works
    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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    Re: Why do each of my skimmers have an extra port?

    Wow Richard cool diagram
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Re: Why do each of my skimmers have an extra port?

    Yeah, thanks Richard! That drain king idea is great. I have one and i love using it so I'll give it a whirl. Cheers

    IG, Plaster, 15,000 gal, Free-form (angular)
    Pentair FNSP 48 DE filter (48 sqft)
    Hayward SP3010X15AZ pump with 1.5 HP motor (installed 3/2015)
    Rock waterfall, large live oak shades half the pool
    Re-plastered April, 2017

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    Re: Why do each of my skimmers have an extra port?

    Drain King didn't work because that 2nd port is completely sealed. You can see in the picture where the sediment is...well, that's all there is to that pipe! I initially thought it curved and continued onward to the drain, but not so. It's just a completely sealed-off piece of pipe. So weird. Now if I could somehow remove that 6" piece of dead-end pipe from the port, I may establish circulation through the MD, but could also unearth some terrible secret about the pool that the previous homeowners fixed by inserting that plug. I'll probably just leave it like that since I don't think I could remove it anyway. Been 2.5 years without working main drain and my water is perfectly balanced...so I would venture to say my pool doesn't need an MD.

    IG, Plaster, 15,000 gal, Free-form (angular)
    Pentair FNSP 48 DE filter (48 sqft)
    Hayward SP3010X15AZ pump with 1.5 HP motor (installed 3/2015)
    Rock waterfall, large live oak shades half the pool
    Re-plastered April, 2017

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    Re: Why do each of my skimmers have an extra port?

    Oh. That's funky.

    MD's are pretty overrated from what I've heard, so long as you're careful about not letting the water level drop below the skimmer.
    8,500gal plaster in-ground with attached spa, two floor drains, one skimmer. Chlorine, City Water.
    Pentair WhisperFlo 1hp Pump, MagnaTek Midcentury EPlus motor, Pentair CleanNClear 200SF Cartridge filter, Purex Triton MiniMax 250 Gas Heater, Pentair SunLite, AutoFill.
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    Re: Why do each of my skimmers have an extra port?

    Mine has a weird extra hole too. It's always been full of sediment and never has any suction. How would I know if it's connected to my main drain?
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    Re: Why do each of my skimmers have an extra port?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    My guess is that the extra port goes to the main drain and it's either plugged up with fine sludge from disuse or someone put a plug in it and never removed it. Try using a drain-king rubber bladder in the mystery hole and see if you can blow it out. If it's years' worth of fine dust, you'll see it coming up out of the main drain. Picture clay dust... grow your own sedimentary rock. The alternative is to swim down and try to remove the drain cover for a look, and that's no fun at all. A good way to give yourself a heart attack if you ask me, since you'll be trying to unscrew screws while you're running out of air and buoyant.

    As for massive suction when connecting the vacuum, don't let the hose get stuck in there. People have had all kinds of grief when the collar pulled off the hose and got stuck in the plumbing. What I did, since I can't stop the suction to the main drain and use a skimmer plate, is stick a threaded PVC adaptor in the hole. It's just the right size to fit in the hole and sit on the lip inside. The vacuum hose will easily cram into the threaded end and stick there by friction.

    If you do get the line open to the main drain, here's how a diverter works
    I always wondered what that thing was in my skimmer. It's been there for all the 12 years I've lived in this house and "guessed" it had something to do with vacuuming or safety or some such. My Polaris keeps the pool clean - i have an old vacuum hose in the shed somewhere - never hooked it up; would not know how to use it.

    So, for my use, where should that swing plate be positioned?

    AND, when I tried to do a partial pool water change (super high CYA some years ago), when the water level hit the skimmer, I did not know how to make the pool pump suck out the water. So, I used a submersible pump (one of those garden-hose cheapies) and it took forever. Is that the right way to do drain? Or, is there a way to make the pool suck water from the drain only???
    16K gal, IG Free-Form Plaster (1986), 1 HP Pentair Superflo pump, PAC FAB FNS-36 DE Filter, Polaris 280, Screened, Cool Deck.
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    Re: Why do each of my skimmers have an extra port?

    I drained water from my pool this past weekend and was running into that issue of the water level getting below the skimmer level and sucking in air, what I did was hook-up my hose to the skimmer with my Hayward vac connected. So it was basically still sucking water out, just from the bottom of the pool!
    Chris B.

    New house w/ 28 y/o I.G. 15k gal. pool/spa, Plaster, Hayward DE-480S Micro Clear Filter, Pentair Whisperflo wfe-4, 1HP (Main Pump), Hayward SP2815x20 (Pump for spa jets), Versa Pool Heater, Hayward Pool Vac Ultra, TF-100 Kit

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Why do each of my skimmers have an extra port?

    I just keep the flap about half way so a little flow is pulled from the floor.

    These float diverters are not designed to be air tight to allow you to drain the water from the floor well below the skimmer (although I know from experience that it is possible to drain a fair amount of water even with some air leakage). Better to rent a submersible pump if your floor is plumbed to your skimmer and not directly to the pump and controlled by valves.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Why do each of my skimmers have an extra port?

    Some skimmers have suction and returns and some are plumbed with only suction, the second port is sealed off before the skimmer is installed. I might be misinterpreting your question.
    Best of luck

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Why do each of my skimmers have an extra port?

    Quote Originally Posted by BellissimoH2O View Post
    Some skimmers have suction and returns and some are plumbed with only suction, the second port is sealed off before the skimmer is installed. I might be misinterpreting your question.
    Best of luck
    No skimmers have returns. The 2nd port can either be plumbed to the floor, another skimmer, or a hole in the wall called an equalization line.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Why do each of my skimmers have an extra port?

    Of course some skimmers have returns. Ive installed pools for over 10 years. Right underneath the skimmer plate, Aqua Genies have a return.

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    Re: Why do each of my skimmers have an extra port?

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    No skimmers have returns. The 2nd port can either be plumbed to the floor, another skimmer, or a hole in the wall called an equalization line.
    Actually, there are those venturi skimmers that do...



    Welcome, BellissimoH2O
    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.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Why do each of my skimmers have an extra port?

    Thanks Richard, although that would look nothing like the OP with 2 holes in the bottom.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: Why do each of my skimmers have an extra port?

    Thanks, Richard.

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