Help Troubleshooting Waterfall Not Working

jason92s

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
57
Sacramento
Hi, we have a waterfall in our pool that runs off a Hayward Flow Max II pump. Tried to turn the waterfall on today and nothing. Went out there to check the pump, and it had just about 2 inches of water in it. The pump was on and it sounded like it was running. I could see just a little water movement in the window. Turned everything off and stuck a hose in there, ran it for 30 minutes. Not sure if it should have filled up, but it didn't. Put the cover back on, started it, could see a little water movement and then it just dropped down to 1-2" of water. Pool is almost 3 years old. Any suggestions on what I can check?

Thanks.
 

JasonLion

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May 7, 2007
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Silver Spring, MD
How high above the water level is the pump? If it is well above water level it might just take a couple of tries. If it is within one foot of the water level then something is wrong. Check for anything that would obstruct water flow. Winterizing plugs are one obvious possibility, though too much debris blocking the inlets or in the pump strainer basket could easily do it as well.
 

jason92s

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
57
Sacramento
JasonLion said:
How high above the water level is the pump? If it is well above water level it might just take a couple of tries. If it is within one foot of the water level then something is wrong. Check for anything that would obstruct water flow. Winterizing plugs are one obvious possibility, though too much debris blocking the inlets or in the pump strainer basket could easily do it as well.
It's definitely within a foot. The inlets looked pretty good and I cleaned the pump strainer basket. Dumb question, but where does the water go that you put in the pump basket area? And does it matter which way i fed the water through? I just thought about it, and I fed the hose through the side that has the hole in the basket, so I'm assuming that's the incoming water. Thank you.

Also, if it helps any, there are two round inlets at the bottom of the deep end, about 4 feet apart. And there's one on the wall of the deep end, about midway up the wall. I brushed all 3 and didn't see any debris.

I saw two (what I think are) winterizing plugs on the bottom of the pump. Both were secure.
 

JasonLion

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Water the goes into the pipe attached to the pump strainer basket flows back into the pool. Since the pool is lower than the pump and the pipe is open to the air it will never fill with water. You want to fill the basket up to the bottom of that pipe, close the lid to seal the system, and the water in the basket being moved along by the pump will create a vacuum that will draw water up from the pool.
 

Bama Rambler

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Jun 22, 2009
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Is this the first time this year you've tried to run it?

Check the drain plugs on the pump. If they're leaking a little the pump won't prime.
Also the o-ring on the pump basket lid.
 

jason92s

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
57
Sacramento
Bama Rambler said:
Is this the first time this year you've tried to run it?

Check the drain plugs on the pump. If they're leaking a little the pump won't prime.
Also the o-ring on the pump basket lid.
Yeah, first time. Drain plugs both appear to be solid, no leaks. I checked the o-ring and it's tucked pretty far in the top of the lid (like the one on the filter side) so I think it's good too. I called the builder and Hayward for ideas, but had to leave messages. Kinda frustrating since nothing is real obvious.
 

Bama Rambler

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If you can reach the suction port in the pool you may be able to run water from a hose into it to fill the piping and the pump and try and prime it that way.
 

jason92s

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
57
Sacramento
Ok, pool company came out to look at it. They said it was clogged with dog hair (we've had dogs for 3 weeks). They didn't fix it, but said we need to either hire someone to take the pump apart and clean it or do it ourselves. I called them back for more info but it will probably be a week before they call me back. Questions:

1) How can this be prevented in the future if it happened so soon after getting the dogs? Their kennel is nowhere near the pool, and they don't swim in the pool. I never see any hair floating in the pool either.

2) How difficult is it to take the pump apart for cleaning? Am I better off just paying someone to do it?

Thanks!

UPDATE: I found this link to the online manual. It suggests checking the impeller for debris. Seems pretty straightforward.

http://www.hayward-pool.com/pdf/manuals/Manual277.pdf
 

Bama Rambler

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Taking the pump apart isn't hard at all. You should be able to do it without too much trouble. Be sure to lube the casing seal good when putting it back together.

If the dogs don't swim in the pool, I highly doubt it's a dog hair clog. They probably saw the dogs and figured that'd be an easy explanation.
 

jason92s

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
57
Sacramento
Bama Rambler said:
Taking the pump apart isn't hard at all. You should be able to do it without too much trouble. Be sure to lube the casing seal good when putting it back together.

If the dogs don't swim in the pool, I highly doubt it's a dog hair clog. They probably saw the dogs and figured that'd be an easy explanation.
Thanks, that's what I was thinking too. Just didn't add up because the dogs avoid the water.

As for taking it apart, do I need to disconnect any of the piping going into it or just start tearing it down with the piping attached?

Thank you.
 

jason92s

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
57
Sacramento
Got home and took the pump apart. First thing I noticed is there was one single hair by the impeller, nothing more. Impeller moves freely. Even briefly turned power on to confirm the impeller is moving, which it is. So we're now back to square one. Called the pool company and they'll get back to me on the next steps.
 

jason92s

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
57
Sacramento
Things are taking a new twist. The pool company called and said they wanted me to call an outside service company at my expense to diagnose the problem. They said they were too busy to come out because it's the pool building season. I just looked over the warranty and it appears I have no choice but to take care of the repairs at my own expense as the builder's warranty only lasts a year. Just seems to be a plumbing issue should have a longer warranty I guess.
 

jason92s

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
57
Sacramento
Ok, here are two pics of my equipment. My skimmer/cleaner pump works fine.

So, to recap, here's what I've done on the waterfall side:

1) removed pump and checked for debris. No debris. Impeller spins freely and spins when powered on.
2) stuck a water hose in the waterfall pump and aimed it toward the side labeled "water to waterfall". I think that's the correct flow

I'm really at a loss on what else to try.



 

Bama Rambler

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You have the label "water to waterfall" wrong. That pipe is the water from the pool to the waterfall pump.
Do you know where it feeds from in the pool?

The two pipes at the 3-way valve labeled "Not sure what these are" are the feed to the waterfall and something else. The waterfall is probably the one on the left. Do you have any other water features?
 

jason92s

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
57
Sacramento
Bama Rambler said:
You have the label "water to waterfall" wrong. That pipe is the water from the pool to the waterfall pump.
Do you know where it feeds from in the pool?

The two pipes at the 3-way valve labeled "Not sure what these are" are the feed to the waterfall and something else. The waterfall is probably the one on the left. Do you have any other water features?
Thanks, that explains why when I ran the hose in there nothing came out of the waterfall :-D

In the pool, I have 4 round grates, two on the bottom of the deep end and two on the side wall of the deep end. I was thinking maybe it was those.

I don't have any other water features.

Thank you.
 

Bama Rambler

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Run the water hose back in the pipe you did before and see if there's water coming out in the pool anywhere. One of the wall grates would be a prime candidate.

Then fill the pump basket up as much as you can (it shouldn't fill up) and put the lid back on it. Then run the pump and see if it primes. If it does, switch the valves on the "not sure" lines one way and then the other. One way should be the waterfall and the other should come back out in the pool.
 

jason92s

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
57
Sacramento
Bama Rambler said:
Run the water hose back in the pipe you did before and see if there's water coming out in the pool anywhere. One of the wall grates would be a prime candidate.

Then fill the pump basket up as much as you can (it shouldn't fill up) and put the lid back on it. Then run the pump and see if it primes. If it does, switch the valves on the "not sure" lines one way and then the other. One way should be the waterfall and the other should come back out in the pool.
Ok, will do. This may be a very dumb question, but would putting any type of dye in the water I'm running back in to see if it does come out have any benefit or am I just asking for problems?