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Thread: New to inground pool... flurry of questions

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    New to inground pool... flurry of questions

    New house with in ground pool... yay. Lovin it so far! But have some questions...

    There is one port from the pool wall and I donít know what itís for. I know itís not a return, and thereís no suction from it either. Itís just a round opening with a plastic open mesh cover. Iíll try to take a pic tomorrow if no one knows. I looked in the visual encyclopedia of pool school and itís not pictured there. Itís mid-way between the skimmer and the next return.

    I have a hard time reaching down into the skimmer to attach the pool vacuum hose. Any tips? Maybe a grabber tool will help. Hmmm... or I saw in the pool school... a vac plate? Is that something that works with any type of pool? I never used one with my AG pools.

    Pool light. Working fine now, but curious about the procedure for replacement when the time comes. How long do most pool lights last?

    The pool has two bottom drains and one skimmer. When and why to use the drains (other than draining)?

    The pool is 13 years old. Some of the tiles around the waterline have gaps/pitting in the grout. There is a good sized crack across two of the tiles. The underwater bottom surface has some dark gray spots where I guess the surface is chipped or worn away...? And a couple of small black dots that didnít vacuum up. Other that that there donít seem to be too many glaring issues with the pool surface or deck/edge. We have been told the pool would be due for resurfacing fairly soon. Are any of these issues things I need to deal with right away? And what do you suggest for prioritizing maintenance or improvements?

    Solar heating. The house has solar panels on the roof that get good sun pretty much from 10am to 4pm. Maybe even longer but Iím guessing at least that long. Thy are connected to a thermostat which controls the water going through them or not to warm or cool the water. I have been running the pump from 12 noon to about 7pm. Does that sound right?

    Certain times of day a bunch of air comes out of the return jets. Weíre pretty sure the seal on the chlorinator is letting air in. Havenít decided if we will keep that or replace with SWG.

    Previous owner probably used the automatic chlorinator and left behind some pool store magic potion chemicals. I guess I should be grateful that stabilizer was "only" at 100 when we took ownership. Have it down to 80 and will work on lowering more unless we decide to get the SWG sooner instead of later.

    I think thatís it for now.
    Sue
    Current Pool: IG Concrete / 11,000 gal. / Sand filter / Solar heat / Hayward CL200 / Screened / TF Testkit
    Pool owner since 2001. Thanks TFP for helping me convert off Baquacil after six years!

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    needsajet's Avatar
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    Re: New to inground pool... flurry of questions

    Quote Originally Posted by MeSue View Post
    I have a hard time reaching down into the skimmer to attach the pool vacuum hose. Any tips? Maybe a grabber tool will help. Hmmm... or I saw in the pool school... a vac plate? Is that something that works with any type of pool? I never used one with my AG pools.
    Yep, take a picture or two to a pool shop and order a vac plate. If your cleaner has an adjuster on it to suck some water through the skimmer, a plain vacuum plate will do. If not, get a vacuum plate with an adjustable bypass so some water also comes in through the skimmer. It's handy having an adjustable vac plate either way.

    Quote Originally Posted by MeSue View Post
    Pool light. Working fine now, but curious about the procedure for replacement when the time comes. How long do most pool lights last?
    They last a long time. Usually there's a screw or two, and they leave enough cable behind it, so you can undo it, pull it straight out, and then do what needs to be done on the deck.

    Quote Originally Posted by MeSue View Post
    The pool has two bottom drains and one skimmer. When and why to use the drains (other than draining)?
    Keep a bit of water flowing through it, needn't be much, so chlorine can keep everything dead in there. Sometimes a drain is helpful for mixing, taking cooler deeper water to the pump for more even temperature. Some people open it wide and brush any dust on the bottom toward it.

    Quote Originally Posted by MeSue View Post
    The pool is 13 years old. Some of the tiles around the waterline have gaps/pitting in the grout. There is a good sized crack across two of the tiles. The underwater bottom surface has some dark gray spots where I guess the surface is chipped or worn away...? And a couple of small black dots that didn’t vacuum up. Other that that there don’t seem to be too many glaring issues with the pool surface or deck/edge. We have been told the pool would be due for resurfacing fairly soon. Are any of these issues things I need to deal with right away? And what do you suggest for prioritizing maintenance or improvements?
    Save up some money Keeping the water good chemically is number 1, so stuff doesn't grow into cracks, and so it doesn't erode any faster, or scale up and be unsightly and rough. Bare concrete should be patched over. You can re-grout cracks, but you'll be chasing your tail, given you plan a refurb. Brush any dark spots multiple times and see if they lighten, if so, they're organic and need extra brushing to help the chlorine get at the live stuff. Pictures are good to help everyone here see what you see.

    Quote Originally Posted by MeSue View Post
    Solar heating. The house has solar panels on the roof that get good sun pretty much from 10am to 4pm. Maybe even longer but I’m guessing at least that long. Thy are connected to a thermostat which controls the water going through them or not to warm or cool the water. I have been running the pump from 12 noon to about 7pm. Does that sound right?
    When you say running the pump, do you mean your main pump, or a booster pump on the solar heating? If it's main pump, then yes, it would need to be running so it overlaps possible time the solar controller says there's heat available. The solar controller would then open a valve to send water up to the solar panels. If you're talking about a booster pump, that should also be controlled by the solar controller.

    Quote Originally Posted by MeSue View Post
    Certain times of day a bunch of air comes out of the return jets. We’re pretty sure the seal on the chlorinator is letting air in. Haven’t decided if we will keep that or replace with SWG.
    Could you describe a bit more. Is it when the pump starts? Is it steady? Intermittent? Only after the solar starts? Only when solar is running? or any other details.

    Sounds like you've got great control of your pool! What's the water temperature these days?
    12k IG salt; glass beads in plaster; K-2006C, K-1766, K-1106 and CCL test kits; Pentair Eco800 1.2HP VS; Zodiac SWCG 1.3 lb/day (25 g/hr); 25" filter recycled glass; OKU solar panels; 1/2 HP solar pump; Rebel (Warrior) pool cleaner; FlowViz; Other family pools 10K SWCG and 15K on liquid; PoolMath app subscriber; | Tips for New Members to get the best possible advice | ... and this helped me a lot!: TFPC for Beginners

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    Re: New to inground pool... flurry of questions

    Thanks! Water temp today was 85!

    I tried out a grabber tool today and that works out pretty good for putting the vacuum hose down into the skimmer so at least I can do that for now and will investigate the vac plate. The grabber is also useful for collecting water samples and pulling up the skimmer basket.

    Running the pump... yes I meant the main pump.

    The air bubbles. Not sure if there is any consistency to it and I actually havenít noticed it in a few days. Will have to note the times if I see it happening again.

    Here is a picture of the mystery port:
    7ABEB906-44A3-4013-B950-41ED12F11A9A.jpg

    And here are some pictures of the chipped spots on the bottom surface. There are maybe 10-12 places like this. Most are smaller but the largest is probably around 2x6 inches, down in the deep end.
    E98D4D59-82F2-4571-B1AD-54149D7A55A4.jpg
    D46B360A-67FC-459C-B215-EE3D336D9798.jpg

    Patch? How do you go about that? Do you have to drain the pool?
    Sue
    Current Pool: IG Concrete / 11,000 gal. / Sand filter / Solar heat / Hayward CL200 / Screened / TF Testkit
    Pool owner since 2001. Thanks TFP for helping me convert off Baquacil after six years!

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    needsajet's Avatar
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    Re: New to inground pool... flurry of questions

    That could be an equalizer port, which becomes the source of water for your pump if the pool water level drops below the skimmer throat. For that to work generally requires a float valve below the skimmer basket.

    You can find out if it is. With everything off, reach down into the skimmer and see if there's two ports at the bottom. One goes to your pump. The other can be connected to an equalizer port. Then with the pump running, and by holding the skimmer weir flap to cut off most of the water coming from the pool, the skimmer will drain and start sucking air, but you can reach down and see or feel if some water is coming into the skimmer down at the bottom, then leaving via the port you've been using for your cleaner.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    12k IG salt; glass beads in plaster; K-2006C, K-1766, K-1106 and CCL test kits; Pentair Eco800 1.2HP VS; Zodiac SWCG 1.3 lb/day (25 g/hr); 25" filter recycled glass; OKU solar panels; 1/2 HP solar pump; Rebel (Warrior) pool cleaner; FlowViz; Other family pools 10K SWCG and 15K on liquid; PoolMath app subscriber; | Tips for New Members to get the best possible advice | ... and this helped me a lot!: TFPC for Beginners

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    Re: New to inground pool... flurry of questions

    Thanks. There are two ports below the skimmer basket, but no float valve. I was just read about that last night. What I read said that port is usually connected to the bottom drains. Would it be connected to both or just the equalizer port, assuming that’s what it is?
    Sue
    Current Pool: IG Concrete / 11,000 gal. / Sand filter / Solar heat / Hayward CL200 / Screened / TF Testkit
    Pool owner since 2001. Thanks TFP for helping me convert off Baquacil after six years!

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    needsajet's Avatar
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    Re: New to inground pool... flurry of questions

    The 2nd port used to be commonly connected to the main drain, but you might be able to tell based on connections at the pad. It's more common that the main drain is piped to the pad and valved there. Sometimes they fail and get abandoned, but you'd probably at least have an extra unused pipe sticking up at the pad in that case, or possibly just shallow buried and capped.

    Anything's possible, but it's very unlikely the 2nd port would be connected to both a main drain and an equalizer, because that wouldn't work for draining.

    If you have a helper, try holding up the skimmer weir flap, while the helper releases a bit of food coloring (eye-dropper) near the equalizer port, and see if it gets sucked in.
    12k IG salt; glass beads in plaster; K-2006C, K-1766, K-1106 and CCL test kits; Pentair Eco800 1.2HP VS; Zodiac SWCG 1.3 lb/day (25 g/hr); 25" filter recycled glass; OKU solar panels; 1/2 HP solar pump; Rebel (Warrior) pool cleaner; FlowViz; Other family pools 10K SWCG and 15K on liquid; PoolMath app subscriber; | Tips for New Members to get the best possible advice | ... and this helped me a lot!: TFPC for Beginners

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    Re: New to inground pool... flurry of questions

    Okay. There is a valve at the pad to regulate the drains vs. skimmer. Thanks. I’ll also do the dye test when I have someone to help me.
    Sue
    Current Pool: IG Concrete / 11,000 gal. / Sand filter / Solar heat / Hayward CL200 / Screened / TF Testkit
    Pool owner since 2001. Thanks TFP for helping me convert off Baquacil after six years!

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    Re: New to inground pool... flurry of questions

    On taking a closer look at the second hole under the skimmer basket... I realized it’s not a hole at all. It’s just got concrete under it.
    Sue
    Current Pool: IG Concrete / 11,000 gal. / Sand filter / Solar heat / Hayward CL200 / Screened / TF Testkit
    Pool owner since 2001. Thanks TFP for helping me convert off Baquacil after six years!

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    needsajet's Avatar
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    Re: New to inground pool... flurry of questions

    It might have been plugged off when built or at some point in the past I suppose. Usually skimmers have two ports at the bottom, often going out the side at the bottom. When they're new, at least one of the two ports is plugged off with molded plastic, so it doesn't have to be used. But all that is just "usually"!

    I would still do the food coloring test and see if there's any condition when water is drawn in, if you want to find out what the port in the side of the pool does, if anything
    12k IG salt; glass beads in plaster; K-2006C, K-1766, K-1106 and CCL test kits; Pentair Eco800 1.2HP VS; Zodiac SWCG 1.3 lb/day (25 g/hr); 25" filter recycled glass; OKU solar panels; 1/2 HP solar pump; Rebel (Warrior) pool cleaner; FlowViz; Other family pools 10K SWCG and 15K on liquid; PoolMath app subscriber; | Tips for New Members to get the best possible advice | ... and this helped me a lot!: TFPC for Beginners

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