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Thread: Need help blowing out return lines and main drain

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    Need help blowing out return lines and main drain

    Hi All,
    I need help on blowing out lines in inground pool. I've blown out both skimmer lines fine, but am not sure how to isolate the return and main drain. When I tried the main drain, I never saw bubbles. Should I always see bubbles? I just read about laying a string accross the drain to see movement that I think I'll try.

    To blow out skimmer line, I put shop vac hose in the hole that feeds water into pump. It didn't occur to me until now that I need to put the hose in the hole that feeds to the filter to blow out return line. Is this correct?
    Thanks!
    27K gallon, IG vinyl pool, SD80 Sand Dollar sand filter-Michigan, 1hp pump

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Need help blowing out return lines and main drain

    Do you have separate pipes for the skimmer and main drain and each return?

    Most shop vacs can't produce enough pressure to blow air out of the main drains.
    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: Need help blowing out return lines and main drain

    I don't know how the pipes are plumbed. This has always been an area of confusion for me. There are 3 valves that I can turn on/off. Ive been able to figure out that two of the valves control/effect the two skimmers. I truly don't see much of a difference on anything when I turn the 3rd valve, but I've always assumed that it affected the returns. How else can I tell if the plumbing in shared?
    27K gallon, IG vinyl pool, SD80 Sand Dollar sand filter-Michigan, 1hp pump

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    Re: Need help blowing out return lines and main drain

    Posting a good picture(s) of your equipment would likely help.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Need help blowing out return lines and main drain

    Will do when I get home from work. thanks!
    27K gallon, IG vinyl pool, SD80 Sand Dollar sand filter-Michigan, 1hp pump

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    Johnl's Avatar
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    Re: Need help blowing out return lines and main drain

    My shop vac is not powerful enough to blow air out of the main floor drain for winterizing either. I use a winterizer plug that has an air valve. You use an air compressor to add air and the air pressure clears the drain. It doesn't take much. You just need to move the main drain valve to the off position after bublles coem out the floor drain so you can lock the air in and keep any water in the line below the freeze level.

    Here's a link to one on ebay. You'll need to measure your pipe for the correct size.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-1-5-Rubb...item5af503486b
    23K Gunite IG Pool
    Waterway Crystal Water SVL56 Pump/1.5HP AO Smith Motor
    Hayward Star-Clear Plus Cartridge Filter C17502
    Aquarite 40k SWG
    Polaris 360

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    Re: Need help blowing out return lines and main drain

    Hi Johnl,
    I do have a compressor too, so thanks for the link. So where do you plug the winterizing plug to blow out main drain?
    27K gallon, IG vinyl pool, SD80 Sand Dollar sand filter-Michigan, 1hp pump

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    Johnl's Avatar
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    Re: Need help blowing out return lines and main drain

    I take the pump lid off, take the basket out and put the blow through plug in the in-take pipe that goes into the pump. You should have valves that control water coming into the pump from your skimmers and main drain. You can usually blow the skimmers out with a shop vac. Once that is done, turn the valve so both skimmers are closed off and only the main drain is open. Then blow out the main drain and while air bubbles are coming out turn the valve to the off position for the main drain. At that point, everything should be clear.

    I hope that helps.
    23K Gunite IG Pool
    Waterway Crystal Water SVL56 Pump/1.5HP AO Smith Motor
    Hayward Star-Clear Plus Cartridge Filter C17502
    Aquarite 40k SWG
    Polaris 360

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    Re: Need help blowing out return lines and main drain

    I've always been a bit unclear on what valve control what pipe. I know that when I close the two red handled valves, I can vacume out of the far skimmer. Can anyone tell me what the third valve(missing red handle) should control? Do these pics show that I have separate lines for skimmer, returns and main?

    [attachment=0:28e6fmty]pool plumbing.43303795.jpeg[/attachment:28e6fmty][attachment=1:28e6fmty]pool plumbing.43303794.jpeg[/attachment:28e6fmty][attachment=2:28e6fmty]pool plumbing.43303791.jpeg[/attachment:28e6fmty]

    Sorry for being dense. When we bought house, seller wasn't available to give us any info on pool.
    Thanks!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    27K gallon, IG vinyl pool, SD80 Sand Dollar sand filter-Michigan, 1hp pump

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Need help blowing out return lines and main drain

    There's really no way to tell without actually trying them.

    I would shut them all off except one and go around the pool and see which skimmer or port is drawing in water. Then I'd open the next one and shut the previous one and do it again. You should be able to figure out which does what. Whenever you switch valves be sure to watch the filter pressure gauge and the pump basket to make sure water is still flowing.

    There's also a line hidden behind the filter. What is that?
    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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    Johnl's Avatar
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    Re: Need help blowing out return lines and main drain

    I would follow Dave J's advice to determine what each valve controls. I would also recommend using a Sharpie or a label maker to identify the use of each valve. I don't know about you, but I would never remember what they were for when I had to close the pool again.
    23K Gunite IG Pool
    Waterway Crystal Water SVL56 Pump/1.5HP AO Smith Motor
    Hayward Star-Clear Plus Cartridge Filter C17502
    Aquarite 40k SWG
    Polaris 360

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    Re: Need help blowing out return lines and main drain

    Ok, so I've finally figured out what each of the 3 valves control.
    When I blew out main drain, I never saw bubbles, but I did make the string move. Since my vac wasn't strong enough to make bubbles, I'm thinking I'd feel better adding some antifreeze to main line. In order to do so, do I need to open back up main drain valve-pour antifreeze into funnel concoction in pump pipe, reblow out line and close valve?

    Also-I've read that I need to disconnect pump and filter. Per my pics above, what all do I need to disconnect?
    Thanks!
    27K gallon, IG vinyl pool, SD80 Sand Dollar sand filter-Michigan, 1hp pump

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Need help blowing out return lines and main drain

    Since your equipment is indoors you probably don't need to unhook anything. Just remove all the drain plugs (filter, pump, heater, etc.).
    Is that room heated?
    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: Need help blowing out return lines and main drain

    No, it's not heated.
    27K gallon, IG vinyl pool, SD80 Sand Dollar sand filter-Michigan, 1hp pump

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Need help blowing out return lines and main drain

    Just be sure to drain all the equipment well and I might even blow some air through it. If you do that, it should be fine.
    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: Need help blowing out return lines and main drain

    Thanks for info Dave.

    Was wondering if anyone else had any comments to my plan to add antifreeze to main line? Thanks!
    27K gallon, IG vinyl pool, SD80 Sand Dollar sand filter-Michigan, 1hp pump

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    Johnl's Avatar
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    Re: Need help blowing out return lines and main drain

    Your plan sounds fine. The anti freeze can only help. You do want to make sure you blow the line out again since you have to open it to add the anti freeze. Good luck.
    23K Gunite IG Pool
    Waterway Crystal Water SVL56 Pump/1.5HP AO Smith Motor
    Hayward Star-Clear Plus Cartridge Filter C17502
    Aquarite 40k SWG
    Polaris 360

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