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Thread: Skimmer pipe blocked??

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    Skimmer pipe blocked??

    Hi , I have a problem with the pump priming. It almost fills to the top then a loud gurgling noise comes from behind the skimmer and the water drops half way down the basket. I tried putting a hose up the pipe with a towel wrapped around and then all the water went down in the skimmer box like someone had pulled the plug (had to keep hold of the hose pretty tight to) then the water came back again. Any help appreciated. (I have checked o-ring on pump basket and my cartridge filter is clean).

    The pool is just over 2 years old, inground fiberglass, with salt water.

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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    Re: Skimmer pipe blocked??

    If I understand your post, you simply may not have the water high enough in the pool so the skimmer is sucking air.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Skimmer pipe blocked??

    Thanks for the reply but it's the wet season here and the pool is chockas, any other ideas?

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    polyvue's Avatar
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    Re: Skimmer pipe blocked??

    I tried putting a hose up the pipe with a towel wrapped around and then all the water went down in the skimmer box like someone had pulled the plug (had to keep hold of the hose pretty tight to) then the water came back again.
    This sounds to me like a partial obstruction in the pipe between the skimmer and the pump. Any chance that a towel or toy object got past the skimmer basket? Have you tried priming the pump by filling it with water (and still get the same result?) Might try pushing the hose down from the other side: start at the pump and extend the hose toward the skimmer -- you'd might be able to push it out with the hose itself or by force of water. Other thoughts: bad valve or broken pipe between the pump and skimmer.

    Disclaimer: the above procedure is perfectly reasonable but I'm not a hydraulics guru.
    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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    Re: Skimmer pipe blocked??

    Check the weir (flapper) in the skimmer mouth. High water sometimes reveals the skimmer mouth is slightly warped and causes the weir to get stuck. Another possible culprit is there might be some debris like a twig causing it to jamb vertically. When the pump goes on, the weir is acting like a ****.

    Turn on the pump and look in the skimmer. If you see it trying to suck more water than is coming in, that is your culprit. Reach in the mouth and free the weir.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    Re: Skimmer pipe blocked??

    Thanks for the reply guys. I just went out to check the weir and remembered that when it done the big suction thing it was wide open because water was pouring in. I still checked for twigs etc though. Didn't find anything. Thought I'd turn it on and low and behold its working again. Maybe when it done the big suck it loosened something blocked in the pipes? I kind of scared me so I never turned it back on again till now. It is possible something could be stuck in there, previous owners installed the pool and when I've vacuumed I swear some of the stuff has disappeared when I go to empty the skimmer basket. How is that possible?
    I still think there is something wrong because this is the 3rd time in a year this has happened. Previous times I have tried to fill the pump basket with water but it wont fill all the way to top. I haven't tried putting the hose in the pump end but if it happens again I will.
    Thanks again.

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    Re: Skimmer pipe blocked??

    Welcome to TFP!!

    You may have an existing partial obstruction in the skimmer line that only acts up when some more debris gets trapped in the line. I recall a couple cases where concrete was obstructing the MD port or silicone, used to seal the threaded connection to a booster pump, had created an obstruction that was only further exacerbated by some debris.

    Blowing out the extra debris will solve the problem for now but, making sure the line is totally unobstructed will do you better!

    Also, if water is "pouring in" the skimmer, it's often a sign that the water level isn't high enough or something is blocking the skimmer mouth

    If you do have a partial obstruction in the skimmer line, running on 'low' will mask the problem.

    {edit} Sorry for the "double welcome" - I was working on 2 threads at once and lost track Anyway, you probably deserve a redundant welcome
    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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    Re: Skimmer pipe blocked??

    Quote Originally Posted by waste
    Welcome to TFP!!

    Also, if water is "pouring in" the skimmer, it's often a sign that the water level isn't high enough or something is blocking the skimmer mouth
    The water level is high. It only gushed in from the pool when all the water disappeared out of the skimmer box which I've never seen happen before. I think there is definitely something in the lines. When I clean the filter and pump basket next I will put the hose through the pump end and see what happens. Thanks for the welcomes and reply

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    Re: Skimmer pipe blocked??

    Sheva,

    You made some observations that are important but I need to ask you to qualify some:

    1) The water level is High due to rain. Is it more than 1/2 way up the skimmer's mouth?
    2) Was the water you saw gushing in the skimmer as the skimmer was emptying and it's water level dropping faster than the water could get in or was it just in the pump?

    Fiberglass pool shells are typically formed with the walls slightly pitched back to be less than vertical. This also tilts the skimmer body since it's attached to it. This reduces the normal operating water level from 1/2 up the skimmer to something less, usually about 1/3 of the way up the front. Further in the skimmer mouth, because the body is tilted back, the level reaches the flapper at the 1/2 way mark.

    Sometimes, when the deck is poured, the skimmer flexes slightly under the weight of the concrete. The flexed mouth sometimes catches the top of the flapper in high water conditions. This can cause a dam to form, preventing sufficient water flow to enter the skimmer. The dam is not water tight so some water gets in. Since the water level in the skimmer has dropped, the water that does get past the weir/flapper appears to gush.

    Freeing the stuck flapper resolves this until the water level rises again. I usually test the flapper in this situation by putting a pool pole in the skimmer mouth on the pool side and giving a gentle push on the weir to free it. If the homeowner says it's intermittent, I will reach in the skimmer and lift the flapper to check for freedom of movement. If it gets stuck near the top, I know the cause is either the wrong weir or the concrete flexed the skimmer housing.

    If its a Pentair skimmer, I remove the flapper and install a floating weir in the skimmer basket. All others, homeowner awareness is the only solution that I know of.

    If the weir is free and the drain is closed and the pump is still starved for water, it is possible that either a clog exists or, if the installer used flex pipe, it is collapsing under the weight of the strength of the suction, forming a kink in the line. Eventually, the creases in the kink will create a hole in this line.

    A pressure test will not find a collapsed suction since the pressure in the pipe is the opposite type of what is causing the kink. In fact, it may remove the kink temporarily. Kinked lines must be replaced.

    This situation is also one of the two main reasons why I don't like flex. The other reason is termites can/do eat flex.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    Re: Skimmer pipe blocked??

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    Sheva,

    You made some observations that are important but I need to ask you to qualify some:

    1) The water level is High due to rain. Is it more than 1/2 way up the skimmer's mouth?
    2) Was the water you saw gushing in the skimmer as the skimmer was emptying and it's water level dropping faster than the water could get in or was it just in the pump?
    Scott
    Hi Scott, thanks for all the great info.
    The water is at the top of the skimmer mouth, we have quiet alot of rain.
    When all the water drained (rather quickly) from the skimmer box it kind of freaked me out a bit had to hold on to the hose for dear life and I noticed the flap dropped straight down and water was gushing back into skimmer box and hitting the bottom of the skimmer box. I sung out to my helper (who was standing at pump) to turn it off because I had never seen it do that before and thought that can't be good.

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    Re: Skimmer pipe blocked??

    What brand skimmer do you have? Sounds like the flexed skimmer mouth housing issue and not the collapsed line issue, thankfully.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    Re: Skimmer pipe blocked??

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    What brand skimmer do you have? Sounds like the flexed skimmer mouth housing issue and not the collapsed line issue, thankfully.

    Scott
    It's an Aussie brand Poolrite. You have totally lost me on the skimmer mouth thing. All I can see is a pipe at the bottom, what happens after that I don't know.

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    Re: Skimmer pipe blocked??

    I looked at their website. Thanks.

    In the opening on the pool side of the skimmer is the weir. Gently poke it with a pool pole. It should move freely except for the resistance of it's buoyancy. If it's stuck closed(vertical) due to debris or a failure, it will be evident. You will feel it. It will only be able to push in towards the body of the skimmer. It helps keep captured debris in.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    sammm's Avatar
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    Re: Skimmer pipe blocked??

    I had problem with a sticking weir more than once. Drove myself crazy checking all the other possibilities. I ended up having to replace one of mine last year and it still stuck again a few weeks back.
    WetEdge Satin Matrix, 16K gallon, Pentair NSP-60 DE filter, Pac Fab Challenger, 2HP pump, BBB, Polaris 360

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