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Thread: No suction at Skimmer Line PLEASE HELP

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    No suction at Skimmer Line PLEASE HELP

    Hello,

    I wish i would have found this board sooner. Im at my wits end with my first ever skimmer problem on very old pool equipment and i hope the experts here can help.

    I have an apollo de va 52 filter with 40 yr old stainless steel plumbing equipt with oldstyle turn valves and a 1.5 hp pump. We have never had any plumbing issues and this comes right in time for pool closing when i want nothing more than to be done with the pool. I have 4 return lines, and a main drain that is closed off by a diverter and set to full skimmer.

    The issue i have is i have zero pressure on the filter gauge and no consistent suction at the pool skimmer. i have done the following:
    1) backwashed filter and cleaned grids
    2) replaced pressure gauge
    3) blown out suction line by professional

    What i find peculiar is the skimmer line will intermittently drain every 10 mins which causes the pressure gauge at the filter to go up for a few seconds to 10 psi but then it quickly drops back down. At the same time of course theres a few seconds of water jetting from the return lines then nothing.

    Leslies who blew out the line refuses to provide any additional troubleshooting service and are writing the issue off as old equipment that needs to be replaced but im not buying that since everything appears to be working except the pressure. Please advise any recommendations are appreciated.
    Location: Philadelphia PA
    Pool Details: 40k Inground Vinyl Liner Pool with Mesh Safety Covering

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: No suction at Skimmer Line PLEASE HELP

    Welcome to TFP.

    Is the water level up in the skimmer where it should be?
    Did they plug the skimmer when they blew it out.

    If they blew out the suction line then you shouldn't be trying to run the pump. And if you did you'd get no suction if they did it correctly.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: No suction at Skimmer Line PLEASE HELP

    Will the pump run properly on the main drain? If not, you likely have a break in the suction line.
    In the industry, CSP (Certified Service Professional) by the NSPI and it's successor the APSP. My company services over 600 pools every year. I think the practices regularly espoused on this forum (especially the BBB method) are outstanding; however my comments will be often oriented towards the goal of getting it done, and getting it done right now!

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    Re: No suction at Skimmer Line PLEASE HELP

    Hi folks,

    Thanks for your input its greatly appreciated. The water level is very high (within 2 inches of the skimmer lid) and no they didnot plug the skimmer line when they blew it out, instead what they did was attach a cyclone blower to the pipe at the pool pump to blow backwards out the skimmer hole which appeared to work because water was gushing into the air when they did this. However while I initially believed this was a clog there wasnt much debris to come out of the line, what did appeared to be cloudy white water/white tiny particles not much larger than a few centimeters.

    I forgot to mention that a few weeks earlier the pressure was fine and then i added 3.5 lbs of cyanuric acid to the pool skimmer (mixed with water of course and at a slow pace) however i do recall the pressure dropping from 20 psi to 10 psi when i did this, and it never recovered eventually dropping to zero. My worst fear is that theres now a crack in the suction pipe somewhere (not sure if this is likely but if you could shed some light it would be great)

    I was going to see if i could attach a few pictures of the equip/video of what i see going on if it would help. And I actually do not use the main drain i have a diverter set to full skimmer which hasnt appeared to be a problem yet. Should I not be running the pump to check the pressure? Thanks again
    Location: Philadelphia PA
    Pool Details: 40k Inground Vinyl Liner Pool with Mesh Safety Covering

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: No suction at Skimmer Line PLEASE HELP

    At that sounds like the reason we do not recommend adding anything into the skimmer ... especially solids (like CYA). I think we saw a similar case of CYA clogging the skimmer line previously as well.

    You should put it in a sock and hang it in front of a return.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: No suction at Skimmer Line PLEASE HELP

    Thanks Jason but with all due respect the issue Im having now of no pressure is what I need assistance with. Unfortunately this is my first year taking care of an inground pool so i am a novice and have learned this lesson the hard way, but I am at a loss as to why I have no pressure after Leslies blew out the supposed clog with pressurized air. Any thoughts?
    Location: Philadelphia PA
    Pool Details: 40k Inground Vinyl Liner Pool with Mesh Safety Covering

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: No suction at Skimmer Line PLEASE HELP

    Ah, sorry I skimmed everything too fast ... still a good lesson for anyone that reads this

    The skimmer should not be able to drain ... if it is either the water level is too low or the weir (door) is getting stuck and allowing the skimmer to empty. Try running it on only the floor drain and report back what happens.

    Adding pictures/videos could be of help.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: No suction at Skimmer Line PLEASE HELP

    Does the floor drain connect to the skimmer and that is where the broken part is?
    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
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    Re: No suction at Skimmer Line PLEASE HELP

    Hi Jason,

    Thanks for the feedback but I do have one caveat with running on the main drain. The diverter I have is broken so it's been permanently set to full skimmer for at least 15 years now, this being said we no longer use the main drain and have never had an issue with the pool equipment up until I added the CYA to the skimmer line a month ago.

    Also,

    1) My water level is very high
    2) I do not have a weir door

    So I'm assuming the 2 above reasons aren't the issue? After extensive reading I did find some information regarding how CYA can clog a skimmer line and set "as hard as concrete" and can take up to 1 year to dissolve. Can you verify if this information holds any validity? If so, I'm wondering if maybe I have a partial clog in the skimmer line due to hard setting CYA. This would explain why it appeared that Leslies was able to blow the line and clear the clog when in reality they may not have. Is there anything safe that I can add to the skimmer to quick dissolve CYA?

    Also, the other scenario I was considering (and fearing) is that I somehow cracked the pipe by adding the CYA to the skimmer line. However, Im not losing any water so would ti be safe to rule this out since I am not?

    Thanks again! I will upload videos in a few hours.
    Location: Philadelphia PA
    Pool Details: 40k Inground Vinyl Liner Pool with Mesh Safety Covering

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: No suction at Skimmer Line PLEASE HELP

    It's very possible for CYA to harden in the line and cause a parial clog.

    A partial clog will raise the suction head a lot and can exacerbate a suction side leak that wouldn't leak in air under normal circumstances.

    I'm not sure if pouring hot (not boiling) water in the line would help. It would take a lot of it if it would.
    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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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: No suction at Skimmer Line PLEASE HELP

    It really sounds more like an air leak. Do things work if you run off the main drain only?
    TFP Moderator
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: No suction at Skimmer Line PLEASE HELP

    Quote Originally Posted by ajpello2003
    What i find peculiar is the skimmer line will intermittently drain every 10 mins which causes the pressure gauge at the filter to go up for a few seconds to 10 psi but then it quickly drops back down. At the same time of course theres a few seconds of water jetting from the return lines then nothing.
    This still confuses me. Does that mean that you see the skimmer (at the pool) empty of water and start sucking in air? That is the only interpretation I can make when you say "skimmer line will drain".
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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    Re: No suction at Skimmer Line PLEASE HELP

    Hi Jason (and everyone else who has been so helpful),

    Your interpretation is correct, the skimmer was emptying. Ive uncovered what the issue was, and while it is embarassing i wanted to post it on here incase it helps another pool novice like myself.
    I had leslies install a safety cover (anchors and all) about 2 weeks ago. I have never had a safety cover before and i didnt realize the padding under it was blocking the skimmer box. This coupled with the fact that the water level was very high in the skimmer and that i dont have a weir made it very deceiving. I was running the filter just to try and circulate the winter chemicals one last time. Another lesson learned, thanks again to everyone for your input!
    Location: Philadelphia PA
    Pool Details: 40k Inground Vinyl Liner Pool with Mesh Safety Covering

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