Hello everyone. I'm the new owner of what I believe is a ~30 year old in-ground Sylvan pool. The pool inspector estimated its size to be 30-35,000 gallons. He recommended a drain and powerwash and said the pool needs to be re-plastered. The estimate on recommended fixes was $12K and that simply isn't in the cards right now. There are a few small things we are going to do, but otherwise we're going to go with what we got and hope we're swimming relatively soon. I believe the pool was last used in Summer 2014.
The pool has been uncovered since the first week of April and I'm ashamed to say I've neglected it since. Water was clear when opened, but there was a lot of debris on the bottom and walls. As of yesterday 5/20, I had brown swamp water with a film. I could list the excuses for letting it get that bad, but none really matter at this point. Yesterday evening I put four 1lb. bags of shock into the pool; each bag supposedly good for 13.5K gallons. Also picked up a test kit/strips from Walmart a few weeks ago.
And now the fun! I believe at one point the system was operating properly because the inspector didn't indicate any issues and my very unprofessional visual diagnosis agreed. Yesterday evening I turned on the filter and initially both returns bubbled. After a few seconds only the SE skimmer was visibly pushing water. Nothing happening with the DE skimmer. After a few minutes I couldn't notice any water flow anywhere. I turned off the filter and called it a night.
My experience to pools is limited to skimming my grandfather's when I was a kid. I've done a little reading here, but I still feel pretty uneducated about my setup.
Here is what I know about my setup:
I have two skimmers, one in the SE, one in the DE. Neither have weirs. I believe they are the Sylvan old style combos. One hole at the bottom of each and returns below each as well. FIRST QUESTION: Can someone explain how these work? I saw on diagrams that a line from the main drain feeds each skimmer. Does this mean they don't pull water from the pool? It would seem they would given there are baskets, but I haven't been able to see or feel any suction from either skimmer.
My equipment is located in the garage. The pool inspector said it all appears to be ~15 years old but has probably held up better due to being indoors. I have a DE filter. There are two lines coming into the strainer, each with a valve. I'm assuming one line is from the main drain and the other from the skimmers? SECOND QUESTION: Is this correct? There is also a waste line and then two lines off the outlet, each also with their own valve, but neither valve appears to work.
Today's events: Thankfully it's been raining since last night so the shock didn't go to complete waste despite the fact the filter hasn't been running. The pool already looks better, now a medium green. I cannot see the bottom. I turned on the filter again today and same results as last night. The filter was running at what I think is about 25psi. I say I think because it appears the meter is bent and blocking the dial from moving freely. I'm going to get a new one. I noticed that one of the inlet valves leading to the strainer was closed. I opened it and turned on the filter again. Still didn't notice any water flow other than some bubbles from the returns. I then cleaned out the strainer; there was some debris but nothing terrible. Turned the filter back on and lost all pressure. And that's where I raise the white flag and moved on to another project.
Some questions in addition to my previous two:
3) Any insight on what might be going on?
4) Any additional products I need to buy?
5) I don't have a vaccuum and need to purchase one? What will be the best for an aged system?
Much appreciated in advance.