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Thread: I am at the end of my rope here....

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    I am at the end of my rope here....

    Hi- I have an inground pool with a sand filter. I have a pretty good knowledge base about chemicals and the like, but when it comes to the pump issues other than backwashing/rinsing and filter, I'm a bit of an idiot. I just bought this house 2 years ago, and closed green last year. Opened up, got leaves out of the bottom, pool service company came, changed sand (should have done it after it was cleaned, I know that now), etc. Got chemicals going, chlorine, algaecide, alkalinity, etc. Levels looked good. Put floc in to clump remaining waste at bottom of pool (there's still about an inch thick of clay-colored **** on the slope and the deep end, I'm assuming it's dead algae). Water is mostly clear but still green algae on sides. (Not much). Vaccuum suction (to skimmer) is good for about 10 minutes, then fails. I've read how to prime the pump, but it keeps telling me about opening the skimmer valve and the main drain, etc. when vaccuuming to waste (water is even with top to account for this). My pump basket is STUCK TIGHT (not the lid, the basket) and I've had to clean it manually. (YUCK). I can't get it out to spray it, and don't want to pull too hard (I've made sure it's filled up before vaccuuming). I know I probably need to prime the pump and release any air in lines, but I don't know which valves are which!! (on the lines in front of the pump, I have three red valves, nothing is written on them). It's Sunday, pool company not in until tomorrow, I'm a nurse, and work 70+ hrs per week & have no one to help me. Is there anything I can do for now? Sorry for the long post. PS- my filter is on, and there's a lot of air coming through the lines, surprise, surprise. I apologize again for my ignorance.
    14X28 IG; (Concrete w/vinyl liner); 1.5 HP Pentair Dynamo Pump; Triton Tagelus High Rate Sand Filter (40/40D); Charleston, WV

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    In the Industry

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA

    Re: I am at the end of my rope here....

    is the pump basket you are trying to remove really filled up?
    Involved in the pool and spa industry
    Pittsburgh, PA

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    In the Industry

    duraleigh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Sebring, Florida

    Re: I am at the end of my rope here....

    It is not uncommon for the pump strainer basket to get tightly lodged when it has collected a bunch of debris. It is the debris that as gathered around the sides and partly through the holes that has mad it so tight.

    You need to clean as much debris out manually as you can and then continue to work on the basket (jiggling, twisting, tapping, etc.) until it finally comes out.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: I am at the end of my rope here....


    I have been perusing this site and first & foremost I apologize for submitting MANY questions in a pump-related post. Per your site etiquette, I am continuing to address the pump issue (which has now been mostly resolved with my pool company coming out and "unclogging" the impeller, and replacing the pump basket).

    I have 'schooled' myself in the Pool School (read it thoroughly) and as of today I have been regularly shocking to rid the pool of its algae issue. While I do not have the pool testing kit you endorse on this site (I am BROKE but am ordering it next week) ; I have been using the WalMart testing kit until I can purchase the better one. I am happy to say my water is getting crystal clear very quickly and I've followed the "Rid Yourself of the Green Swamp" instructions to the hilt, using bleach and borax. I am still shocking twice a day until I see the sparkling oasis.

    I still have a large amount of dead algae/dirt on the bottom half of my slope and the bottom of the deep end (my pool is 3' and 6' respectively). I realize I need to vaccuum this to waste; but I have had a love/hate relationship with the vaccuum (which I now realize was due to inadequate pressure from my pump due to the impeller being clogged/etc). I have the backwashing/rinse cycle down pat now, and am learning more each day.

    (I apologize for posting a lot of background here, but am encouraged by posts I've read where it seems the more info, the better). I bought this house two years ago, and the pool was neglected. The original owner (the one who installed the pool) has an unlisted number. The 'pool company' is the original installer of this pool (I think it's about ten years old), but they are impossible to reach for "questions" as of yet. I am flying blind on a lot of things I'm trying to find out regarding the pool. Again, I apologize in advance for my ignorance.

    My question has now evolved to the following: When vaccuuming to waste (to rid the pool of the debris {nothing large} on the bottom (sides have all been brushed down daily as per instructions); it is my understanding that I need to isolate suction to the skimmer. (Skimmer has two drains: one for suction, and the other I understand to be the main drain? which has a cap on top of it). Also I understand that at this point I need to close the valve for the main drain. My red "valves" are not labeled, and save taking a picture the only way I can describe their configuration is this: two of these red valves come directly from the pipes originating from the filter, and these pipes go into the ground . The other valve is on a 90-degree branch (closest to the filter) pipe which goes to the wall and outward to the heater (which is outside the pool house and currently NOT in use). I am extremely reluctant to mess with any of these valves because I do not know which way to turn them and what they are for. I want to do the vaccuuming procedure properly so I can use this danged pool, as it is already June 9......but I don't want to risk getting all this gunk back in the pool and starting from square one again.

    The pool company JUST GOT the pump in MUCH BETTER shape on Monday (while I was at work and unable to ask them questions), and the flow is EXCELLENT. Pressure readings with the filter running are at about 10psi consistently.

    I live in Charleston, WV...and unfortunately, the pool company I use dominates the valley, and is almost CONSISTENTLY hard to reach. Until I can reach them, is there anything I can do to see which valve is which, and anything else I need to know regarding the vaccuuming to waste procedure (I'm familiar with the basics i.e., water level being high, etc)? I realize I may not get an answer to this question based on what limited knowledge I can provide. I wish that someone familiar with the pool could come out and give me a "pool school" but apparently that only happens in larger areas, the woman at the pool store actually scoffed at me when I asked her that question.

    Any advice would be appreciated, as I'd really like to get this danged pool up and running sometime before December.
    14X28 IG; (Concrete w/vinyl liner); 1.5 HP Pentair Dynamo Pump; Triton Tagelus High Rate Sand Filter (40/40D); Charleston, WV

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    Re: I am at the end of my rope here....

    I'm really new to this too, but I do have one suggestion.

    Is there anyway you could manually "scoop" out some of the stuff on the slope and 6' end. If it's truly that thick, maybe you could use your net scooper thingy (told ya I'm new!) to scoop some out. That would mean less vacuum time and less wear and tear on your filter and pump.
    27' round AG, sand, Ohio, well water, 19,000 gallons approx., New owners to the pool.

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    Re: I am at the end of my rope here....

    Oh, and I almost forgot, I'm about 99.9% sure the TFP guys are going to ask you for a current set of test results. It's ok if you don't have the good kit. I bought that 20 dollar walmart kit too, to tide me over until I got my taylor kit.
    27' round AG, sand, Ohio, well water, 19,000 gallons approx., New owners to the pool.

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    Re: I am at the end of my rope here....

    Hi Kathy, thanks for responding......

    Much of the "****" on the bottom (pardon the expression) appears to be dead algae (grey-brown in color, no solid debris) and quickly clouds up and dissipates into the water when stirred up/brushed/moved, thus creating a murky MESS. I'd thought of that, believe it or not...and tried it, and the above was my result.

    And thank you for reminding me about the test results. Here are the latest ones. Test was performed on room-temp water put through a coffee filter.

    TH= 100
    TC= 10
    FC= 10
    pH= 7.8
    TA= 120
    CYA=Somewhere between 50-100. Hard to say.

    As of Sunday, I removed the chlorine tablets from the floater, I'm sure that's why my CYA is registering high....but then again, it's hard to say with the algae. Since these tests are unreliable, I've been following the forum's advice to use bleach at shock level until water is sparkling.

    If this information is irrelevant, my apologies.

    14X28 IG; (Concrete w/vinyl liner); 1.5 HP Pentair Dynamo Pump; Triton Tagelus High Rate Sand Filter (40/40D); Charleston, WV

  8. Back To Top    #8
    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    SW Indiana

    Re: I am at the end of my rope here....

    If your skimmer has two open ports, then you likely don't have a valve to control the main drain. You don't need to isolate to the skimmer to vacuum to waste.

    With your strainer basket and impeller issues, it seems you may have debris issues, so make sure you vacuum with a skimmer plate, (available at a pool store) and not by plugging directly into the skimmer. You run the risk of clogging the plumbing if you don't leave the skimmer basket in place.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Re: I am at the end of my rope here....

    Thanks, John-

    The two ports on the bottom of the skimmer: One is open (suction) and the other is tightly closed with some sort of black cap that won't budge.

    I've never vaccuumed with a suction plate before, but I found one in my poolhouse, I plan on using it. Unfortunately, I woke up this morning to strong thunderstorms that will continue throughout tomorrow morning, so vaccuuming is out for today anyway. I appreciate your help.

    Would it help if I took a picture of the pump and it's plumbing? I noticed another guy did that on this forum and it got his problem solved rather quickly.

    Thanks again-
    14X28 IG; (Concrete w/vinyl liner); 1.5 HP Pentair Dynamo Pump; Triton Tagelus High Rate Sand Filter (40/40D); Charleston, WV

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