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Thread: Opening pool today, quick questions

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    Opening pool today, quick questions

    Hi all,

    Hope the winter treated you well and you're all ready for pool season, I know I am. I just took the cover off my inground pool and as usual, it's a mucky swamp (which was expected and thanks to TFP last year, I know exactly what to do for killing the algae!). Anyways, I've taken out all of the plugs from the skimmer and returns, put the plugs back in my sand filter and pump basket and hooked up all the pipes and everything back to the filter and pump. The problem is, when I turn the pump on, it doesn't appear to be pulling water from the pool into the pump basket... I filled up the pump basket with water from a hose and that water is making it to the pool skimmer basket so it doesn't appear there's a blockage along the pipe, but when I turn the pump on again, it's not pulling water from the pool... it does pull water from the pipe that I just poured hose water in and when the filter is set to Waste, I can tell that the water is definitely making it into the filter briefly. So my questions are :

    1. I took the plug out of the bottom of my sand filter when I closed the pool, so I am assuming there is no water in the filter... how can I get water into the filter? Do I need to open the filter and put water in manually? I figured the pump should still work to pull the water into the filter, but I could be wrong.

    2. If it's possible to get water into the filter via the pump, what setting should I put the filter on? Filter, Backwash, Rinse, Recirculate, Closed, Waste?

    3. If my problem is not the filter not having enough water, any other ideas why the pump isn't pulling water from the pool?

    4. Can I start adding bleach to kill the algae even if the pump/filter isn't circulating the pool water?

    Thanks in advance!!

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    Re: Opening pool today, quick questions

    By the way, here are some pictures of my setup that I posted last year and it's the same this year so you can see the pump/filter configuration - http://imgur.com/a/bUdDr

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Opening pool today, quick questions

    First, make sure the water level is above the skimmer and any winterizing plug has been removed from under the skimmer basket. likewise make sure any winterizing plugs have been removed from the return jets. Set the filter to either filter or waste (try filter first), fill the pump strainer basket with water, turn on the pump, wait 30 seconds to a minute while watching the pump strainer basket and see if the pump gets going. If it doesn't, try again two or three more times.

    Your filter has a multi-port valve on top. That kind of filter lets the air out of the filter automatically. You don't need to add water to the filter, or do anything with it really. Once the pump gets going it will fill with water.
    You don't want to add chemicals until you have the pump running.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Opening pool today, quick questions

    UPDATE - Everything is set up as it should be, but I think there's some kind of air issue since the pump is still not pulling any water from the pool...

    1. I let the pump/filter run for 2 minutes and I noticed that the returns were pushing out some water and antifreeze, which I am assuming is just whatever was leftover in the pipes... then once the pipes were cleared of liquid, the return was spitting out air bubbles briefly.

    2. Also, when I take off the top of the pump basket and let the water sit for about 30 seconds, three or four air bubbles pop up from the side connecting to the pump... then it happens again the next 30 seconds. Is there an issue with the pump itself?

    Any ideas? And I hate to say this on TPF, do I dare call a pool company to help me as a last resort?

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Opening pool today, quick questions

    Having someone who can come over and look at the system could be a big help, but simply asking someone else the same questions you are asking us isn't all that likely to help.

    There must be something fairly obvious we are missing. You said "I filled up the pump basket with water from a hose and that water is making it to the pool skimmer basket", which bothers me. If the skimmer was full of water anyway, how could you tell that the water from the hose was getting to the skimmer? And if the skimmer wasn't full of water already, it should have been.

    Can you describe what the water in the pump strainer basket looks like both before and while you are running the pump? Is it mostly water, mostly air, churning froth, or something else?
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Opening pool today, quick questions

    make sure the seal around the lid of the pump strainer basket and it is sealing, it could have dried out and cracked during the winter, if your not getting a good seal the pump may not prime..
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: Opening pool today, quick questions

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    There must be something fairly obvious we are missing. You said "I filled up the pump basket with water from a hose and that water is making it to the pool skimmer basket", which bothers me. If the skimmer was full of water anyway, how could you tell that the water from the hose was getting to the skimmer? And if the skimmer wasn't full of water already, it should have been.

    Can you describe what the water in the pump strainer basket looks like both before and while you are running the pump? Is it mostly water, mostly air, churning froth, or something else?
    When I put the hose in the pump basket, I went and checked the skimmer basket in the pool and there was obvious movement in the water as well as the tiny debris sitting in the swimmer basket. When I turn the hose off, the water in the pool skimmer is perfectly still, so it's obvious that the water is making it up the pipe... I can't be 100% sure if 100% of the water is making it there, so there could be a leak or something along the way but at least I know it's not a complete blockage or collapsed pipe underground. Also, I snaked the line and discovered no blockage along the pipe... When I am running the pump, most of the water that is in the pump strainer basket appears to go up into the pump on its way to the filter, however no new water comes in from the pool...so there is about an inch or two of water and you can tell it is rippling so it appears that there is some suction going on, but obviously not enough to get the water from the pool. When I turn off the pump, the water that was previously in the pump basket comes back into the pump basket... I just added some extra caulk around the pipe fittings to see if that helps plug up any air leaks, so I'll wait until that dries to see if it makes any difference whatsoever...thanks so much for your help thus far!

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    Re: Opening pool today, quick questions

    UPDATE - It's been 2 hours since I applied the caulk and it definitely made a difference, I was pulling water from the pool for about 8 seconds... then it stopped so I'm assuming I need to replace the pipe/fitting that goes into the pump basket since the caulk obviously helped, but didn't hold. I can't budge the pipes since they are really jammed into the pump basket so I'm assuming I should just saw the pipe off and go buy a new one. Hopefully doing this will solve my problem, but I'm still a little concerned that there is something preventing the water from leaving the pump to go into the filter because the water always comes back into the pump basket when I turn off the pump...

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Opening pool today, quick questions

    It is normal for water to get pushed out of the filter in this situation. There is still a fair bit of air in the filter, which gets pressurized when the pump is running. When the pump turns off the air pressure inside the filter pushes the water back out. Once the system is pumping normally all of the air will get flushed out of the filter and that will stop happening.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Re: Opening pool today, quick questions

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    It is normal for water to get pushed out of the filter in this situation. There is still a fair bit of air in the filter, which gets pressurized when the pump is running. When the pump turns off the air pressure inside the filter pushes the water back out. Once the system is pumping normally all of the air will get flushed out of the filter and that will stop happening.
    Phew, that is very comforting to know. I will get a new pipe fitting this week and update this thread afterwards. Thanks again!!

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    Re: Opening pool today, quick questions

    So I went to Lowe's last night to buy some new PVC piping to replace the faulty pipe leading into the pump strainer basket, and the Lowe's salesman guy said that none of the pipes at Lowe's will fit any pool pumps because pool companies deliberately make the sizes of their pipes like an 1/8 of an inch different than typical PVC pipes so you have to buy the parts from the pool company. Is this true? The pipes/valves going to my pump look like standard PVC pipes... the pipe coming from the pool says "1 1/2" on the side of it, and the pipe part that goes into the pump strainer basket has "2 "" on it and I looked up the owner's manual for my pump (Pentair Challenger) and it says the intake hole is 2"... I think the Lowe's guy was full of BS but let me know if there's any truth to this. Thanks!

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Opening pool today, quick questions

    I have always bought pipe fittings at hardware stores, although I have certainly seen a few pool specific fittings, most of those would simply be a conveinence over stock plumbing parts (ball and socket style unions, or custom combination parts) A few may be truely custom though, and can't be easilly substituted, like the o-ring sealing pipe fitting adapter that screws into a pump.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
    ~Remember TFP counts on your donations to keep this site ad free~

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