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Thread: Clogged or pinched return line?

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    Clogged or pinched return line?

    We just opened our pool a week ago and have no flow at the returns. To troubleshoot, we disconnected returns line and put a temporary line from the chlorinator straight into the pool, and the flow is fine. Tried to unclog the return line with the drain king going both ways - first from return to the pump, then the opposite and got a little flow, but still not enough to get the returns to circulate the water. Our pool guy keeps telling us that it's a "pinched" line somewhere and pursuing us to dig. We have no trees in the backyard, thus no roots to jam the line. Can the line get pinched/collapsed by itself? There seems to be no water level loss (except for natural evaporation). We also tried to snake the line, the snake goes in about 7 feet from both ends and stops dead, I guess somewhere at the 90 degrees joint. What else could we do to diagnose the problem - I'd really hate to dig and bust the concrete patio just to find out it was a stupid hair clog!
    16000 fiberglass pool/spec 1 1/2hp pump/sand filter

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    Re: Clogged or pinched return line?

    Do you know what kind of PVC was used underground to the return? Rigid or flex? I couldn't see rigid getting pinched, it would just break and you would notice water loss. If flex I guess it could be possible. Someone else might can probably chime in on that. Is there any settling on the pool deck anywhere? Also is it all the returns or just one?
    18x36 Grecian Vinyl; 8' Roman steps w/t 2 spa jets; cozy cove w/t 6 spa jets; 2 MD, 1 Skimmer, 3 returns; Hayward Ecostar, 30" Ranger sand filter; Hayward color logic 4.0 LED light; Hayward aqua logic; 2" PVC pipe 4 Jandy Valves

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    Re: Clogged or pinched return line?

    All pipes are heavy duty flex, we installed this pool 6 years ago.
    16000 fiberglass pool/spec 1 1/2hp pump/sand filter

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    Re: Clogged or pinched return line?

    Sorry. I have no idea how to check or if it is even possible for a flexible PVC to pinch so bad that water will not come out. I would think so since the purpose of it is to bend but I have never worked with it before. On our plumbing I done last year I used all rigid. Maybe someone with more knowledge will come along and give you a better answer.
    18x36 Grecian Vinyl; 8' Roman steps w/t 2 spa jets; cozy cove w/t 6 spa jets; 2 MD, 1 Skimmer, 3 returns; Hayward Ecostar, 30" Ranger sand filter; Hayward color logic 4.0 LED light; Hayward aqua logic; 2" PVC pipe 4 Jandy Valves

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    alanpaul's Avatar
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    Re: Clogged or pinched return line?

    Danisha,

    A few years ago we had a similar problem in our suction line. Don't know how it happened, but a frog got in there. Dead.

    Drain King usually works, but since it didn't, you might consider:

    Large size wet/dry shop vac - vacuum and blow air in both directions also.

    Maybe a tiny dryer vent brush; It's got soft bristles and is very flexible; it's like a gentle roto-rooter. Professional dryer vent cleaners have them, and you'll see it's also all connected to a vacuum system.

    Any other ideas out there? Simpler, better?

    Good luck, D.
    Alan
    Alan in Wellington, FL - near West Palm Beach
    15,200 gal IG, painted plaster, 1988; 200 SqFt cartridge filter, 2013; 1.5 HP 1-speed pump (uprated), 2005; heat pump, 2005;
    soon to repair (dead) SWG AquaRite T-15 cell, 2005, and replace (dead) suction-side cleaner, 2005.
    Almost everything died this winter 2012-'13, and I know we shouldn't complain... but, Arrgh!

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Clogged or pinched return line?

    Since it's on the returns I highly doubt that it's a kink. Especially after six years. Never say never, but since the blockage is on the return it only sees pressure and not vacuum, so a kink isn't likely.

    How many return fitting do you have?

    Can you post a pic of the equipment pad?

    Did you have winterizing plugs in the return(s) and if you did, did they all get taken out?
    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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    Re: Clogged or pinched return line?

    Posting the update, since it may help someone with their pool. Yes, it was a kink on the line, indeed. But this was not caused by chemicals or pressure as our pool guy claimed, although he would never guessed what happened there, so can't blame him. We had to buy waterproof USB camera to snake into the pipe and see for ourselves. The kink was only 3 feet from the filter, so we didn't have to dig a lot (or bust the concrete, thank God!), and it was caused by a piece of metal angle about 2 feet long that jammed the line. It was probably in the ground all these years, because after we removed it and fixed our lines we see how our returns really should of worked from the beginning. I am attaching a picture to give you an idea how bad it was.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    16000 fiberglass pool/spec 1 1/2hp pump/sand filter

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Clogged or pinched return line?

    Well I never would have guessed that! It just pinched it almost closed didn't it?
    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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    Re: Clogged or pinched return line?

    It was almost closed at the pinch, and when the pool guys were trying to blow air through it to clear it up, it twisted and bent. What a mess! We couldn't even imagine this could of happened. I am blaming the installer for letting this huge metal piece fall on the pipe.
    16000 fiberglass pool/spec 1 1/2hp pump/sand filter

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Clogged or pinched return line?

    It was likely pushed in the trench during backfilling and then compacted into the pipe.
    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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