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Thread: Vacuum issues, love some tips!

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    Vacuum issues, love some tips!

    Hi everyone. I'm new to TFP. I recently bought a home with an inground pool in the yard. I know there's at least 20,000 gallons in it. It hadn't been open in almost 5 years. Without all the details, I got the water to the point where it's clean, swimmable, and ready to vacuum. I'm not having much luck and i'm seeking advice.

    Some more notables about my pool and filter - I have 2 skimmer baskets. the separated pipes join somewhere underground because only a single pipe comes up from the ground to go into the filter. I have a hayward gold 1.5 hp pump. It's brand new. The old one had a bad bearing and was on the way out. Also now is the insides of my filter, which is a hayward DE-3600.

    When in filter mode, the filter gets and keeps excellent prime. It has been safely assumed by myself and a good friend who does pools that the system itself has no spots where air could be getting into it. Once I try to vacuum however, I lose prime and suction over time.

    Here's what I tried... and sorry in advance for the lack of proper terminology for any of the parts.

    I have a 36 foot hose that LOOKS like new. It was left behind by the previous owner. I have the plastic triangle vacuum head with brushes in several strips underneath. I also have the standard filter cap that the hose connects to in order to connect the vacuum.

    Before connecting the vacuum, I was told by a staff member at Leslies to power off my filter before doing any of this, so starting with filter off.

    First, in the filter furthest from my pump, I installed that black plastic thingy to block water from being sucked out of that filter. Next, I took my time priming the hose, and I assume I got all of, if not most of the air out of the hose. I connected the vacuum head underwater. Next, I placed that filter cap over the other filter. I took the other end of the vacuum hose under water, and flipped it on top of the vacuum filter cap as best as i could. Next, I held the cap and hose tightly as I asked my wife to tun the filter on. Immediately, everything was pulled in tight and I seemed to have suction. I walk over to look at the filter basket only to see that it looked like it was losing prime, but it never ran completely dry. So I hopped into the pool to vac and I felt suction. It was weak to say the least, but it did work at first. I vacuumed for about 10 minutes until there was no more suction. Now, I checked the filter basket and the pump had seemingly lost prime. I hopped out of the pool and asked my wife to hold the vacuum hose and cap onto the basket. I switched the filter to off. I added water to reprime. Sealed it up and powered on. I was off and running again for about 10 minutes but again, the suction was weak and I again lost prime. I gave up at that point. I reprimed the filter and it ran all night, again no issues or loss of prime. ANY help or advice is appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Vacuum issues, love some tips!

    I think this "vacuum filter cap" is probably a vacuum plate that covers the top of the skimmer basket you are plugging the hose onto? Make sure water level is high enough, try connecting the hose directly into the skimmer itself sans vac plate. I remove the weir door. Most folks blow air out of the hose with the pump running, holding the head just under the water to keep it from stirring things up. Welcome to the forum.
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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Vacuum issues, love some tips!

    Welcome to TFP!

    How does your pump size compare to the old one? Does your pool have a main drain? Do either of your skimmers have two open holes in the bottom?

    Your terminology is a little off which makes it a little hard to understand what you are doing. I would suggest laving both skimmers open and trying to vacuum. Your pump may not be getting enough water from the single skimmer.

    When priming your hose, hold the open end over a return and it will fill with water fairly quickly. When bubbles stop coming out the other end, you are ready to go.

    I don't see any reason to shut off the pump when connecting the hose to the skimmer. If you have a skimmer plate, put it in the end of the hose and lower it into the skimmer. It should grab and be pulled in place.

    If you have suction, but not quite enough, you may need to rig up a plate to partially block the second skimmer to balance flow.
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    Re: Vacuum issues, love some tips!

    Woodyp, I googled a picture of a vacuum plate, and thats def what I connected the hose to! JohnT, The pump is a direct replacement of the old one. Both are gold hayward 1.5hp. The pool has no main drain. I think there may be 2 holes in the bottom of at least one of my skimmers... I'm not home now, but from memory, one looks threaded, that i screwed the black plastic plug into to cut off water passing thru. The second looks kinda like a cap that could swivel or rotate around a screw or pivot over what could be a second hole. Could this be something useful if it's there?

    I did try vacuuming with both baskets open the first time, but had low suction. That could have been because the first time i tried, I didnt know the hose had to be primed. Also, the Leslies associate was the one who advised to plug 1 skimmer, and also to have the filter powered off when setting up the vac. Not sure if he was right or wrong, but it made sense b/c all vacuuming videos I have seen on youtube demonstrate a way to take 75% suction from vacuum line / skimmer, and 25% suction from other skimmer or main drain, but i dont think there is a way for me to control that with my present setup.

    When I last vacuumed, I did what you described to prime the hose using a return. There were no more bubbles when I finished the priming.

    I think youre right though, it seems enough water isnt coming through, and the filter basket visually seems like its operating at half capacity. If I had to do a partial block of second skimmer, what are some things I could try that wouldnt introduce air into my system?

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Vacuum issues, love some tips!

    If you don't have a drain, you probably shouldn't have a second open hole in either skimmer.

    The thing that swivels may be an adjustable block already. Take a closer look when you get home.

    Several ways to control flow to the second skimmer if there isn't something there already. A nice adjustable way would be to get a 1.5" PVC threaded coupler and glue it to a piece of pipe about a foot long capped on the other end. Thread that into the hole in the bottom of the second skimmer. You could drill half inch (or smaller) holes in the pipe below the water line to fine tune the flow. It wouldn't take but a second to install or remove it when you wanted to vacuum.
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    Re: Vacuum issues, love some tips!

    Thank you for your suggestion and your time!! I will again try the vacuum with both skimmers open, but this time with a properly primed hose. If that doesnt work, I will try your suggestion above which sounds like it would definitely do the trick!

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    Re: Vacuum issues, love some tips!

    Maybe a silly question, but couldnt I just drill some holes below the water level of one of those black plastic filter basket stopper things I have? Seems that would be very similar to making what you described above.

    - - - Updated - - -

    They look like a black 16oz soda bottle size stopper. maybe 8-10 inches in height.

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Vacuum issues, love some tips!

    Quote Originally Posted by jbarrow1126 View Post
    Maybe a silly question, but couldnt I just drill some holes below the water level of one of those black plastic filter basket stopper things I have? Seems that would be very similar to making what you described above.

    - - - Updated - - -

    They look like a black 16oz soda bottle size stopper. maybe 8-10 inches in height.
    I assume you are talking about a gizmo (the real name for them). Yes, that would work. You'd have to drill the bottom out too.
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    Re: Vacuum issues, love some tips!

    Awesome!! Thanks!! I'll write back to let you know how it worked out!!

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    Re: Vacuum issues, love some tips!

    OK, so I made another attempt yesterday, and this time, I have pictures. First, it turns out that I was able to regulate the flow on the second skimmer with a small plastic cover that pivots on a screw in the bottom of the basket... you can see in the top of this photo that I have it about 80% covered. I tried various % of opening over about an hour of vacuuming in an attempt to compensate for your suggested method of the gizmo with drilled holes.

    2014-06-16 19.44.53-1.jpg

    Here is a picture of the closer skimmer with the hose and vacuum attached.

    2014-06-16 19.47.04.jpg

    So here's some of the things I did over an hour or so.

    First, I removed the basket and inspected skimmer 2 to find that cap to control the flow. I moved it to about half covered. Then, I jumped into the water to prime my vacuum hose with the return, and blew it out until there was no more air.. Under the water, I connected the swivel side to the vacuum head. I swam over to skimmer 1 with the other side of the hose, still under the water, and put the vacuum plate onto skimmer 1. I fed the hose through the mouth of the skimmer and flipped it onto the vacuum plate. Audibly, I heard the pump starve for a split sec, but it quickly returned to a normal sound. I swam back to the vacuum head and felt VERY mild suction. I got out of the pool and now visibly looked at the pump basket and saw that water was looking normal still. So I went to skimmer 2 and closed the cap further. I closed it too much the first time because I lost prime. Pump off, prime, pump on, repeat this whole first paragraph, this time closing it to where you see in the first picture. Didnt lose prime, pump seemed to be working well. I got back into the pool and checked vacuum head, and the suction still seemed weak. I placed it over a pile of dirt and small pebbles at the deep end of the pool, it appeared to be picking things up but slowly. After about 5 minutes of slow pickup, it seemed to stop picking anything up. I felt the bottom of the vac and it seemed suction was even less than the first time I felt it. I got out of the pool and checked the filter, and it still was working normally. Seemingly no loss of prime, but still not getting enough suction to vac the stuff from the bottom. Lastly, I repeated most of this process without restricting the second skimmer basket by opening the swivel cap all the way and had the same or even less suction than i had when restricting the flow of skimmer 2. Hope some of this info is useful. Thanks again for your time!!

  11. Back To Top    #11
    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Vacuum issues, love some tips!

    Bring your vacuum hose over the deck into the top of the skimmer to connect to the plate. It's not an issue if a little air gets in as you hook it up. I hold the hose in my hand as I walk from the return to the skimmer, so the hose is 3 or 4 feet out of the water. The pump burps as it clears the air, but it doesn't lose prime.

    What does your pressure gauge indicate during this process?
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    Re: Vacuum issues, love some tips!

    When I first connect the filter, it starts about about 12 or 13. At one point yesterday when I checked, it dropped to about 5.

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    Re: Vacuum issues, love some tips!

    You need a skimmer plate with an elbow on it.
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    Re: Vacuum issues, love some tips!

    Like this?21-1Pv1cfCL.jpg

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    Re: Vacuum issues, love some tips!

    Yes, or just route the hose across the deck, rather than out of the skimmer opening that goes into the pool. Route the hose out through the lid opening. You don't really NEED an elbow plate.
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    Re: Vacuum issues, love some tips!

    OK. I only did that bc of a video that I saw, again youtube, where the guy routed it through the skimmer mouth. I guess i'll try again today when I get home. I like to understand why I do certain things. Whats the reason that routing the hose over the top may make the difference? And is there any chance my hose is faulty?

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    Re: Vacuum issues, love some tips!

    If you route it through the poolside opening with a vacuum plate that doesn't have an elbow, you have to bend the hose at a severe angle, likely partially crushing the hose ribbing together. You'll get more turbulence and resistance to flow with a "kink" in the hose.

    You could have small holes or cracks in the hose or a cracked adapter on either end. Fill the hose with water and check it for leaks.
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    Re: Vacuum issues, love some tips!

    OK, will do. Thanks again, and report back tomorrow!

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Vacuum issues, love some tips!

    Quote Originally Posted by jbarrow1126 View Post
    When I first connect the filter, it starts about about 12 or 13. At one point yesterday when I checked, it dropped to about 5.
    Dropping filter pressure indicates reduced flow into the pump. Are you leaving your skimmer basket in place while using the plate?
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    Re: Vacuum issues, love some tips!

    Yes, my skimmer basket was in there under the vacuum plate.

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