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Thread: How to vacuum to waste correctly

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    How to vacuum to waste correctly

    For more information on this pool see Is there such a thing as too green to bother slamming? Zea3

    Neglected pool came with house. Took cover off 2 days ago to green pond. Yesterday I spent learning about pools, YouTube and how pumps work. Today I venture to the store for chemicals and get face to face help. I was advised to step 1-vacuum to waste, step 2-shock and algaecide, step 3- after 24hrs backwash, rinse.
    I am stumped at step one. I didn't realize my hose was broke on end so I duct taped it to the vacuum seal. I had to prime the hose in reverse but did get it full of water. I turned the pump to waste and water came out full force into yard. I connected the vacuum seal in the skimmer. Created a nice seal and water kept coming out full force at waste but there was no suction at the other end of the vacuum. I removed the ring in the skimmer and actually placed the vacuum seal directly on the bottom of the skimmer. Still no suction at vacuum end but lots of water at waste site.
    I thought maybe the pump wasn't pulling efficiently but if that were so there would not be so much waste water. And, where is that water coming from? If there is no suction at the vacuum end and I could not feel any water being pulled under the vacuum seal and did not feel any being pulled into the hose from poor connection, where could it be from?
    Pressure gauge is broken on pump.

    I hate to say forget it and start vacuuming to filter---how would I know that was working? I can't see the bottom to tell. Why on earth do people have pools unless they can afford a pool man?!
    wowens
    18x36 in ground early 1990's, Hayward S244T sand filter, liner 2012, Hayward Max-Flo 3/4 HP pump.

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    Propbndr's Avatar
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    Re: How to vacuum to waste correctly

    You are probably seeing flow from your bottom drain. How many skimmers do you have? If more than 1, you need to reduce or shut off the suction in the skimmer(s) you are not using to vacuum. There may be a plate / door in the bottom of the skimmer that can be used to adjust it or fully shut it down. If not, you will have to use the winterizing gizmo to shut it down.
    Steve
    32 X 16 inground, 17260 gallons, Vinyl Liner, Triton II TR-60 filter,
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: How to vacuum to waste correctly

    There has to be another source of water to the pump. And it takes the easier path, which isn't through a long, convoluted hose. There must be a second skimmer or the main drain. Hopefully, there's a valve somewhere to close that one.

    Vacuuming to waste if there's a whole bunch of leaves and debris in the bottom is a good first step. Blindly adding chemicals without knowing what your current levels are is not a good idea, and is contrary to the philosophy here. All powdered forms of chlorine have something else with them. If you need the Calcium or the stabilizer and the acidic effect, great. Otherwise, you're making a bad situation worse. Have you seen How to Chlorinate? If that reads like a foreign language, you might need to start with The ABCs. As an aside, algaecides work okay to prevent algae, but most of them will not kill algae as well as bleach. And some leave copper behind, which is fine if you like green hair. Generally, algaecides work best to boost the pool store's bottom line.

    You might benefit from reading some threads that show how others have cleared their swamps. There are a bunch listed here.
    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.
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    Re: How to vacuum to waste correctly

    Pool store read says zero chlorine zero stabilizer (CYA?) and that I needed to start there and after vacuum and backwash then start on pH and other stuff. Neighbor said there is another spot he used to attach vacuum to in the shallow end. I have never seen anything like this on a pool and right now I can't see it to do anything with it. It is beyond arm's length. I'm stumped. Off to google pools like that. If propbndr hadn't posted that along with the neighbor mentioning that I would have never known.
    wowens
    18x36 in ground early 1990's, Hayward S244T sand filter, liner 2012, Hayward Max-Flo 3/4 HP pump.

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    Re: How to vacuum to waste correctly

    Okay--deep breath-- I found suction hole in shallow end wall. I plugged it with screw on cap. Turned on pump. Pump runs. Hooked up vacuum to skimmer after primed hose. Still no suction at vacuum end. Not a good hold of vacuum head in skimmer either. When I took it off and rechecked jets, they barely had any water coming out. Pool places really need to be open on weekends. Help--- can't see if more holes. Never heard of pool like this. Can't find on google.

    Also this hole was not winterized----East TN winter
    wowens
    18x36 in ground early 1990's, Hayward S244T sand filter, liner 2012, Hayward Max-Flo 3/4 HP pump.

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: How to vacuum to waste correctly

    Quote Originally Posted by wowens View Post
    Okay--deep breath-- I found suction hole in shallow end wall. I plugged it with screw on cap. Turned on pump. Pump runs. Hooked up vacuum to skimmer after primed hose. Still no suction at vacuum end. Not a good hold of vacuum head in skimmer either. When I took it off and rechecked jets, they barely had any water coming out. Pool places really need to be open on weekends. Help--- can't see if more holes. Never heard of pool like this. Can't find on google.

    Also this hole was not winterized----East TN winter
    With everything wide open - no hoses or anything, do you have good water flow from the returns? Does it flow good on waste? If so, your filter is clogged. If not, stop. Look in the pump strainer basket. Is it full of air? Is it full of leaves? Once you get good flow through the pump and out the waste line, then you can consider vacuuming to waste. Try blocking the skimmer suction hole with a tennis ball or something when you have the vacuum hose connected.

    If the filter is clogged - meaning good flow through the pump on waste, lousy flow on filter - then you need to backwash. Once the swamp is cleared, you might want to do a deep cleaning, which is part 2 of that same link.
    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: How to vacuum to waste correctly

    Okay- I'm confused. The jets/returns are very strong with the cap off this shallow end hole and nothing in skimmer. It flows very well on waste. There is water in the pump basket and no leaves or debris. No air in returns/jets.

    If I am trying to vacuum with the vacuum end over skimmer, why would I block its hole with a tennis ball? Isn't that the suction for the vacuum?

    With the suction hole in shallow end capped, the returns have very little put out. I assume with so little circulation in skimmer, my chlorine isn't getting circulated either.
    wowens
    18x36 in ground early 1990's, Hayward S244T sand filter, liner 2012, Hayward Max-Flo 3/4 HP pump.

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: How to vacuum to waste correctly

    You CAN do this. We can help. Take it one step at a time. Listen to Richard. He knows what to do and can help you.

    Deep breaths! It will get easier now that you have found TFP!

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: How to vacuum to waste correctly

    Quote Originally Posted by wowens View Post
    Okay- I'm confused. The jets/returns are very strong with the cap off this shallow end hole and nothing in skimmer. It flows very well on waste. There is water in the pump basket and no leaves or debris. No air in returns/jets.

    If I am trying to vacuum with the vacuum end over skimmer, why would I block its hole with a tennis ball? Isn't that the suction for the vacuum?

    With the suction hole in shallow end capped, the returns have very little put out. I assume with so little circulation in skimmer, my chlorine isn't getting circulated either.
    Okay, I misunderstood. I thought you left the skimmer open and the hose plugged into that other mystery port.

    It might be working right, then. If you have a lot of suction, it's not uncommon for the vacuum head to get sucked down to the floor and no water will flow. Moving it breaks the seal and allows it to start flowing water and vacuuming. You will not see as much flow out the waste pipe when vacuuming as you do when it's unrestricted. Pressure and flow will both go down when vacuuming because of the restriction of the head and hose.
    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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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: How to vacuum to waste correctly

    Hi, welcome to TFP! Could you please post a picture of the pool equipment pad (pump, filter, plumbing and anything pool related in that area) and also a picture looking down into the skimmer. It will help us answer your questions if we can see what we are talking about. I also have a couple of questions/suggestions.

    Have your cleaned out the pump pot? It is the container at the front of the pump with the clear plastic lid. There is a basket in there that may be full of debris.
    Have you backwashed the filter? A very dirty filter can contribute to loss of suction.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: How to vacuum to waste correctly

    I can vouch that no backwash is needed. Filter is clean. I was at her house Saturday and sight glass remained clear when set to backwash. In fact, I believe there was even some sand in the sight glass. (Is that a sign of overbackwashing?) From her description, it sounds like the suction at the "mystery port" is far greater than the suction at the skimmer, and hence, her concern that chlorine will not circulate. It does seem reasonable that plugging the mystery port will improve circulation of bleach added at skimmer when that time comes. Wendy, does the pump pull hard on a tennis ball in the skimmer when the mystery port is plugged? If not, is it reasonable to guess that the suction line from the skimmer might be clogged with debris, or is pump generally strong enough that all debris that makes it past the skimmer basket (or comes through the vacuum hose) makes it to the pump basket?
    ~18,000 gal (16x32)
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    Re: How to vacuum to waste correctly

    UPDATE: I will post pics soon.
    I left pump off about an hour. Returned and turned it on. Mystery port remains capped during this whole explanation. Returns were strong. I decided to try again.
    1-backwashed until site glass was clear. A few particles swimming but water clear.
    2-rinse
    3-back to filter
    4-primed hose
    5-connected vacuum to BOTTOM OF SKIMMER removing basket. (I had used net to see if anything on bottom of pool and wasn't pulling up anything.
    6-actually got suction!!! yay!!! However, as I moved around deep end I noticed air coming from return closest to pump. No more suction in vacuum head, but vacuum was still suctioned in skimmer.
    7-turned off pump, replaced skimmer basket
    8-turned pump on ,no good output at returns
    9-backwashed until clear, rinse--TOOK A GOOD MINUTE TO GET STRONG FLOW
    10-checked pump basket, had 6 leaves. As I emptied the reservoir started sucking back into hole so I filled with water and returned basket and sealed.
    11-turned pump back on, a few air bubbles but returns are strong.
    12-left on

    I know connecting the vacuum to bottom of skimmer without knowing what I was vacuuming may have gotten something big and clogged. However, when I came in to type this, returns were strong. This is where I stand now.

    A few drips at pump top mount ring.
    Pressure gauge not working.
    Pump basket and gasket rim need replacing.
    Since I didn't get to vacuum the algae on bottom to waste yesterday, I went ahead and poured 6 shock and aglaecide. This killed the algae which is now free floating so can't really vacuum.

    I really appreciate the encouragement. Spending all this time on this stresses me out even more because I have other things I need to get done too yet I won't allow myself to focus on those because I keep imagining the algae just multiplying as time passes!!
    wowens
    18x36 in ground early 1990's, Hayward S244T sand filter, liner 2012, Hayward Max-Flo 3/4 HP pump.

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    Re: How to vacuum to waste correctly

    Where did everyone go? I anxiously awaited Monday to talk with Pool Store and they are closed. I do not know what to do next. Get pro to look at pump? If pump is working properly then what? More shock till green is gone? Isn't it already dead? How do I get it out? Bleach?
    wowens
    18x36 in ground early 1990's, Hayward S244T sand filter, liner 2012, Hayward Max-Flo 3/4 HP pump.

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    Re: How to vacuum to waste correctly

    ....
    Attached Images Attached Images
    wowens
    18x36 in ground early 1990's, Hayward S244T sand filter, liner 2012, Hayward Max-Flo 3/4 HP pump.

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    Re: How to vacuum to waste correctly

    wowens
    18x36 in ground early 1990's, Hayward S244T sand filter, liner 2012, Hayward Max-Flo 3/4 HP pump.

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    Re: How to vacuum to waste correctly

    I see in your first post that you had mentioned the pool store suggested shock and algacide but hoped you didn't buy it. Just using bleach to kill the algae would be the best way to go. The want to get the pool clean is to SLAM -> http://www.troublefreepool.com/conte...tain-shockingl
    They also have "how to" videos on how to do the tests.

    You want to adjust the pH and then SLAM the pool once you have the pumping/filtering problem figured out. Algaecide can add some things that can cause you problems later on and I'm surprised someone didn't catch it sooner and warn you.

    When you talk about it having good suction in the skimmer but not at the head you might want to check the neck in the vacuum head to see if somethings jammed in there or even find a ball small enough to pass through the hose and see if it will pass through the hose. The way they are corrugated maybe something like a twig is stuck sideways in there and causing a restriction ?

    You are going to need a good test kit and most of us recommend and use a TF-100. http://tftestkits.net/TFTestkits-TF-100-p4.html
    They also sell a really nice gauge http://tftestkits.net/Pressure-Gauge...Mount-p77.html

    - - - Updated - - -

    On the intake to the pump is there a valve for each of the two intakes or just on the one ??
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    Re: How to vacuum to waste correctly

    Question for experts: Is algae concentration generally the same at all depths or is it more/less concentrated at the bottom of the pool than at the surface? The reason I ask is that I was thinking perhaps she could drain/refill a few inches at a time to help reduce the overall algae concentration WHILE SLAMMING, but the question would be whether to drain from bottom using vacuum (if algae is more concentrated near the bottom) or just drain from skimmer.
    ~18,000 gal (16x32)
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    Re: How to vacuum to waste correctly

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiss4aFrog View Post

    On the intake to the pump is there a valve for each of the two intakes or just on the one ??
    Just the lever on the pump. No valve handles to switch intakes off.
    wowens
    18x36 in ground early 1990's, Hayward S244T sand filter, liner 2012, Hayward Max-Flo 3/4 HP pump.

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    DaninFLA's Avatar
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    Re: How to vacuum to waste correctly

    Quote Originally Posted by iam4iam View Post
    Question for experts: Is algae concentration generally the same at all depths or is it more/less concentrated at the bottom of the pool than at the surface? The reason I ask is that I was thinking perhaps she could drain/refill a few inches at a time to help reduce the overall algae concentration WHILE SLAMMING, but the question would be whether to drain from bottom using vacuum (if algae is more concentrated near the bottom) or just drain from skimmer.
    I think you are well past the point of draining/refilling a couple of inches, and that little bit isn't going to matter anyway.

    As you kill algae, its going to settle to the bottom. that's why you need to be vacuuming and brushing the sides of the pool a lot during SLAM. Just keep SLAMing that pool and vacuuming waste. it will get better.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by wowens View Post
    Since I didn't get to vacuum the algae on bottom to waste yesterday, I went ahead and poured 6 shock and aglaecide. This killed the algae which is now free floating so can't really vacuum.
    NO!!!

    follow the SLAM procedures. don't start adding algaecides or powdered shock. bleach/chlorine along the brushing and vacuuming is ALL you need to defeat the green monster.
    Dan
    9,000 gallon in-ground Saltwater pool, plaster, cartridge filer, 1.0 hp pump, Hayward T-15 SWCG, TF-100
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    Re: How to vacuum to waste correctly

    Pool stores really need to be open on weekends. Here they are even closed on Monday!!!! I don't have a test kit yet so I have to take it there to test and see what is happening. My chlorine tabs are not disintegrating as fast as all the comments say they would but that could be a circulation issue which is what I suspect. Since I already did the shock and algaecide do I just continue with bleach? What concentrate? How many gallons? I know I read it on here somewhere, I'll search and try and find. This is a rock and a hard place. I have zero money to put towards all this yet if I don't everything will get in a much worse state.
    wowens
    18x36 in ground early 1990's, Hayward S244T sand filter, liner 2012, Hayward Max-Flo 3/4 HP pump.

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