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Thread: Air locking the main drain this year!

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    Join Date
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    Air locking the main drain this year!

    Last year, while trying to air lock my main drain I think I damaged my existing ball valve. I would blow air into the main drain line and could see bubbles coming from the main drain. I closed the valve and when I opened it to see if the air lock held, water was on the other side. It didn't come rushing up, it was already there. It sounds to me like the valve isn't air tight. I worked and worked on it last year before giving up and just pouring a bunch of anti-freeze in the line and hoping for the best. Fortunately, it worked as I had no problems this spring.
    Fast forward to now and I am mentally preparing to close the pool soon. I saw that I have enough pipe that I can cut out the existing valve and put in a new one. My question is, which one? Praher? Jandy? Hayward? I want a quality valve that I won't have to replace (or can fix while it's installed). Does anyone have any experience with any of these and can offer a recommendation? Since I'll likely buy on-line I wanted to get some info before I ordered. I'd like one that is a union as well. I don't mind paying for a good product assuming it's proportional in quality.
    32K in ground vinyl pool installed in the early 1990s
    1.5 HP Centurion pump installed in the September of 2012, replaced under warranty in August of 2013
    2.6 SF Hayward sand filter - age unknown but looks pretty new
    Jandy AE-TI heat pump - age unknown but looks new and works great
    Caretaker in-floor cleaning system - works, but not well....on my list of things to work on.
    Aqua-rite SWG - new in about 2006, T-15 cell replaced in summer of 2012

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    Re: Air locking the main drain this year!

    Well I can't tell you what valve to get but I think a lot of people's valves probably are not air tight including mine.
    I do the procedure to get an airlock and then pull the pump real quick and stick in one of those black rubber plugs with a wing nut where the pump attached. That's my double protection. Maybe that's something that you could try, I just don't know your set up.
    19,000 gal - Vinyl IG - Sand filter -1.5hp. - Taylor k 2006 - Loop Loc cover

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    Re: Air locking the main drain this year!

    Jandy certainly dominates the market. Praher is slightly less "meaty" but seems to me to have a very functional design. No experience with Hayward.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Air locking the main drain this year!

    Thanks for the input. I realized the valves also need a union included and I don't think Jandy offers one. It appears Praher does so I may go that way.
    I did use an expanding plug with a shrader valve in the pump inlet last fall. It had to cover the main drain and both skimmers. When I opened this spring there was no air lock. I don't know if the expanding plug was at fault or if it was one of the two gizmos. Are gizmos air tight? I dunno.

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    Long Island NY
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    Re: Air locking the main drain this year!

    Quote Originally Posted by mmcgovern View Post
    Thanks for the input. I realized the valves also need a union included and I don't think Jandy offers one. It appears Praher does so I may go that way.
    I did use an expanding plug with a shrader valve in the pump inlet last fall. It had to cover the main drain and both skimmers. When I opened this spring there was no air lock. I don't know if the expanding plug was at fault or if it was one of the two gizmos. Are gizmos air tight? I dunno.
    I quit using gizmos due to them leaking and having to use Teflon tape on them. For the skimmers I use those white plugs with the o ring and then I pour 1/2 gal antifreeze in the box, then just drop a gallon plastic jug that's half filled with antifreeze in each skimmer. Works great.

    My gizmos went in the garbage.
    19,000 gal - Vinyl IG - Sand filter -1.5hp. - Taylor k 2006 - Loop Loc cover

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    zimm's Avatar
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    Re: Air locking the main drain this year!

    My gizmo has an o-ring on the bottom. It's air tight.
    45'x12' 17k gal, IG plaster, Pool Pilot Nano+ SWG, 1/2hp Whisperflo pump, PAC-FAB TA-60D sand filter, Raypak 266 heater
    Pool School + Test Kit + Pool Math = Trouble Free Pool

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    Re: Air locking the main drain this year!

    Quote Originally Posted by zimm View Post
    My gizmo has an o-ring on the bottom. It's air tight.
    Yea, mine must of been the old style because they didn't have o rings. Those o rings work well.
    19,000 gal - Vinyl IG - Sand filter -1.5hp. - Taylor k 2006 - Loop Loc cover

  8. Back To Top    #8

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    Re: Air locking the main drain this year!

    What's a guy gotta do to buy a valve on-line? I've looked high and low for a 2-1/2 inch ball valve that has a union also and can't find any on any of the pool parts sites including amazon. Plenty of 1", 1-1/2", 2" and 3" but no 2-1/2". I measured and am fairly confident 2-1/2" is what I need. None of the visible PVC is marked. Is this a strange size?

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    Re: Air locking the main drain this year!

    Maybe it would help if I posted a photo of my valve.

    I assume it's not repairable but since I don't know what kind it is, that's a blind assumption. There's no obvious damage......it just won't hold an air lock. Here's a photo: https://www.dropbox.com/sc/vqjl76wy9...sHHM-25SacMLra

    And here's a photo hopefully showing that I need a 2-1/2" valve: https://www.dropbox.com/sc/w5vvnlml5...80YAP7X2VzMQMa

    If you're still reading, here's another view of the valve: https://www.dropbox.com/sc/80ln7akep...oFd1KZ-8zwhp6a
    32K in ground vinyl pool installed in the early 1990s
    1.5 HP Centurion pump installed in the September of 2012, replaced under warranty in August of 2013
    2.6 SF Hayward sand filter - age unknown but looks pretty new
    Jandy AE-TI heat pump - age unknown but looks new and works great
    Caretaker in-floor cleaning system - works, but not well....on my list of things to work on.
    Aqua-rite SWG - new in about 2006, T-15 cell replaced in summer of 2012

  10. Back To Top    #10

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    Oct 2014
    Location
    Huntington, NY
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    10

    Re: Air locking the main drain this year!

    FYI, I discovered a neat little winterizing plug for dealing with the main drain. It's a typical rubber winterizing plug; however, it's also got a Schrader valve going through the plug upon which the wing nut screws. I tighten this plug into the main drain suction line and using a hand bicycle pump, I blow air through the plug and into the drain line until I see bubbles exiting the main drain in the pool. Instant air lock and the plug/Schrader valve seemed to hold pressure last year when I used it for the first time.

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