Inground pool skimmer will not siphon. Drain does

speandme

Member
Sep 25, 2019
7
Cecil county Maryland
Hello all, I am sorry if this topic has been covered, but I am new to this forum and I couldn't find quite the same issue that I am having. Some of you are going to laugh at the amount of money and time I spent trying to figure this out.
I have an inground pool that is driving me crazy. It has one skimmer with a single suction line and a single suction line to the main drain. I can not get the thing to siphon from the skimmer at all. The main drain works 100% fine. as soon as I turn the valve to the skimmer it sucks all the water from the pump and will not draw a prime.

Things I have done or replaced.
1. new pump (first thing I thought it could be 700 bucks later it wasn't).
2. checked suction lines with soapy water. Found nothing.
3. replace diversion valve (it was old and the handle was broken so it needed replaced anyway) nothing.
4. cut off plumbing at the diversion valve and blew the line completely out with 35 pounds of pressure and pressure tested the line. I used air to do this, not sure if that would be the same as using water but it was all I had to do it. I rigged up a cap with a gauge on it and a nipple to pressurize it, and I put a plug in the skimmer. Ran the pressure up to 12 PSI and left it for a week. It did not lose one bit of pressure. The day I was taking the pressure off I ran the pressure up to about 25 and left it for a bit just for grins and giggles. It held.
5. blew out the line one more time and installed all new above ground plumbing including another new diversion valve.

Got it all back together and it did the exact same thing. The main drain worked flawless but my skimmer would not draw water at all. Someone please help me! I am fairly hands on but this issue really has me stumped to the point that I am ready to fill it in and have an above ground put in.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,722
Bedford, TX
S,

Sounds to me like the line going between the Skimmer and the pump is blocked. Testing with air only proves it is not open, it does not prove the line is not blocked..

If this were my pool, I would use a Drain King and force water from the pump toward the skimmer and makes sure I had water flowing out the skimmer... If you think the flow is not 100%, I would switch the drain king back and forth between the skimmer and pump, in an effort to break any clog up.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
1,635
Morris Cnty NJ
Did you blow the line back to skimmer with air and see the bubbles come out? If that line is open your diverter valve has bad guts or something fishy inside it
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,722
Bedford, TX
S,

If the pump works fine when running off the main drain, and quickly runs out of water when running from the skimmer, then obviously water is not making it from the skimmer to the pump. So, what could cause that??

1. The Line is blocked, not necessarily all the way. The pump needs a lot of flow, an air pressure test only needs a little opening...
2. The line has collapsed.. (sucked shut) A pressure test would not find this..
3. Something below the skimmer basket is blocking the pipe, like a bad floating diverter..
4. Skimmer weir door stuck up... But this normally cycles between goof flow and no flow.
5. A large opening in the pipe, but you have eliminated this one with your pressure tests.
6. A bad valve that opens and closes the suction line.. But, you already replaced it???

I can't think of anything else,

How about a few pic of your equipment pad showing your valves and set up, as well as a pic of the bottom of your skimmer with the basket removed.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

speandme

Member
Sep 25, 2019
7
Cecil county Maryland
I will add some pictures when I get home this evening if its not too late. I feel like I am missing something really simple here I just can't figure it out. When I blew the line out any water that was laying in the pipe came blasting out about 15 feet in the air so I really don't think there is a blockage in the line. I did replace the valve twice, thinking maybe the replacement one I got was possible bad too.
 

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
1,635
Morris Cnty NJ
I have seen the valve or handle in the wrong way you could be blocking off that line depending what style valve you have. The other thing is the water shooting 15ft. It usually just gurgles out with air and water mixed. 15ft is alot of pressure the line may be partially blocked and the pump is sucking from drain as the path of least resistance
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
23,717
SouthWest Alabama
I think pictures of the plumbing at the equip pad would help.
Also, is there anything in the bottom of the skimmer covering the hole (i.e. diverter)?