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Thread: How to tell if pump is working correctly

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    How to tell if pump is working correctly

    How can I tell if the pump on my pool is working correctly. I am a newbie to all of this. I have tried to use the pool vac and I know the pump is sucking stuff in as I could tell when I hooked it up. The pool is reading at about 15-20 psi. Hopefully you can put this in plain english for me. I have a polaris vacuum hooked up to the pool to vacuum it out, but it does not seem to be moving at all. It seems to be a pressurized one, but there does not seem to be any water coming out of the round thing close to the vacuum to make it move around.

    Thanks.

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    polyvue's Avatar
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    Re: How to tell if pump is working correctly

    Quote Originally Posted by laurandavid09
    How can I tell if the pump on my pool is working correctly. I am a newbie to all of this. I have tried to use the pool vac and I know the pump is sucking stuff in as I could tell when I hooked it up. The pool is reading at about 15-20 psi. Hopefully you can put this in plain english for me. I have a polaris vacuum hooked up to the pool to vacuum it out, but it does not seem to be moving at all. It seems to be a pressurized one, but there does not seem to be any water coming out of the round thing close to the vacuum to make it move around.
    Could you provide a bit more information about your pool & equipment? There may be others here who can divine an appropriate answer for you without this information, but it almost sounds to me like you have connected a pressure-side cleaner to suction. What is the model number of the cleaner? How many pumps in the equipment area? What kind? (If you know the HP and Service Factor for each that might be helpful as well.) Inground plaster pool? or above ground? etc. Did you connect the Polaris cleaner to an outlet in the skimmer, or to one elsewhere in the pool?
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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    Re: How to tell if pump is working correctly

    Quote Originally Posted by polyvue
    Quote Originally Posted by laurandavid09
    How can I tell if the pump on my pool is working correctly. I am a newbie to all of this. I have tried to use the pool vac and I know the pump is sucking stuff in as I could tell when I hooked it up. The pool is reading at about 15-20 psi. Hopefully you can put this in plain english for me. I have a polaris vacuum hooked up to the pool to vacuum it out, but it does not seem to be moving at all. It seems to be a pressurized one, but there does not seem to be any water coming out of the round thing close to the vacuum to make it move around.
    Could you provide a bit more information about your pool & equipment? There may be others here who can divine an appropriate answer for you without this information, but it almost sounds to me like you have connected a pressure-side cleaner to suction. What is the model number of the cleaner? How many pumps in the equipment area? What kind? (If you know the HP and Service Factor for each that might be helpful as well.) Inground plaster pool? or above ground? etc. Did you connect the Polaris cleaner to an outlet in the skimmer, or to one elsewhere in the pool?
    I will answer some of those questions. I know it is a DE pump. It appears to what looks like two pumps. There is a switch for each one. I think one is for the pump and one seems to be to make the pressure move inside the pool. The Polaris is connected not inside the skimber basket, but to a connector in the pool. It is an IG pool at about 18500 gallons. It just does not seem to be any pressure to move the vac around. When I hooked up the vac that is manual there is pressure when hooked up through the skimmber basket.

    Hopefully this can help until I get home.

    Thanks.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: How to tell if pump is working correctly

    Is this a new pool or are you only recently having problems with the cleaner?

    The second pump is likely a booster pump for the cleaner so BOTH pumps must be on in order for the cleaner to work properly. Try that first to see if that is the problem.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: How to tell if pump is working correctly

    Welcome to TFP!!

    The second pump runs the Polaris, be sure it is on and working!

    You also need to have the main pump on while the Polaris is running!

    If you've met both these conditions, and it's still not working correctly, check for obstructions in the input lines or the pump we'll be here to help
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

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    Re: How to tell if pump is working correctly

    I do have both pumps on at the same time. I took a look at my polaris and it has a crack in it. Not sure if this is causing the problem with it not moving around. Also the bag on the polaris is just filling up with water and therefore the polaris will not stay down and just stays at the top. It does seem to move around, but will not move around on the bottom.

    It seems to have pretty good pressure as well. How would I check for clogs as the person above me said. I am almost thinking of having someone come out and do an initial cleaning and show me how to use all my equipment. My equipment to me seems a little outdated since it has manual timers it looks like.

    Thanks.

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    Re: How to tell if pump is working correctly

    Quote Originally Posted by laurandavid09
    I do have both pumps on at the same time. I took a look at my polaris and it has a crack in it. Not sure if this is causing the problem with it not moving around. Also the bag on the polaris is just filling up with water and therefore the polaris will not stay down and just stays at the top. It does seem to move around, but will not move around on the bottom.

    It seems to have pretty good pressure as well. How would I check for clogs as the person above me said. I am almost thinking of having someone come out and do an initial cleaning and show me how to use all my equipment. My equipment to me seems a little outdated since it has manual timers it looks like.

    Thanks.
    If good water pressure is getting to your Polaris and it is acting that way sounds like it may be a problem with the Polaris. It may not actually be broken. There are several areas in the Polaris that need to be getting water pressure for it to function properly. I've never had one break internally but this year mine did have a clog in one of the two jets that send water up to the bag that cause the venturi action for it to pull up debris into the bag. It had been stored for a 1 1/2 years, outside and unused. I found some instructions on line on how to clear it by taking the top off and clearing out the jet but I chose to go the easier route by frequently giggling an unbent paperclip into the jet. It eventually cleared. Until I got it clear, though, I had to adjust the little jet on the back of it in a different direction to make it go in normal directions and normal turns because of the uneven jet flow at the venturi jets.

    I'm not an expert on the Polaris although I've been using them for years. There are several people here on the board that can offer good troubleshooting advice to help you with this.

    Your Polaris' could be acting that way for many reasons including, but certainly not limited to, too little or too much water pressure getting to it.

    For now, until an expert chimes to help you with "real" troubleshooting, you can look at it to see if all the obvious parts are on it.

    Does it have the big float thing on the back end?

    Underneath that, on the body of the Polaris, is a smaller jet that can be adjusted by loosening a screw to turn that jet around in different directions. Is it there?

    Are the wheels turning and which wheels are turning?

    Is water coming out from the body in places it shouldn't? It should only be coming out of the jets in the neck, the little directional jet on back, and the tail sweep. You can possibly test this by turning both pumps off, lifting the Polaris to side of pool, and then turning on only the main pump. So as not to have so much water on the deck be sure and point the back end towards the pool.

    Another important thing to check is the valve where Polaris attaches to wall. It has a pressure relief button on it that opens to let out excess pressure. On mine it is a black button a little bigger than an inch. If that is broken then it will let water out all the time so that not enough pressure gets to the Polaris.

    Also, there should be a pressure regulator inside the fitting in the wall. It will be red or blue but it is hard to see unless you are in the pool. You can, though, stick your finger into the opening (pumps off) to see if you feel an obstruction that has a hole in it less than about 1/2 inch. Is there one there?

    One other really important thing to check is the fitting on the end of Polaris hose that attaches into the wall. There should be a little screen fitted in there. If it is not there chances are some fine debris has gotten into the internals of the the Polaris. This screen has to be present and also, checked frequently and kept clean. Even with the best filtering some tiny debris will make it past your filter and get deposited into the screen. It doesn't take much to clog up some parts inside the Polaris. I check my screen at least twice a week or more and do occasionally find one or more tiny specks of stuff in the screen.

    I'm just making a wild guess here but there may be internal issues. If they can't be easily fixed with "tinkering" there are kits to replace the internals that are a whole lot cheaper than replacing the whole thing. There are two kits at different prices. The higher priced one has extra things that might not be needed if your only problem is internals. Most parts needed can be purchased separately also.

    Someone with experience will soon chime in here to help with that.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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    Re: How to tell if pump is working correctly

    Just occurred to me to add. There are several models of Polaris. Do you know your model number? If not would it be possible for you to take pictures of it and post here or post a link of picture? That will certainly help with troubleshooting. There are two pressure side models, in the mid-price range, that look a lot like each other. One is driven with gears and I think the other uses a belt system. The 280 doesn't have belts that can break so that is the one frequently recommended, at least in these parts. When the other model came out (I'm not sure which number it is but it's been around for a while.) and I needed a new one because my dogs had "rescued" and then "killed" mine (it has happened several times over the years-expensive doggie toys), several pool guys recommended that I stay with the 280 as they were seeing less failures and/or need for replacement parts on the 280 as compared to the newer model.

    Just to help clear things up..... How big is the Polaris hose? Is it about 1/2" or bigger like say 1 1/2 inch?

    Also, if yours is pressure side there might be a valve in its pipe between the booster pump and the pipe that goes into the ground to the where you attach the Polaris at wall. Do you see any kind of valve there? If it is not turned in the right direction it could be restricting water to the Polaris. Or if there is no pressure regulator valve (the little fitting with hole inside the wall fitting where Polaris attaches to wall) there could be too much pressure making it to the Polaris.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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    Re: How to tell if pump is working correctly

    Getting a pool back to normal is starting to seem like a lot of work. I can not seem to get any responses to emails I send to these pool places.

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