Help - first time doing this ourselves

Reebee

Bronze Supporter
Apr 12, 2016
43
Columbia, MD
Hi - we were planning to do a pool renovation this spring, but timing got delayed till the fall. We've always paid to have someone open & close the pool for us, but at this late date we won't be able to get on anyone's schedule and after reading the Pool Openings post are planning to do it ourselves this year.

We have a Pentair FNS Plus Vertical Grid D.E. Filter. We found 3 plugs in the pump basket, and found were able to install the 2 smaller ones in the pump, but don't have any idea where the third one goes, it is slightly larger than the other 2. Any ideas where to look?

Also, there looks to be antifreeze in the bottom of the filter tank. I assume we have to somehow drain that out before inserting the filter and starting up? I am completely clueless as to how to drain that as well.

Would love some help, we are trying to get this done today as it is the first day without rain in a week, and it is going to rain again tomorrow. Thanks in advance!
 

Reebee

Bronze Supporter
Apr 12, 2016
43
Columbia, MD
We did but don't see anywhere that would go. The filter manual I have shows a drain plug at the bottom, which we can feel with our hands and it is still in place - but it is much larger - 1.5". This is smaller.
plug.jpg
ETA: FOUND IT - goes on the booster pump for the polaris!

Should I remove the larger drain plug at the bottom of the filter tank in order to drain out whatever is in the bottom of it? I think perhaps antifreeze?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
39,882
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Antifreeze has been known to confuse water test results in the past. Though you most likely have a small amount.

I personally would open the drain and get rid of it. I would assume it is RV antifreeze, so non-toxic.

Take care.
 

Reebee

Bronze Supporter
Apr 12, 2016
43
Columbia, MD
Thanks! We couldn't get the bottom drain opened, so we used a plastic cup to scoop out as much as we could. I'm glad it won't be toxic!

The filter is running, but a couple questions remain, I apologize that I have no clue about the plumbing or pool parts, so please excuse my ignorance and what are probably very stupid questions:

1 - We have 2 valves near the pool equipment (one before the pump and one after the filter & salt cell), I assume these should just not be in the "off" position, but not sure if there was a specific way they were supposed to be turned (left? right? 180 degrees?). Skimmers and returns seem to be working at the moment, so I think we are ok as long as they aren't "off"?

2 - There is some bubbling coming up from the center of the pool (is there a return on the floor?) and also from the return at the stairs, and the water in the pump basket appears to be sloshing around which I don't recall seeing in the past. How do I troubleshoot or fix?

3 - there were plastic tube-like things with little arrows on top that got screwed in under the skimmer baskets, I think they control flow. Not sure which way the arrows are supposed to point, but we basically screwed them in and pointed the arrows away from the pool. Is that correct? Skimmers don't seem to be as effective as they have been in the past, as it seems our old Loop Loc cover was disintegrating into the pool all winter and we now have a proliferation tiny green threads floating on the surface of the pool that would normally have made their way into a skimmer sock by now. Maybe the water is a little too high to skim effectively due to all the rain?

4 - We need to manually vacuum, but not 100% sure how to do this. I'd like to vacuum to waste rather than to the filter if possible, I have a Pentair DE filter with a push-pull valve that I use when I backwash, if I pull that lever up will it divert the gunk to the backwash hose rather than to the filter? Also, in terms of operating the vacuum, I believe I plug up one skimmer, turn the arrow thing under the other skimmer to 9:00, and put the vacuum hose in it. Does that sound right?

5 - Polaris is crawling at a snails pace and taking extended pauses, is there a secret to get that guy moving or is he just old and tired?

Water is still cloudy, I added what I could last night (didn't have everything I needed) and retested this morning: FC 1, CC 1, pH 7.2, TA 90, CH 160, CYA didn't register (so <30), salt 2800 (higher than expected given the amount drained at closing). I'm in the process of adding 6 lbs of stabilizer (all I had) and put a stick in each skimmer to try to get CYA up, but I know I will need more. We will work on CH today after a trip to the store for product. Definitely need to SLAM, there was a nasty dead frog in one of the skimmers - don't know how long he'd been in there but from the smell it was a while- yuck! I also ordered some boric acid, so plan to try that this year to see if it helps with pH once the SWG is turned on.

Anything I'm missing?

Thanks so much for the help! It wasn't nearly as bad as I imagined, but then again, I'm not sure we've successfully "opened" just yet :)
 

Murray16

Gold Supporter
Silver Supporter
Mar 30, 2016
42
Baltimore, MD
Some pictures of your plumbing and skimmer things with arrows would help. There are lots of knowledgeable people here that can chime in and get you going.

I had trouble with my polaris when I first turned it on because I had a valve turned wrong and water was being forced back toward the booster pump at the same time the booster pump is trying to push water towards the polaris. Once I figured that out, it worked great.
 

Reebee

Bronze Supporter
Apr 12, 2016
43
Columbia, MD
Some pictures of your plumbing and skimmer things with arrows would help. There are lots of knowledgeable people here that can chime in and get you going.

I had trouble with my polaris when I first turned it on because I had a valve turned wrong and water was being forced back toward the booster pump at the same time the booster pump is trying to push water towards the polaris. Once I figured that out, it worked great.

Uh that could definitely be the problem since I was winging it with the valves! I'll try to take a picture when I'm home later. Thanks!
 

Reebee

Bronze Supporter
Apr 12, 2016
43
Columbia, MD
OK, my water is clear! However there is a layer of crud on the bottom of the pool and the Polaris just isn't doing anything. So I have 2 questions -

1 - Are my valves in the right position here? Wondering if I set something up incorrectly that is causing the Polaris to not work properly:
Pool equipment.jpg

2 - Can I manually vacuum directly to waste (and avoid gunking up the filter) with this set up? I have a Pentair DE filter with a push-pull valve that I use when I backwash, if I pull that lever up will it divert the gunk to the backwash hose rather than to the filter? I just added a bunch of stabilizer, so I'd prefer not to backwash it all away, but I do need to vacuum since Polaris isn't doing anything. My recollection is that to vacuum I plug up one skimmer, and put the vacuum hose in the other skimmer with the diverter arrow thing turned to 9:00. Does that sound right?
filter.jpg

Thanks!
 

Reebee

Bronze Supporter
Apr 12, 2016
43
Columbia, MD
Any advice before I attempt to vacuum? I guess I'll end up backwashing again after vacuum and will have to add more stabilizer and DE? I wish I could get the Polaris working, but maybe it is just old and no longer effective?
 

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Murray16

Gold Supporter
Silver Supporter
Mar 30, 2016
42
Baltimore, MD
If your DE filter is like mine with the push/pull, pulling it up backwashes and cleans out the filter, there is no way to bypass the filter and go to waste. I would suggest just vacumming to the filter and then backwashing it afterwards. Hopefully the pressure won't go up too high while you're vacuuming.

The Polaris looks properly plumbed and if it worked good last year there may be an issue with it. Is the small metal screen filter on the hose at the pool fitting clean? Maybe look up the manual on line if you don't have it and make sure the drive wheel has the proper rpm's which indicates the proper flow. There are restrictor plates that go into the fitting at the pool that you may need to change, or don't have. The manual will go over this.
 

Reebee

Bronze Supporter
Apr 12, 2016
43
Columbia, MD
Thanks, that is what we did. I was hoping to avoid backwashing as I've been adding stabilizer over the past week but it had to be done. The Polaris hose filter is clean, but I think the hose needs to be replaced, so that could be the problem.

On a side note, after vacuuming the pool floor was clean. After backwashing and turning the filter back on there was a ring of debris around each of the floor return, as if blew back out from the filter onto the pool floor somehow. The filter looked fine when we opened, no visible tears that I saw. Any ideas on how the gunk is getting back into the pool?
 

Murray16

Gold Supporter
Silver Supporter
Mar 30, 2016
42
Baltimore, MD
If you don't want to backwash and don't mind taking the filter apart, you can take it apart and take the filter grid out and hose it off in the driveway or yard. I do this at the end of every year anyway and use hair nets over the skimmer baskets all year and don't have to backwash all year because my pressure never goes up. You'd be shocked at how much the hair nets catch.

As for the debris at the returns, I get that every now and then and just vacuum it up, it doesn't do it all the time and I'm not sure why it doesn't as my filter doesn't have any torn elements and the o-ring where I pull the grid off is there and in good shape.

Does the polaris hose have leaks? All the swivels work and the floats are good? If you get a new one make sure to follow the manual to make sure it's the right length. The first couple months I had mine I hadn't trimmed the hose and it was too long. After following the manual on the correct length of the hose it worked much better.
 
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