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Thread: Skimmer and Polaris not working

  1. #1
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    Skimmer and Polaris not working

    New pool owner; older pool. Two skimmers. Lots of trees and crepe myrtles around the pool so I'm constantly battling the leaves and pollen in the pool. Last night I noticed that one skimmer wasn't pulling any water and the polaris wasn't working very well. This morning the 2nd skimmer wasn't pulling either. The filter PSI was at 25. I backwashed the filter and put in the DE. The filter PSI is now 7. The 2nd skimmer is working better now. However, the other skimmer and the Polaris aren't working at all. Any ideas what the problem is and how to fix it?
    26K IG plaster pool, 2 Baker Hydro Skimmers (Model HS), 4 return jets (one plumbed with a PoolSkim surface cleaner), Hayward 1.5 6-way Multiport Valve (Sp710x-All), Polaris 380 w/ Polaris PB4-60Q Halcyon 3/4 HP Booster Pump, Pentair SuperFlo 1.5 HP (1.65 SFHP) Two Speed Pump (SF-N2-1-1/2A), Stainless Steel Hayward vertical DE 36ft2 filter (Duralon tank model DE3600), Purex CHD Pool Star light, 2 Intermatic mechanical time switches controlling the filter pump and booster pump, Hasa 8 gallon 3/8" Pool Liquidator Chlorinator, 1.5" return line with 3 x 1.5" suction lines, Austin, TX

  2. #2
    Senior Member divnkd101's Avatar
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    Have you checked the pump basket??? There may be quite a bit of debris in the basket.
    MIKE

    21K Inground Custom w/ Spa (Gunite/Plaster), SWCG, Hayward Northstar, Polaris 280, Hayward Color Logics, Jandy PS-8

  3. #3
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    No, I'm not familiar with my system so I wasn't aware of a pump basket. I'll look into it and post a reply if it fixed my problem. Thanks!
    26K IG plaster pool, 2 Baker Hydro Skimmers (Model HS), 4 return jets (one plumbed with a PoolSkim surface cleaner), Hayward 1.5 6-way Multiport Valve (Sp710x-All), Polaris 380 w/ Polaris PB4-60Q Halcyon 3/4 HP Booster Pump, Pentair SuperFlo 1.5 HP (1.65 SFHP) Two Speed Pump (SF-N2-1-1/2A), Stainless Steel Hayward vertical DE 36ft2 filter (Duralon tank model DE3600), Purex CHD Pool Star light, 2 Intermatic mechanical time switches controlling the filter pump and booster pump, Hasa 8 gallon 3/8" Pool Liquidator Chlorinator, 1.5" return line with 3 x 1.5" suction lines, Austin, TX

  4. #4
    Senior Member divnkd101's Avatar
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    If you walk over to the equipment and look at the pump, there should be a catch all basket attached to the pump. They mormally have a clear window so you can look into the basket. Make sure you turn off the pump before trying to unscrew the lid to clean the basket out. Good luck and keep us posted.
    MIKE

    21K Inground Custom w/ Spa (Gunite/Plaster), SWCG, Hayward Northstar, Polaris 280, Hayward Color Logics, Jandy PS-8

  5. #5
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    No, I'm not familiar with my system so I wasn't aware of a pump basket. I'll look into it and post a reply if it fixed my problem. Thanks!
    26K IG plaster pool, 2 Baker Hydro Skimmers (Model HS), 4 return jets (one plumbed with a PoolSkim surface cleaner), Hayward 1.5 6-way Multiport Valve (Sp710x-All), Polaris 380 w/ Polaris PB4-60Q Halcyon 3/4 HP Booster Pump, Pentair SuperFlo 1.5 HP (1.65 SFHP) Two Speed Pump (SF-N2-1-1/2A), Stainless Steel Hayward vertical DE 36ft2 filter (Duralon tank model DE3600), Purex CHD Pool Star light, 2 Intermatic mechanical time switches controlling the filter pump and booster pump, Hasa 8 gallon 3/8" Pool Liquidator Chlorinator, 1.5" return line with 3 x 1.5" suction lines, Austin, TX

  6. #6
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    Sorry, I don't know why my posting reposted again.

    I read up on the pump basket and cleaned it out. It wasn't too bad. I primed the pump after cleaning the pump basket. No effect on the problem with the second skimmer or the polaris; both are still not working.

    Two items to note that may or may not be related to my problem. The plaster on the pool is degrading so there was some plaster in the pump filter. I often find plaster in the polaris bag as well. Also, I'm worried I have a leak. I'm having to add water almost every day to keep it at the mid-point of the tile.

    Any other ideas?
    26K IG plaster pool, 2 Baker Hydro Skimmers (Model HS), 4 return jets (one plumbed with a PoolSkim surface cleaner), Hayward 1.5 6-way Multiport Valve (Sp710x-All), Polaris 380 w/ Polaris PB4-60Q Halcyon 3/4 HP Booster Pump, Pentair SuperFlo 1.5 HP (1.65 SFHP) Two Speed Pump (SF-N2-1-1/2A), Stainless Steel Hayward vertical DE 36ft2 filter (Duralon tank model DE3600), Purex CHD Pool Star light, 2 Intermatic mechanical time switches controlling the filter pump and booster pump, Hasa 8 gallon 3/8" Pool Liquidator Chlorinator, 1.5" return line with 3 x 1.5" suction lines, Austin, TX

  7. #7
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    New information. There is definitely a leak somewhere. I ran the hose for several hours yesterday while the pumps were running to circulate the water. The hose barely kept up with the leak. At the end of the day the water level was the same so I turned off the pumps and hose to go to bed. The water was a quarter up the tile. This morning I came out the find the water near the bottom of the tile. The pumps are on timers so they came on this morning; however they couldn't have been running more than an hour before I checked on things.

    When we bought the house a little over a month ago the pool inspector report said everything was fine; however the main drain was closed for some reason. The report said that it did not affect the performance of the pool and equipment. I didn't know what that meant at the time. Now I think it means the main drain valve was closed. Thus, only the two skimmers were drawing water when the pumps are on. The reason for this may be to avoid drawing water into the line from the main drain to the pump because it leaks! This was not on the seller disclosure list; however I don't see how the seller could not have known about this leak.

    I'm filling the pool up to the midlevel of the tile so I can run the pumps without drawing air from the skimmers. I can then run some tests with various valve open/closed configurations to see if I can isolate the leak.

    Does this sound reasonable? Any suggestions?
    26K IG plaster pool, 2 Baker Hydro Skimmers (Model HS), 4 return jets (one plumbed with a PoolSkim surface cleaner), Hayward 1.5 6-way Multiport Valve (Sp710x-All), Polaris 380 w/ Polaris PB4-60Q Halcyon 3/4 HP Booster Pump, Pentair SuperFlo 1.5 HP (1.65 SFHP) Two Speed Pump (SF-N2-1-1/2A), Stainless Steel Hayward vertical DE 36ft2 filter (Duralon tank model DE3600), Purex CHD Pool Star light, 2 Intermatic mechanical time switches controlling the filter pump and booster pump, Hasa 8 gallon 3/8" Pool Liquidator Chlorinator, 1.5" return line with 3 x 1.5" suction lines, Austin, TX

  8. #8
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    I was feeling confident about being a pool owner after getting my water chemistry balanced using BBB. However, these pool equipment problems are making me feel lost. I'm not sure what is going on. Please help!

    Regarding the skimmer that isn't working; for reference it is the one in the deep end.

    I've got so many issues I'm not sure what is related and what isn't so I'm just going to explain the sequence of events.

    When I began both the filter pump and polaris pump had been off for a while. I isolated the deep end skimmer by keeping it's valve open and closing the others. When I started the filter pump I didn't see any water flow in the window where the pump basket is and I didn't feel anything coming out of the jets. I was worried about this so I quickly opened all the valves. Soon after I began to see water through the window and the jets were working.

    Remembering something about needing to remove air from the filter I opened the valve at the top of the filter and bled air from it until a consistent stream of water was shooting out.

    I isolated the deep end skimmer again. It began to draw water although the pressure from the jets seemed weak. I reopened the shallow end skimmer and there seemed to be normal flow from the jets.

    I turned on the polaris pump to see if it would work. The polaris wheels barely turned when I picked it up; not enough to keep it moving. I turned the polaris pump off again.

    Remembering a post about polaris's needing a certain amount of pressure in the system to work properly (Is this true?) I checked the filter's PSI gauge. It was zero! I can't understand that. I tried bleeding the air again. Now I can't get any water to come out the air release valve. I turned it so far the knob came completely unscrewed. I put it back on and tightened it to close.

    I rechecked the deep end skimmer and discovered it has stopped drawing water again. I'm shocking the pool so I need the water to recirculate. Currently I'm running the filter pump with both skimmer valves open. The filter gauge still reads 0 psi.

    Any ideas why the filter pressure is zero, my polaris won't work, and the deep end skimmer won't draw water?
    26K IG plaster pool, 2 Baker Hydro Skimmers (Model HS), 4 return jets (one plumbed with a PoolSkim surface cleaner), Hayward 1.5 6-way Multiport Valve (Sp710x-All), Polaris 380 w/ Polaris PB4-60Q Halcyon 3/4 HP Booster Pump, Pentair SuperFlo 1.5 HP (1.65 SFHP) Two Speed Pump (SF-N2-1-1/2A), Stainless Steel Hayward vertical DE 36ft2 filter (Duralon tank model DE3600), Purex CHD Pool Star light, 2 Intermatic mechanical time switches controlling the filter pump and booster pump, Hasa 8 gallon 3/8" Pool Liquidator Chlorinator, 1.5" return line with 3 x 1.5" suction lines, Austin, TX

  9. #9
    Senior Member divnkd101's Avatar
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    Cbelle,

    Definitely sounds like a few more problems than just a full basket. Have you had any trouble switching the multi port valve back and forth? Is your pump making any unusual noises? Others with more experience than myself should be along shortly. However, to help them diagnose any potential problems, you may want to post a complete list of all the equipment currently attached to your pool.
    MIKE

    21K Inground Custom w/ Spa (Gunite/Plaster), SWCG, Hayward Northstar, Polaris 280, Hayward Color Logics, Jandy PS-8

  10. #10
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    Update: after running for seven hours overnight with only the skimmer valves open the water level dropped 1 ¼ inches!
    In reference to my issues above, following is an outline of my equipment:

    1. My pool has two skimmers and four return jets.

    2. The water circulation system is controlled by a Pac Fab multi-port valve. I don't have any difficulty turning the multi-port valve; however, it does seem to always have a little water on the top face of it. It's not near enough water to explain the leak issue.

    3. The Polaris is an older one that I can't match exactly with any of the models on the Polaris website and I can’t find a model number on it anywhere (Any idea where it is? Do I have to take it apart to find out?). The Polaris pump is 3/4 hp and its outflow goes into the return line that leaves the multi-port valve.

    4. The filter pump is a Hayward 1.5 hp. When the system is running and I look into the window of the pump basket I notice that it is not full of water. Should it be? It’s only about ¾ full.

    5. I’m almost certain the filter is a Hayward vertical DE filter based on similar models I saw online. However, I can’t find a brand or model number on the filter either. It has a PSI gauge and air release valve on the top. My pool guy replaced all the filter grids about a month ago.

    One side issue, when I was recharging the DE after backwashing the filter I didn’t know how much DE to use. I showed a picture of it to the Leslies pool store guy and he said it probably takes 4-5 lbs. and that it didn’t really matter if you add too little or too much DE. (I don’t really believe him.) I read that backwashing doesn’t remove all the DE and that you should only replace 70-80% of its full load. So, I only added 3.5 lbs. Late last night I thought maybe the zero PSI was due to insufficient DE so I added another 1.5 of DE to no effect.

    I hope this information helps and I appreciate any suggestions.

    Thanks, Chris
    26K IG plaster pool, 2 Baker Hydro Skimmers (Model HS), 4 return jets (one plumbed with a PoolSkim surface cleaner), Hayward 1.5 6-way Multiport Valve (Sp710x-All), Polaris 380 w/ Polaris PB4-60Q Halcyon 3/4 HP Booster Pump, Pentair SuperFlo 1.5 HP (1.65 SFHP) Two Speed Pump (SF-N2-1-1/2A), Stainless Steel Hayward vertical DE 36ft2 filter (Duralon tank model DE3600), Purex CHD Pool Star light, 2 Intermatic mechanical time switches controlling the filter pump and booster pump, Hasa 8 gallon 3/8" Pool Liquidator Chlorinator, 1.5" return line with 3 x 1.5" suction lines, Austin, TX

  11. #11
    Senior Member divnkd101's Avatar
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    Chris, let's do one other little simple thing. Turn the pump back off, take the lid of the basket back off. Inspect the O-ring gasket on the lid for any cracks/ dirt/ pebbles, etc. Once, complete, get some Silcon Grease and liberally apply it to the O-ring. Tighten the lid back on and restart your pump and watch it prime. For the most part, the pump should fill completely with water and should ideally have no bubbles (Air) in the pump basket. Vent your filter and advise.
    MIKE

    21K Inground Custom w/ Spa (Gunite/Plaster), SWCG, Hayward Northstar, Polaris 280, Hayward Color Logics, Jandy PS-8

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    Thanks, I'll try that when I get home. However, the lid of the pump basket said something about a prelubricated O-ring. Also, the wrench for the lid that I found on a shelf in the pump area doesn't seem to fit very well. When I tried to tighten the lid the first time after cleaning out the basket I couldn't get a grip with the wrench. I just hand tightened the lid as good as I could. Maybe I just didn't know how to use the wrench.
    26K IG plaster pool, 2 Baker Hydro Skimmers (Model HS), 4 return jets (one plumbed with a PoolSkim surface cleaner), Hayward 1.5 6-way Multiport Valve (Sp710x-All), Polaris 380 w/ Polaris PB4-60Q Halcyon 3/4 HP Booster Pump, Pentair SuperFlo 1.5 HP (1.65 SFHP) Two Speed Pump (SF-N2-1-1/2A), Stainless Steel Hayward vertical DE 36ft2 filter (Duralon tank model DE3600), Purex CHD Pool Star light, 2 Intermatic mechanical time switches controlling the filter pump and booster pump, Hasa 8 gallon 3/8" Pool Liquidator Chlorinator, 1.5" return line with 3 x 1.5" suction lines, Austin, TX

  13. #13
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    any progress to report? Im having a similar problem with my Polaris..and Im also in Austin..haha.

    maybe its a local thing?? lol
    Tampa, Florida

    17,000 gallon IG pool, DE FIlter, pebble finish, 1 1/2 hp, 8 4x10 solar panels, screen cage, combined ozone/SWG.

  14. #14
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    I was told by Chem Geek that the probable cause of my 0 psi problem was because I didn’t close the valves that control flow from the skimmers and main drain to the pump before I took off the pump basket lid. This allowed air to draw down the lines creating a weak pump head which causes the deep end skimmer and Polaris to not work properly. He suggested the same thing as divnkd101 adding that I should prime the pump with only one line open and repeat for each line to get all the air out of the system. This makes sense; however it’s not working. When I isolate a single valve and run the pump I expected the filter basket to eventually fill up with water and for water to shoot out the air release valve on the filter. I ran the pump several minutes with both the air release valve open and closed to no avail. I repeated this two more times isolating each valve in turn with the same results. The water into the pump basket is not a steady stream and the basket is only half full.
    I didn’t lube the O ring because the lid said it was prelubricated and does not require additional lubricant. It was also dark and I forgot to check for cracks or debris. I’ll check it again and try the shaving cream test to look for leaks.
    If a leak somewhere in the front side of the system to the pump is causing the pump not to prime, at least one of the valve configurations should have isolated the leak from the system and the prime should have been successful. I’m wondering if a leak on the discharge side of the pump leading back to the pool might cause the pump not to prime. However, unless something about the leak changed in the last week I don’t understand how the potential leak would cause this problem because the pump was working fine a week ago.
    FYI, regarding the wrench used to remove the pump basket lid. I noticed it works fine to remove the lid but not at all to tighten the lid. I presume this is a design feature to avoid over-tightening the lid which should only be hand tightened.
    26K IG plaster pool, 2 Baker Hydro Skimmers (Model HS), 4 return jets (one plumbed with a PoolSkim surface cleaner), Hayward 1.5 6-way Multiport Valve (Sp710x-All), Polaris 380 w/ Polaris PB4-60Q Halcyon 3/4 HP Booster Pump, Pentair SuperFlo 1.5 HP (1.65 SFHP) Two Speed Pump (SF-N2-1-1/2A), Stainless Steel Hayward vertical DE 36ft2 filter (Duralon tank model DE3600), Purex CHD Pool Star light, 2 Intermatic mechanical time switches controlling the filter pump and booster pump, Hasa 8 gallon 3/8" Pool Liquidator Chlorinator, 1.5" return line with 3 x 1.5" suction lines, Austin, TX

  15. #15
    Senior Member divnkd101's Avatar
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    Chris,

    May I suggest you upload a pic of your equipment showing valve configuration, etc. We will try to help further from that point of view. How far is your pool from the eqipment and is there a large elevation change between the two?
    MIKE

    21K Inground Custom w/ Spa (Gunite/Plaster), SWCG, Hayward Northstar, Polaris 280, Hayward Color Logics, Jandy PS-8

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