First-time Homeowner & Pool owner | A few questions + pictures of my setup

LionBiscuits

Member
Dec 21, 2019
18
Florida
Hi there TFP!
I've been using this site for roughly a week now, and the information available is incredible- so, thank you!

My problem
Pool pressure gauge drops to 0 PSI when set to skimmer only, only operates correctly w/ the main drain. Watch the video I recorded here to observe:
I haven't seen very many setups similar to this, and it seems almost too basic for the size of the pool we have. The house was built in 1972, and the pool was built that same year. It seems like the folks who flipped the house didn't really care or know how to deal with pools at all because I refused to sign until they added proper bonding to the motor, added a light, replaced the skimmer weir, skimmer lid, and main drain strainer lid. All they initially did was replace the motor & filter then called it a day.

I've attached some images, a few of them being from the inspection process. Did I adopt a very expensive project?

EDIT: Also, the water is level with the halfway point of the skimmer opening's mouth. There's water in the skimmer.
 

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Last edited:

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
19,349
Northern NJ
Welcome to TFP.

Your video shows your skimmer line is not flowing properly. Could be clogged. The valve could be defective. The water level in the skimmer could be too low. The weir door on the skimmer could be jammed closed and not swinging freely. You need to dig into the skimmer line and figure out why you can't get good water flow through it.

How many skimmers do you have? Did the maintenance guys leave plugs int hem when they fixed the pump? Check them for proper water level and weir door operation.

Then I would open up the unions on the ball valve and make sure the valve is operating correctly.

Is your pump above or below your skimmer level?
 

LionBiscuits

Member
Dec 21, 2019
18
Florida
Welcome to TFP.

Your video shows your skimmer line is not flowing properly. Could be clogged. The valve could be defective. The water level in the skimmer could be too low. The weir door on the skimmer could be jammed closed and not swinging freely. You need to dig into the skimmer line and figure out why you can't get good water flow through it.

How many skimmers do you have? Did the maintenance guys leave plugs int hem when they fixed the pump? Check them for proper water level and weir door operation.

Then I would open up the unions on the ball valve and make sure the valve is operating correctly.

Is your pump above or below your skimmer level?
Thanks for your reply!

The weir door is swinging freely, and the water level is at the half-way point of the mouth/opening. There's only one skimmer in this pool.
The skimmer and the pump are at the exact-same level, actually, the pool is in-ground, but it's also at a 12-inch elevation above-ground. I've attached an image if what I'm saying does't quite make sense. Forgive the mess, it's just been a constant battle with these trees overhead..

I don't believe they left plugs in, so you're probably right about the skimmer line being clogged. Lots of trees in the backyard.
 

Attachments

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
19,349
Northern NJ
With all those leaves in the pump basket in that inspection pic it looks like they tried to vacuum the leaves through the skimmer line. I would bet you have a bunch of leaves blocking the skimmer line. Read the thread below and try running a Drain King down the line. If you have a blower you can open up the pipe at the ball valve and try blowing into the skimmer hole and see what blows out by the pool pad.

 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
18,752
Bedford, TX
LB,

When you shut the main drain off the pump is running out of water... As Allen has said, it appears your skimmer line is blocked.

Take out the valve on the Skimmer line and use a Drain King and force water back from the open line at the valve and toward the skimmer.. You might have to work one way and then work the other way from the Skimmer.. Back and forth until you break the clog up.

Once you get the skimmer line open, I would also check the impeller to make sure it does not have more leaves stuck in there.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

LionBiscuits

Member
Dec 21, 2019
18
Florida
Thank you both! This confirms the suspicion, I suppose.

One thing that didn't occur to me, though, was taking out the skimmer line valve entirely in order to place a drainking down there, or a blower of some kind. (shopvac?..)
Just taking a simple look at it, I'm assuming they used a glue/adhesive between each PVC fitting, so is there a safe way to disassemble it there?
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
18,752
Bedford, TX
LB,

At either end of the red valves is a union.. The unions should just unscrew.. There will be a o-ring between the two half's, so don't drop it..

Obviously all the other PVC joints are glued together and they will not come apart.

Jim R.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,104
Central California
Ha, if you're lucky the clog will be right at that valve, maybe something hung up on the valve mechanism. Hopeful thinking! Sending positive thoughts your way that you'll be able to just blow out the clog.

When you get it all fixed, use a little sand paper (or some mild solvent, carefully) and erase those two black arrows. The "artist" was trying to show which pipe was which, but the arrows on pool plumbing labeling generally, and more helpfully, should point in the direction of the water flow. Your arrows are pointing the wrong way... Those two lines are flowing into the pump.
 

LionBiscuits

Member
Dec 21, 2019
18
Florida
I was able to disassemble the unions at the skimmer line valve, found an extremely long and sturdy twig that I was able to yank out. I knew that likely wasn't the clog, but decided to reassemble and see if it might've cleared up the "tip of the iceburg" just after the 90 degree turn in the PVC piping, but no luck.

I have a Drain King, but it's a 3"-6" one, so that wouldn't fit. Would running a shop-vac to try "blowing" the line be pretty frowned upon or have any positive results? Or should I just bite the bullet and order a 1 1/2"-3" Drain King?
 

LionBiscuits

Member
Dec 21, 2019
18
Florida
Do you not have a grate on the main drain?
I do, it was replaced before we ended up signing for the house. The two pictures w/ arrows were from the inspector, prior to buying. As ajw22 mentioned, I think they just ran a vacuum without any care or regard for the equipment, so I've probably got a lot of leaves crammed in my skimmer line. I'm gonna try using a shop vac here in a second, but if that fails then I'll be purchasing a 1.5"-3" drain king tonight.
 

LionBiscuits

Member
Dec 21, 2019
18
Florida
No luck w/ the Shop Vac, unfortunately. It was worth a shot, though!

Just ordered a 1.5"-3" Drain King, it'll be here by Friday. Hopefully that does the trick. :)
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,104
Central California
I think the vac was definitely worth a shot. Start with the least abusive/intrusive method first, and work your way up the list, carefully. As of tomorrow morning your plumbing will be 48 years old! PVC is pretty tough, but that's assuming it was assembled correctly (and that no rodents have been chewing on it, or the ground hasn't shifted enough to torque it). Treat your ol' pipes with care and patience. The last thing you need is to fracture a pipe or fitting or weld under a concrete deck... I don't know what a Drain King is, but I'm assuming there is pressure involved? If so, start low. Work both ends back and forth if that's possible. Finesse over brute force...

Happy New Year everybody! As of a few days ago, the days are getting longer. Can you feel it? The count down is on for pool season 2020! :party:
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,104
Central California
Oh, Drain King, regular pressure from a hose. That shouldn't be to rough. Still, if the clog is tight enough, you'll be pressurizing the pipe, with no outlet. Not sure how that compares to what pressure those pipes are normally under. No matter, Jim's got the right idea, working from both ends...
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,104
Central California
Coincidentally, I just stumbled on this recent post right after I wrote:
and swiped one of it's images. Red arrow points to a cracked fitting, which, of course, happened under the concrete deck, just as I was describing...

close.jpg

Tread lightly...