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Thread: Plugging lines

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    Plugging lines

    Hard to believe I'm already thinking about closing but it's only 6 weeks away

    Anyways, every year I struggle with plugging my lines after blowing them out. Maybe I'm anal, but when i blow then plug them with the threaded plugs, I can always see tiny air bubbles until I turn off the blower (from the pump). Yes, the bubbles disappear once I turn off the blower, and this is where I get anal, but the way I see it, if I get small bubbles with the blower running, it means there is an air path somewhere that could potentially let water into the pipes over the winter.

    So I have a new thought this year. I purchased a #7 rubber plug that fits into the return lines beyond the fitting (into the pipe). It fits in the return pipe such that I can also install the threaded plug over it (seems like overkill, I know). Since I think the air bubbles are coming from somewhere in the return fitting/plug connection, the #7 rubber expansion plug will bypass that problem. However, here is my concern.....once I put the rubber plus in, there is no way for me to continue blowing the water out of that return, so that when I install the threaded plug, there will be water between the threaded plug and the rubber plug. So, should I be concerned about the water in between those 2 plugs freezing and compromising my return fittings?
    TF-100 Test kit, 24,000 gal. free form Vinyl. mybluepool AC-600 SWG, STA-RITE S7MD60 DE filter, 3/4 HP STA-RITE MPRA6D pump, Polaris 280 w/booster, Raypack Propane heater, Looplock mesh cover; All located in New England.

  2. Back To Top    #2

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    Re: Plugging lines

    I guess it depends on your plumbing. On my system If I'm blowing out the returns and then plug each of them , then the air pushes the water out the main drain and then I do and air lock with the valve at the pump. I bet yours is the same.

    Sorry just re read your post about water between the 2 plugs. My thought is if it can freeze and expand it may crack that PVC threaded fitting. I don't think I would chance that. I use the rubber plugs on the returns also. But mine go in about half way and when I screw them down good they work great. I know my fittings in the wall have a sleeve that I remove every yr in order to install the rubber plugs. Are you leaving the sleeve in and then putting the rubber plugs inside those? If so that may be your problem.
    19,000 gal - Vinyl IG - Sand filter -1.5hp. - Taylor k 2006 - Loop Loc cover

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    Re: Plugging lines

    Please do not use threaded plugs. Last year, I purchased them and had the same issue (waste of $$$). Removed them all the closed the pool for a second time. The black rubber plugs work best. I use goggles with my head slightly in the water when plugging the returns.

    I would not take anything to chance during the winter. Last year, as an experiment, I took a 4' 3" schedule 40 PVC filled with 95% water and closed off both ends with caps. The bottom cap was sealed with glue so no water leaks out. The piping was on an angle leaning against the deck and left outside all winter. We had somewhat of a harsh cold winter here in NJ. In the spring, I carefully popped off the top with a rubber mallet and nothing was damaged. All the water was still in the pipe as I marked it on the outside. No damage and no cracks anywhere.

    This goes to show that unless you have some severe winter weather, with an extended cold spell, the probability of damage unground is quite slim. Assuming that the frost line in your area is a lot worse than NJ.

    Enjoy the remainder of the summer and we can all take care of closing the pools when needed.
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    Re: Plugging lines

    Quote Originally Posted by samt View Post

    Sorry just re read your post about water between the 2 plugs. My thought is if it can freeze and expand it may crack that PVC threaded fitting. I don't think I would chance that. I use the rubber plugs on the returns also. But mine go in about half way and when I screw them down good they work great. I know my fittings in the wall have a sleeve that I remove every yr in order to install the rubber plugs. Are you leaving the sleeve in and then putting the rubber plugs inside those? If so that may be your problem.
    Hmmm.....not sure what you mean by a removable sleeve. Maybe that's the trick, but I am not sure I have a removable sleeve.

    I've actually never used the rubber plugs before. I was thinking of trying them this year since I've never been able to achieve a seal without bubbles (when pressurized) using the threaded plugs. Last year, while I had the blower, I tried to put a #8 plug in my return but I still had bubbles under pressure of the blower. So that's why this year I thought about trying a #7 and inserting way into the return, so teh fitting doesn't even come into play. I have to believe that will eliminate the bubbles under pressure since there is no fitting/threads to let air through. But then I thought that this method would leave the actual fitting under water and susceptible to freezing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catanzaro View Post
    Please do not use threaded plugs. Last year, I purchased them and had the same issue (waste of $$$). Removed them all the closed the pool for a second time. The black rubber plugs work best. I use goggles with my head slightly in the water when plugging the returns.

    I would not take anything to chance during the winter. Last year, as an experiment, I took a 4' 3" schedule 40 PVC filled with 95% water and closed off both ends with caps. The bottom cap was sealed with glue so no water leaks out. The piping was on an angle leaning against the deck and left outside all winter. We had somewhat of a harsh cold winter here in NJ. In the spring, I carefully popped off the top with a rubber mallet and nothing was damaged. All the water was still in the pipe as I marked it on the outside. No damage and no cracks anywhere.

    This goes to show that unless you have some severe winter weather, with an extended cold spell, the probability of damage unground is quite slim. Assuming that the frost line in your area is a lot worse than NJ.

    Enjoy the remainder of the summer and we can all take care of closing the pools when needed.
    That's certainly an interesting experiment. Kind of like my father in law who lives about 10 minutes from me. He NEVER has blown out his pipes in 28 years of pool ownership. Maybe his pump is below the return and skimmer and the water naturally drains out of the line (not sure though). But he's never had a problem with cracked pipes.

    Maybe I'm just being too anal.
    TF-100 Test kit, 24,000 gal. free form Vinyl. mybluepool AC-600 SWG, STA-RITE S7MD60 DE filter, 3/4 HP STA-RITE MPRA6D pump, Polaris 280 w/booster, Raypack Propane heater, Looplock mesh cover; All located in New England.

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    Re: Plugging lines

    Quote Originally Posted by Catanzaro View Post
    Please do not use threaded plugs. Last year, I purchased them and had the same issue (waste of $$$). Removed them all the closed the pool for a second time. The black rubber plugs work best. I use goggles with my head slightly in the water when plugging the returns.
    Yes....I want to try the rubber plugs this year on my threaded returns. However, I have a #8 plug for my threaded return but I still got air bubbles under pressure. I suspect it doesn't seal well against the threads. That's why I was thinking of getting a smaller #7 plug that inserts past the threads and into the pipe itself. I suspect this will work better as it will be expanding against a smooth pipe, rather than the threads. Again, my concern with this would be exposing the threaded fitting to freezing water.
    TF-100 Test kit, 24,000 gal. free form Vinyl. mybluepool AC-600 SWG, STA-RITE S7MD60 DE filter, 3/4 HP STA-RITE MPRA6D pump, Polaris 280 w/booster, Raypack Propane heater, Looplock mesh cover; All located in New England.

  6. Back To Top    #6

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    Re: Plugging lines

    Quote Originally Posted by run53 View Post
    Hmmm.....not sure what you mean by a removable sleeve. Maybe that's the trick, but I am not sure I have a removable sleeve.

    I've actually never used the rubber plugs before. I was thinking of trying them this year since I've never been able to achieve a seal without bubbles (when pressurized) using the threaded plugs. Last year, while I had the blower, I tried to put a #8 plug in my return but I still had bubbles under pressure of the blower. So that's why this year I thought about trying a #7 and inserting way into the return, so teh fitting doesn't even come into play. I have to believe that will eliminate the bubbles under pressure since there is no fitting/threads to let air through. But then I thought that this method would leave the actual fitting under water and susceptible to freezing.

    You can also just remove the eyeball, rub your finger inside the pipe and just feel for the two slots. If it's perfectly smooth all around the pipe then the sleeve theory is out the door.

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    That's certainly an interesting experiment. Kind of like my father in law who lives about 10 minutes from me. He NEVER has blown out his pipes in 28 years of pool ownership. Maybe his pump is below the return and skimmer and the water naturally drains out of the line (not sure though). But he's never had a problem with cracked pipes.

    Maybe I'm just being too anal.

    When you remove the eyeball you should have 3 pieces. If you only have 2 that means the sleeve is still in there and it needs to be removed before the rubber plugs can make a tight seal. After you remove the eyeball, feel inside the pipe, there are two slots that are made for a plastic key that AIDS in unscrewing the sleeve. When people can't get a good seal, usually it's because air is escaping from those two slots. Also I found that a standard narrow putty knife works well.

    Your rubber plugs should only go in half way, then when you tighten them down they seal the hole completely.

    I think you have the wrong plugs and your sleeve is still in the wall face. Google pool eyeball and it may show you what I'm talking about.
    19,000 gal - Vinyl IG - Sand filter -1.5hp. - Taylor k 2006 - Loop Loc cover

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Re: Plugging lines

    Quote Originally Posted by samt View Post
    When you remove the eyeball you should have 3 pieces. If you only have 2 that means the sleeve is still in there and it needs to be removed before the rubber plugs can make a tight seal. After you remove the eyeball, feel inside the pipe, there are two slots that are made for a plastic key that AIDS in unscrewing the sleeve. When people can't get a good seal, usually it's because air is escaping from those two slots. Also I found that a standard narrow putty knife works well.

    Your rubber plugs should only go in half way, then when you tighten them down they seal the hole completely.

    I think you have the wrong plugs and your sleeve is still in the wall face. Google pool eyeball and it may show you what I'm talking about.
    when I take the eyeball out, I have a threaded part, the eyeball and the plate the eyeball rotates in. I don't see anything else in the return fitting.
    TF-100 Test kit, 24,000 gal. free form Vinyl. mybluepool AC-600 SWG, STA-RITE S7MD60 DE filter, 3/4 HP STA-RITE MPRA6D pump, Polaris 280 w/booster, Raypack Propane heater, Looplock mesh cover; All located in New England.

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Re: Plugging lines

    So, you think the correct size rubber plugs will seal properly over threaded return fittings? Wouldn't it need to be past the threads (smooth pipe) to make a good seal?
    TF-100 Test kit, 24,000 gal. free form Vinyl. mybluepool AC-600 SWG, STA-RITE S7MD60 DE filter, 3/4 HP STA-RITE MPRA6D pump, Polaris 280 w/booster, Raypack Propane heater, Looplock mesh cover; All located in New England.

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    Re: Plugging lines

    Quote Originally Posted by run53 View Post
    when I take the eyeball out, I have a threaded part, the eyeball and the plate the eyeball rotates in. I don't see anything else in the return fitting.
    Ok, then my theory was wrong. It sounds like you do have the 3 pieces. Sometimes that piece that holds the eyeball gets stuck when people remove them and they only remove the eyeball and faceplate. I can see now that it's not what's happening to you. Sorry. I'm surprised those rubber plugs don't work for you.

    I know when I put mine in I really have to tighten down so hard my fingers hurt. I also put plumbers grease on them to really wedge them in the hole before I tighten them down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by run53 View Post
    So, you think the correct size rubber plugs will seal properly over threaded return fittings? Wouldn't it need to be past the threads (smooth pipe) to make a good seal?
    That's the way there ment to go in. My plugs only go in half way and then I tighten them down.

    I see your point about the threads, and I agree, I just never had a problem with my threads like that. I think the threads help keep the plug in and the rubber just molds over the threads.
    19,000 gal - Vinyl IG - Sand filter -1.5hp. - Taylor k 2006 - Loop Loc cover

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Re: Plugging lines

    Quote Originally Posted by samt View Post
    Ok, then my theory was wrong. It sounds like you do have the 3 pieces. Sometimes that piece that holds the eyeball gets stuck when people remove them and they only remove the eyeball and faceplate. I can see now that it's not what's happening to you. Sorry. I'm surprised those rubber plugs don't work for you.

    I know when I put mine in I really have to tighten down so hard my fingers hurt. I also put plumbers grease on them to really wedge them in the hole before I tighten them down.

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    I see your point about the threads, and I agree, I just never had a problem with my threads like that. I think the threads help keep the plug in and the rubber just molds over the threads.
    yeah.....I've never been able to get a good seal with either threaded or rubber. Sounds like many here have trouble with threaded ones as I do. And for the rubber ones, I guess it's possible I'm using the wrong size rubber plug.

    This has been my one and only issue with my pool that continues to cause stress every year I close. I never feel good about seeing those tiny air bubbles under pressure where it seems that many on this forum have figured this out. Fortunately, I have not had a problem in 10 years yet but maybe I'm just getting lucky (although i do put some anti-freeze in for insurance each year, but only a few gallons for all my lines).

    I really wish I could resolve this
    TF-100 Test kit, 24,000 gal. free form Vinyl. mybluepool AC-600 SWG, STA-RITE S7MD60 DE filter, 3/4 HP STA-RITE MPRA6D pump, Polaris 280 w/booster, Raypack Propane heater, Looplock mesh cover; All located in New England.

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