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Thread: Help with opening

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    Help with opening

    First time poster. New to the site, but it looks like it will be a huge help to me!!!

    I've had the pool a couple of years, but have paid a company to open it. But for $400 I think I can do it myself, with some help. I have an automatic cover, so that is not a problem. I just don't want to wreck any equipment by forgetting something. I've read a bunch of threads, but still have a couple of questions.

    I Found 4 plugs in the skimmer basket, and located where three of them go. One on the filter, one on the pump, and one on the plastic housing coming from the heater. The one remaining plug is pure white plastic, looks like a bolt with a hex head, and has a small black gasket on it. Can't figure out where it goes. I do have a separate pump that handles the Spa jets, and that pump is buried in a little underground box near the spa. I don't see any place where this little "bolt" would go, but it is pretty hard to get at this pump to see. Should I just start things up and look for water shooting out somewhere?


    In my skimmer boxes, there are these long blue plastic "bottles" that screw into one of the two holes in the bottom of the skimmer. I can't totally read what is written on the bottles without taking them out, but it appears to be a "blowout extension". The other hole in the skimmer has one of those plugs screwed it. I assume I just take out the blue thing and take out the plug. Should both holes be open? There appears to be a little plastic flap that can swivel over either one of the holes (or neither). Where should that be for an open pool?

    A BIG thank you in advance for your help!
    In-ground 18x36 vinyl liner, approx 25,000 gal. Baja inground Spa. Intellichlor SWG. Legend Platinum cleaner 1.25 hp whisperflo pump. TR60 sand filter. Booster pump. Auto-cover. Easy touch control system, Pentair 300K BTU heater. A nice tan (hopefully)

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Help with opening

    Welcome to TFP!

    Opening yourself is really not that difficult, especially with an automatic cover.

    The spa pump really should have a drain plug that needs to be replaced, so that is the obvious place to look. Sometimes it helps to get a small hand mirror and a flashlight to look underneath things that are down in the box. Turning the pump on and watching for where water sprays out is a reasonable tactic if you can't figure it out any other way. Just be sure to turn the pump off again fairly quickly.

    The "bottles" are usually called gizzmos. They block the drain and also absorb any ice pressure there may be should the skimmer fill with water and then freeze. They get removed and the plug on the second hole gets removed. Position the flap so it doesn't cover either hole to start.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Help with opening

    $ .1 - welcome to TFP!!

    Most pumps have 2 drain plugs and some multipotrs (like Jandy), have a white plug on them. Is there any blue or ~ pink liquid (antifreeze) in the hard to reach spa pump - some folks will fill the pump housing with antifreeze rather than pull the drain plugs, especially if they are hard to get to).

    I'm not sure I would pull the plug in the skimmer until you know if there is a pipe attached to the underside, but DO remove the gizzmos. There are a few things that that port could be connected to but it's just as likely that there is no working pipe connected to it, the flap may be there to regulate suction between the 2 skimmers if they share a communal line to the pump (how many pipes come up into the pump and do you have a main drain or dedicated vacuum line?) If you can post a couple pics of your system and give some info in a signature (go to user control panel to set up a sig ) we might be better able to help with your questions.

    Jason always gives great and solid advice! However, I've seen a lot of ~strange plumbing over the years and there is a fair chance that the plug in the skimmer (s) isn't connected to anything - so I suggest to wait on removing the skimmer plugs until we have a good idea as to whether or not they ought be removed 8)

    Welcome and thanks for joining us
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Help with opening

    waste is right there are always exceptions. Safer to be cautious.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Re: Help with opening

    I've added a few pictures of my equipment, and one attempted picture of the skimmer box. If you need more or closeup pictures of something in particular, please let me know. It is quite a jumble of pipes. Hopefully from this you can help determine if I should or should not remove the plug in the skimmer box. We do have a Pentair Legend cleaner that attaches to a separate connection on the side of the pool, not the skimmer box.

    I still haven't found where to put that last plug. It is "PVC pipe white" in color, so it doesn't seem to match the main pool components which are mostly off-white or black.

    We do have Pentair value actuators to turn the values electronically. For some reason at closing they disconnected one of the two actuators, but I reconnected it already. Note that when the pros close our pool, they never lower the water level below the skimmer. They just leave it as is. That always surprises me, but for the last couple of years has not caused any problems.

    I looked at the separate spa pump buried in the ground and I do see a drain plug, but it was not removed at closing. They did drain all the water from the spa, so I guess that is good enough.

    Thanks for looking!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    In-ground 18x36 vinyl liner, approx 25,000 gal. Baja inground Spa. Intellichlor SWG. Legend Platinum cleaner 1.25 hp whisperflo pump. TR60 sand filter. Booster pump. Auto-cover. Easy touch control system, Pentair 300K BTU heater. A nice tan (hopefully)

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Help with opening

    From the pictures, it looks like you have gate valves (the white rectangles with handles on the top) on each individual line. From what I can see they are all closed. Pulling up on the handle should open them, which you ought to do before starting the pump.

    I will leave the extra skimmer plug for waste to comment on.

    There are many different ways to close. Leaving the water raised is one approach. It has a few extra risks, things that are only problems when two or three different things all go wrong at the same time, but it is less work. Generally, the further north you are the more important it is to take every possible precaution. People who live further south can be more relaxed about many of closing steps.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Re: Help with opening

    So Waste, what do you thing? I think you may be right about leaving the one hole in the skimmers plugged. Also, for the plugs currently in the returns, is there a tool I should use to remove them? I can't get them off by hand, but they are just plastic so I'm not sure what tool is appropriate. I tried to find the answer in past posts, but I haven't had much luck so far.

    Thanks!
    In-ground 18x36 vinyl liner, approx 25,000 gal. Baja inground Spa. Intellichlor SWG. Legend Platinum cleaner 1.25 hp whisperflo pump. TR60 sand filter. Booster pump. Auto-cover. Easy touch control system, Pentair 300K BTU heater. A nice tan (hopefully)

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    Re: Help with opening

    I think it's best to leave the other plugs in the skimmers in for now - if it turns out that one of them is supposed to provide suction for something else, you can always pull the plug out later

    With regard to the return plugs, the ones we use can be unscrewed with a screwdriver (they look like "O"s with an "=" on them - put the screwdriver shaft in the "=" channel and torque it ). Some folks use plugs that have hex sides, for those I use channel locks to remove them.
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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