Gluing PVC below water level

DencoPaul

Well-known member
May 10, 2012
49
North DFW, TX
So finally got all my parts in and am reconfiguring my pad with a new filter after February Texas Freeze.

Because of broken piping, I had to cut my 2" return pipe below the water level. I waited for the water to level out and was able to glue on a coupling since my PVC primer and cement would go on the outside of the pipe. All good, except minutes after I glued that coupling, the wind picked up and a heavy rain downpour started. The rain did not last long but the high winds blowing across the pool rocked the water in the pool enough to allow the pool water to refill up to the top of the newly attached coupling. I have tried everything to get the water to a level below the part of the coupling I need to glue but to no avail. So I need to figure out how to get the new pipe glued to the coupling. Man, had I just had 10 more minutes before the storm, I would have had the new foot long PVC attached to the coupling, well above the waterline. 😖

Yes, I could go rent a sump pump and pump out enough water to bring it down below the level of the returns in the pool but I was hoping I could figure out a solution without spending $50 plus dumping probably another 2-3k gallons of water. I know there is that rain or shine PVC cement from Oatey but I don't know how well that really works (it would have to actually glue UNDER water, not just a damp fitting) and I would rather do a proper dry cementing of the pipe. If I got everything put back together and that "wet" fitting had a leak, it would require cutting out all the work and starting over (with the same problem and even more water to pump out). Don't want to risk that.

Then I had an epiphany but I wanted to run it past some of the experts around here for guidance before I attempted it. I certainly do not want to create a bigger problem than I already have. I have a Drain King that I used to blow out a slow washing machine drain pipe. I'm sure many of you have used these or are at least familiar with the concept. You attach it onto a garden hose, drop it down the pipe as close to the clog as possible, and turn on the water. The rubber bladder inflates to seal the pipe and not allow water to come back up the pipe, creating pressure to blow out the clog.

Obviously, I don't have a clog, but the Drain King will still seal the pipe and basically just blow the water back into the pool returns. No big deal as long as the pressure from it would not potentially damage the underground plumbing. I don't think so, as it has never damaged any other PVC pipes I have used it on (washer drain and roof vent stacks), but I would rather ask and not be sorry. So my plan was to feed the Drain King and garden hose through the piece of new PVC that I want to cement into the coupling and then feed it into the return line, and turn on the water. By theory, this would seal up the pipe from water leveling itself at the top of the coupling, allow me to take a towel and soak up the remaining water to below the coupling, completely dry off where I need to apply PVC cement, and make my connection. I would then give it a good 10 minutes (or whatever is recommended) for the cement to set, shut off the water and remove the Drain King and garden hose from the pipe. It would mean a total of about 15 minutes running the drain king in the pipe.

Has anyone ever done this? Does it sound like a good option or is there something I am not thinking about that might risk damage?

Thanks in advance for any help.
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
6,833
NY
I LOVE the theory. But a return plug would be even easier. If you have the standard eyeball fittings in the return you unscrew it and screw in the plug. The water level stays where it is and if the pipe doesn’t fully drain itself you can shop vac the first few feet so it’s dry on your end.
 
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JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
23,901
Get a ball of bread and jam it in the pipe to block the water and then remove the water above the bread. The bread will get soggy and fall apart after about 10 minutes.
 

DencoPaul

Well-known member
May 10, 2012
49
North DFW, TX
Newdude: I have the eyeball fittings but I have never removed the outside part, so not sure how easily they come off or what is underneath. The pool is pretty green right now, so I would be working on those "blind." I also have five returns that would need to be plugged. And at $5 each and waiting on Amazon to get them here (could possibly find them local but for more money and more chasing around) and wanting to get this done today or tomorrow at the latest, I would rather go a different route. I put a plug similar to your other link in my skimmer bottom before I cut the pipe, as I knew I was cutting below skimmer level (my floor drain was closed off long before I ever owned the pool), but the water kept dropping even after I closed the skimmer off (ended up settling about three inches below the skimmer bottom). That is why I am pretty certain the "leveling" is happening at the return level. Although interestingly, the water in the pool has stopped dropping about two inches above the highest return eyeball. I would have thought it would have gotten even with the level of the highest eyeball before stopping but what do I know. :cool:

JamesW: Interesting. I like that idea if it works. My first fear was some of the bread getting stuck in the return line, but I imagine when it gets soggy and breaks apart it will float back up? I think I will give it a try. Assuming just white sandwich bread mushed together into a ball? If so, certainly cheap at $1 per loaf of house brand stuff.

Thanks for all the input. I think I will try the bread first. If you don't think using the drain king will damage anything, that will be the second plan. And if neither works, I will just go rent or borrow a sump pump and do that. I want to do it right but I also want to do it NOW! I am tired of the green pool, this project has taken far too long waiting for stuff to be back in stock and then having FOUR wrong or missing part filters delivered and returned before finally getting it right (a crazy story for another time and thread!). It is warming up. I am ready to glue pipe, SLAM, and swim!!!
 
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mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Get a ball of bread and jam it in the pipe to block the water and then remove the water above the bread. The bread will get soggy and fall apart after about 10 minutes.
Don't forget the Jam.. you need that for lubrication... ;)

Take the fittings rings off your eyeballs and cover the holes with plastic wrap.. the put the fitting back on. (like a mason jar thing (another Jam reference)) or get cheap corks at the HW store. I have a drawer of them from my wine drinking days.. that was yesterday.
 
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DencoPaul

Well-known member
May 10, 2012
49
North DFW, TX
Ha, McG...

The funny thing about the "jam" and bread is that I rarely buy white sandwich bread any longer. Not that any bread is necessarily good for you, but the white bleached stuff is the worst. BUT, I still hanker from time to time for a PBJ (creamy peanut butter, prefer skippy, and Bama grape jelly). But I only want PBJ on the white sandwich bread. I usually do a good rye, sourdough, or multi-grain for grilled sandwiches or burgers. So using the white bread for this project will allow me to hold back a few pieces and treat myself to a proper PBJ sandwich tonight after I finish fixing the pool!!! LOL

And I am a beer or vodka guy, so no corks around here. I do drink a red Malbec occasionally for the health benefits but lately, the brands I have bought have the screw top. I'm sure I would be booted out of the "wine club" for drinking screw-top wine. At least I know better than to drink box wine!!!
 
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Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
6,833
NY
Hey Denco, Just taking another crack at my suggestion and I’ll root for you however you proceed. Any hardware store should have the rubber stoppers in stock. You could take one eyeball with you and get a plug small enough to plug just the eyeball without having to remove the other ones. The plugs would probably come in handy down the road on a new project eventually.

Don’t get me wrong though, I absolutely love unconventional wisdom and the bread route sure fits the bill. :) But the weight of your upper pool water may give you a facefull of mush.

Cheers !! :cheers:
 

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DencoPaul

Well-known member
May 10, 2012
49
North DFW, TX
Hey James (and Newdude)...

Thanks again for the input. Sorry just getting back to answer, but there were some unrelated snafus that slowed my roll a bit. Long story short, it took me five tries (three before I posted my question) before I finally got the correct filter and could proceed. The first time, missing the valve. Returned. The second and third time, I was sent a filter with the 1.5" valve and not the 2" I had ordered. Returned, twice. The fourth time, got the correct 2" model of filter but the base was missing. Finally, the online pool store just shipped me the base rather than a whole new filter. Geez, a three-week ordeal to get it right!!! All the while, the pool was getting greener and greener...

Once that was behind me, I went with the "ball of bread" trick and it worked like a charm. Highly recommend it to anyone with my same dilemma. Upon start-up, the flow was good in all of the returns, no clogs from the bread, as all of it floated to the top of the water, and/or ended up in the skimmer basket. Yay!

Got that connection cemented and then spend a good part of the day rebuilding the pad. After all the trouble getting the part, I was pleased that every connection was sound and not a single drip upon start-up. It was last Friday evening that I fired up the pool and started the SLAM. Thank goodness for the cool weather and many days of cloudy skies during the month plus that the pool was down because within 12 hours, almost all of the green was gone. Within 24 hours, all the green was gone. By 60 hours, I could actually see the bottom of the pool again!!! Still cloudy water from all the dead algae but getting better by the day.

I expect several more days of the slam, as I am still getting an overnight drop in chlorine exceeding 1 PPM. But well on my way to things being back to normal. At 7 am this morning the overnight drop was barely above 1 PPM. That was at the 84-hour mark. I expect by tomorrow or Thursday, I can call the SLAM a success and let the FC drop back to the 4-5 PPM I try to keep it at (shocked to 18 during the SLAM). My CYA was at 30 when I started and because of the hot Texas summers and no shade on my pool, I generally keep it around 50. But because of an overabundance of cloudy skies the past few days and more expected through this weekend, I did not worry about raising the CYA to 50 before slamming. Once I am done with getting the water balanced after the SLAM (and big rain coming the next few days), I will gradually get my CYA pushed back to 50ish.

So, interesting tidbit, I have only had to backwash the new filter once (other than when I initially backwashed the new sand before starting the SLAM). I upsized from the previous 24" sand filter to a 27" sand filter, so that may make a difference. But I also went with the HTH filter sand instead of the Quikcrete filter sand that I had been using previously before reading the informative thread about all filter sand not being equal. I will probably have to backwash a second time tonight or tomorrow, but this is amazing. Not sure if the sand or the filter, but the little bit of extra money I spent on the new equipment seems to be paying dividends already. I expected to be backwashing twice a day during the first few days.

Thanks again for all of your guys' help! Next stop, figure out which robot cleaner to purchase!
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
6,833
NY
^^^^^. So much Yay in all of that. Soooooo much. Keep us posted and we’re here if you need us !!!
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Once that was behind me, I went with the "ball of bread" trick and it worked like a charm. Highly recommend it to anyone with my same dilemma. Upon start-up, the flow was good in all of the returns, no clogs from the bread, as all of it floated to the top of the water, and/or ended up in the skimmer basket. Yay!
Maybe we should put this in a wiki article!

Start here for robots. Call Marina Pools talk to Margaret.. get an S200 or whatever the equivalent is these days.