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Thread: Deep End Skimmer No Longer Works

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    Deep End Skimmer No Longer Works

    Hi all,

    I'm new to this forum and tried searching for some info on my problem but have not located anything. Thanks in advance to pointing me to any existing threads that might have covered this specific issue.

    I have a 15 year old in-ground Sylvan pool, gunite, with two skimmers. In the past two or three years, the deep end skimmer got slower and slower and now no longer works at all. It seems to allow air to blow through when closing the pool, but does not seem to suction anything or collect any debris.

    When we first opened the pool in 1993, Sylvan specifically instructed us to dispense chlorine tabs in the deep end skimmer basket. Another pool owner told me recently that my problem may be due to heavy concentrations of chlorine destroying the flex connector at the skimmer bottom, and nothing will fix it short of excavation and replacement. We have a concrete deck, so this would not be an inexpensive repair at this point.

    A few repair guys working on other items looked at it quickly, but no one had any good ideas. I'm about to try to find and call in a pro, but wondered if anyone here has run into this issue. I've been using the other skimmer for chlorine up to this season, but now I'm afraid to do that in case the same thing happens there. What's the best way to dispense chlorine in the meantime?

    Thanks again for any help on this issue.

    Rhys - NJ

  2. Back To Top    #2
    whoozer's Avatar
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    For now if using the tabs works I would get a floater to dispense tabs. But in the mean time I would read the stickies on the site for the BBB method. You may like what you see. As far as the skimmer goes I'll have to leave it to the experts on corrosion due to using tabs in the skimmer. I do know some use the sock method for dispensing it sometimes and I do believe they put it in the skimmer???
    14x33 fiberglass freeform
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    rhys,

    Welcome to the forum. On many pools, the skimmers are hooked up in "series".....i.e. the far one connects to the near one that then takes water to the filter. In other words the far skimmer simply sends it's water to the near skimmer.

    Look in your near skimmer and see if there is a disk-shaped plastic device you can remove from underneath the skimmer basket. If that device (about 5" in diameter) comes out, you shoulod have two open holes in the bottom of that near skimmer. The two holes confirms you skimmers are in series. If so, post back and I'll tell you what to do.

    I know you didn't ask, but if you've been using tabs since 1993, you may have a big overdose of CYA in your pool. If you'll post a full set of test results, you'll get good advice on your water balance as well.

    Again, welcome.

    PS - I would seriously doubt that putting the pucks in there is your issue but that is certainly not a very good idea.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  4. Back To Top    #4
    Dave,

    Thanks for the welcome.

    The appearance of the skimmer is that when the basket is removed, the bottom has two round holes, each about 1-1/2" wide. I'm not aware of any disk that covers them. One is definitely where the suction goes and that's the one I close for the winter with a screw-in plug after blowing it out. I honestly have no idea what the purpose of the other hole is, or what it actually does.I always assumed it was some kind of vent.

    I think you might be right about the series connection because I've noticed that if I vacuum out water from either skimmer when closing the pool, it will also drain the lines for the other one. They must be connected.

    I also thought that the possibility of this being caused by chlorine sounded far-fetched. I figured a more likely scenario was a blockage or cracked line. I have not noticed any significant water loss or wet areas between the near skimmer and the equipment.

    As for the CYA, I've actually drained the entire pool a few times in the past few years due to such a high level of algae in the spring since we got a mesh safety cover. That's a whole different issue I need to address. I'm learning as much as I can from the other threads in this forum about proper testing and algae control. Even after 15 years, I still have MUCH to learn.

    Rhys

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    I honestly have no idea what the purpose of the other hole is, or what it actually does.I always assumed it was some kind of vent.
    Since both holes are readily visible, you do not have the adjustin disc I was referring to.

    One of those holes goes to your pump, the other goes to the other skimmer. Block off the weir door in front of your working skimmer. If the other skimmer is completely blocked, you will quickly see the water drain out of the working skimmer and the pump will lose prime.

    If it's only partially blocked, the good skimmer should have water coming up from the connector between the two and then down out to the pump. If it's a partial, I would suggest a Drain King or a plumber's "snake" to clear that blockage.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    duraleigh,

    Is it possible that this this is the result of calcium scale buildup? The only reason that I ask is that Rhys mentioned that the problem has grown worse over a period of years. If so, how might one remedy that problem?

    This thread piqued my curiosity because one day I was manipulating my waterfall valve when a piece of smooth, round, and white scale-like material apparently freed itself in the process of my turning the valve and popped itself into the pump basket. Seeing this, I removed it. It was obvious that it was some sort of scale buildup as the piece had a very similar radius and diameter to the pipe lumen. When I applied a little HCl, it foamed. I assumed it was calcium. It made me wonder where else it was depositing in the system.

    Not trying to hijack the thread. This just seemed germane to the topic.

    Craig
    10K gallon IG gunite with waterfall; Pentair CC320P filter; WhisperFlo 2 HP pump
    TF Test Kits - Pool Math - Pool School
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    No hijack at all....very good point. I cant remember a report that scale would present itself inside a pipe because we usually think of it first on surfaces that are exposed to evaporation and then next on the plaster (don't know if anyone's ever reported it on a liner surface) but I see no reason why it couldn't form in the pipe.

    That might be a little tough to get out of there but it would be doable.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  8. Back To Top    #8
    <<Block>>

    Dave,

    OK, I tried that and you are right on...thats exactly what happened, in no time. So that means the near skimmer is totally blocked?

    Rhys

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    Yes, that line is blocked. depending on how many 90's you have, you may be able to "snake" it and find the block or a Drain King may kick it out backwards.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  10. Back To Top    #10
    I had some success yesterday clearing the blockage, at least partially. I didn't have a snake but tried a regular plunger and my shop vac, and got the skimmer working to some degree. I don't think it's at full suction though, so I'll see if anyone I know has a snake or pick one up and try that.

    Thanks again,

    Rhys

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    Rhys,

    If you've got it open some, test it again by blocking the working skimmer at the weir door. If it does not suck air and -de-prime the pump, it's working and you'll need the disc I discussed earlier to balance the flow between the two.

    If it still de-primes the pump, you've got some more "snakeing" to do. Good work!...don't give up!
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  12. Back To Top    #12

    Re: Deep End Skimmer No Longer Works

    Well, I finally bought a 25' hand snake (Sears, $8.99) and tried to insert it in the line at base of the near skimmer. No matter what I do, it won't go more than a few inches in. It really feel like there is an impenetrable blockage of some kind; no debris comes loose or anything. I'm really at my wits end.

    Oddly, a few more tries with the plunger seemed to open it up a bit, but only a little, and only temporarily. Some debris swirls a bit, but not a lot. I can feel a little suction on the bottom but not enough to do anything. After awhile, that disappears and I'm back to square one.

    The original post here followed a conversation with a friend who had a similar problem. He was told by Anthony Sylvan that his skimmer design used some kind of "flex" pvc at the bottom that was crushed like a drinking straw would be if saturated and unable to stay open. In his case they had to excavate to get to the problem, supposedly blamed on the long-term effect of intense chrlorine.

    Am I doomed to a similar fate? Any other ideas are most welcome.

    Rhys

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Re: Deep End Skimmer No Longer Works

    Well, I guess I answered my own question. Thanks to everyone who replied.

    Bottom line: Anyone who puts an in-ground pool in their back yard is crazy, as I was 15 years ago.

    If I could, I'd pay someone to rip it out and give me my lawn back. Good luck!

    Rhys

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