Balancing Skimmer and Main Drain Circulation

spmurph

Active member
Jun 8, 2017
27
Sewell, NJ
New pool owner here. We moved in just as the pool was closed last year and when the pool company came to open this year, it was pretty green. Found this site afterwards, unfortunately.

I wasn't home at the time of opening but they left a note. They only had the main drain running. I was told to fill it back to skimmer lever, add 10 gallons of chlorine, and open the skimmer.

The guy labeled the pipes but both the skimmer and the main drain are on the same side. The spa is on the other side. Every picture I have found has them on opposite sides.

Do I need to have both the main drain and skimmer running or just the skimmer? What position should the handle be in? It was pointed towards the drain/skimmer side (with the "off tab" over the spa side) but I moved it so that it points to the filter (with the off tab over nothing). I'm not sure if this has the skimmer running enough.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
23,145
Bedford, TX
sp,

Welcome to TFP... A Great resource for all pool owners with valve confusion issues... :shark:

As you would suspect, the "off" tab points toward the port that is shut off, while the handle is pointed toward the port that is open. If the "off" tab it pointed to the side of the valve that has no port, then all three ports are fully open.

Most people run their valves with about 80% of the suction coming from the skimmers and about 20% from the Main Drain. Keep in mind that the Main Drain is not required and that there are thousands of pool without operating Main Drains..

Thanks for posting,

Jim R.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
23,145
Bedford, TX
Thank you for the quick response.

So, being that the drain and the skimmer are on the same side, what position should the handle be in so that only the skimmer is running?

sp,

I've been accused many times of being psychotic, but no one has ever said I was physic... :p

I "assume" you have a valve that lets you select between Pool operation and Spa operation... on the Pool operation side, I suspect you have another valve that lets you select between the Main Drain and the Skimmer.

If on the Pool side you only have one pipe coming out the ground, then your Main Drain is not plumbed back to the pad.

Post a pic showing all the valves that control the water going into your pump and we can then provide you with some accurate feedback..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Suziqzer

TFP Expert
Sep 21, 2009
914
Greentown, IN
I envie your fancy pool wth a spa :cool:

I have a simple above ground pool and find that when I have a few leaves/debris on the bottom and just want to get the manual vacuum out and do a quick pick up rather than waiting on the automatic, if I switch the pool to just main drain and give it a few minutes most of the debris will collect near the drain and I can pick it up quickly with the vac. It's great when people come over impromptu for a swim. I may have a little advantage having a round pool and one return that sends the water in a circular pattern, it may happen faster for me, but I think regardless it's one of the great advantages of having that bottom/main drain
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
23,145
Bedford, TX
Shawn,

I have to assume that the red "knob" under the pipe marked "Main Drain" is what is left of a handle to a ball valve. These types of valves are known to become impossible to turn and then the handles break off.

You can try to turn the red knob with a pair of vice grips and see if you can get that valve to close.

You really do not need a main drain at all, so if you can, turn the red knob and close the path to the main drain that would be fine.

If the knob will not turn then you have two options..

Option 1. Leave things as they are. I would turn the "off" tab on the valve toward the pipe marked Spa so that you only have 5% of the water coming from the spa and 95% coming from the Skimmer and Main Drain.

Option 2. Cut out the pipe going to the Main Drain. You could then cap the Main Drain off or add more plumbing and another Jandy valve so that you can control the input from the Main Drain and/or the Skimmer.

I went back and re-read your initial post and I'm puzzled.... as it is impossible with your current set up to run just from the main drain unless they left the plugs in the skimmer...???

Do you actually have a Spa? If so, then I would have to assume their labeling is correct. Please makes sure that they did not leave the skimmer plugged..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

spmurph

Active member
Jun 8, 2017
27
Sewell, NJ
Now I'm having trouble getting the skimmer to maintain suction. It will last for a few hours and then die out. I did notice a very small leak at the plug on then pump basket and also on the pipe coming into the pump basket.

When I turn the pump on and then back on it primes no problem. Bubbles come out of the return jets but eventually go away.

Is it likely a leak on the suction side?
 

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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
23,145
Bedford, TX
Shawn,

I would think so... A suction air leak can do two things... One, it can make it hard for your pump to prime, and two, it can allow the water in the pump basket to drain back into the pool when the pump is off.

When the pump basket drains back into the pool, and you then turn the pump on, the pump gets big "gulps" of air which pass through your filter, and start coming out of your return eyeballs.

The bigger the air leak the worse the problems are.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
23,145
Bedford, TX
Shawn,

You can try to wrap the suspect areas with Saran Wrap... Not a fix, but a good troubleshooting tool... if the air leaks go away when the Saran Wrap is applied, you'll know you've found the right area..

Jim R.
 

spmurph

Active member
Jun 8, 2017
27
Sewell, NJ
I was able to get the skimmer to maintain suction by closing off part of the main drain.

Unfortunately now I just tried to backwash (DE filter) and the pump lost prime about 3 backwash/rinse cycles in and now it won't come back. I take the pump basket off and the water is down but then comes flooding in.

Any ideas?
 
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