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Thread: How does my pool work?

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    How does my pool work?

    Hi All,

    I am new pool owner, and I'm just trying to understand how my pool works and if something is wrong or not. We have a separate spa that is a little bit higher than the pool. What I notice is that when the pool pump motor is off, the water level in the spa drops to just above jets(?) and the water level in the pool is okay. When the pool pump motor is running, the one of the several jets in the spa starts pumping water into the spa. What results is the water level of the spa rises to the top but the water level in the pool drops to where I here gurgling in the skimmers. I am assuming that the water from the pool is being pumped into the spa? If the overflow in the pool is clogged with leaves, then water will actually start spilling over the top of the spa. I put water in the pool at this point, but the same thing seems to happen the next day when the pump runs.

    I hope this made sense how I described it. Is this a correct or common setup? Can I stablize the water level between the pool and spa somehow? Is this just the way it needs to be?

    Thanks

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: How does my pool work?

    What you describe is fairly common. There should be a check valve in the plumbing to the spa that keeps the water from siphoning back to the pool when the pump is off. It's most likely clogged or stuck open. A picture of the equipment may help determining where it is and how to access 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
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    Re: How does my pool work?

    Thank you very much for that information. I tried to take some pictures. I took five trying to stay close enough so the labels could be read. Can you tell which might be the troublesome valve? I am sending pics in 2 posts because max 3 per post
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: How does my pool work?

    2 more pics
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Mike_W's Avatar
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    Re: How does my pool work?

    The check valve is circled in the attached picture. You can remove the clear plastic top (don't lose the screws or gasket). Feel around on the sealing surfaces, every thing should be smooth. It doesn't take much debris for the valve to leak.
    Mike

    [attachment=0:1r6bbt40]Check Valve.jpg[/attachment:1r6bbt40]
    Attached Images Attached Images
    ~17' x 34' IG pool with attached spa - 20500 gallons - Gunite with a "pebblesheen"-ish finish
    Jandy iAqualink with iPad and Jandy PDA remote - Pentair IntelliFlo VS 11018 Pump
    AquaRite SWCG - Pentair SMBW 4060 DE Filter - Really Old Raypak heater
    "Wall-E" an Arneson-Hayward Navigator - A couple of Jandy/Zodiac WaterColors LED Lights - Blue-White F-1000 Flow meter

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    Re: How does my pool work?

    This happened to mine as well.. PB's helper came out and changed the check valve. That wasn't the problem however.

    The second time he came, he fixed it at the spa itself. He didn't say this, but I think one of the spa jets wasn't seated right, or was cracked..? He didn't go over to my equipment at all, and he fixed it. He was on his way to another job, so all he said was a valve had cracked. Well, it worked after that.

    Good luck!
    Helen
    Dallas Area, 16,000 gal IG, Easytouch 8 computer, Intelliflo 3HP Variable Speed pool pump, Pentair Smart Pump 4x160, Pentair 3/4 HP Booster Pump, FNS 60 DE 60, Mastertemp 400, Rainbow 320, Dual Timer w/ freeze protection, Intellichor SWG, TF100 Test Kit, POOL FILLED AUG 3, 2012, ORDER YOUR TF100 KIT FROM http://tftestkits.net
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/under...ie-t49936.html

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    wjr75's Avatar
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    Re: How does my pool work?

    My hot tub has a hydrostatic valve which leaks every so often. I will lose about 4" of water over night when it does. It is a valve in the floor drain of the hot tub which I guess prevents your hot tub core floating if you have a lot of water under it. It happened this spring and once last year but after using the tub a few times it sealed its self. Not sure if this is what you are experiencing but that's what I have experienced.
    Inground 22k gallon gunite 15x31 main pool, 15x7 wading pool/sunning deck, hot tub/with overflow (9' octagon with limestone top) & slide NSWG, Aqua Blue Pebble Sheen
    Filter dual cartridge Sta-rite 450sq/ft, TF-100 Test Kit
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    Auto pool cover, Polaris 280 auto pool cleaner, Jandy AqualinkRS8 Remote Control System

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    Re: How does my pool work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_W
    The check valve is circled in the attached picture. You can remove the clear plastic top (don't lose the screws or gasket). Feel around on the sealing surfaces, every thing should be smooth. It doesn't take much debris for the valve to leak.
    Mike

    [attachment=0:nxej83u6]Check Valve.jpg[/attachment:nxej83u6]

    Mike_W
    That's great advice. I'll check that check valve tomorrow. Makes sense.
    But how come there are 2 pipes coming from the ground that say "SPA RETURN"? Is it common to have a duplicate SPA return?

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    Re: How does my pool work?

    Quote Originally Posted by flipphone
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_W
    The check valve is circled in the attached picture. You can remove the clear plastic top (don't lose the screws or gasket). Feel around on the sealing surfaces, every thing should be smooth. It doesn't take much debris for the valve to leak.
    Mike

    [attachment=0:3snr5j3l]Check Valve.jpg[/attachment:3snr5j3l]

    Mike_W
    That's great advice. I'll check that check valve tomorrow. Makes sense.
    But how come there are 2 pipes coming from the ground that say "SPA RETURN"? Is it common to have a duplicate SPA return?

    Mike_W.
    I took a look today at the check valve you circled. I openned it up and looked good with no debris and functioning well. But I noticed something. No water is going through that check valve at all even when pump is on...the check valve is always closed.

    When I turn the valve handle that is right next to the check valve 180 degrees to how it is in the picture, then the check valve opens fully and water startes flowing through it. If I turn the valve handle just 90 degrees in either direction, the check valve is only partially openned and there is a small ammount of water flow.

    So now I am wondering if the position of this valve handle right next to my check valve have anything to do with this problem? Thanks alot.

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Re: How does my pool work?

    I just looked closely at your pictures, and yes you have 2 pipes marked Spa Return. In the pictures, the one with the check valve is turned off, and the other one is allowing water to return.

    When you turned on the spa return with the check valve, did you look to see what happened at the spa? Did other jets come on?

    Try opening the valve for the return with the check valve, and then close the valve at the other spa return (make it so that the handle points straight up or straight down at the spa return with no check valve). Just be sure the other spa return has water flowing before you do this. See if that configuration works for your normal pool operation.
    Outdoor 14,000 gallon IG plaster pool built in 2000 with spillover spa, 2 hp WhisperFlo pump with MagneTek motor, Sta-Rite cartridge pool filter with 300 ft2 filtration area and 0.33 gpm/ft2 filtration rate, Aquabot Rapids 4WD robotic pool cleaner, Raypak digital gas heater, and Intermatic mechanical timer located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Re: How does my pool work?

    Quote Originally Posted by flipphone
    Mike_W.
    I took a look today at the check valve you circled. I openned it up and looked good with no debris and functioning well. But I noticed something. No water is going through that check valve at all even when pump is on...the check valve is always closed.

    When I turn the valve handle that is right next to the check valve 180 degrees to how it is in the picture, then the check valve opens fully and water startes flowing through it. If I turn the valve handle just 90 degrees in either direction, the check valve is only partially openned and there is a small ammount of water flow.

    So now I am wondering if the position of this valve handle right next to my check valve have anything to do with this problem? Thanks alot.
    Hmmm. When you turned the handle 180 degrees, was there water going through the POOL returns? It looks like that would have turned them off. My valves that look like this block water from flowing to the pipe that is opposite the handle direction. Take a look at the valve on the pipe marked Fountain Return. It is blocking the water from flowing down into the ground. So, your fountain is off. (Is that the case?) Likewise, your valve going to the check valve and associated Spa Return in the picture is off. It is blocking water from traveling that way. When you turn it 180 degrees, it is blocking water from traveling the opposite direction--toward the Pool Return and Fountain Return. Can you turn it so that the handle is pointing toward the wall? I think that's the way you want it. In this position, it will be blocking nothing since there is no pipe running in the opposite direction. Make sense?
    Outdoor 14,000 gallon IG plaster pool built in 2000 with spillover spa, 2 hp WhisperFlo pump with MagneTek motor, Sta-Rite cartridge pool filter with 300 ft2 filtration area and 0.33 gpm/ft2 filtration rate, Aquabot Rapids 4WD robotic pool cleaner, Raypak digital gas heater, and Intermatic mechanical timer located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex

  12. Back To Top    #12
    Mike_W's Avatar
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    Re: How does my pool work?

    Expanding on what danacc is saying, your spa appears to have two sources of water. The main spa return is one and the spa return that feeds the one jet you described in the first message is the other. The main spa return is used to send all or most of the pump water to the spa, for when you are using the spa. The check valve I pointed out and the valve that you were turning to send water through that check valve appears to be for this purpose, the main spa return.

    When your valves are configured for normal pool mode - most of the water goes to the pool, but a small amount of water is sent to the spa through the second return to keep the spa chlorinated. This is the water that flows from the one jet.
    Some where on the second spa return, the one for the one jet, there is another check valve. Since the amount of water the goes through this second check valve is small, it may look like the first check valve but it may be a different type. Sometimes people install a "Home Depot" type check valve. I don't have a picture handy, but depending on the size of the pipe, the HD type is usually one piece plastic fitting, maybe 5-6 inches long, with a bulge in the middle that is 2-3 times the pipe diameter. It will also have an arrow on it indicating water flow direction. This type can't be repaired or cleaned, just replaced.
    See if you can find something like that connected to your spa return.
    Mike
    ~17' x 34' IG pool with attached spa - 20500 gallons - Gunite with a "pebblesheen"-ish finish
    Jandy iAqualink with iPad and Jandy PDA remote - Pentair IntelliFlo VS 11018 Pump
    AquaRite SWCG - Pentair SMBW 4060 DE Filter - Really Old Raypak heater
    "Wall-E" an Arneson-Hayward Navigator - A couple of Jandy/Zodiac WaterColors LED Lights - Blue-White F-1000 Flow meter

  13. Back To Top    #13
    Mike_W's Avatar
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    Re: How does my pool work?

    Here's a picture of a 1" check valve.
    Mike
    Attached Images Attached Images
    ~17' x 34' IG pool with attached spa - 20500 gallons - Gunite with a "pebblesheen"-ish finish
    Jandy iAqualink with iPad and Jandy PDA remote - Pentair IntelliFlo VS 11018 Pump
    AquaRite SWCG - Pentair SMBW 4060 DE Filter - Really Old Raypak heater
    "Wall-E" an Arneson-Hayward Navigator - A couple of Jandy/Zodiac WaterColors LED Lights - Blue-White F-1000 Flow meter

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: How does my pool work?

    Mike W and Danaac---you guys got it!

    Danaac, I put the valve in the configuration you suggested. The spa drained down after pump stopped.

    Then I closed BOTH the main spa return and the pool return valve, spa did not drain down. But when I openned the pool return valve, the spa drained down even though the main spa return was closed. Sure enough, there is a valve like you describe between the second spa return and the pool return. A slip spring valve 172288. Looks like I'll need to have a plumber (?) replace this. Thanks for your help. I'll let you know if this fixes the problem.

  15. Back To Top    #15

    Re: How does my pool work?

    Mike W and Danaac,
    Here is some feedback about what happened. Happens that you guys were right with you initial suggestions about the backplow valve you circled in the picture. Replacing it helped alot. And then I noticed that the spa drain valve was a few clicks short of closed, and I closed that. Now the problem is fixed. Thanks so much to all.
    Amjad

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