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Thread: Main Drain Line to Pump Clogged with Leaves

  1. #1
    Member
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    Jun 2010
    Location
    Arlington, TX
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    Main Drain Line to Pump Clogged with Leaves

    Two weeks ago I had my DE Filter cleaned, and everything was normal. My typical PSI after
    a cleaning is 6 PSI, and it has been there since the cleaning (good flow at returns as well).

    Last night I noticed bubbles and enemic flow from the returns. It had been 5 days or so
    since I checked the pump strainer basket, so I checked it. The pressure was down to 1-2
    PSI, so I checked the pump strainer basket and it was completely full of leaves. I emptied
    it out and all was well... for about five minutes. Then the same thing happened again (low
    pressure, bubbles at returns). I checked the pump basket againand it was completely full
    of leaves.

    I've now emptied the pump strainer basked 5 times - each time it quickly becomes full of
    leaves.

    At this point I know I must have either a clogged skimmer or main drain line to the pump.
    My pool has two skimmers and one main drain.

    So after cleaning the pump strainer basket, repriming, and starting the pump again, I set
    my three-way valve to skimmer-only. I let that run for 15 minutes with no problems
    (pressure good, no bubbles). To be thorough, I checked the pump basket, and it was clean.
    Next I left the valve set at skimmer-only, reprimed the pump, let it run until the air was
    purged out (everything working normal).

    Now I set the three-way valve set to main-drain-only. The pump basket was clogged with
    leaves instantly. In fact, this time it filled up with way more leaves than before (before
    I was running with the valve in the normal, middle position).

    So my main drain line to the pump is clogged with leaves.

    How should I go about clearing the leaves from the main drain line?

    Thanks,
    RoberTX
    27,000 Plaster IG Pool
    DE Filter, 48 sq ft
    Pentair WhisperFlo two speed 1 HP Pump

  2. #2
    Administrator JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD
    Posts
    34,611

    Re: Main Drain Line to Pump Clogged with Leaves

    There are two approaches. You can either continue running the pump till the strainer basket fills with leaves, clean out the strainer basket, and repeat. Or, you can run water backwards through the main drain and try to flush the leaves backwards into the pool. I recommend the first approach.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    TFP Admin. Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Arlington, TX
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    Re: Main Drain Line to Pump Clogged with Leaves

    I have considered the first approach. It is simple enough, but who knows how many leaves are in there! I'm going to give this a shot, I just hope I don't have to do it 100 times!

    Thanks for the quick response!

    Robert
    27,000 Plaster IG Pool
    DE Filter, 48 sq ft
    Pentair WhisperFlo two speed 1 HP Pump

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Arlington, TX
    Posts
    51

    Re: Main Drain Line to Pump Clogged with Leaves

    So, I'm not really sure why all of the sudden I noticed this... My best guess is that the leaves got sucked into the drain over the winter/fall. The skimmer must have been working, but not the drain... But now that my DE filter is clean and my pumping system is working better, the pump must have been strong enough to dislodge some of the leaves.

    How can I prevent this from happening again? Is it normal for the drain to suck leaves into the pipes? Shouldn't there be something to prevent that?

    Robert
    27,000 Plaster IG Pool
    DE Filter, 48 sq ft
    Pentair WhisperFlo two speed 1 HP Pump

  5. #5
    Administrator JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD
    Posts
    34,611

    Re: Main Drain Line to Pump Clogged with Leaves

    The main drain will always suck in a few leaves. The main goal is to keep that from being too many leaves. Leaves normally float for a while, and only sink after a substantial time delay. During this period they will tend to be caught in the skimmers, if the pump is running. So one approach is to spread the pump run time out across the day/night so that more leaves are caught by the skimmer and fewer have time to sink and go down the main drain.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    TFP Admin. Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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