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Thread: No water coming through pipes...I'm stumped

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    Shpigford's Avatar
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    No water coming through pipes...I'm stumped

    Short story: No water is coming through the skimmer or main drain pipes...nothing at all and I can't figure out why.

    Longer story...

    Went out of town on Saturday morning. Pool was pumping fine. I run my pump 24/7, and made sure the water level was high so that we wouldn't loose too much while we were gone.

    I checked the pool this morning and the water level had dropped down below the skimmer and no water was passing through the pump or filter (eeeek!). No idea how long that had been...I figure less than 24 hours.

    I refilled the pool to a good level and turned the pump back on, only to find no water was coming out of the pipes and in to the pump. I figured it was just some big clog and so I got a hose bladder out to force some water through the pipes...except nothing came through. So seems like a complete blockage. No idea what could have gotten in there but no water or air seems to be getting past it.

    But here's why I'm really confused. It seems I actually have a complete clog in both the main and skimmer pipes. Which seems crazy. I'm trying to avoid ripping apart a bunch of PVC, but don't know what else it could be.

    I've attached a rough drawing of my pipes and the various joints and valves to provide some insight.

    When I was trying various methods of forcing water through, at one point I was able to close the main drain valve (valve #4 in my drawing) and force water from the skimmer towards the pump and I was indeed getting water to come through. Then I opened up the main drain valve while still forcing water through the skimmer, and all water passage to the pump stopped and since then I haven't been able to get any water from the skimmer to the pump and the main drain seems to be clogged to because no water makes it's way to the pump when the skimmer is closed.

    So...any ideas? Any points of clarification needed? Is it possible for air in the pipes to cause something like this (though I feel pretty sure I got all of that out)?
    Attached Images Attached Images
    22,000 gallon vinyl in ground with Hayward S244T sand filter and Hayward 3/4 hp Super Pump.

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: No water coming through pipes...I'm stumped

    I'd be suspecting impeller or housing damage from running dry.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    Re: No water coming through pipes...I'm stumped

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT
    I'd be suspecting impeller or housing damage from running dry.
    But how would that explain no water passing through the pipes? I was forcing water through with the pump off and the pump cover off and there was no water coming through.
    22,000 gallon vinyl in ground with Hayward S244T sand filter and Hayward 3/4 hp Super Pump.

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    Re: No water coming through pipes...I'm stumped

    You melted something. The seal set gets HOT, makes steam, the steam keeps getting heated, wear, leak, pipes shrink and leak air...

    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: No water coming through pipes...I'm stumped

    John and I are on the same wave length. If motor ran dry and got hot two things probably happened. 1) the top pipe of your motor got hot and will more then likely leak once you get motor primed again and/or 2) the shaft seal "melted" along with the impeller threads. Some of the Hayward pumps have solid plastic impellers instead of a brass insert as the threads.

    Take off the pump basket lid. Remove the basket and turn on the pump. If you don't see the water moving CAREFULLY stick your finger in the housing and see if the impeller is turning. If not, you'll need a shaft seal as201 and an impeller. This is real easy to do since you have a super pump.

    Good luck,
    Joe
    "When your pool is sick, call the doctor, I make house calls"
    One stop pool shop, I do everything but install them. 9+ years of experience.

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    Re: No water coming through pipes...I'm stumped

    I guess I didn't explain myself well. I'm forcing water from the skimmer to the pump housing...and no water is making it through. This is pure PVC piping, all before any actual moving pump parts are hit. I'm also forcing water from inside the pump housing towards the skimmer (not into the pump/filter) and nothing is making it's way through.

    There aren't any pumps/parts to melt in my scenario.

    In my pool drawing I attached, I'm only working with the blue, green and black lines...no pumps/filters.
    22,000 gallon vinyl in ground with Hayward S244T sand filter and Hayward 3/4 hp Super Pump.

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: No water coming through pipes...I'm stumped

    Quote Originally Posted by Shpigford
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT
    I'd be suspecting impeller or housing damage from running dry.
    But how would that explain no water passing through the pipes? I was forcing water through with the pump off and the pump cover off and there was no water coming through.
    Your hose bladder has very low flow. When you opened the drain valve, all of the water coming in from the skimmer went down the drain line rather than into the pump. It could take a good while to fill the plumbing before you see any water come out.

    Any pump is going to have issues running dry for 24 hours. The odds of having simultaneous clogs in both lines are astronomical, especially the drain, unless somebody vandalized your pool.
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    Re: No water coming through pipes...I'm stumped

    If you think your lines are cracked go to your local hardware store and in the plumbing section look for a "drain king" it is a black ballon, so to speak, that hooks to the end of your hose and water expands the ballon and makes a tight seal. Stick the ballon in the inside of your pump and close the MD. Turn on the water and give it 15-20 mins to fill the line and then check to see if any water is coming through skimmer line. Or stick in skimmer (deep enough that when bladder expands it seals pipe. And then close MD valve and open pump lid and see if any water comes through line. It may take several minutes.
    "When your pool is sick, call the doctor, I make house calls"
    One stop pool shop, I do everything but install them. 9+ years of experience.

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    Re: No water coming through pipes...I'm stumped

    Quote Originally Posted by AquaDoctorLLC
    If you think your lines are cracked go to your local hardware store and in the plumbing section look for a "drain king" it is a black ballon, so to speak, that hooks to the end of your hose and water expands the ballon and makes a tight seal. Stick the ballon in the inside of your pump and close the MD. Turn on the water and give it 15-20 mins to fill the line and then check to see if any water is coming through skimmer line. Or stick in skimmer (deep enough that when bladder expands it seals pipe. And then close MD valve and open pump lid and see if any water comes through line. It may take several minutes.
    See my original post...that's exactly what I did. I referred to it as a "bladder" though.
    22,000 gallon vinyl in ground with Hayward S244T sand filter and Hayward 3/4 hp Super Pump.

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    Re: No water coming through pipes...I'm stumped

    Quote Originally Posted by Shpigford
    See my original post...that's exactly what I did. I referred to it as a "bladder" though.
    How long did you wait? Did you check to see if impeller is spinning while motor is on?
    "When your pool is sick, call the doctor, I make house calls"
    One stop pool shop, I do everything but install them. 9+ years of experience.

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    Re: No water coming through pipes...I'm stumped

    Quote Originally Posted by AquaDoctorLLC
    Quote Originally Posted by Shpigford
    See my original post...that's exactly what I did. I referred to it as a "bladder" though.
    How long did you wait? Did you check to see if impeller is spinning while motor is on?
    Probably 20-30 minutes. And I didn't check the impeller, but like I mentioned, the clog is independent of the pump. All my declogging attempts (and failures) were between the skimmer/main drain and the input into the pump housing.
    22,000 gallon vinyl in ground with Hayward S244T sand filter and Hayward 3/4 hp Super Pump.

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    Re: No water coming through pipes...I'm stumped

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT
    Your hose bladder has very low flow. When you opened the drain valve, all of the water coming in from the skimmer went down the drain line rather than into the pump. It could take a good while to fill the plumbing before you see any water come out.
    I would have to agree with John. This seems like the case since when you closed #4 you started to see water flow into the pump. If it were completely clogged, you'd start to build pressure in the pipe and then no longer hear water flowing through the drain king.
    Gary
    21k gal SW, IG Gunite PebbleSheen, 1HP Jandy, Jandy 340 filter, Polaris 280, 17' fiberglass slide w/ 2HP pump.

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    Re: No water coming through pipes...I'm stumped

    If nothing broke free in the pump it is highly unlike both pipes are clogged. If the water level is above the skimmer I'd try a shop vac at the pump side. I have access to pressure testing equipment so I would put 15lbs of pressure on the line and see if it the pressure dropped.

    It is possible that the suction male adapter on your pump melted too. This would cause an air leak and not allow your pump to prime.

    1) check impeller as stated above.
    2) see if suction and pressure male adapters are "loose" and replace if necessary.
    3) reprime motor and hope for the best.
    "When your pool is sick, call the doctor, I make house calls"
    One stop pool shop, I do everything but install them. 9+ years of experience.

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    Re: No water coming through pipes...I'm stumped

    You obviously have simultaneously suicidal raccoons. Happens all the time.
    (DIY):16K Gal 20X30 rectangular IG Gunite, w/spa, CCP 520 filter,2 Pentair VS pumps, 400KBTU Pentair gas heater, Heat Pump for cooling, **update5.25.2013** added an intellichem with acid pump that will control existing SWG. My Build Thread Here

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    Re: No water coming through pipes...I'm stumped

    Quote Originally Posted by Lershac
    You obviously have simultaneously suicidal raccoons. Happens all the time.
    Haha, I've actually been wondering if a snake or something got in the pipes. Can't imagine how, but those things are sneaky.
    22,000 gallon vinyl in ground with Hayward S244T sand filter and Hayward 3/4 hp Super Pump.

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    Re: No water coming through pipes...I'm stumped

    What's the word? Any luck finding out what was wrong?
    "When your pool is sick, call the doctor, I make house calls"
    One stop pool shop, I do everything but install them. 9+ years of experience.

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    Re: No water coming through pipes...I'm stumped

    Quote Originally Posted by AquaDoctorLLC
    What's the word? Any luck finding out what was wrong?
    Had my local pool guy come by with some better equipment and ultimately seems there was just a ton of air in the pipes. We spent about an hour blowing out air and doing different combinations of opening/closing pipes to clear out the air and get water flowing.

    So...seems we're good now, and the pump doesn't seem to have any damage

    Thanks for everybody's input on this.
    22,000 gallon vinyl in ground with Hayward S244T sand filter and Hayward 3/4 hp Super Pump.

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    Re: No water coming through pipes...I'm stumped

    The ultimate "air lock". I had one of those before and you better go buy a lottery ticket. A very rare occurrence.

    I spent 2+ hours jacking valves, refilling the pot etc. In the future if you have problems priming the pump, turn multiport to waste or recirculate. Always seems to help when you don't have to push all that air out of the filter.
    "When your pool is sick, call the doctor, I make house calls"
    One stop pool shop, I do everything but install them. 9+ years of experience.

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