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Thread: Pump Drain Questions form a New Pool Owner

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    Pump Drain Questions form a New Pool Owner

    Yo,

    Been lurking these forums here since last year...I live in Michigan, got a new home, came with a 30,000+ gallon in-ground pool! I think I did OK with it last year, had a few clarity issues, but eventually I got my chemistry down (still need that tester kit). Pool store checks for free so I just take my water there and they say it's good, keep a record of it, etc... Had a service come in to open/close it for me.

    Anyways, I have some questions now that I get to run a pool for my 1st entire season:

    1. I think my main drain was clogged at one point... when I had the pool inspected before I bought the place, I swear it worked no issues when he showed me. When I got the place, we did a ton of landscaping. After, I couldn't get flow from main drain only. So I said bah, I'll fix it next year and ran skimmer only for ~1 month.

    2. Come this year, I tried to tackle the issue. I have a jandy valve and turned to main drain only, filled pump with like 12+ gallons of pool water, started back up, got some flow. Then, (I think this may be bad), but I'm getting some air in my line somewhere - every time I turn off system, water came rushing out of skimmer (because I was running skimmer only). So, what I did was I run skimmer only for about 10 minutes, switch to main drain with jandy valve and shut off pump quickly, and because of the back pressure, I ran to the pool and saw water/bubble coming out of main drain. Now, I get a lot more flow coming from main drain only, but not enough to fill pump / keep prime. I did one time, but will try again tonight. Might try a drain king if needed (do I have to go past the jandy valve?).

    3. I'll check my o-ring seal on pump basket lid and re-teflon tape the drain plugs on the pump.

    4. Backwashing - I did it once/twice last year. I have a huge commercial sand filter. Not sure what the EXACT or recommended procedure is - I've read/been recommended a couple ways. Therefore, can someone provide me a good procedure??

    5. Starting the pump - I have no issues starting with skimmer only, just main drain atm - any other parts to the procedure I should know? I think I just learned that I should have the air relief valve open on the filter when starting, never usually did lol! I might be doing it wrong because I do get some air this year even skimmer only...I know it could be the pluming on the suction side. Then again it could be anything causing a leak, I just wanted to mention this.

    Sorry for the long winded post, but there is a lot to know and learn about pool life! I'll add pictures later when I get home, but any comments and/or feedback is welcomed. I'm an engineer so I should be able to understand most of the things you guys throw at me.

    Late,
    Nick

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pump Drain Questions form a New Pool Owner

    1) It is fairly common for the main drain to clog up after several years. Things like what you have been trying can partially unclog it but it is rare you can get it completely back to normal.
    4) Turn off pump, turn valve to backwash, run backwash for at least two minutes or until the water turns clear if that is longer, turn off pump, put back to normal operation, turn pump back on.
    5) Yes, open the air relief until it runs water only when priming the pump. Should only be required if you have opened the pump strainer basket.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Pump Drain Questions form a New Pool Owner

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion View Post
    1) It is fairly common for the main drain to clog up after several years. Things like what you have been trying can partially unclog it but it is rare you can get it completely back to normal.
    4) Turn off pump, turn valve to backwash, run backwash for at least two minutes or until the water turns clear if that is longer, turn off pump, put back to normal operation, turn pump back on.
    5) Yes, open the air relief until it runs water only when priming the pump. Should only be required if you have opened the pump strainer basket.
    Thanks for reply!

    In regards to #1, I'll poke around, if I can't get it running normally, I'll have to try drain king or something else...

    In regards to #4, there's no wait time needed inbetween, backwash/rinse and then back to normal filter? I've been told to wait like 20 min for some reason....

    Lasty, do you think I could of broke/damaged anything by shutting pump off and letting backpressure go through main drain line?

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Pump Drain Questions form a New Pool Owner

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred5283 View Post
    snip

    In regards to #4, there's no wait time needed inbetween, backwash/rinse and then back to normal filter? I've been told to wait like 20 min for some reason....
    That's the first time I've ever heard of that. You should shut the pump off when you're actually switching modes, but that's about it.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Pump Drain Questions form a New Pool Owner

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    That's the first time I've ever heard of that. You should shut the pump off when you're actually switching modes, but that's about it.
    Yea, even I thought that was a little strange? Maybe settling of sand/debris or something? Guy at the pool store told me that one...

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Pump Drain Questions form a New Pool Owner

    Well ... the guys at the pool store have never given any of our members bad info ... they are the experts right? [/sarcasm]
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: Pump Drain Questions form a New Pool Owner

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    Well ... the guys at the pool store have never given any of our members bad info ... they are the experts right? [/sarcasm]
    Haha, that seems to be the trend! At least they are nice and test my water for free.

    Again, all feedback welcomed! Even noob tips that might not be obvious!

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Pump Drain Questions form a New Pool Owner

    I hope the "free testing" was a joke
    If you have read much of this forum, you know that we think that testing is worth exactly what you pay for it
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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    Re: Pump Drain Questions form a New Pool Owner

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    I hope the "free testing" was a joke
    If you have read much of this forum, you know that we think that testing is worth exactly what you pay for it
    Ha! Kind of! But yes, they do it for free...or maybe it's because I bought some chlorine pucks from them...

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    Re: Pump Drain Questions form a New Pool Owner

    OK, sorry for getting back so late, but here are some pictures:





    Just a few basic pictures of my system. I replaced the pump basket gasket as well as re-taped the drain plugs. I think I got rid of the air in my skimmer line (probably due to bad seal to gasket).

    I still can't get the pump working off main drain only still....

    Latest issue - jandy valve seems to be sticking / not as easy to turn as it once did...

    Last question: how do you detect a leak in your PVC piping?

    All comments welcomed!

    Thanks,
    Nick

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Pump Drain Questions form a New Pool Owner

    Hmm, all those rubber repair sleevs with hose clamps.

    Leak detection? Do you see bubbles in the pump basket? If so, dribble water on the pipe joints and watch the bubbles. If the bubbles go away, it's because it's sucking the water in instead of air. An alternate is to coat the connections with shaving cream. If the bubbles diminish and the foam starts getting drawn in somewhere, you've found it. I'd start at one end and do things one at a time.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Pump Drain Questions form a New Pool Owner

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    Hmm, all those rubber repair sleevs with hose clamps.

    Leak detection? Do you see bubbles in the pump basket? If so, dribble water on the pipe joints and watch the bubbles. If the bubbles go away, it's because it's sucking the water in instead of air. An alternate is to coat the connections with shaving cream. If the bubbles diminish and the foam starts getting drawn in somewhere, you've found it. I'd start at one end and do things one at a time.
    I see a little in the basket, but with the new gasket, they are pretty much gone.

    I like the shaving cream technique, good idea.

    The system is the way I got it - previous owner must of done the work.

    Let's say I find a leak - is there a quick fix? Like spray sealant/glue? Or use the stuff to glue pvc? Or cut and repipe?

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