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Thread: Newbie question about old pool equipment: Skimmer attachment

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    thehowheels's Avatar
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    Newbie question about old pool equipment: Skimmer attachment

    I'm a new pool owner with some very old pool equipment. My skimmer has a Pentair Rainbow Vac Mate:.



    This device is connected to my automatic cleaner (Polaris 145). A few weeks ago, while pulling the Vac Mate out to clean the basket, the plastic cracked due to becoming brittle over the years.

    The question is, should I replace it with another of the same? It looks like there are still a few places around that sell this device. I'm just concerned that this may not be the best option available.

    Some of my observations:
    * The main drain does not work with this device installed, because there's no suction going to the main drain from the skimmer (but this is probably okay)
    * I don't get any surface skimming action with this device, because I need to adjust the valve to 100% to get it within an acceptable pressure for my automatic cleaner

    Are there better alternatives I should consider?

    Thanks!
    Matt
    9k gallon, plaster, IG. Raised spa w/ spillover into pool. AO Smith Century Centurion / Purex Triton WisperFlo 0.5 HP, Hayward 1.5 HP (spa), Polaris 1-516-01 1.5 HP (blower). Hayward DE3620 36 ft2 72 GPM DE Filter, Polaris 145 cleaner. Pool built ~1980.
    Trouble-free, BBB since: April 25, 2013

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    thehowheels's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie question about old pool equipment: Skimmer attach

    Additionally, after doing some research, I see that the main drain is supposed to be plugged in the skimmer when using the Vac-Mate. It is not currently. Could this be affecting my Vac-Mate performance?
    Matt
    9k gallon, plaster, IG. Raised spa w/ spillover into pool. AO Smith Century Centurion / Purex Triton WisperFlo 0.5 HP, Hayward 1.5 HP (spa), Polaris 1-516-01 1.5 HP (blower). Hayward DE3620 36 ft2 72 GPM DE Filter, Polaris 145 cleaner. Pool built ~1980.
    Trouble-free, BBB since: April 25, 2013

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie question about old pool equipment: Skimmer attach

    The only point of that contraption is to allow some skimming while you are vacuuming. If you do not have enough suction to run the vac and the skimmer, then there is really no point to using it.

    Since the drain is not plugged, you may be getting a little suction from the floor and thus reducing the suction available to the vac and the skimmer.

    How cracked are we talking? Is it usable to test plugging the floor?
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Spiccolli's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie question about old pool equipment: Skimmer attach

    I have one of these and I agree with Jason. You are probably sucking some water from the main drain instead of the cleaner - Path of Least Resistance.

    I get no skimming power either and my main drain IS plugged. I've been looking into purchasing one of these:

    http://tinyurl.com/skimplate

    The idea is that one pump cycle puts all pressure to the cleaner (adjustable pressure i believe, just in case the pressure is too high you can dial it down for your cleaner).
    The next pump cycle puts all of the pressure toward skimming the pool and the cleaner gets none.

    Its alot of money, so I don't know if it is worth it. To replace your current device would be about half the price I think, so if the skim plate works, maybe it is worth it?
    1992 15X30 14000 Gal IG plaster, Pentair 011018 - Intelliflo VS Pump with Timer, 350 lb Sta-rite hrpb30 sand (yeah, the 32-bolt clamshell)

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    thehowheels's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie question about old pool equipment: Skimmer attach

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiccolli
    I have one of these and I agree with Jason. You are probably sucking some water from the main drain instead of the cleaner - Path of Least Resistance.

    I get no skimming power either and my main drain IS plugged.
    Well, I just picked up a threaded plug from Home Depot, so I'll give it a try at least.


    Quote Originally Posted by Spiccolli

    I've been looking into purchasing one of these:

    http://tinyurl.com/skimplate
    That's really interesting. I've come across this in my googling, but I didn't realize that it alternates between skimming and vacuum. I'll definitely consider this option.

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    The only point of that contraption is to allow some skimming while you are vacuuming. If you do not have enough suction to run the vac and the skimmer, then there is really no point to using it.

    Since the drain is not plugged, you may be getting a little suction from the floor and thus reducing the suction available to the vac and the skimmer.

    How cracked are we talking? Is it usable to test plugging the floor?
    It's cracked on the top of the weir housing (the part you grab to lift it from the pool). I don't think it really affects its performance any, but it does make it slightly dangerous to grab a sharp edge when pulling it out with a full basket.
    Matt
    9k gallon, plaster, IG. Raised spa w/ spillover into pool. AO Smith Century Centurion / Purex Triton WisperFlo 0.5 HP, Hayward 1.5 HP (spa), Polaris 1-516-01 1.5 HP (blower). Hayward DE3620 36 ft2 72 GPM DE Filter, Polaris 145 cleaner. Pool built ~1980.
    Trouble-free, BBB since: April 25, 2013

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    thehowheels's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie question about old pool equipment: Skimmer attach

    I plugged the main drain today, and it made a noticeable difference in suction! I'm now able to dial the valve back about 30% toward the weir in order to achieve proper pressure range for the cleaner, and I'm getting pretty decent surface skimming action at the same time!
    Matt
    9k gallon, plaster, IG. Raised spa w/ spillover into pool. AO Smith Century Centurion / Purex Triton WisperFlo 0.5 HP, Hayward 1.5 HP (spa), Polaris 1-516-01 1.5 HP (blower). Hayward DE3620 36 ft2 72 GPM DE Filter, Polaris 145 cleaner. Pool built ~1980.
    Trouble-free, BBB since: April 25, 2013

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