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Thread: Time to Dig? ..... Any other suggestions? Game Plan?

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    ship of fools's Avatar
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    Time to Dig? ..... Any other suggestions? Game Plan?

    I won't waste time on the history but i have a clogged or collapsed line from the skimmer to the pump.

    I have tried a drain king in both directions, a snake, an air compressor and have been able to establish a weak flow ... then when i vacuum it clogs completely again within a minute or two.

    If i close the valve to the skimmer the pressure remains constant. If i close the valve to the main drain i lose pressure as i close it which i read is indicative of a clog and as i continue to close it i continue to lose pressure then lose prime.

    When i snake from the pump i can feel several feet of obstruction before i can't go further .... if i snake from the skimmer i can only go a foot or so before i get stuck and the snake starts curling up on itself.

    Any final suggestions or should i break out my shovel? I am planning on having a plumber i know come in and try to snake it hoping that he might have some luck. I figure if he can't get it the pipe probably collapsed? Any other last ditch suggestions?

    If i have to dig i am hoping to dig under the concrete and access the bottom of the skimmer and then run new lines to the pump ..... i figure i can either drop the water below the skimmer or else put my gizmo in and blow the line with air to get it dry so i can glue it. Does that make sense?? How are the pipes typically attached to the bottom of a skimmer?

    Am i in over my head?
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    Re: Time to Dig? ..... Any other suggestions? Game Plan?

    Well, I don't think you are in over your head at all....you have it well diagnosed.

    The pipes are likely glued to the skimmer body but not always...you'll just have to see when you get there.

    I think the plumber is a good idea before you dig. He'll have a feel for how much force he can use and may be able to get it out for you.

    Keep us posted and Good Luck!!
    Dave S.
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    Re: Time to Dig? ..... Any other suggestions? Game Plan?

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    Well, I don't think you are in over your head at all....you have it well diagnosed.

    The pipes are likely glued to the skimmer body but not always...you'll just have to see when you get there.

    I think the plumber is a good idea before you dig. He'll have a feel for how much force he can use and may be able to get it out for you.

    Keep us posted and Good Luck!!

    Thanks

    I know this is impossible to answer but how often do the flexible pipes collapse?? As i said when i snaked from the pump it seemed like i got through several feet of obstruction but never saw any great amount of debris make its' way into the pump basket strainer ... it seems if i had snaked through leaves or something i should have seen some evidence of it.

    Another impossible question but is there a typical route that builders take with their pipes? The reason i ask is the first snake i bought was 25' and didn't make it to the skimmer which was only 15 feet away as the crow flies so i assume they ran straight out of my shed to the pool then turned and went to the skimmer which would explain the distance. So i guess my question is do they typically run under the contract next to the pool "vessel"? Is there any reason for me to follow the old path or can i go right from the skimmer to the pump?

    And how deep? ... is 18" ok (upstate ny)
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    Re: Time to Dig? ..... Any other suggestions? Game Plan?

    I didn't know you had flex pipes....shoulda' when you said "collapsed"

    I think the answer is not very often but they collapse enough that I think it is a bad idea to use them.

    Not sure about your question but I think most PB's lay the pipe right beside the pool near the bottom. 18" in upstate NY might be a bit risky but us ole' rednecks from North Carolina have a frost line about the depth of a small pile of chicken poop so we'll have to wait on someone else for that.
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    Re: Time to Dig? ..... Any other suggestions? Game Plan?

    We just dug up our lines here in the Toronto area. I think they were maybe a foot below surface. Maybe. Definately less than a full shovel deep.

    Now we are not in a particularly cold area, but I would guess that we are about the same as upstate NY - unless you are up on a mountain or something. The path for our plumbing also has me baffled, so I posted about it here. You may be able to find it via my profile - I am too new to the forum to tell you how to navigate it. Also very new to pool ownership, so take my advice with a very large grain of salt.

    Our lines were black plastic, leaking, and very brittle. They had previous repairs in them. We are replacing everything with tigerflex. A wholesale roll online is less than half the cost of a roll bought at the local shops, so shop around a little.

    Have you tried disconnecting both ends of the blocked line and "inflating" it with compressed air? You may be able to blow out the blockage. Similar to how they blow the lines clear for winterizing. Just a thought.
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    Re: Time to Dig? ..... Any other suggestions? Game Plan?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prospector

    Have you tried disconnecting both ends of the blocked line and "inflating" it with compressed air? You may be able to blow out the blockage. Similar to how they blow the lines clear for winterizing. Just a thought.

    yup .... i have tried everything i possibly could ... last ditch effort will be a plumber and a power snake
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    Re: Time to Dig? ..... Any other suggestions? Game Plan?

    Before digging, I'd buy enough PVC fittings to plumb the pump output to the pump end of the skimmer line. Sometimes it takes a high water volume flowing in reverse to lift something heavy out of the line.
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    Re: Time to Dig? ..... Any other suggestions? Game Plan?

    When I asked here about replacing my plumbing, flex pipe seemed to be a big no no. I was told that bugs like to eat through them and they are more trouble than they are worth with the ease of installation. I would keep that in mind if you are planning on using flexible PVC.
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    Re: Time to Dig? ..... Any other suggestions? Game Plan?

    Nyholm, as someone who knows less than nothing about pools, is flexible PVC the same as "Tigerflex?" - which I have a spool of in my backyard, just waiting to be installed.

    If so, can you point me to those discussions outlining its weaknesses? We had black plastic pipe which had turned very brittle with time, and had multiple leaks and cracks, and are now replacing with teh tigerflex, believing it to be a superior product. Since marketers sometimes get you hooked for no good reason, I am now a little nervous having read your comment.
    Reluctant Owner of 32 X 16 ft Hole in the ground that leaks, drinks money, and turns green faster than you can say "Dangnabit!"
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    Re: Time to Dig? ..... Any other suggestions? Game Plan?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT
    Before digging, I'd buy enough PVC fittings to plumb the pump output to the pump end of the skimmer line. Sometimes it takes a high water volume flowing in reverse to lift something heavy out of the line.
    quick question ...... can i just swap the connections at the multi port valve and run it in recirculate?? would that allow me to run water backwards or do i need to cut into the piping?
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    Re: Time to Dig? ..... Any other suggestions? Game Plan?

    Quote Originally Posted by ship of fools
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT
    Before digging, I'd buy enough PVC fittings to plumb the pump output to the pump end of the skimmer line. Sometimes it takes a high water volume flowing in reverse to lift something heavy out of the line.
    quick question ...... can i just swap the connections at the multi port valve and run it in recirculate?? would that allow me to run water backwards or do i need to cut into the piping?
    Hard to know what it would take on your setup. I'd probably try to just go to my skimmer line from the pump outlet, but I have unions that would make that fairly easy.
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    ship of fools's Avatar
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    Re: Time to Dig? ..... Any other suggestions? Game Plan?

    Well ..... take a look at this

    It certainly explains why i couldn't get any suction through that line!
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    Re: Time to Dig? ..... Any other suggestions? Game Plan?

    That is exactly why personally I think we should all avoid the FLEXIBLE PVC
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    Re: Time to Dig? ..... Any other suggestions? Game Plan?

    Do you have any idea what kinked it?
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    Re: Time to Dig? ..... Any other suggestions? Game Plan?

    Quote Originally Posted by ship of fools
    Well ..... take a look at this

    It certainly explains why i couldn't get any suction through that line!

    Yowza!

    Excellent diagnosis, by the way.

    This picture needs to go in the construction room so we can refer to it whenever someone posts with questions about how to plumb their new pool. Maybe start a new thread titled "Flexible Pipe" so it will come up fast on a search.
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    Re: Time to Dig? ..... Any other suggestions? Game Plan?

    Interesting. Tigerflex's spec sheet advises a 2" minimum radius. This may challenge that.

    Since i have already bought a spool, I have to go with teh material for the install. I may house it inside a more rigid pipe (Like drainage tubing) to soften the radii, and to make replacement easier if it is ever necessary. Glad you found your problem, but sorry you had such greif with it.
    Reluctant Owner of 32 X 16 ft Hole in the ground that leaks, drinks money, and turns green faster than you can say "Dangnabit!"
    Current Project: Retaining wall rebuild, Landscaping Reno, and Deck & Coping Replacement.
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    ship of fools's Avatar
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    Re: Time to Dig? ..... Any other suggestions? Game Plan?

    I will start a new post in construction and put pictures up when i get a chance.

    I have no idea what may have caused it ..... the pool deck itself has not heaved ... the flex pipe appears to go into concrete about a foot below the skimmer so maybe the ground heaved due to the frost??

    Thanks for the kind words but i would never have diagnosed it without all of the help here .... nor had the cajones to attempt it. I find it hard to believe how much i have learned in such a short time. I have gone from being a complete newbie to doing stuff like this in a couple of years

    I now open and close the pool by myself, understand and manage my water chemistry and i have repaired a leak last year and am now dealing with this issue... all from knowledge i have gained here

    I am still not 100 percent out of the woods yet ...... i didn't have the ability to get a permanent pvc pipe glued in because i don't have room / wiggle in the pipes to make everything fit. Right now i have a rubber coupling with hose clamps on just so i can run the vacuum and get the pool cleaned up since it is now time to swim. It also appears that there is some sort of leak in the skimmer itself as the ground i dug was wet but we have had so much rain that the pool level was above the skimmer and the whole area is now wet from torrential downpours so i need to let everything dry out.

    Any thoughts on how i could get my final connection made?? I am half tempted to just run a new line since the remaining pipe is flex pipe and goes down into concrete .... it's only 15 feet of digging and that would allow me to make a good solid connection under the skimmer.
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    Re: Time to Dig? ..... Any other suggestions? Game Plan?

    Quote Originally Posted by ship of fools
    Any thoughts on how i could get my final connection made?? I am half tempted to just run a new line since the remaining pipe is flex pipe and goes down into concrete .... it's only 15 feet of digging and that would allow me to make a good solid connection under the skimmer.
    If it's fairly easy to dig up in the future if you have a problem, I'd probably try gluing a union into the line. It will allow you to move the pipes to make them meet after gluing. Though it normally wouldn't be recommended for underground use, it is probably no worse than a conventional slip-fit repair coupling. I'd be concerned about the slip-fit on flex anyway since it relies on pressure on the outside of the pipe to seal.

    Certainly not a pro solution, but to me the only options are a full pipe replacement and something that isn't great, so it comes down to how much difficulty it will be to fix a temporary-permanent repair as opposed to the new pipe.
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