DIY Unclogging Of Pool Pipes

new2pools50

Member
Jun 9, 2011
11
I have a pool that sits directly under a huge pine tree. Pool is constantly full of pine needles and I frequently end up with a clog in the pipes when vacuuming. This year, got a big clog, had to call pool company to blow out the line with C02. Charge: $135 for literally 5 minutes that it took the guy to put the air thru the pipe. . Since this is a frequent occurrence (happens at least twice a year), I can't continue paying this $$ for something I should be able to do myself. I want to buy either a C02 canister or a small air compressor. What size should I get? what is needed to make it work? I would prefer to use the smallest size equipment that would be necessary to get the job done. Thanks for any advice or info...
 

new2pools50

Member
Jun 9, 2011
11
Buy a leaf canister that fits inline on the vacuum hose and stretch a nylon or hairnet over the basket in it. That'll stop them.
I have used a leaf canister which has helped cut down on some of the clogs, but I found it rather difficult to use and it filled up with pine needles very fast so I don't always use it.
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
11,766
Houston, Texas
I assume this is the same process for blowing out pool lines for the winter, except you aren’t closing the pool. Use the upper left search box and click on the G to do a google search on blowing out lines. We have many threads that describe his to blow out the lines using shop vacs and air compressors.
 

new2pools50

Member
Jun 9, 2011
11
i had a couple of oak trees that were close to my pool. after cleaning up all of the mess from them, i called a guy with a Big backhoe... they were gone and hauled off within an hour
I can't remove the pine tree that's over my pool because it's in a neighbor's yard, not mine.
 

new2pools50

Member
Jun 9, 2011
11
I assume this is the same process for blowing out pool lines for the winter, except you aren’t closing the pool. Use the upper left search box and click on the G to do a google search on blowing out lines. We have many threads that describe his to blow out the lines using shop vacs and air compressors.
i searched thru a lot of threads, but none of them addressed the specific questions I asked about C02 - size of canister, etc. Or at least I couldn't find any that did. Most of the threads I saw went into detail about winterizing a pool, but I'm not winterizing, I'm trying to blow out a clog and want to purchase a C02 canister like pool guys use. I've tried various methods in the past - drain king, shop vac, etc. and NONE ever work except C02. That's why I want to maybe try to do it myself to avoid another $135 charge from a pool company.
 

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
1,388
Morris Cnty NJ
The problem is using compressed air stresses the pipes and can actually cause a break at a glue joint if not careful. Any cheap air compressor with a 2 gallon or 3.5 gallon tank will work. You need to adapt to somewhere in you plumbing and isolate the rest of system the best you can. You just have to limit the output psi. I would seriously urge you to take care of the problem tree wise if possible. You can always cut the branches on your side of the property straight up in an imaginary line. Vacuuming pine needles and lots of them will lead to clogs very often. Theres no good way without a leaf bag. Robot is the best choice
 
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Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,494
NY
I use my backpack leaf blower to blow my lines each fall. I use duct tape to connect the blower to the return pipe to make a tight seal. If it can empty the water in 70ish feet of 2.5 inch pipe, it would probably work for clogs too. I would also glady help out a friend or neighbor if i knew i could save them $135 in a few minutes. If you dont have a big blower you probably know someone who does. The obligatory 12 pack for helping you out only costs $10.
 

new2pools50

Member
Jun 9, 2011
11
The problem is using compressed air stresses the pipes and can actually cause a break at a glue joint if not careful. Any cheap air compressor with a 2 gallon or 3.5 gallon tank will work. You need to adapt to somewhere in you plumbing and isolate the rest of system the best you can. You just have to limit the output psi. I would seriously urge you to take care of the problem tree wise if possible. You can always cut the branches on your side of the property straight up in an imaginary line. Vacuuming pine needles and lots of them will lead to clogs very often. Theres no good way without a leaf bag. Robot is the best choice
The pine tree is HUGE - I don't know how much good it would do to cut some of the branches. A lot of it blows into the pool from the tree. It might lessen it a bit, but not a lot is my guess. Thanks for the info about the air compressor. In the past, I've had the clog blown out 3-4 times by pool guys with no problems. I don't know how much psi they are using though. They let the air out slowly and increase it gradually until the clog blows out of the skimmer. It was done this last time by Leslie's Pools, as indicated, charged $135 for literally 5 minutes. I messed up this year by not using my leaf canister to suck up the biggest pile of pine needles. That's mainly because the canister fills up so fast and is difficult to empty and reassemble. But I should have used it, nevertheless.
 

new2pools50

Member
Jun 9, 2011
11
I use my backpack leaf blower to blow my lines each fall. I use duct tape to connect the blower to the return pipe to make a tight seal. If it can empty the water in 70ish feet of 2.5 inch pipe, it would probably work for clogs too. I would also glady help out a friend or neighbor if i knew i could save them $135 in a few minutes. If you dont have a big blower you probably know someone who does. The obligatory 12 pack for helping you out only costs $10.
Thanks for the suggestion. I don't know if a leaf blower has the power to blow out a clog. I would think a clog is perhaps more difficult than blowing out lines for winterizing. I tried using a shop vac but the horsepower is only 2.5 and it definitely didn't work. I tried using a canister of Plumber's Hero (sort of like using a small blast of C02), and it didn't work either. I don't currently have a leaf blower and not sure of anyone here who has one. I live in a desert area and there's not a lot of leaves in this particular area. Unfortunately, there is a huge pine tree that I've been dealing with for 7 years.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,494
NY
I don't currently have a leaf blower and not sure of anyone here who has one. I live in a desert area and there's not a lot of leaves in this particular area. Unfortunately, there is a huge pine tree that I've been dealing with for 7 years.

Ha. Sorry. The desert would make the leaf blower thing a problem. I live in the woods and need a commercial grade Redmax blower to handle the oaks. It was $600 and has plenty enough power. It clears my gutter downspouts of similar clogs so i imagine the pool lines would work as well, but again i already need one in the first place. You should be able to buy a decent enough compressor for the cost of your first 2 clogs. After that its free. And once you have the compressor it would have 100 more uses like pool floats and driveway sweeping.
 

new2pools50

Member
Jun 9, 2011
11
Ha. Sorry. The desert would make the leaf blower thing a problem. I live in the woods and need a commercial grade Redmax blower to handle the oaks. It was $600 and has plenty enough power. It clears my gutter downspouts of similar clogs so i imagine the pool lines would work as well, but again i already need one in the first place. You should be able to buy a decent enough compressor for the cost of your first 2 clogs. After that its free. And once you have the compressor it would have 100 more uses like pool floats and driveway sweeping.
yeah, in my area leaves aren't a big issue. I agree, a compressor is a better fit for my situation and it would have other uses also.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,494
NY
I bet you have at least one friend who is either in construction or just all around handy who has a compressor and would trade the favor for a swim/BBQ
 
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