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Thread: Blowing out lines to floor pop-ups and main drain

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    Blowing out lines to floor pop-ups and main drain

    Hi,

    I have successfully blown out the 6 returns in the sides of my pool walls and my two skimmers. I also have 3 floor returns (pop-up from the floor) and a main drain. With the the first two floor pop-up returns, I saw a few bubbles come up when I blew out those lines; however, with the 3rd and subsequently deeper pop-up, I saw maybe two bubbles and with the main drain, about 10 ft. deep, I never saw any.

    My question - Did I not see any bubbles come from my main drain because the main drain is so deep that my wet-dry vac blower wasn't strong enough to blow out that line? So I may need to have someone come out to just blow out that line for me?

    Thanks in advance for any help with this question.
    40,000 gal IG w/vinyl liner, 300 sq ft cartridge filter, Dura-Glas II pump w/1 hp motor, Heat Siphon heat pump, IntelliChlor swg, Paramount Floor Cleaning System, Automatic Pool Cover

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Blowing out lines to floor pop-ups and main drain

    That's the most likely reason. Vacs aren't designed to put out much pressure and you figure with an 8' deep drain you're going to have to produce more than 5psi to get any bubbles.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    Re: Blowing out lines to floor pop-ups and main drain

    If the 3 are tied, the last one will unlike blow since the air can escape from the 1st two in line. Once to trap the air, the 3rd line is likely deep enough to be below the frost line and not in danger.

    Bottom drains are typically the hardest line to blow. It usually require all the pressure, no air leaks, to blow. Are there any air leaks? How are you attaching the blower end of the shop vac to the pool plumbing?

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    Re: Blowing out lines to floor pop-ups and main drain

    Thanks for your help. The two skimmers and main drain all have their own valve in one long pvc pipe which then feeds into one pipe that goes into the pump and then throughout the system. The pvc pipe that all of the valves are on turns up 90 degrees at one end and that end is capped. We take that cap off and attach our dry/wet vac there. The vac tube fits inside the pvc pipe opening perfectly so there is no air leakage there. We have the valves to the skimmers closed, with only the main drain valve open. Once the vac is on, the air should be going to the main drain but it also goes through the pump but then is stopped before it enters the filter.
    40,000 gal IG w/vinyl liner, 300 sq ft cartridge filter, Dura-Glas II pump w/1 hp motor, Heat Siphon heat pump, IntelliChlor swg, Paramount Floor Cleaning System, Automatic Pool Cover

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    Re: Blowing out lines to floor pop-ups and main drain

    What is stopping the air at the pump?

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    Re: Blowing out lines to floor pop-ups and main drain

    We have a 3-way Jandy valve...depending on which way it's switched, the water can go through the filter & rest of system or by-pass the filter to go out a discharge pipe (which we've used to drain some water from the pool via the main drain) or stop the water/air after it goes through the pump but before it goes into the filter or out the discharge pipe. So for blowing out the lines, we had it at that last setting I mentioned.
    40,000 gal IG w/vinyl liner, 300 sq ft cartridge filter, Dura-Glas II pump w/1 hp motor, Heat Siphon heat pump, IntelliChlor swg, Paramount Floor Cleaning System, Automatic Pool Cover

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    Re: Blowing out lines to floor pop-ups and main drain

    If the pump plugs were in place when you were blowing the drain and the skimmers closed off and yet the drain didn't blow, the shop vac doesn't have enough push to fully push the column of water. Will it push it down below the frost line? Maybe. You might want to get a more powerful unit.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    Re: Blowing out lines to floor pop-ups and main drain

    That's what we thought, too. Thanks for your help.
    40,000 gal IG w/vinyl liner, 300 sq ft cartridge filter, Dura-Glas II pump w/1 hp motor, Heat Siphon heat pump, IntelliChlor swg, Paramount Floor Cleaning System, Automatic Pool Cover

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    Johnl's Avatar
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    Re: Blowing out lines to floor pop-ups and main drain

    My shop vac wasn't powerful enough to blow out the main drain either, so I use a pool plug with a blow through and a small air compressor to blow out the line.

    I close off the skimmers and only have the main floor drain open. I hook up the air compressor to the plug and pump air into the pipe. Air starts to come out of the main drain fairly quickly. As the air is coming out I close the valve to the main drain, trapping the air in the line and keeping the water below the freeze line.

    http://compare.ebay.com/like/2003991102 ... s&var=sbar

    I hope that helps. Closing the pool and blowing out the lines yourself saves a lot of money.
    23K Gunite IG Pool
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    Re: Blowing out lines to floor pop-ups and main drain

    Last year I close my pool and was able to use my shop vac to blow 3 return, skimmer, and the shallow end main drain (3ft deep). I was not able to blowout the deepend (8ft deep) main drain or the 2 deepend return at the bottom. I blew as much air as I could with the shop vac into the deepend md and returns and than shutoff the valve, hoping to trap the air in the line. Throughout last winter, I was restless and was concern a pipe would crack due to freeze. This year I would like a little peace of mind and wanted to attempt to blowout the lines with my air compressor. I was planning on rigging up some sort of pvc cap with a tire valve stem and attach to the union on the deepend md & the return line. I can than use the valve to fill the line up with air. Are there any chance of too much pressure inside the pipe and cause a crack?
    What is a safe psi range to set on the compressor?
    16x43 Fiberglass IG 3' to 8' ~17K-Gal
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    Re: Blowing out lines to floor pop-ups and main drain

    10' of water = 4.4psi.. so 20psi on the compressor should do it. I did what my pool builder told me to do and pour a jug of antifreeze down there. I also blew the line as much as I could before with a 5hp shop vac.. then closed the valve. All these threads are worrying me though..
    19.5k gallons in ground, P4 panel with turbocell SWG, 1hp Hayward superpump II, sand filter, Heater low nox 250k btu heater, solar cover on rocky roller

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    Re: Blowing out lines to floor pop-ups and main drain

    Hi,
    This reply is to lnmnmns. I am also in the Indianapolis area. This is the 7th year I have had my IG vinyl lined pool. From reading the description of your pool it sounds like we had the same pool installer. I have always had the pool company close it for me, each year intending to do it myself, this year I 'm finally going to do it. I have a 20 gallon bucket I'm going to fill with pool anti freeze, I plan to set my cover pump in it and flood the lines. I made an adapter and have connected it to the hose from the cover pump, it fits into the 1 1/2'' lines nicely (snug). I tested it with red food colored water and it seems to be working well. This is the same method I've watched the pool company guys do six times. My theory being if I do what they do I should be fine.

    My questions to you: Have you closed you pool in previous years? Do you drain any water? Do you have an auto cover? I'd like to drain down and blow the returns, but then I'd have to refill the pool to hold the cover up. I see a lot of great tips here on the forum, but no discussion on closing with an auto cover. With the help of the folks on this forum I have gone from annual pool expenses of $1200+ to somewhere around $200-Fantastic!

    Go Colts!!
    14'x28' in ground with vinyl liner and a new sand filter (2015).

  13. Back To Top    #13

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    Re: Blowing out lines to floor pop-ups and main drain

    Hi Hokulii,

    We "inherited" our pool when we bought our house 6 years ago. I know that it was installed by Pools of Fun. We've have various different people close our pool, trying to find one that wasn't too expensive and that didn't use $250 worth of anti-freeze. This never happened, though the pool guy last year only used $90 worth of anti-freeze , so we're closing it ourselves for the first time this year. We did it but we did end up using an air compressor for blowing out the main drain (10 ft deep) and the floor returns of our paramount system. We easily used our 4.5 HP shop vac to blow out the side wall returns and skimmers. We are very comfortable with how things went and only used about $30 worth of anti-freeze .

    We didn't drain any water but we let the level drift down a little at the end of the season. Our water level now is still above the lower end of our skimmers, only about 2-3 inches lower than it usually is. We do have an automatic cover so we don't purposely drain any water. As I said before, we did blow out the return lines, even though we didn't lower the water level. As I monitored the shop vac at the pump side of the pool, my husband went around and screwed in the return plugs after watching the air/bubbles shoot out for about 30 seconds. Once he had one capped, another return would start blowing....he just went around the pool and capped each one in turn. After the returns were capped, we poured some anti-freeze through each return line. We did the same thing for the skimmers, though instead of the plugs, we used the Ultra Gizzmos to plug the skimmers up.

    It took us a while to get it all figured out this year (mainly about blowing the main drain and floor returns) but now that we've done it, it won't take long at all next year. I know what you mean about saving money on pool expenses...unbelievable! This is an awesome sight!

    I've probably passed your pool sometime...we live in Avon and are in and around Plainfield all the time .

    Go Colts!!
    40,000 gal IG w/vinyl liner, 300 sq ft cartridge filter, Dura-Glas II pump w/1 hp motor, Heat Siphon heat pump, IntelliChlor swg, Paramount Floor Cleaning System, Automatic Pool Cover

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    Re: Blowing out lines to floor pop-ups and main drain

    Hi lnmnmns (btw, how is that pronounced?)

    Thanks for the helpful reply. I am trying to figure out, how did you blow the main drain and floor returns? (by how I mean what did you attach to the air hose to fit into the 1 1/2'" lines?) I have an air compressor and would like to use it too.

    For the returns I'm thinking I can just pack a rag around the shop vac nozzle to seal it up. I need to get one of those Ultra Gizmos, sounds like a good tool.

    That's a big pool you have there, about three times mine!
    I'm watching the Colts wallop the skins! It's half time 17-7!!!

    Thanks again!
    14'x28' in ground with vinyl liner and a new sand filter (2015).

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    Re: Blowing out lines to floor pop-ups and main drain

    It's not pronounced as a word...just say the letters...it's pretty fun when you say them really fast

    I got a coupler from Lowes (one with a 1/4" "screw on" end) and screwed that into the drain plug hole of my pump. I set my compressor to 20 psi and had at it. The way my valve works, the air goes through the filter, etc. and into the paramount system and from there into the floor returns & side returns. I already had the side returns plugged since I started with my shop vac. Since they were already plugged, the air went to our shallowest floor return. It spouted bubbles really fast. I ended up buying #8 black rubber plugs for the paramount system. I plugged all the 1 1/2 inch holes except one....put the lid back on the base paramount system....turned on the compressor...waited for the floor return to spout....waited an additional 30 seconds....turned off the air...opened the base system...plugged the open hole...then unplugged the next one...and so on for the 3 floor returns. It worked great. Next year, I'll probably blow out all the lines with the compressor vs. doing the side returns and skimmers with the shop vac.

    I definitely recommend the Ultra Gizzmo vs. the regular Gizzmo. The Ultra you screw into the skimmer before you start blowing out the line. It has a tube in the center that the water/air from the skimmer line will come out through. Once all the water's out, you put the plug back into the center top of the Gizzmo. Pretty nifty!

    Good luck with your closing! I'm glad it's been so warm so long this year...it gave me 2 week-ends to get everything done .
    40,000 gal IG w/vinyl liner, 300 sq ft cartridge filter, Dura-Glas II pump w/1 hp motor, Heat Siphon heat pump, IntelliChlor swg, Paramount Floor Cleaning System, Automatic Pool Cover

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    Re: Blowing out lines to floor pop-ups and main drain

    I see what you mean, I-N-M-N-M-N-S! okay!

    Thanks for the help. I have been thinking about how to do this for a long time, I hadn't come up with your way of pressurizing the system, good idea.
    I don't think I'll be closing for for a couple of more weeks, but think I'm ready when the time comes. I ordered an "Ultra Gizmo" and should have it soon.

    Thanks again! (Can't wait for summer)
    14'x28' in ground with vinyl liner and a new sand filter (2015).

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