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Thread: How many returns should be working?

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    How many returns should be working?

    I'm trying to get in touch with the previous homeowner, but is it normal to have 3 returns but only 2 of them working?

    There is only one return line coming off of the pump into the ground, so the lines are either plumbed in series or the tee's are inground?

    Good flow out of the two that are working and absolutely nothing out of the third.

    Would they have installed 3 when the pool was built, but then only used 2? The 2 that are working are both towards the shallow end while the unworking third is towards the deep.
    20,000 gallon, free-form, plaster, SWG, Hayward Pro Series sand filter, Dolphin Discovery

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: How many returns should be working?

    That is not normal, but you do see things like that on older pools sometimes. Several different things might have happened to the third return. It might simply have been installed incorrectly in the first place so that it gets way less flow than it should. Some builders don't know the correct way to balance return flow, and a return with a much longer pipe run will tend to have a significantly lower flow rate if steps are not taken to balance it correctly. Or it might have been damaged at some point and capped off. Or some renovation could have disconnected it for no good reason.

    If it is a flow rate balancing issue, you might be able to get it to work by installing return fittings with smaller openings on the shallow end returns.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: How many returns should be working?

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion

    If it is a flow rate balancing issue, you might be able to get it to work by installing return fittings with smaller openings on the shallow end returns.
    That'a a very good idea. I just checked online and it seems there are quite a few options for different size eyeballs.

    Is it normal that there only be one return line from the pump going into the ground? Seems like it would make more sense to have and splits/tees above ground for servicing.
    20,000 gallon, free-form, plaster, SWG, Hayward Pro Series sand filter, Dolphin Discovery

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: How many returns should be working?

    It is common enough to have a single return line that splits out to several returns. Having separate lines is better, but costs a little more. You never want anything coming above ground anywhere except the equipment pad. That creates freeze problems, restricts flow, and invites damage from things like lawn mowers and tripping.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: How many returns should be working?

    Quote Originally Posted by kammel78
    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion

    If it is a flow rate balancing issue, you might be able to get it to work by installing return fittings with smaller openings on the shallow end returns.
    That'a a very good idea. I just checked online and it seems there are quite a few options for different size eyeballs.

    Is it normal that there only be one return line from the pump going into the ground? Seems like it would make more sense to have and splits/tees above ground for servicing.
    Properly installed returns can't be split at a convenient spot. They are often plumbed in a manner that looks strange to make each return have the same pipe run leading to it. That causes doubling back and other oddities. If you split them at the pad, you'd have a lot of flow at the closest return and much less at the most distant return.
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    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    Re: How many returns should be working?

    All very good points, thanks!

    The eyeballs are all pretty old anyway, so I'll try some different size ones to see if it makes a difference. If not, then I guess it'll be just one of life's little mysteries!
    20,000 gallon, free-form, plaster, SWG, Hayward Pro Series sand filter, Dolphin Discovery

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: How many returns should be working?

    Quote Originally Posted by kammel78
    All very good points, thanks!

    The eyeballs are all pretty old anyway, so I'll try some different size ones to see if it makes a difference. If not, then I guess it'll be just one of life's little mysteries!
    You can rotate the other eyeballs so they are more across the flow to see if it will help.
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    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    gtemkin's Avatar
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    Re: How many returns should be working?

    My Auto-fill system feeds water into the pool through a port that is at the same level and uses the same exact fitting as the real returns. There's been several times I was tweaking my returns for better flow and one of the tweaks I was making was to the Auto-fill port, until I realized what a dumb thing I was doing. It's a low likelyhood but I thought I'd mention it in case you made the same error I did.
    21K gal 16' x 40' in-ground pool built 1959, old school with Jacuzzi bronze pump, American Products 24" Sand Filter & Americana Multiport valve, Jandy Lite2 millivolt heater, Coverstar cover, and classic Kreepy Krauly.

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