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Thread: Opening Pool - Water Flow Problem

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    Opening Pool - Water Flow Problem

    Hi, I just opened my pool for the first time and I'm having some flow problems. I can get the pump to pull water, but then it doesn't go anywhere... The pool was installed last June and professionally closed. I opened it myself yesterday - took off the cover, return plugs, and gizmo. I replaced the pressure gauge, two filter pump knobs, filter drain knob, and return eyes. I tightened all pvc connections and all valves appear to be pointing in the right direction.

    I filled the filter pump with water (lots of water - enough that kept leaving the pump) to prime it. I kicked it on and it is clearly pulling some water from the pool, but not that much. The problem is the water doesn't go anywhere. If I open the backwash valve then tons of water gushes out and it keeps pulling more from the pool into the pump. This tells me that the pump is working at least.

    I've checked and rechecked my re-assembly of the filter and it appears to be fine. There is some water at the bottom that came from the pump (was not there before I kicked it on), but it looks like the water stays in the pump and doesn't move past there or the filter. Both the intellichlor and the heat pump both say the water pressure is too low, and I don't see anything heading back into the pool. The filter shows 0 psi.

    There was definitely some air in the system... When I opened the pump knobs I let a good amount of air out. When I left the pump running and opened and closed the backwash valve quickly you could hear a bit of air come out (and out of the filter air valve as well). But I don't know if air is stuck in the pipes somewhere or what to do about it.

    Does anyone have a suggestion? My pool equipment is listed below. Thanks for any help you can provide!

    16,000gal Fiberglass
    Pentair Intelliflo VS-3050
    Sta-Rite PosiClear PXC150
    Pentair Intellichlor
    Rheem 8300 Heat Pump

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    Re: Opening Pool - Water Flow Problem

    Edit, never mind, I see OP has a cart. My suggestions were based on a a sand filter.
    The cart folks will have to help you out
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: Opening Pool - Water Flow Problem

    If the water can't get back to the pool, the pressure in the tank will rise substantially. This can be caused by a few things:

    Clogged filter cartridges
    Return side valve is turned off.
    Plugs still in the return inlets.
    Filter not reassembled correctly.
    Kinked/collapsed flex return lines,
    Check valve installed backwards.

    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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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Opening Pool - Water Flow Problem

    Welcome to TFP!

    PoolGuyNJ gave a fairly through list of possibilities. My guess for the most likely possibility is that there is a valve in the wrong position. If you have any questions about the valves, please post some photos of your equipment pad.

    Air in the lines would not cause this problem. Something needs to be nearly completely blocking the water flow.
    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: Opening Pool - Water Flow Problem

    - The filter was cleaned at the end of the season, and I cleaned it when opening the pool. It doesn't look clogged. Pretty clean.
    - The return is open, but I've tried flipping thru the return/fountain options and can't get water from either.
    - Plugs are out and eyeballs are in. I can try removing those.
    - I've disassembled and re-assembled the filter several times now. I'm not sure what I could've screwed up with it. There is about 8 or 9 inches of water at the bottom. I've drained it and the pump puts it back in again. Just doesn't seem to go anywhere.
    - All lines are PVC. I don't think there is any flex to it, so this shouldn't be a problem.
    - None of the valves were removed at the close of the season and everything worked fine last year.

    I could have a valve in the wrong position, but at some point I ran out of ideas and ran the pump with the valves on all position I could imagine on the off chance I had them pointing the wrong way.

    I have 0 psi showing on the filter, which makes sense. The pump stops pulling water from the pool once it fills up it's bucket and it doesn't go anywhere. Could there be a clog somewhere? Maybe not air, but something else? A small animal maybe?

    I took a picture of my setup, but there is a 256k file size limit. I don't think my camera will take one that small. Any suggestions for uploading a picture?

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Opening Pool - Water Flow Problem

    The best way to get photos in your posts is to upload them to a place like photobucket.com and then insert img tags into your posts.

    Does the pump display an error message?
    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: Opening Pool - Water Flow Problem

    **Response to new post - The pump does not display an error. As you can see below, the pump is working great and floods my equipment area as I play around with things.

    I ran another test which was interesting. I removed the chlorinator so now there is an open end before it gets to the return valve. I turned on the pump, basket is full of water, but nothing comes out where the chlorinator was. Valve from filter to chlorinator looked okay so problem is either the valve controlling backwash or the filter...

    This is a three way black valve. The pump is on my left, the backwash pipe is down toward me, and the filter is on my right. If the black handle points toward either left or down I get tons of water gushing out of the backwash tube and *also* the empty area that housed the chlorinator! Finally water is flowing... The problem is obviously that I can't have water gushing out of the backwash pipe. When I put the black handle toward the filter I get no water coming from anywhere. It seems to cut it off. Is it not supposed to be pointing toward the filter? It can only move in the three directions I listed, but is it somehow supposed to point opposite of the backwash pipe (up)?

    These valves haven't been removed or altered since last year, so nothing should have changed. But I think this helps to further narrow down where the problem is. Can someone suggest where I should go from here?

    Edit - Here is the equipment pic:


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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Opening Pool - Water Flow Problem

    Normally, on a 3-way valve, the outlet opposite where the handle is pointing is blocked off.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    Re: Opening Pool - Water Flow Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT
    Normally, on a 3-way valve, the outlet opposite where the handle is pointing is blocked off.
    That made sense to me at first, and the little white arrow opposite the black handle does say "closed" on it, but I can't point the black handle up away from the backwash pipe. I left it pointing right because that's the only way I don't get a flood of water from the backwash pipe.

    Is the solution that this valve handle should only point up, down, left? If so, can this be adjusted to make that happen and how would this have even changed since last year?

  10. Back To Top    #10
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Opening Pool - Water Flow Problem

    You want the handle of the backwash valve pointing {EDIT}away from{/EDIT} the backwash pipe. That will close off the backwash port and open all of the other ports.

    From the picture, it looks like you have a heater bypass setup, which is current configure to bypass the heater. Thus, I would not expect the heater to be getting any water. To activate the heater, I believe that you need to turn all three of the valves over by the heater 90 degrees from where they are now.
    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

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Re: Opening Pool - Water Flow Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    You want the handle of the backwash valve pointing towards the backwash pipe. That will close off the backwash port and open all of the other ports. Most likely the last thing they did was use the backwash setting to drain water from the pool.

    From the picture, it looks like you have a heater bypass setup, which is current configure to bypass the heater. Thus, I would not expect the heater to be getting any water. To activate the heater, I believe that you need to turn all three of the valves over by the heater 90 degrees from where they are now.
    When the handle points down toward the backwash pipe I get a flood of water. The same as if the handle pointed left toward the pump. The previous poster said the handle should point opposite of the area to close, which makes sense but seems impossible.

    So why would pointing the handle that way open up a stream of water? Could the valve have broken over the winter? If this is the problem then I imagine it would be covered under my builder's warranty.

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Opening Pool - Water Flow Problem

    It looks to me that there is no way that valve can work. If the handle is to the left, no water comes out of the pump. Handle to the right and water only goes to the pipe labelled backwash. Handle toward the camera and water should go both to the filter and to the "backwash" pipe. Unless the handle will go up, I can't see it working...
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    Re: Opening Pool - Water Flow Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT
    It looks to me that there is no way that valve can work. If the handle is to the left, no water comes out of the pump. Handle to the right and water only goes to the pipe labelled backwash. Handle toward the camera and water should go both to the filter and to the "backwash" pipe. Unless the handle will go up, I can't see it working...
    Handle can't go up and when it goes down I get water from backwash and thru the filter to chlorinator section. So this just means it's broken I guess? It isn't closing properly when it's straight down.

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Opening Pool - Water Flow Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenEmu

    Handle can't go up and when it goes down I get water from backwash and thru the filter to chlorinator section. So this just means it's broken I guess? It isn't closing properly when it's straight down.
    It's acting exactly like I'd expect it to work. I don't see any way it ever could have worked like it is. Thos valves are designed so there is always a path to the bottom pipe, and you adjust the handle to choose from left, right or both.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    Re: Opening Pool - Water Flow Problem

    Pump Off!

    1) The valve labeled Backwash is misnamed. It should be labeled Waste. It is to lower the pool when the water is too high or to vacuum heavier loads of dirt out so they don't mess with the filter cartridges. Rotate that handle 90 degrees so the handle is pointing at the return side valves and the white arrow is pointing towards the photographer. Water will now get to the filter.

    2) On the return side of the filter, the vertical valve needs to be closed, handle down, white arrow up or it may be the opposite, depending on how the Stops on the valve are positioned. This is a part of a heater bypass.

    3) The next valve lets water go to the heater. Open it. Again, 90 degrees and the handle should only go one way.

    4) Open the valve below and behind the salt cell.

    5) If you regularly run this pump on full power, slightly crack open the valve in step two. This will allow some water flow to bypass the heat pump. The heat pump can take up to about 120 GPM of flow and the pump can push more than that.

    Turn on the pump.

    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.

  16. Back To Top    #16

    Re: Opening Pool - Water Flow Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    Pump Off!

    1) The valve labeled Backwash is misnamed. It should be labeled Waste. It is to lower the pool when the water is too high or to vacuum heavier loads of dirt out so they don't mess with the filter cartridges. Rotate that handle 90 degrees so the handle is pointing at the return side valves and the white arrow is pointing towards the photographer. Water will now get to the filter.
    Scott
    I think I was misusing the term backwash then. We have always used this port to lower the water level. But this is the problem - I can't rotate that valve so that the white arrow points toward me. The handle only points in three directions - left, down, right. None of which seem like good options.

    This was working fine last year. I can see the valve no longer working properly, but can it really stop pointing up? The person who closed the pool couldn't have possibly screwed it up like this, could they?

  17. Back To Top    #17

    Re: Opening Pool - Water Flow Problem

    Just discovered that it's very easy to pop off the little valve handle and replace it in any direction. This doesn't change the flow of water of course, but instead of the handle pointing down to signify the backwash pipe is closed it could point up. I think this confirms that the handle was on improperly and the valve is now malfunctioning by not closing off one of the pipes when it's turned. Basically I can have water flow off, flow to backwash and filter, or flow to backwash and filter. I can no longer have flow directly to filter.

    I will call the builder tomorrow morning and hopefully they can come out and replace the valve. Or tell me what else I've missed.

  18. Back To Top    #18

    Re: Opening Pool - Water Flow Problem

    I spoke to my builder today and they helped me fix the problem. With the pump off I turned the valve so that the handle was facing me / backwash pipe. Unscrew the handle and pull up and off about half way, so that it misses the plastic stoppers and can now turn 360 degress instead of just 270 degrees. I turned the handle 180 degrees up so that it is the opposite way. Now the closed arrow is pointing at the backwash pipe. Re-seat the handle and screw back on. Now my handle has the opposite range of motion and can properly close that pipe. How it ended up in the backwards direction I don't know, but now I know how to adjust those valves better.

    So everything works now. I have lots of drips and leaks from the pipe connections, but I'm sure I can deal with that. Thanks to everyone for their help!!

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Opening Pool - Water Flow Problem

    Glad your issue was fixed!
    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
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