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Thread: Pool Newbie wants to understand how system works (with pics)

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    Pool Newbie wants to understand how system works (with pics)

    Nothing is labeled, and the pool guy I had to help get things started didn't really teach me anything.

    I've read around here a lot, so getting a better feel for how to do the chemistry, but want to make sure I understand how all the valves and setup on my system works. There are no labels or anything whatsoever, so it's tough for a new person to learn.

    Side question. My pool has a skimmer area in a corner, along with a suction point for a cleaner in the middle of the pool. When I hook my Baracuda G2 to the cleaner input it works for a few minutes and stops. If the cleaner is on the skimmer input it works perfectly all the time. Could this be related to one of the valves in the picture limiting my pressure there? I could have sworn that middle input worked better in the past.

    Also, if I push down the black plunger handle and turn it (and then turn the pump on) then water comes out the backwash hose. Am I doing that correctly? Or am I just washing out clean water? No clue if I need to turn one of the valves (either the big black one on the left or the little gray one on the right) or something.

    Oh, my home warranty people had someone replace the motor, as it was tripping the breaker, so I know my motor is pretty good.

    Thanks for your help! Just trying to understand things so I can perform maintenance accordingly.

    Here's the picture below:
    [attachment=0:ue5cw27b]pool.jpg[/attachment:ue5cw27b]
    Attached Images Attached Images
    12000-ish In Ground, plaster, sand filter. New variable speed pump (Hayward I believe)

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Newbie wants to understand how system works (with p

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    The pipes in front of the pump are the "suction" side. So, you have 2 places where the water is drawn from. Given your description, one pipe goes to the skimmer and the other likely to the cleaner port. Do you have a floor drain too?

    The water leaves the pump on the top to the "return" side. Enters the filter and then exists the filter to the 2 pipes going into the ground which go back to the pool. Do you have a water feature or anything like that? I would guess the right pipe goes back to the main pool returns, but I am not sure what the other side goes to with the grey valve ... maybe a different return / water feature?

    The plunger valve is called the backwash valve. It only has 2 positions, regular filtering and backwash to clean the filter. I am not too clear on these, but I thought that down was for filter and up was for backwash, but someone may have to correct me as that sounds opposite what you described.
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    Re: Pool Newbie wants to understand how system works (with p

    The back valve near the pump controls where water is drawn from. That might be which of two skimmers, or skimmers vs main drain. It's current setting is to draw from both, with a little more coming from the pipe on the right.

    The small gray valve controls water returning to somewhere, perhaps a fountain or stair jets or something similar.

    The tall black handle next to the filter chooses between regular filter mode and backwash mode.

    The tall back valve near the filter should never be moved while the pump is running, and for the most part you don't want to turn the others while the pump is running, though they are probably more forgiving.

    The only way to figure out which side of the black valve near the pump draws from where and where the gray valve returns water to is to experiment.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Pool Newbie wants to understand how system works (with p

    There is a bottom drain in the pool. So would that imply that the 2 pipes on the left coming out of the ground are differentiating between drain and skimmer/cleaner?

    I have no idea how the pipes are layed out, so since there is the cleaner input on the side I wonder if it's just tied into the skimmer basket line as well?

    So that black handle switches between the 2 possible input sources of water in the pool? I haven't wanted to mess with anything without understanding what it does. I can try turning that black handle one way or another to see where the water is flowing....

    Thanks again everyone for helping me struggle through this.
    12000-ish In Ground, plaster, sand filter. New variable speed pump (Hayward I believe)

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    Re: Pool Newbie wants to understand how system works (with p

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    The back valve near the pump controls where water is drawn from. That might be which of two skimmers, or skimmers vs main drain. It's current setting is to draw from both, with a little more coming from the pipe on the right.

    The small gray valve controls water returning to somewhere, perhaps a fountain or stair jets or something similar.

    The tall black handle next to the filter chooses between regular filter mode and backwash mode.

    The tall back valve near the filter should never be moved while the pump is running, and for the most part you don't want to turn the others while the pump is running, though they are probably more forgiving.

    The only way to figure out which side of the black valve near the pump draws from where and where the gray valve returns water to is to experiment.

    Awesome! Thanks! I will tinker with that black valve and see what happens. Probably one is drain and one is skimmer/cleaner I'm guessing.

    I never mess with the tall back valve while it's on. I turn it off, plunge it down, then turn it on and the water comes out the backwash hose. Then I turn it off and put it back up and the pool works again.
    12000-ish In Ground, plaster, sand filter. New variable speed pump (Hayward I believe)

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    Re: Pool Newbie wants to understand how system works (with p

    The 2 pipes going into the ground on the right (one with a little gray valve) must be the return lines going back to my 4 jets in the corners of the pool, correct? I shouldn't have to mess with that valve at all?
    12000-ish In Ground, plaster, sand filter. New variable speed pump (Hayward I believe)

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Newbie wants to understand how system works (with p

    Where exactly are you hooking your cleaner to?

    If it is a separate wall port, then I would guess one side of the black valve is to the skimmer and one side is to the cleaner port. Look in your skimmer under the basket, what do you see? There may be a float valve that you can lift out and then see the hole(s) to the pipes. If you see 2, one of them is likely to the floor drain and the other to the pump. The float/diverter valve allows you to adjust how much water is pulled from the floor vs. the skimmer.

    IF the cleaner is not working properly, you likely have to turn the black valve some to have more suction through the cleaner.

    As far as the 2 return pipes, either the far right pipe goes to all 4 returns in the pool, or some of the returns are on each pipe, or there is another place that the smaller pipe with the grey valve returns water to the pool. There is no real harm in messing with the grey valve to see what changes, even with the pump on, ... since the water will just go back to the pool through the other pipe if you close it.

    Add some more pictures of the actual pool and cleaner etc

    EDIT: Just paid enough attention to your username to realize that I am no longer going to help you ..... Go Illini!!!!
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Pool Newbie wants to understand how system works (with p

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    Where exactly are you hooking your cleaner to?

    If it is a separate wall port, then I would guess one side of the black valve is to the skimmer and one side is to the cleaner port. Look in your skimmer under the basket, what do you see? There may be a float valve that you can lift out and then see the hole(s) to the pipes. If you see 2, one of them is likely to the floor drain and the other to the pump. The float/diverter valve allows you to adjust how much water is pulled from the floor vs. the skimmer.

    IF the cleaner is not working properly, you likely have to turn the black valve some to have more suction through the cleaner.

    As far as the 2 return pipes, either the far right pipe goes to all 4 returns in the pool, or some of the returns are on each pipe, or there is another place that the smaller pipe with the grey valve returns water to the pool. There is no real harm in messing with the grey valve to see what changes, even with the pump on, ... since the water will just go back to the pool through the other pipe if you close it.

    Add some more pictures of the actual pool and cleaner etc

    The pool has a main drain in the bottom, a capped intake on the side of the pool in the middle that a cleaner could hook into, and a skimmer.

    I'm guessing that the cleaner must be hooked in with the skimmer pipe, but I can test that now that I know I can fiddle with that valve.

    I'm guessing that somehow the black valve got set to cut off some pressure from one of the 2 intakes. I'll have to figure out which one is drain and which one is skimmer/cleaner.
    12000-ish In Ground, plaster, sand filter. New variable speed pump (Hayward I believe)

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    Re: Pool Newbie wants to understand how system works (with p

    I can take more pictures tonight of pool and diagram the ports, but I think now that I understand the intakes I can get things set up.

    Should I have the drain and skimmer on normally when I have the cleaner attached, or should I just use the port that does skimmer and cleaner (I think that they have to be tied together)....

    Want to understand how much to use drain or how much to use other....

    I'm guessing that if I center the black valve I'll get the cleaner working on the side and things will be perfect though.
    12000-ish In Ground, plaster, sand filter. New variable speed pump (Hayward I believe)

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Newbie wants to understand how system works (with p

    OK ... ignore my edit in the last post ... I will still help

    I don't agree with your assessment. It is much more likely that one suction pipe is skimmer / drain and the other is the cleaner. Cleaners require a certain amount of flow for them to function correctly ... many have a little gauge you can attach to the hose to measure the suction. You need to adjust the position of the black valve so that you have the correct amount of suction through the cleaner. If you are not running the cleaner, then you can just turn the cleaner suction off for better skimming.

    Realize that opposite the way the valve handle points is the off position. So if the handle was turned to point along one pipe, that one is open and the other is closed.
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    Re: Pool Newbie wants to understand how system works (with p

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    OK ... ignore my edit in the last post ... I will still help

    I don't agree with your assessment. It is much more likely that one suction pipe is skimmer / drain and the other is the cleaner. Cleaners require a certain amount of flow for them to function correctly ... many have a little gauge you can attach to the hose to measure the suction. You need to adjust the position of the black valve so that you have the correct amount of suction through the cleaner. If you are not running the cleaner, then you can just turn the cleaner suction off for better skimming.

    Realize that opposite the way the valve handle points is the off position. So if the handle was turned to point along one pipe, that one is open and the other is closed.
    That makes sense too. I'll see how it's set up to get everything working. I think if I can have both working effectively that'll be nice.

    Appreciate all the input, I don't know much about this so I worry about screwing up my pool. Though as I learn more I realize it's pretty tough to totally screw it up, if you're careful at least.
    12000-ish In Ground, plaster, sand filter. New variable speed pump (Hayward I believe)

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Newbie wants to understand how system works (with p

    Try moving the black valve to both sides and see what changes. Then check out the inside of the skimmer and confirm that you have 2 pipes.

    The worst you can to is completely close off the suction or the return side and leave the pump running which can eventually mess up the pump. On you return that is not possible (not counting the backwash valve). On the suction side, the valve may be setup up such that you can not turn it off completely either. You can move it slowly with the pump still on for minor adjustments, but it is "safer" to turn the pump off for larger changes.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Pool Newbie wants to understand how system works (with p

    Yeah, I'll be messing with the valve with the pool off (except for minor tweaks). I'll also make sure to have the cleaner connected to that hose, so I won't have that valve closed and no water coming through.

    I'll be drawing up my own diagram just so I don't forget in the future....Just be nice to have the cleaner working again from the side and not just the skimmer basket. Hopefully it'll just be tinkering with that valve.
    12000-ish In Ground, plaster, sand filter. New variable speed pump (Hayward I believe)

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    Re: Pool Newbie wants to understand how system works (with p

    Thanks for your help! The black lever was skimmer/drain vs. cleaner. I was able to tweak it to get the cleaner port working along with the skimmer, just had to dial in the right pressure for the cleaner.

    Now that I know what does what I'm good to go! Next up is chemistry lol Slowly getting there.
    12000-ish In Ground, plaster, sand filter. New variable speed pump (Hayward I believe)

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