Closing when Pump & Filter are Below Water Level

bakedziti

Member
Sep 20, 2021
7
Buffalo, NY
Pool Size
19000
Surface
Plaster
Hello,

I’m hoping the forum can help with my issue and appreciate anyone who reads my post and offers advice.

My fiancé and I bought our first home last year and it has an inground gunnite pool from the 70s with a Hayward pump and sand filter in our basement that’s sitting below the main drain line. We have a main drain, return line and a suction line but no skimmer which has made vacuuming a chore with a pressure side bag vacuum. I should also mention here that I’ve been told that our multiport is broken as the waste line is constantly being fed water that would drain in our mess sink in the basement if the valve at the end of the waste line isn’t kept closed.

We moved to the home after the pool was closed by the prior owner, but I had a pool company come out and reclose the pool last year after doubts arose over the prior owner’s closing and if the pool was closed correctly. We have copper pipes to and from the pool and live in Buffalo, NY so it’s essential that I get the pool closed properly before the winter. The pool isn’t heated either if that helps.

When the pool company came out last year, all they did was dump the closing chemicals in the pool, blow out the return line with a portable shop vac and plug the return line, so this year I figured I’d give it a shot myself. The same company opened the pool this spring and they gave me some basic care instructions for the filter and the pump, but did more complaining about the pump and filter being in the basement than anything else. They basically told me to backwash and rinse the filter and clean the pump basket occasionally, but I’ve never been able to get the pump basket open without water going everywhere, so there must be something I’m missing and this will be important now that I’m closing the pool. Additionally, being that my multiport is ‘broken’ our backwash sends filtered material right up the main drain and not out of the waste line as my naive mind would expect.

So fast forward to this week, I picked up my kit to close the pool and have followed all of the kit instructions as well as my trusted local pool store’s checklist for closing, but now I find myself second guessing what I’m doing and concerned I’ll end up with 19k gallons of water in my basement.

Steps taken so far


- brushed, vacuumed and skimmed the pool
- removed ladders
- balanced alkalinity
- raised calcium hardness
- suction line closed (main drain & return open)
- wasted water into the mess sink 18” down
- skipped the filter backwash in hopes to follow the deep clean thread this winter and due to the MP sending water up the main drain
- algaecide added & pump run to circulate 1 hr
- winter chlorine added & pump run to circulate 4 hours
- main drain closed in basement
- waste line opened in basement and drained
- winter pill added
- scale pill undecided if I’ll add it or not

So I’m basically at the point where (I think) I’d be blowing out my return line and plugging the line, but my mind is still on that pump basket that I’ve yet to really be able to clean out. I can see that there’s water in the short sections of clear silicone line that bridge the gap from my all copper antique union to the pump and then to the sand filter. I know my basement won’t freeze this winter, so I could likely leave the pump where it is now, but given all the trouble I’ve had, I’d like to clean the pump basket and finish up the process while clearing out the lines inside to the filter so I could hopefully clean it.

My questions for the thread are as follows:

- Will my home shop vac be enough to push the water out of the return line through the waste line? The pool company last year used a Ryobi portable blower and it worked fine to get what seemed like gallons of water out of the return line.
- Is it ok to blow the return line out on the filter setting on the MP? If not, what should I use?
- With my main drain and suction line valves closed in the basement, can I turn on the pump to clear the water left in the filter?
- Although the main drain line is closed in the basement, there must still be water in the line between the pool and the house, is this ok in Buffalo, NY?
- Should I reopen the valve for the suction line that’s on the union in the basement and meets up with the main drain line to clear it of water?
- How can I get the water out of my lines to clean the pump basket?
- The next steps in my local pool store’s checklist says to now refill the pool to 2” below the skimmer - why would I do this and why wouldn’t we just drain 2” below the skimmer instead of draining 18” below the tile line?
- I have a green safety cover or some call it an elephant cover - clearly that’s one of my last steps, but does the water level matter for this cover?
- Pump & filter in the basement - your opinions on the pros & cons of this setup or why you’d move it?

Thank you. Please let me know if I left anything out.

EDIT: added photos of my equipment in the basement.
 

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Texas Splash

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Jun 22, 2014
40,606
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
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First of all, welcome to TFP! :wave: There is a LOT to unpackage here, so you can expect a reply from @ajw22 or @Catanzaro for some specifics. To help get this started though, I think a few pics would help A couple pics of your equipment pad in the basement and a pic or two of the pool. I will ask the following though:
1 - Do you have winterizing plugs, and if so, what type?
2 - What is the approximate distance from the pool to the pad down in the basement, and about how far of a drop down is the pad from the waterline (your best estimate)?
3 - How are you testing your water? That will be critical since you have copper lines.

Let's start there and the others will be in shortly. Thanks for posting.
 

bakedziti

Member
Sep 20, 2021
7
Buffalo, NY
Pool Size
19000
Surface
Plaster
Thank you for the welcome and reply Texas Splash!

I’ll add some images shortly and to my first post if I can edit after the fact. To answer your questions, please find my replies below.

1) I do have winterizing plugs, at least I think I do. They’re rubber type stoppers with a wingnut on the end.
2) The pool is about 10-12 feet from the back of the house and the pool filter and pump is right on the other side of the basement wall (the pipes go right through the wall). The pool is about 8 feet deep in the deep end which is closest to the house. Our ceiling height in the basement is about 8 feet when finished and just over 9 when the joists are exposed. I would say the pump and filter are no more than 17 feet from the pool and there’s about 2-3 feet of rise between the pool’s main drain and the level of the pump and filter in the basement, if that makes sense. To add to this - the suction line is on the house side of the pool which is the deep end while the return line is on the other end of the pool and most certainly is piped around the pool; the pool is 30’ long, in addition to the rise from the basement and then the run from the house to the pool, I’d say a solid 45 feet.
3) We have 2 tests types that are almost certainly geared toward the lazy/new pool maintainer; we have a dropper test that does FAC, Total chlorine, bromine and PH, while the other is a strip test that covers 7 areas (FAC, total chlorine, ph, bromine, alkalinity, cyanuric acid and hardness). With that said, I generally take a sample of the water to my local pool supplies store once a week to let them test the water more accurately.

EDIT: Added more information to #2
 
Last edited:
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bakedziti

Member
Sep 20, 2021
7
Buffalo, NY
Pool Size
19000
Surface
Plaster
Hello,

Any suggestions here?

I closed the pool as much as I could with really only the lines and pump basket left, but I still can’t get the pump to stop spilling water all over, so I’m thinking I’ll either need to bite the bullet on one of these cyclone blowers or an air compressor; otherwise, I’ll end up having to call the pool company again which will cost me $300 for all of 10 minutes of work.

I’m thinking I need to reopen the main drain line and try to air lock the water past the union in the basement to get the pump basket dry enough to open. I’m concerned with this however, because my waste line is the only access point I have to the lines and my multiport is said to be broken, but somehow all of this was cleared so the pump basket could be cleaned without water going everywhere at the beginning of the season ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
38,914
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Let's summarize - you don't have the proper blower to blow out your line and your MPV valve has issues, There may be some tricks to winterizing the pipes but we can't see it from the few pics you posted.

You need the air volume of a cyclone blower to blow out a long water column uphill. Your shopvac does not do it.

I suspect there are some tricks in manipulating your valves as you blow out the line to get things air locked. Your MPV valve may also need to be repaired.

You would be paying the Pool Company for having the proper tools to do the job and for their experience in knowing how to manipulate your system. If you are there when they do it you can also get taught how it is done so you know for next year.
 

bakedziti

Member
Sep 20, 2021
7
Buffalo, NY
Pool Size
19000
Surface
Plaster
I’d rather buy and return an item to Amazon at this rate than give more money to a pool company to listen to them complain again and to be only the 3rd time they’ve even seen the pool; it’s not like they maintained it previously, so it can’t be rocket science if two guys showed up and could complete the job in 20-30 minutes last year with a battery operated blower and one person never even going inside to the equipment.

Unfortunately, filling the pool in isn’t an option at the moment, otherwise I’d have a pad for my huge new replacement garage. I’m also growing increasingly doubtful there are pools that are truly free of troubles and headaches without being a neighbor’s, a bother’s, a cousin’s or a friend’s pool.

I guess thanks for the summary.
 
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