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Thread: Spa return line is blocked by (hopefully) a stuck check valve?

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    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
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    2

    Unhappy Spa return line is blocked by (hopefully) a stuck check valve?

    New pool owner here. Please be gentle! Bought a house with 23 years old in-ground pool last year. Ran it myself last summer (thanks to a pool school!) then hired a company to properly winterize it last fall. Opened it myself and everything runs fine except for the spa return line. It is completely blocked not even a tickle of water from spa jets. After ruling out Jandy valve failure I believe there are only two possible reasons either it wasn't winterized properly and spa return line collapsed (ouch!) or check valve on spa return line got stuck shut because of its age. I can't really identify check valve it is metal and probably more then 23 years old, but it got to be some sort of a check valve since spa is raised with overfill so in order to maintain its level there's got to be a check valve on spa jet return line.
    photo (3).jpg
    Couple of questions to DIYers and pool plumbing jedis:
    1. Is there a way to check that check valve is the problem? Short of cutting it out? I was thinking about drilling a small hole below the check valve and running compressor to try to blow the lines? or is it stupid?
    2. Is there a way to force open check valve? It is solid metal with no ports. The only markings are LEE USA and 2"
    3. Is there a way to plumb just the check valve without having to replace Jandy valve(s) since there is no PVC pipe at the top of check valve it is plumbed right into the elbow (I assume I can dig and expose more pipe if needed on the bottom side of check valve). Or is it something that should only be done by a professional?
    4. In the meantime I run my pool without spa. Because spa return line is shut I could only equalize level of pool and the spa which is probably 60% of normal water level in the spa, is it safe to keep it at this level or should I add water using garden hose to avoid damaging plaster in the spa? Also while repairs are pending is there anything I should be doing to the water in the spa? Shock it? Drain and refill it from the pool every couple of days? (I could drain fine but fill only through the drain line if I connect pool return line to the spa drain line to let water from the pool flow into the spa.

    Sorry for the long post but I was trying to give as much details as possible. Your answers are greatly appreciated! I am planning to renovate this pool in few years, but it would be awesome if I can get few more years out of it since family budget is a bit tough after the house purchase. I have very little experience with pools, but I am avid DYIer and quick learner and will attempt any kind of repair job (even if it involves digging out and replacing collapsed return line

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
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    San Dimas, CA (LA County)
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    Re: Spa return line is blocked by (hopefully) a stuck check valve?

    You ought to be able to lift that valve actuator off and manually make sure the valve can turn. I've seen posts over the years where things snap inside, so the handle on top turns but the actual valve in the plumbing does not.

    While you have access, you can open up that 3-way valve, which will give you access to the spa line upstream of the check valve. The garden hose will tell you fast enough if anything will flow.
    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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    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
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    Re: Spa return line is blocked by (hopefully) a stuck check valve?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    You ought to be able to lift that valve actuator off and manually make sure the valve can turn. I've seen posts over the years where things snap inside, so the handle on top turns but the actual valve in the plumbing does not.
    Thanks for you answer. I opened actuator valve already to rule out valve failure (it was my first guess too) but it works perfectly, so IMHO it's either check valve, if that unidentifiable metal thing is a check valve or collapsed pipe

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    While you have access, you can open up that 3-way valve, which will give you access to the spa line upstream of the check valve. The garden hose will tell you fast enough if anything will flow.
    I will try garden hose tonight, but I'd be really surprised if it will do anything because 2hp pump wasn't able to pump any water through the spa jet line.

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