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Thread: Plumbing question w/pics

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    Plumbing question w/pics

    Hello all,

    I'm a first time owner trying to figure out the ins and outs of pools . Thanks to TFP, I have the basics of water chemistry sorted out, but I have a nagging question about the pool that I don't think can be explained online. I really feel like I need to understand the plumbing system. What each valve does, where the pipes come from and go to, etc.

    Can anyone recommend what type of person I could have come out that would be able to explain my system to me? A pool service? I'm hesitant to call just anyone, because the pool is old and I don't want someone to come out and start selling me a bill of goods...anyone in the Dallas, TX area( I'm actually in Richardson ) that might be able to recommend somebody?

    I'm posting these pics in a separate thread because I sent the other thread off track by asking too many questions.

    Here is my equipment pad:[attachment=2:2885qqkp]equipment pad 3.jpg[/attachment:2885qqkp]Here is a closer view:[attachment=1:2885qqkp]equipment pad 2.jpg[/attachment:2885qqkp]Here are close ups of the valves:[attachment=0:2885qqkp]spa valve.jpg[/attachment:2885qqkp](continued...)
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    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

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    Re: Plumbing question w/pics

    [attachment=2:wiakf42n]3-way valve.jpg[/attachment:wiakf42n][attachment=1:wiakf42n]valve for deep end jets.jpg[/attachment:wiakf42n]Here's a pic of those jets/returns:[attachment=0:wiakf42n]deep end jets distance.jpg[/attachment:wiakf42n](continued...)
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    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

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    Re: Plumbing question w/pics

    And here's a close up:[attachment=0:1qsns9t2]deep end jet turned on 2.jpg[/attachment:1qsns9t2]My main objective in this exercise is to find out if the main drain is working or not. Earlier, when I was draining water from the pool to lower the CYA levels, I could not make the drain function, so I assumed that it was no longer functional. However, yesterday after replacing the suction hose for my Polaris booster pump, I turned on the pump without bleeding the air out of the system, and a huge cloud of dirty DE spewed out of the main drain. Now I'm thinking that maybe it is still plumbed in, but how do I actuate it? Another clue is that all of the retun eyes were pointed downward when I took over, making me think this was done on purpose to help with turnover in the abscence of a functional drain.

    Do these pics help or do I need someone on the ground to explain it all to me? I have more pics of different parts of the system close up if that would help.

    Thanks in advance,
    Dave
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    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

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    Re: Plumbing question w/pics

    Holy ****!

    I need GPS to follow those paths.

    I get most of them, but wonder what the far right pipe (in picture pad_3.pic), which seems to parallel some device right next to it. What is that device and why have a parallel line?

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    Re: Plumbing question w/pics

    It is difficult to be sure from the information we have, but I expect that the two gray three way valves control pool vs spa on the suction and return sides. Having them do anything else would be silly, though there are some other silly things about this setup, so who knows.

    On the suction side, you said
    I don't much understand this one. If I turn off the direction to the pump, that turns off the skimmer/filter, but where does the water go? If I put it in the position opposite of where it is now, it drains the spa to sewer.
    I don't think that is quite true. If you turn the valve 180 degrees, it will draw 100% from the spa, but I doubt that it sends the water to the sewer. It can only control where the water comes from, not where it goes to.

    It looks like you have the return valve set to send water to both the pool and the spa, so the spa should be in spill over mode all of the time.

    I suspect that the two parallel pipes have to do with where the heater that used to be there was removed. My guess is that when the heater was removed, someone put a pipe across the pipes to and from the heater. If I am right, the other pipe would then be a heater bypass pipe and the fitting would probably be a spring loaded valve to control how much water went to the heater.

    Have you looked in the skimmer(s) under the simmer basket? I suspect that one skimmer has two pipes going into it and the main drain is plumbed to there. Of course, there is also a capped pipe, which could be the drain, but that wouldn't explain your story about stuff coming out of the drain.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Plumbing question w/pics

    Those 2 white things near the deep end above the water line are aerators. They can help cool the water temp and also lower TA.

    Yours Appear to be upside down. You want to turn them UP and they make a nice spray over the pool surface.

    Lee
    IG 24k plaster with overflow spa. Goldline PS-8 SWG. Tristar 0.75 HP filter pump, Polaris 280, large cartridge filter, 400k BTU NG Max-E-Therm HD, SR Smith Turbo Twister, Life Saver pool fence, ORP managed.

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    Re: Plumbing question w/pics

    Quote Originally Posted by learthur
    Those 2 white things near the deep end above the water line are aerators. They can help cool the water temp and also lower TA.

    Yours Appear to be upside down. You want to turn them UP and they make a nice spray over the pool surface.

    Lee
    Oh! Thanks for that! Well one of them is broken anyway, so that's another thing that will need to be replaced... [attachment=0:3fl2ljbr]deep end jet 2 turned on.jpg[/attachment:3fl2ljbr]
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    Re: Plumbing question w/pics

    Quote Originally Posted by mtbarr64
    Holy ****!

    I need GPS to follow those paths.

    I get most of them, but wonder what the far right pipe (in picture pad_3.pic), which seems to parallel some device right next to it. What is that device and why have a parallel line?
    Sorry, I have to laugh at that to keep from crying!
    But seriously, I think that device you're referring to was a heater which has since been removed from the system. But as to why it was plumbed that way, either before or after removal, your guess is better than mine!

    Thanks,
    Dave
    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

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    Re: Plumbing question w/pics

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    On the suction side, you said
    I don't much understand this one. If I turn off the direction to the pump, that turns off the skimmer/filter, but where does the water go? If I put it in the position opposite of where it is now, it drains the spa to sewer.
    I don't think that is quite true. If you turn the valve 180 degrees, it will draw 100% from the spa, but I doubt that it sends the water to the sewer. It can only control where the water comes from, not where it goes to.
    That's because I left out one very important piece of information when I wrote that! When I turn the valve 180 degrees, and I move the multi-port valve in front of the filter to waste, the spa is drained. That came in handy when I was trying to lower the water in the pool...
    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

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    Re: Plumbing question w/pics

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    It looks like you have the return valve set to send water to both the pool and the spa, so the spa should be in spill over mode all of the time.
    Isn't that where it should be to keep the spa chlorinated?
    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    Have you looked in the skimmer(s) under the simmer basket? I suspect that one skimmer has two pipes going into it and the main drain is plumbed to there. Of course, there is also a capped pipe, which could be the drain, but that wouldn't explain your story about stuff coming out of the drain.
    There are definitely two pipes in the skimmer( pool only has one skimmer ). One is covered by a flap that can be opened/closed but when the skimmer basket is in it seems like it must be closed? Sorry for the painfully newb questions, your help is much appreciated!
    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    It is difficult to be sure from the information we have, but I expect that the two gray three way valves control pool vs spa on the suction and return sides. Having them do anything else would be silly, though there are some other silly things about this setup, so who knows.
    None of this surprises me, considering the history of the house/pool. This house was previously owned by an elderly woman who I suspect either didn't care too much about the pool anymore since her kids were grown, or she was being "taken" by an unethical pool service, or most likely a little of both. The house was then purchased by a builder/investor, rehabbed, and sold to me as is. I knew that there were issues with the pool because I had a pool inspector come out before I bought, but the owner was not willing to spend anything on the pool because he had actually lost money on the house from the improvements he had already made( I got a very good deal on this house. )

    So now here I am, trying to get a priority list together for known problems/improvements to the pool. I don't have a huge budget for it, so I need to take care of things on an as needed basis right now. Here are some things that I know for sure: The pool needs replastering as you can see very well in this pic:[attachment=2:32elqzzx]deep end jet turned off.jpg[/attachment:32elqzzx]Also, the deck sorely needs to be replaced( don't really have a good pic for that ). Also, the timers and the pump are very old, and could go at any time...[attachment=1:32elqzzx]timers.jpg[/attachment:32elqzzx][attachment=0:32elqzzx]pump.jpg[/attachment:32elqzzx]I know this is a lot of info, and I'm kind of sabotaging yet another thread with too much information, but any help y'all could give would be very welcome!

    So am I reading between the lines correctly that my first instinct was right, that I need someone to come over and actually look things over to explain the plumbing to me?
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    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

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    Re: Plumbing question w/pics

    Here is possibly a simpler question for you guys. If it is possible to tell from a photo, given that my equipment is set up as in the following pic:[attachment=0:2le7fkqo]equipment top view 4.jpg[/attachment:2le7fkqo]should the main drain be operating as a source of suction along with the skimmer?
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    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

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    Re: Plumbing question w/pics

    Your main drain is plumbed into your skimmer, that is the pipe without any obvious suction. The pipe with suction is the one that runs to the equipment pad, the other one goes to the main drain. There is often a fitting in the skimmer that allows you to control how much of the suction goes to the main drain, but it isn't always installed. The default way a set up like this one works is that the pump only draws from the main drain when the skimmer basket is completely full/blocked.

    The two gray three way valves allow you to switch between pool more and spa mode. You currently have them in the pool mode positions. Yes, the spa should be in spill over when in pool mode. Turning both valves 180 degrees should put the system into spa mode. The valves should only be moved with the pump off.

    The large rotary main valve should be working normally to switch between filter, circulate, backwash, rinse, waste, etc.

    There are a couple of other things going on, stuff that was done "wrong" and might want to be replaced eventually, but I don't think they really matter at this point.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Plumbing question w/pics

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    Your main drain is plumbed into your skimmer, that is the pipe without any obvious suction. The pipe with suction is the one that runs to the equipment pad, the other one goes to the main drain. There is often a fitting in the skimmer that allows you to control how much of the suction goes to the main drain, but it isn't always installed. The default way a set up like this one works is that the pump only draws from the main drain when the skimmer basket is completely full/blocked.
    Thanks, Jason. In other words, it is currently operating as intended? The reason I ask is because I turned all 3 return eyes to the surface to help with circulation to the skimmer, then I started worrying that doing so might interfere with overall circulation.

    Dave
    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

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    Re: Plumbing question w/pics

    You do want one of the returns to be pointed down towards the deep end.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Plumbing question w/pics

    Darn! How did I know you would say that? Why even have a drain if it is not practically functional?

    I have an idea couldn't I fashion a valve out of a rubber stopper? This valve would go into the open pipe in the skimmer, correct? Is there any reason I should not pursue this experiment?

    It just seems to me that the best circulation would be achieved by suction from a drain at the bottom of the pool for deep water turnover, while using the returns to create currents aimed at the skimmer for top water circulation. Isn't this how the best pools work?

    Thanks,
    Dave
    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

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    Re: Plumbing question w/pics

    Plumbing the main drain to the skimmer has always struck me as useless, but it is done fairly frequently. There is usually a fitting that you can get called variously a diverter plate, float valve, and/or equalizer valve that balances the flow between the skimmer and the main drain. But they need to exactly match the skimmer you have.
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