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Thread: 1st Time Closing - Leaky Valve

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    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Madison, WI
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    1st Time Closing - Leaky Valve

    I bought a house in Madison, Wisconsin this summer and I am closing my pool for the first time. It's a pretty simple set-up. 22k gallon in-ground with one skimmer, main drain, and three returns. The skimmer and drain feed into a Hayward SP-735 4-way ball valve before the pump. The pad is just above the water level.

    I lowered the water 8" below the skimmer and it's just below the returns. I noticed something strange while draining. When the water got below the skimmer opening, I switched my valve to full drain, but I could hear a gargling in the skimmer like the pump was still pulling form that pipe. To stop this I plugged the skimmer until the water was below the returns.

    Next I began blowing out the lines. I hooked the blower up to the skimmer and blew through the backwash line, filter, and returns. I capped the returns one at a time and poured a gallon of anti-freeze down their line from the pad. While blowing, I could hear a little bit of air coming out of the top of the 4-way valve.

    The final task is to blow out the main drain and do an air lock with the valve, but I don't trust it. I tried it once already, and after the valve is closed, I can hear air getting pushed out of the top of that **** valve. The valve is cheap, and I'm thinking I will just replace it with a better one. It's strange though, that it never leaked water all summer.

    What would be a good, reliable replacement valve? Where should I order it from? Should I install a redundant shut-off valve on the main drain line to further protect the air lock?

    Thanks,
    Steve
    22,000 Gallon Vinyl In-Ground.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: 1st Time Closing - Leaky Valve

    Welcome to TFP.

    It sounds like the seals in the valve are leaking. They will sometimes leak air but not water. You can rebuild it or replace it with a Jandy style valve if one will fit in the location. Several mfg's make "Jandy" style valves.

    If you replace the valve I wouldn't worry about adding a redundant shutoff valve unless you just want to for peace of mind.
    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: 1st Time Closing - Leaky Valve

    I agree with Dave use a Jandy valve to replace the old valve. Another thing you may want to try depending on your level of confidence is to install a union in front of the leaky valve. After the glued union is dry you can blow the main drain directly through this pipe and (this is where the confidence part comes into place) after blowing quickly jam a rubber compression plug into the hole and tighten it up (and I guess if you don't want to have to worry about being spiderman fast to get the plug into place you could use a blow out plug, but you lose coolness points http://www.h2oco.com/online_catalog/catalog/k/k_25.htm) You can check to see if the stem on the plug is leaking by using a little soapy water. If you don't see any bubbles I would recommend holding the plug in place with a few layers of duct tape just in case the plug ever wanted to slide out over time. I do this all the time for customers as it's much cheaper for a union than re-plumbing valves that work just fine for directing water.
    -Kevin
    X-Pert Pool Service
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    22,000 gal / 16' x 32' / Vinyl / Hayward s244t /Pentair SuperFlo 1 hp

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    Re: 1st Time Closing - Leaky Valve

    Thanks guys! Is there any reason I shouldn't just use a shut-off ball valve on the drain pipe and leave the existing valve in place? As you said, the existing valve works fine diverting suction side water, and less time and money that way. The plugged union solution sounds a little dicey.
    22,000 Gallon Vinyl In-Ground.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: 1st Time Closing - Leaky Valve

    There's no real reason not to do it that way other than since that valve is already leaking it's only going to get worse. You could rebuild it and add a shutoff valve. I'd suggest a Jandy style cutoff valve too. It has a lot less head loss than a regular PVC valve will. And they're rebuild-able.
    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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