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Thread: Skimmer clogged with twigs, shop vac failed. New ideas?

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    Vinoveritas's Avatar
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    Skimmer clogged with twigs, shop vac failed. New ideas?

    So I vacuumed what I thought were leaves but there were many unseen twigs that have now clogged up my skimmer line. I have two skimmers and the flow to the far one (where the clog is) is greatly reduced. I tried using a shop vac with the pump off but just pulled out the leaves that were above the clog and didn't pull the clog loose. I read some threads about using a drain king attached to a hose and going from the pump side but I am not sure I feel confident about doing that.

    If the clog was close to the skimmer outlet, it seems like some kind of thin pole with a loop at the end may be able to slowly work the clog free. Something like a small catch pole? I didn't drain the skimmer when I tried the shop vac either (and not even sure if that would work) but I am leaving for a week in a few days and would like this fixed before I head out.

    Any ideas?
    16,000 IGP with Spa - Quad 80 DE - WET Midnight Sea Satin surface - Intelliflow VSP (3hp) - EasyTouch 4 - TFT100 w/ Speed Stir (best thing evah)

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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Skimmer clogged with twigs, shop vac failed. New ideas?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinoveritas
    So I vacuumed what I thought were leaves but there were many unseen twigs that have now clogged up my skimmer line. I have two skimmers and the flow to the far one (where the clog is) is greatly reduced. I tried using a shop vac with the pump off but just pulled out the leaves that were above the clog and didn't pull the clog loose. I read some threads about using a drain king attached to a hose and going from the pump side but I am not sure I feel confident about doing that.

    If the clog was close to the skimmer outlet, it seems like some kind of thin pole with a loop at the end may be able to slowly work the clog free. Something like a small catch pole? I didn't drain the skimmer when I tried the shop vac either (and not even sure if that would work) but I am leaving for a week in a few days and would like this fixed before I head out.

    Any ideas?
    Small plumbing snake.
    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
    Hayward SuperPump (model ?), Polaris 380 & PB4 Booster Pump

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    Re: Skimmer clogged with twigs, shop vac failed. New ideas?

    Your pump may have a drain plug that you can screw an attachment for an aircompressor. Close the lines except those you want to clear. I would think this should blow it all out if you have an air compressor.

    I had a clog earlier in the summer and this cleared it.
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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Skimmer clogged with twigs, shop vac failed. New ideas?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdelana
    Your pump may have a drain plug that you can screw an attachment for an aircompressor. Close the lines except those you want to clear. I would think this should blow it all out if you have an air compressor.

    I had a clog earlier in the summer and this cleared it.
    This would work if the OP had a clog - what they describe is a reduced flow - it sounds like sticks are stuck and not water tight. I don't think the drain king or any method short of physical contact is going to resolve this.
    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
    Hayward SuperPump (model ?), Polaris 380 & PB4 Booster Pump

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Skimmer clogged with twigs, shop vac failed. New ideas?

    I'd try a high flow of water. Shut off the other skimmer or plug it, shut off the drain, and then run a garden hose into the inlet at the pump basket. Wrap an old towel or something around it to seal the line.
    TFP Moderator
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    Vinoveritas's Avatar
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    Re: Skimmer clogged with twigs, shop vac failed. New ideas?

    Success! I borrowed a well bleached plumbing snake from a friend that had little impact on the clog. I could feed it in about 12" but then it couldn't make the turn and push into the clog. I alternated using a hose with a high pressure nozzle but finally saw real movement when I cranked up the Intelliflow to full speed and then closed every port except the far skimmer and then opened and closed the near skimmer until the cavitation stopped and a big wad of leaves/twigs made its way into the lint/hair basket.

    Thanks for the tips, now I need to figure out how to not have this happen again.
    16,000 IGP with Spa - Quad 80 DE - WET Midnight Sea Satin surface - Intelliflow VSP (3hp) - EasyTouch 4 - TFT100 w/ Speed Stir (best thing evah)

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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Skimmer clogged with twigs, shop vac failed. New ideas?

    Did you have the vacuum plugged directly into the suction port below the skimmer basket? If so don't. Use a basket adapter that fits on top ogf the skimmer basket or insert a leaf canister inline with the vacuum.

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    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
    Hayward SuperPump (model ?), Polaris 380 & PB4 Booster Pump

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    Vinoveritas's Avatar
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    Re: Skimmer clogged with twigs, shop vac failed. New ideas?

    So I need help with this again or else my plumbing is going to get clogged.

    Our pool is under many trees. Some are post oaks which drop their leaves in the fall and the rest are live oaks which drop in the spring. This was our first fall and the leaf/twig drop was such that the polaris could not keep up and when I used the manual vacuum, I ended up clogging one of the skimmer lines.

    I had thought I could add a Hayward w530 large capacity leaf canister in-line with the manual vacuum so I am not pulling stuff directly into the hair/lint basket of the main pump but I think it was designed to go on a suction side cleaner which I don't have. What attachment would be a good solution for this type of problem?

    Thank you
    16,000 IGP with Spa - Quad 80 DE - WET Midnight Sea Satin surface - Intelliflow VSP (3hp) - EasyTouch 4 - TFT100 w/ Speed Stir (best thing evah)

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Skimmer clogged with twigs, shop vac failed. New ideas?

    A manual vacuum is a suction side cleaner.
    What about it wouldn't work? You may have to buy a short section of cleaner hose so you'll have a place to insert the canister in the line but it should work.
    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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    Vinoveritas's Avatar
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    Re: Skimmer clogged with twigs, shop vac failed. New ideas?

    I asked Hayward about the 530 with my setup and this was the response:

    The canister is designed to work with automatic pool cleaners, those
    cleaners use 3 - 4 ft. sections of hose and the canister can easily
    be placed between two sections of hosse. Manual style cleaner use one
    solid hose with no where to place the canister. Also they use
    different style hose ends which will not fit into the canister. Do
    you know the size of the cuffs being used on your current hose ends?

    I haven't responded yet because I don't know what the standard size cuffs are, but I believe the leaf canister has a smaller diameter than my hose. I had thought they would have an adapter so my setup would look something like this:

    Manual vacuum/ hose/ adapter from whatever diameter the regular hose is to / leaf canister / adapter back to regular hose size/ short length of hose to plug into the skimmer.

    I probably asked the wrong question of the Hayward rep since it seems like it should be simple and common in the industry to need some kind of way to keep massive amounts of twigs/leaves our of the last line of defense before the filter.
    16,000 IGP with Spa - Quad 80 DE - WET Midnight Sea Satin surface - Intelliflow VSP (3hp) - EasyTouch 4 - TFT100 w/ Speed Stir (best thing evah)

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Skimmer clogged with twigs, shop vac failed. New ideas?

    I don't know about the different size hoses because I use my automatic cleaner hoses on my manual vacuum head and they fit perfectly. The standard fitting size is either 1¼" or 1½". Most adapters, etc. have both sizes so they will fit either.

    I'd go to the pool store and buy a section (about 3' long) of auto cleaner hose and it will hook to the canister and the suction port. Then the canister will hook to the vacuum hose. Just as you describe above.
    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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