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Thread: New Owner... 1st problem

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    New Owner... 1st problem

    First an introduction and then I will move on to my main concern...

    So I just purchased a house last week and it has a pool. Ive been scouring this forum for the past month so that I will be able to take care of the pool myself. BTW thank you guys so much, this is such a great resource!!!!

    I feel I have the chemistry part under control. I purchased a test kit and the results arent too bad.

    FC 5
    CC 0
    TA 110
    CH 650
    CYA 100
    PH 7.4

    I can tell the previous owners must have been big fans of the trichlor and cal hypo. If I am correct, I believe I should at some point drain the pool to get the CH and CYA back in check. The water is clear and I dont see any signs of scaling. There are some stains in the pool but I think it could just be because of the very thing plaster (this pool is in bad need of a replaster). It could also be the leaves that are constantly falling in the pool.

    Anyways, onto my main concern... Today I went by the house (I have not moved in yet) and noticed the pump was spitting huge bubbles out of the returns. I went to the pump and I could see air/water sloshing around through the viewport. The first thing I did was clear out the skimmer because it is always full of leaves. This time in particular it was completely full. After that the pump was able to re-prime and began chugging along just fine. Now this leads me to believe that the main drain is either clogged or not hooked up at all.

    In addition, I am going on vacation this Friday for 10 days. I am going to have my sister come by and at least dump some bleach and clean the skimmer but she can probably only get by there every 3 days. Sooooo.... I am thinking a permanent solution will take some time. In the mean time is there a way that I can keep the skimmer from filling up and stopping the pump. I thought about a cover but I dont have one and my pool is very irregularly shaped so it might not work that well.

    Here is the pump config if it will help:

    The booster pump is for a polaris 280. The 280 hooks up to one of the returns in the pool. I only have one skimmer.

    15000 IG Gunite Plaster
    Hayward DE4820
    1.5 HP Century Centurion
    PB4 3/4 HP Booster Pump
    Polaris 280

  2. Back To Top    #2
    polyvue's Avatar
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    Re: New Owner... 1st problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbrowski
    FC 5
    CC 0
    TA 110
    CH 650
    CYA 100
    PH 7.4

    I can tell the previous owners must have been big fans of the trichlor and cal hypo. If I am correct, I believe I should at some point drain the pool to get the CH and CYA back in check.

    Anyways, onto my main concern... Today I went by the house (I have not moved in yet) and noticed the pump was spitting huge bubbles out of the returns. I went to the pump and I could see air/water sloshing around through the viewport. The first thing I did was clear out the skimmer because it is always full of leaves. This time in particular it was completely full. After that the pump was able to re-prime and began chugging along just fine. Now this leads me to believe that the main drain is either clogged or not hooked up at all.

    In addition, I am going on vacation this Friday for 10 days. I am going to have my sister come by and at least dump some bleach and clean the skimmer but she can probably only get by there every 3 days. Sooooo.... I am thinking a permanent solution will take some time. In the mean time is there a way that I can keep the skimmer from filling up and stopping the pump. I thought about a cover but I dont have one and my pool is very irregularly shaped so it might not work that well.
    Welcome to TFP, Jim

    You've done your homework, that's clear. When you return from vacation you'll be way ahead of the game by draining at least 1/2 of the pool volume. No SWG, right? So you won't likely need more than 50 ppm of CYA anyway and, as you have suggested, that will also reduce calcium hardness.

    There's nothing as alarming then finding your main pump running dry, struggling to pull in water that is blocked by a full skimmer basket. I don't know of any good method (besides shutting down the pool pump /filter or cutting down every tree in the neighborhood) that will prevent that from happening. But if your sister is coming by periodically she can empty both pump strainer basket and skimmer and clear off any floating debris... that may be enough. A bubble solar cover might keep the skimmer basket from filling up as quickly; I have an irregularly shaped pool and have to cut mine (dramatically) to get one to fit. That would give you a bit more work to do when you return, hosing off the cover, etc. but if you have time to buy one, cut to shape, and place it in the pool, that's an answer.

    I looked in vain at the picture of your equipment pad for a Jandy valve that would divert or split skimmer suction from the main drain. Not seeing one I have to assume that the two suction pipes are joined underground, or above ground but somewhere away from the pad, or that there is no main drain suction at all.

    Until you have an opportunity to drain some water, would suggest that you add enough liquid chlorine so that the minimum Free Chlorine level is at or above 8 ppm.
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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    View of spiral galaxy in Ursa Major NGC6217 - Hubble Telescope 2009

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    Re: New Owner... 1st problem

    It's possible this is the kind of setup where the main drain is plumbed through the skimmer. If you pull out the skimmer basket, do you see two holes in the bottom? In that case there is probably a diverter, possibly built right into the skimmer basket, that regulates the relative draw from the skimmer and main drain. (That's how mine is set up.)
    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

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    Re: New Owner... 1st problem

    Hi, Jim,

    Like Paul, I think your main drain is connected to the skimmer(s).

    I'm having a hard time understanding your plumbing. Can you tell us where the bottommost pipe(closest to the bottom of the picture) is connected?
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: New Owner... 1st problem

    Maybe that one goes out to the return?
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: New Owner... 1st problem

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulR
    It's possible this is the kind of setup where the main drain is plumbed through the skimmer. If you pull out the skimmer basket, do you see two holes in the bottom? In that case there is probably a diverter, possibly built right into the skimmer basket, that regulates the relative draw from the skimmer and main drain. (That's how mine is set up.)
    --paulr

    Good call. I didnt think about this. When I have looked into the skimmer before I have only seen one opening, but of course I wasnt really looking for another one. Are they normally both in plain sight if this is the case? Ill have a look this evening.



    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    Hi, Jim,

    Like Paul, I think your main drain is connected to the skimmer(s).

    I'm having a hard time understanding your plumbing. Can you tell us where the bottommost pipe(closest to the bottom of the picture) is connected?

    The bottom pipe runs to the other side of the multi-port valve. I was thinking that would go to the sewer, but I honestly dont have any idea.



    Also, if it isnt clear, the four bottom-most pipes all run into the ground. If anyone has a guess as to what pipes go where I would love to hear them. I am completely clueless as to what is going on.
    15000 IG Gunite Plaster
    Hayward DE4820
    1.5 HP Century Centurion
    PB4 3/4 HP Booster Pump
    Polaris 280

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    Re: New Owner... 1st problem

    You could try a couple of things to buy some time.

    You could get one or more poolskims these will pull a lot of leaves off the top before they get to the skimmer-these hold a lot of leaves and even when full they wont adversely affect pressure. If you have a big leaf problem youll want one or more of these babies anyway.

    pooldevil pro is cheaper but less effective but I would say it certainly does 25 dollars worth of work.

    If you do this in combination with valving the skimmer to pull from the main drain (there is usually a plate inside the skimmer with a diverter valve) then it will likely buy you some time before clogging up the filter basket.

    Or you can hire a pool guy to come twice while you are gone.

    good luck dude.

    Davegvg
    20K Gallon Gunnite pool/900 Gallon in ground Spa/2HP WhisperflowSpa
    Pentair Master temp 400/Hayward Sand Zebrite/Jandy RS-8 Aqualink/Jandy 2HP Epump
    12 - 4x10 Solar Panels/Barracuda G3/ BBB

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: New Owner... 1st problem

    Aren't those the pipes to the returns? The diverter valve switches the two between the polaris, etc.? Maybe I'm just clueless to these inground setups...

    Yes, the hole should be in plain sight - you should see two next two each other.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: New Owner... 1st problem

    Then unless it is hiding, I am quite sure there is just one hole in the skimmer. Maybe I need to take a closer look but I have yet to find any valves, switches, etc other than the multi-port.
    15000 IG Gunite Plaster
    Hayward DE4820
    1.5 HP Century Centurion
    PB4 3/4 HP Booster Pump
    Polaris 280

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    Re: New Owner... 1st problem

    Also, if it isnt clear, the four bottom-most pipes all run into the ground. If anyone has a guess as to what pipes go where I would love to hear them. I am completely clueless as to what is going on.
    1. The pipe coming up from the ground and then horizontally into the pump is the return or supply side pipe. It comes from the skimmer/main drain.

    2. The pipe on top of the pump supplies pressurized water into the multi-port valve and then into the filter

    3. The pipe below that on the multi-port valve is supplying water to the pool (and some to the boost pump)

    4. I agree that the bottommost pipe in the picture carries the water out of the system to the sewer (or somewhere other than in the pool)

    While it doesn't hurt much, there is no reason the pipe coming vertically out of the pump should have all those turns. That could be done much neater and simpler if you can work with pvc pipe. If you decide to do that, I would put pvc unions on both pipes in and out of the pump to make pump removal very simple.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: New Owner... 1st problem

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    While it doesn't hurt much, there is no reason the pipe coming vertically out of the pump should have all those turns. That could be done much neater and simpler if you can work with pvc pipe. If you decide to do that, I would put pvc unions on both pipes in and out of the pump to make pump removal very simple.


    I couldnt agree more. I have no idea what they were thinking. At some point I am definitely going to rework all of that. The multi port is in the least convenient place as well. Dont even get me started on the electrical mess they have going on.
    15000 IG Gunite Plaster
    Hayward DE4820
    1.5 HP Century Centurion
    PB4 3/4 HP Booster Pump
    Polaris 280

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    Re: New Owner... 1st problem

    This isnt entirely related but for my own edification. The main and booster pumps are on separate timers. With the way my setup is plumbed, is it bad to have the booster off while the main is running. The timers are currently set for the main to be running 12hr/day and the booster only runs for 2hr/day. Of course the 2hr is within the period of time that the main is running.
    15000 IG Gunite Plaster
    Hayward DE4820
    1.5 HP Century Centurion
    PB4 3/4 HP Booster Pump
    Polaris 280

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    polyvue's Avatar
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    Re: New Owner... 1st problem

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    3. The pipe below that on the multi-port valve is supplying water to the pool (and some to the boost pump)
    You have a good eye... when I looked at that connection all I saw was a 90 degree elbow resting on the ground with a 1 inch line to the booster. That's why I assumed that the lowest L shaped pipe was another return line going into the ground next to the booster return line. Now I can see that it's a T, and likely is the main return line, with the 1 inch booster supply plumbed into it. Makes more sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbrowski
    This isnt entirely related but for my own edification. The main and booster pumps are on separate timers. With the way my setup is plumbed, is it bad to have the booster off while the main is running. The timers are currently set for the main to be running 12hr/day and the booster only runs for 2hr/day. Of course the 2hr is within the period of time that the main is running.
    Good question, but I don't think it matters -- the main thing being that the booster pump shouldn't be made to operate without the main pump operating. When the main pump is on and booster is off it will push a bit of water thru the booster pump into the pool.

    If the booster is the only pump running then it would seem to me that it's being forced to do all of the work of the main pump through a 1 inch line. I don't know the result or the consequence of this since I also have the booster programmed to shut off when the main pump is off.
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
    __
    View of spiral galaxy in Ursa Major NGC6217 - Hubble Telescope 2009

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    Re: New Owner... 1st problem

    It may be that you don't have a piping issue. I've let the skimmer get over full like that and found that it allowed air to be pulled into the pump basket. Cleaned the skimmer, all is well. Once apine cone got stuck and propped the skimmer door mostly closed and the same thing happened, so much air got in it was blowing bubbles in half of the returns in the pool.

    I suspect that every 3 days is just about right for someone to tend the pool. Though if there is much wind and/or rain I'd prefer to have someone check the skimmers the next day.

    If you boost the chlorine up pretty high then test same time each day you can see how your pool is consuming chlorine at this time of year. You may find that someone can add a jug or so of bleach every 3rd day and keep it in control just fine.

    And, you can suppliment with a tab or several in an automatic chlorinator or a floater, another 10 or 15 points on the CYA wont' make much difference.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: New Owner... 1st problem

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulR
    It's possible this is the kind of setup where the main drain is plumbed through the skimmer. If you pull out the skimmer basket, do you see two holes in the bottom? In that case there is probably a diverter, possibly built right into the skimmer basket, that regulates the relative draw from the skimmer and main drain. (That's how mine is set up.)
    --paulr
    Great stuff!

    I haven't had cause to pull my basket since I moved in almost three months ago. But I got curious after reading this thread so I checked. My skimmer has two holes! I see no diverter, nothing that moves, and the basket itself is just a basket, no solid portion to block flow.

    So how does one adjust it to pull more through the floor? When it's time to fire off the heater, I think I'd like to get more from the cold lower sections and less from the surface.
    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: New Owner... 1st problem

    Jim and Richard, welcome to TFP!!

    Let me take this 1 at a time.

    I almost lost my lunch when I saw the plumbing on that pad I suppose it's possible that a new filter was installed and they had to redirect the plumbing to accommodate the new filter (but they still did a hack job of it ) I, and many others here, can help you streamline the plumbing when you get the time to do it

    Dave nailed the lines, of course

    Jim, either you do have the 2 ports in the skimmer or the MD line was abandoned at some point in the past. I really like Polyview's suggestion of a solar cover to reduce the amount of debris that will be drawn into the skimmer, but if you can't get and install one before you leave, simply raise the water level in the pool above the top of the skimmer mouth and deal with all the leaves when you get home

    Richard, and Jim, if there are 2 open ports in the bottom of the skimmer and the basket doesn't perform the flow selection function, figure out who made the skimmer and order the proper 'flow selector' from them (for most Hayward skimmers, the part # is SP1082VG).

    Again, welcome here, we're here all year to assist with any pool issues you may have
    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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