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Thread: Peculiar problem of vacuum hose crimping

  1. #1
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    Peculiar problem of vacuum hose crimping

    I have a peculiar problem. I opened my older 16x32 in ground a few days ago (no main drain, one jet in deep end and one in shallow end). Water's clear, a little dead algae on bottom, no big deal, otherwise floor bottom perfectly clean, and went to manually vacuum out the algae. As normal, it takes about half a minute for the shallow end return jet to spit out the bubbles and then the vacuum gets prime and will suck water. So I began vacuuming. A half minute later the hose crimped up at the skimmer, i.e., the two sides came together so the hose was flat in a several inch section, and there was so much suction at the vacuum head that I couldn't even pull it off the pool floor. When this happened the sound of the pump changed because of course the hose wouldn't allow water to pass through it, so I pulled the hose out of the skimmer. I tried again and the same thing happened. I thought, is there an obstruction in the hose? Water runs freely through it so I don't think so.

    I did make a mistake when I opened it and hope I didn't ruin anything. I took out the plug I had in the deep end jet but then got sidetracked and forgot to pull out the plug in the shallow end jet, the one that spits out the bubbles when I go to vacuum. The pool ran for about 24 hours before I noticed it and then removed it. Everything is running perfectly otherwise, have prime, pump is making the normal hum, a few bugs that seep through the skimmer basket are in the pump basket. Even though I backwashed the pool before I closed it for the heck of it I backwashed and rinsed again, and tried a third time and the hose crimped up again and I couldn't pull the vacuum head off the pool floor. This hose is probably 20 years old, can the plastic break down in a way that' s not visible to the naked eye and lose its necessary rigidity? I am dumbfounded. I guess the thing to do is go buy a new hose and see if the problem repeats itself? Thanks for any help anyone can provide.

    Elsie

  2. #2
    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Peculiar problem of vacuum hose crimping

    Check the brushes on your vacuum head. If they wear down, the head will stick to pool and it could create high suction with no drain.
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    Senior Member Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Peculiar problem of vacuum hose crimping

    If the hose collapsed first, the head would not stick as there would be no suction at that end. Look at the vacuum head. Mine got flimsy, or the wheels wore down, something like that, so that the head sticks to the floor. With full pump suction on it, something has to give, in your case the hose. I bought a new head, problem solved.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
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    Re: Peculiar problem of vacuum hose crimping

    Thanks, I forgot to mention that I did examine it and indeed the brushes were worn down and ran out and bought a new vacuum head, so that isn't the problem...

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    Re: Peculiar problem of vacuum hose crimping

    If the hose has been stepped on or kinked, it can and probably will collapse.
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    Re: Peculiar problem of vacuum hose crimping

    Are you sure you have all the winterizing plugs out of the pool?

    The fact that the head is sticking ot the bottom says that you have too much suction pressure.
    In the past did you use a vacuum regulator on the hose?
    Are you hooking the hose up the same way as in the past?
    What's the filter pressure when the vac is hooked up and unhooked?
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    Re: Peculiar problem of vacuum hose crimping

    Both plugs are out of the returns and replaced with the eyeball jets. But alas, the pump did run for a day with the one plug still in the shallow end return, but otherwise everything is humming along as normal.

    Not familiar with vacuum regulator, so no, I have never used one.

    I am quite sure I am doing what I always do, ten years and hundreds of times, I can't believe I am doing anything different. Granted, I'm advancing in age now, but I still possess the few wits I have always had.

    In the skimmer there are two ports: the one on the left is the one I put the vac hose into and the one on the right stays plugged - I've never messed with that plug, don't even know what that port is for.

    The old vac head brushes were very worn down (shame on me for never thinking to inspect it, esp. with a newer liner), and the new vac head brush I bought is a newer model, and although the brushes do extend about 3/4" past the periphery of the edging, maybe it's just fitting too closely to the floor because, as mentioned, I do not have a main drain? The only thing I can think of to do now (I did try again last night and had same suction issue) is to buy a vac head with rollers that has a higher profile.

    I haven't put the pressure gauge in yet as frankly, it's not a priority -- because I fish out any leaves or large debris that might come by way of storms with my deep leaf net, very little debris other than bugs which the skimmer and pump baskets catch, goes into the filter. So my pressure never builds up over a couple psi over the baseline psi. Nevertheless I do backwash once in the middle of the season and then again when I cover it in late August. No sense to backwash when the pressure doesn't build as it's hard on the system I understand.

    I had a new liner put in a few years ago, and the main drain was not operational--had never been since I bought the place ten years ago, and as well it was one of the unsafe older drains so I had the liner installer fill it in, just the short section under the pool floor. Believe it or not, this pool, 20k gallons, stays immaculately clean without it and a 1 HP Hayward Superpump. I keep my CYA in the 40-50 range and my FC between 4-6, needing to add anywhere between 3-7 cups of bleach each night depending on cloud cover during the day and loss of CL. I check for CC every week or two but rarely have to shock, usually once when I open, perhaps once in the middle of the season, and a week before I cover it. I am the only swimmer so low bather load...

    But, I digress. I will put the pressure gauge in tonight, but since the pump is down hill from the pool, it may be tricky to stabilize the vacuum head to not move to run down and look.

    Thanks for your help. Such a puzzling problem, and I am just *hoping* that the new vac head simply has a lower profile combined with no main drain and that's causing the problem, which should be an easy fix with a higher profile vacuum head, which would mean it has to be one of those with the rollers. Otherwise, how does a vacuum regulator work? I will google this term and see what I can learn. Thanks so much for your help.

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    Senior Member Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Peculiar problem of vacuum hose crimping

    Rollers are not good for vinyl liners, stay with the brushes.

    A vacuum regulator is just a controlled leak. Picture a short piece of pipe in the hose with a hole drilled in it. 90% (or whatever) of the water still comes through the end of the hose, 10% (or whatever) gets sucked through the hole. Less suction = less vacuuming, but the head won't stick to the floor.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
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    Re: Peculiar problem of vacuum hose crimping

    I was wondering about that Richard, the rollers, and was a little uneasy about it, good to know! So...could I simply drill a hole in my hose, or would that spew water everywhere? Or is it something I can buy at the pool store Saturday (it's quite a distance from home) and install on the hose myself? On a quick search I'm not finding the info via google.

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    Senior Member Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Peculiar problem of vacuum hose crimping

    Quote Originally Posted by Elsie
    I was wondering about that Richard, the rollers, and was a little uneasy about it, good to know! So...could I simply drill a hole in my hose, or would that spew water everywhere? Or is it something I can buy at the pool store Saturday (it's quite a distance from home) and install on the hose myself? On a quick search I'm not finding the info via google.
    I'd build my own using a piece of PVC pipe and a drill. Start with a small hole and keep enlarging it until you're happy. And if you overdo it, you're only out a few cents of pipe. Or just saw it off shorter and start all over!

    Be sure that the leak is submerged all the time.

    How do you connect your vacuum hose? I have a pipe coupling attached to a sink tailpiece that fits perfect in the skimmer and on the hose, and would be a natural spot to drill a hole if I needed to do so.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Peculiar problem of vacuum hose crimping

    I don't follow. You're talking to a 60 year old woman who is not mechanical. Where does the PVC piece go? How does it attach to the hose, where does it attach to the hose? Why can't I just drill a hole in the hose itself, down somewhere near the bottom where it would always be submerged, or will debris just exit the hole thwarting attempts to vacuum it up?

    My vac hose just fits right into the port in the skimmer. But, I am having an issue with the other end securely fitting over the new pool brush, it doesn't like to stay. Doesn't make much sense since it must be the same standard diameter as the old vac brush.

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    Re: Peculiar problem of vacuum hose crimping

    Richard, I need your help with this, I'm up a creek without it, will have to resort to the vac head with rollers. Would it work to simply drill a small hole in the sidewall of the hose itself down toward the vacuum head, or even a couple feet up from it which, in both cases, would keep it submerged, but in the pool itself? Would that mitigate the pressure? I don't understand where you are saying it should be installed. At the skimmer port? Can't visualize how it would connect to the hose and/or skimmer - that is probably above my capacity to do anyway, I am not handy that way.

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    Re: Peculiar problem of vacuum hose crimping

    Maybe the old vac head with the worn bristles resulted in excess suction that collapsed the hose, and now it has a weak spot.

    I have another suggestion that is to the same end as Richard's but maybe simpler: Do you put your vacuum hose directly into the skimmer hole now or do you use a vacuum plate like this images/ve/WATERWORT-VacuumPlate.jpg

    Either way, a vacuum plate can be easily modified to reduce suction by just drilling holes in the flat part. It sits over the top of the skimmer basket. You can just drill 1/4" holes in it until the vacuum suction is reduced enough that the vacuum will move easily. They also make a plate that has a larger hole with an adjustable flap that can be used to set your suction level. These are a little harder to find though.
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    Re: Peculiar problem of vacuum hose crimping

    I remove the basket then put the one end of the hose directly into the port. If the vacuum plate goes *over* the skimmer basket, what secures it though? There wouldn't be enough suction if it sat on top of the basket, the hose needs to go into the port hole, that's where it has the necessary draw. Or am I not understanding correctly? I do have another hose I used once years ago, hanging in the pool house. Never used it because it's longer than I need and harder to handle and takes forever to get prime. As I recall, the prior owners told me they custom-made the smaller hose I use somehow. I will get it down tonight and see if it makes a difference. After all, when I last vacuumed with the old worn brush late last August, I didn't have this super-suction issue. Maybe it is a weakened wall of the hose. I will get back to you tomorrow, and thank you and Richard for troubleshooting this with me.

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    Senior Member Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Peculiar problem of vacuum hose crimping

    I'd be wary of drilling directly into the hose, because once it's done, it's there forever. But yes, anwhere above the vacuum head connection would be fine.

    The skimmer plate is another good idea. You only have the one open pipe in the bottom sucking, correct? The top of the basket is below the water level, so suction will hold the plate on, and it should reduce it enough so the head doesn't stick. They sell those plates at Lowes, in the pool section out by the garden stuff.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Peculiar problem of vacuum hose crimping

    Well, actually, I don't think there would be enuf suction sitting on top of the basket. When I remove the basket to dump it, e.g., some of the beetles/bugs float out from the side, and they aren't sucked down into the hole, they just float around on top in a whirlpool type of motion and when I put the basket back in, there they are, now floating around in the top of the basket again, not the bottom, so not enough suction to vacuum without using the port directly. I am real curious to try the other hose, it may be very telling! Or at least I am hoping so. If I have the same suction problem I will risk drilling into that hose since I don't use it anyway, and see if that would work and then I could minimize risk drilling on the hose I have been using these last ten years -- and frankly, the same hose the prior owners were using for what, 15 years? It's an old hose, it does make sense that the structure has weakened. Will let you know tomorrow, and thanks for everyone's patience with this!

  17. #17
    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Peculiar problem of vacuum hose crimping

    The skimmer plate has exactly the same suction as putting it directly in the pipe. You really shouldn't put the hose directly in the skimmer. If you grab a rock or toy, you could permanently clog your skimmer line.
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    Re: Peculiar problem of vacuum hose crimping

    Interesting! I guess that's how the prior owners "trained" me in ten years ago and I never knew there was another way. If you were to see the bugs floating at the top of the basket, not on the bottom, it's hard for me to understand how the suction could be remotely the same, or enough. In any case, it's just me, there are no rocks or toys...or even leaves as I net them out. Just few and small particles of soft, flexible organics.

    Last night I took out the blue 50-ft. vac hose that's been stored out of the elements in the pool house for 20+ years. Visually comparing it to the white 22-ft. one I have been using for ten years (and had been used for at least a prior ten years by previous owners), I could tell immediately the blue one had a more rigid structure. I hooked it up but prime took five minutes because it is just so long. I vacuumed the debris my leaf rake couldn't scoop from the storm we had the previous night and then just let it hug the pool floor for a long time, moving it about from time to time, and there was no collapse of the hose, no irrevocable sticking to the pool floor. But, we also know that longer hoses impart less suction. A canister vacuum in the house, e.g., has more suction when you remove the extension.

    This weekend I will go to the pool store and buy a new hose, the highest quality one, I think a standard size is 25 feet, and that will be nice, too, because the "custom shortened" white one is about a foot too short to reach the farther end of the top pool step, anyway. A more rigid hose and even that it will be a few feet longer should do the trick. Thanks again for your help on this pesky problem that had me quite concerned. As a side note, when I was just looking at hoses online, one of the bullet points of a store's particular hose read "will not kink or collapse." My old white hose simply lost sufficient rigidity. Thanks all!

  19. #19
    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Peculiar problem of vacuum hose crimping

    You shouldn't prime the hose on the skimmer. Hold the end in front of the return until it fills with water, then hook it to the skimmer.
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    Re: Peculiar problem of vacuum hose crimping

    That is correct, and I used to do that, but last week I tore a quad muscle, just got off the cane a couple days ago, and have numerous other major skeletel problems. So right now I am just dipping the hose in the water numerous times to aid in the priming. I should go back to using the return for that but I'll have to crawl over to the skimmer, and can't find my knee pads. Each year the pool becomes more and more burdensome for the two months it's swimmable. I am faced with either selling or filling it in, neither of which I want to do. So for now I'm just trying to live in the present day.

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