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Thread: Several Questions (Air leak, Main Drain, Black Algae etc)

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    Several Questions (Air leak, Main Drain, Black Algae etc)

    Hey all -- I've been doing a lot of studying here, and have already gotten rid of my chlorine tablet floater and have switched to liquid choline instead of using weekly doses of Chlor-Brite to chlorinate my pool.

    I just have a few questions that you guys can probably help me with.

    (Pics are coming --- the wife left me alone with both kids today, so I gotta do this in bits-and-pieces)

    Pool is in-ground, white plaster, with a Sand filter.

    #1: My pool has a main drain, that is de-activated because we have a dedicated vacuum line with a Hayward pool-vac. The problem is, the drain has a very 'open style' drain cover that you can see thru the grates easily... dirt/leaves/debris tends to get caught a few inches down. Also, whenever I start to get a touch of algae, the area just under the cover is first to start growing it. I tried using a screwdriver to take the cover off so I could clean around, but it feels like I'm gonna strip the screws... they just don't budge. Are there any drain covers available, if I'm ever able to get the screws out, that would completely cover it (no water in/out)?





    #2: I'm pretty sure I have an air leak somewhere. I'm constantly bleeding air out of the system, but I can always hear the air bubbles at/around the jets. How much of an emergency is this? The pool is getting re-surfaced during the off-season, so I'd like to wait till then and do it all at the same time (if I can't find it in any of the easy to find places)






    In this above pic, the red handle on the RIGHT opens up an aerator that sprays water across the pool. The red handle on the LEFT is still a mystery to me. Could this be something for the main drain? Not pictured, but the waterfall valve is actually way over by the waterfall itself.
    25x12, inground (pebble tech)
    1hp pump, Pentair Triton sand filter

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Several Questions (Air leak, Main Drain, Black Algae etc

    I've never heard of a solid cover for a main drain. Is there a way you could open the MD once in a while to clear out the debris? It would be a good idea to do that once in a while anyway.
    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: Several Questions (Air leak, Main Drain, Black Algae etc

    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    I've never heard of a solid cover for a main drain. Is there a way you could open the MD once in a while to clear out the debris? It would be a good idea to do that once in a while anyway.
    I asked the previous owner and they thought it was completely disabled? Is that possible?

    I'm about to go take pics of the filter pad... there is one mystery valve that I can't get open... maybe that's it? When you guys see the pics and can make some guesstimates of what it is, I'll try torquing on it more. I've been playing it a little safe cause I didn't want anything to break.
    25x12, inground (pebble tech)
    1hp pump, Pentair Triton sand filter

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    Re: Several Questions (Air leak, Main Drain, Black Algae etc

    Hi, JP,

    Your questions all addressed in one thread will get really confusing. Since we got started on the MD, I suggest we limit this thread to that and the air leak. They are both mechanical in nature and can be dealt with in one thread.

    Your other three questions I would save for an entirely different thread. They involve pool water chemistry and the first thing you will be asked for is a complete set of test results before much progress can be made.

    In fact, it wouldn't be a bad idea to just delete the last three questions and then address them one at a time in a new thread. It's fine to start that new thread in the same forum "just getting started" but it will make the threads much more cohesive if you separate out these first two mechanical issues.

    Like bama, I am not aware of a solid cover for a main drain. It would be good idea to see if it can be made usable but we can around it if it's not.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Several Questions (Air leak, Main Drain, Black Algae etc

    Okay... got some pics uploaded, and removed some the questions to save for another thread (sorry, just didn't want to go around spamming threads as a 'new guy')

    One other question that fits with these... I have no idea what model my sand filter is, because the label is all weathered/peeled off. Though probably too small to read in the above pic, the label says that when backwashing, to switch over to 'rinse'... yet I'm pretty sure I don't have a rinse option anywhere. Help?
    25x12, inground (pebble tech)
    1hp pump, Pentair Triton sand filter

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Several Questions (Air leak, Main Drain, Black Algae etc

    Do you adjust the 3-way valve on the suction of the pump for the vacuum? One of those lines should go to the main drain and the other should go to the skimmer.

    You have a Pentair Triton sand filter. Measure around the circumference and that will help you fogure out which model it is.

    You have a slide valve so no rinse.

    That clear section of pipe is on the waste line. Can you see any water in it when running on filter?

    The air leak is somewhere on the suction side of the pump. You said you couldn't find the leak in any of the easy to find places. Where all did you look and what did you to to check?
    Skimmer creating a vortex either because the water level is low or the weir is stuck and/or not working correctly,
    The pump strainer basket lid seal. Have you clean and lubed the o-ring, or replaced it?
    The pump strainer basket drain plug(s). Check and reseal them.

    If you don't find anything there then take a hose and run water over the suction plumbing and look for the bubbles to stop. There's your leak.
    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
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: Several Questions (Air leak, Main Drain, Black Algae etc

    The 3-way valve is (as far as I have figured out) only really 2 way. It switches from the skimmer to the dedicated Vac line. There are only 2 pipes going into the 3-way valve.

    No leak in the backwash/waste-line from what I can tell... will double check soon though. There's always some kind of condensation there though, as you can see in the pic... and I haven't backwashed in the last 48 hours (and it's insanely hot here in AZ). I haven't done a very thorough inspection of the 'easy to find places' yet, but plan to soon (2 kids have a way of derailing plans --- if you even knew how long its taking me to write this between interruptions)

    I suspect the pump strainer lid seal, as you suggested... Is it normal for the water in the strainer to drain out after a few hours of the pool being off?

    That's one thing I'm a bit daft on... "Holding its prime". The water drains out of the straining area, but the pump is able to draw the water back in and get going after about 10 seconds. Is that normal, or should the straining area always be fairly full of water, even with the pump off?

    And by drain out, I don't mean that I see water draining from the equipment or anything... it just that once the pump is off, the water seems to 'retreat' back into the pool.
    25x12, inground (pebble tech)
    1hp pump, Pentair Triton sand filter

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Several Questions (Air leak, Main Drain, Black Algae etc

    It's a 3-way because it ahs 3 ports.

    In the skimmer are there two pipes in the bottom? If there are one of them is the Main Drain. It might be plugged off.

    No it's not normal. It means there is air in the system (but you already know that).

    The strainer should be almost full of water all the time. Whether the pump is on or off.
    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: Several Questions (Air leak, Main Drain, Black Algae etc

    That's it! There is a 2nd pipe in the skimmer, and it's plugged. Why would it be plugged? It would be nice if I could use the main drain, even if just once in awhile, so I can clear out all the gunk that's trapped in there.
    25x12, inground (pebble tech)
    1hp pump, Pentair Triton sand filter

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Several Questions (Air leak, Main Drain, Black Algae etc

    I'd try to contact the previous owner and see if they know if there's any reason it should be plugged. It doesn't appear to be plugged inside the pool, but I can't really tell. You could unplug it and run a hose in it to see if anything came out in the pool. If it does then it's open and not leaking.
    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
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: Several Questions (Air leak, Main Drain, Black Algae etc

    I asked back when we first moved in --- she had no idea. She wasn't the type to do anything for herself --- any time we asked a question about the house, she'd be like 'uhhh, I don't know'.

    I'm a bit embarrassed to ask this, but how does the main drain work when the pipe goes into the skimmer basket area?
    25x12, inground (pebble tech)
    1hp pump, Pentair Triton sand filter

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Several Questions (Air leak, Main Drain, Black Algae etc

    There's a diverter that goes into the skimmer and there's a door (for lack of a better term) that you adjust to get more or less flow from the MD. It also acts as a safety of sorts. If the level in the skimmer gets too low there's a float that seals off the skimmer flow and forces all the flow from the MD.
    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
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: Several Questions (Air leak, Main Drain, Black Algae etc

    Man, I hate these little mysteries. The plug doesn't pull out very easily, so I guess I'll just leave it for now. Really wish I could clean out that stupid drain area though.
    25x12, inground (pebble tech)
    1hp pump, Pentair Triton sand filter

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    Re: Several Questions (Air leak, Main Drain, Black Algae etc

    Hey Bama ---

    Little update, I cleaned off the o-ring on the pump strainer, and that fixed the air-bubble problem. Ran the pump last night for a few hours, started up the pump this morning and no bubbles... I tried to bleed out any air, just to be safe... and there was nothing to bleed out.

    The only things on the O-Ring were these tiny little leaves that are as thin as paper... I mean, they're almost nothing. They're oval shaped and not even really 1/3" around. But getting a couple of those off the o-ring seemed to do the trick. I never would have thought those things could make a difference.
    25x12, inground (pebble tech)
    1hp pump, Pentair Triton sand filter

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Several Questions (Air leak, Main Drain, Black Algae etc

    It doesn't take much to create a bunch of air. Glad you got that problem solved.
    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
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: Several Questions (Air leak, Main Drain, Black Algae etc

    Also, if you get the main drain working again, I would replace the cover you have with one designed to prevent suction entrapment.

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    Re: Several Questions (Air leak, Main Drain, Black Algae etc

    BTW --- I had forgotten since I did this last year. The screws in the main drain cover weren't the problem of getting it out. Those did come out. I just couldn't get the **** cover to come out. There's no suction there (main drain is plugged at the skimmer). Is it just the water pressure? I remember pulling on that sucker so hard that little pieces were breaking off (due to being old/brittle, no doubt).

    Should I just pull harder, get a tool to help leverage it? I left it alone after the little pieces began to break off, I was scared I was doing something wrong.
    25x12, inground (pebble tech)
    1hp pump, Pentair Triton sand filter

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Several Questions (Air leak, Main Drain, Black Algae etc

    If it's not working anyway I wouldn't worry about it until you get ready to tackle it. When you do I'd get something to apply a little force to it.
    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
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: Re: Several Questions (Air leak, Main Drain, Black Algae

    Quote Originally Posted by JPBoston
    Man, I hate these little mysteries. The plug doesn't pull out very easily, so I guess I'll just leave it for now. Really wish I could clean out that stupid drain area though.
    The plug in the skimmer screws in. It should have a ridge that you can insert a screwdriver in to unscrew it.

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