Lines, valves, pump newbie questions

Anthony G612

Member
Jul 6, 2020
5
Melville, NY
Hi everyone,

I'm a brand new homeowner and pool owner. I am hoping you can help me. I've been learning what I can about pools, but I have a long long way to go!

I recently had some algae in the pool and so last night I shocked it at 2x the normal amount and I now have a lot of dead algae I have to get rid of. While I have an older dolphin model (previous homeowner left it behind as well as a manual vacuum), I would like to get the algae up using the manual vacuum.

I've watched some videos on what to do, but more importantly I don't know what all the lines connecting to my pool pump do. I have a Hayward sand filter and a multi port variable pump.

The only line that is labeled is the one with the orange valve that is closed in the pic. I can make out the word "vacuum" on this line. My plan is to open this line and vacuum on "waste" while also filling the pool with water from my hose simultaneously. However, I'd really like to know how to open/close the main drain, as well as the other two skimmer lines (my skimmers don't seem to have much suction as well).

There is the black valve that has three lines going into it, and there is the orange valve on the line going directly into the pump...it's been open since I opened the pool.

Any thoughts or comments on identifying this would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
 

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Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Welcome! :wave: Wow, it took me a few minutes to try and figure out my coordinates on your set-up. :crazy: That pump was turned around and threw me off. So, you have the 3-branch lines going into the pump (suction side).. The center line is open (orange handle) which I’m assuming is at least one skimmer and perhaps a main drain or spa if you have one. However the line with the black 3-way valve is partially open which could also be for a skimmer, main drain, or something else. The top branch with the closed orange valve may be a dedicated vacuum line which is why it’s closed.

What you will have to do is simply play with each line/valve one at a time while watching the prime at the pump and to see what happens at the pool. Sometimes a 2-person job. Keep in mind with 2 skimmers, they could each have their own dedicated PVC line, or the skimmer farthest away my be plumbed into the closer skimmer. Or …. The main drain could be plumbed into the closest skimmer. If the skimmer closest to the equipment pad has two holes in the bottom, it could be sharing suction to that other skimmer or drain. Also check around the pool walls for any other ports that could be suction.

As for the algae, you’ll find here at TFP we follow the SLAM Process. For that, you must have a proper test kit, either a TF-100 or Taylor K-2006C. See Test Kits Compared. In any case, don't forget to update your signature once you get it all figured out and let us know if you have any other questions. Have a nice weekend. :swim:
 

Anthony G612

Member
Jul 6, 2020
5
Melville, NY
Thank you so much for the reply. Just a few questions.

When you say, "What you will have to do is simply play with each line/valve one at a time while watching the prime." My pump is currently at either 2500 or 2000 depending on the time of day (or it is off as well). What exactly should I be checking for with regards to the pump and the skimmers / main valve)

For the black three way valve, it is partially opened. In what position would it need to be in to tell that it is fully open. I also can't tell the front from the back.

Thank you for the warm welcome. I will get my signature updated shortly:)
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
What exactly should I be checking for with regards to the pump and the skimmers / main valve)
By that I mean when you do adjust suction valves, make sure to monitor the pump to ensure you don't accidently cut-off water flow (prime) to the pump.

For the black three way valve, it is partially opened. In what position would it need to be in to tell that it is fully open. I also can't tell the front from the back.
That looks like a Pentair 3-way valve. The front duckbill looking end with the tab should be OFF. So with it cracked slightly open to the right, it's letting water in from the other two pipes. If you were to turn it slightly to the left (counterclockwise), with the tab perfectly inline with that single pipe, I suspect it would completely shut-off water flow to the single pipe. Conversely, if you turn the tab more to the right, you can close-off the line to the right, or go the other way and close off water to the left pipe.
 

Anthony G612

Member
Jul 6, 2020
5
Melville, NY
Thank you, that makes sense. As I shut each of the lines off, what should I be looking for to identify which controls what?

Also, I suspect if I turned the off position into what would be the only empty slot, then all three lines would be fully open. I don't know what a spa line is, but I think these 3 lines are my are the two skimmers and a main drain (although I have these single pipe with an orange line open). The vacuum line is the one already with the orange valve closed. Just to confirm, these lines don't control the return jets right?

Thanks again
 

Anthony G612

Member
Jul 6, 2020
5
Melville, NY
I'm also going to post this which the previous homeowner sent me. We started talking but got cut short (he may have been frustrated with my questions). This may help as well

"Hi. 1 valve for the main drain which is at the bottom of the deep end of the pool. One the return from two skimmers and it has the top round valve to open and close each line. the third valve is for the suction line which is for attaching the vacuum and it is located in the pool wall That's facing the pool equipment."
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
You basically have it correct. They control all the suction lines - not return jets. The previous owner's comments confirm it. We already knew the line with the closed orange valve is the vacuum. The other orange valve must go to the drain in the deep end. It can stay partially open or closed, doesn't matter too much. The 3-way (black) valve must control each skimmer line. So that should do it.

Generally we recommend owners focus on skimmer suction as that helps to catch debris and pull it into the skimmers. The drain may come in handy of there is a lot of dirt settled and you want to sweep it to the drain. But you have options.
 

Anthony G612

Member
Jul 6, 2020
5
Melville, NY
Ok great. Thank you. If that orange open line is the main drain, then right now it is fully open. Should I close it partially? I also just cleaned the pump basket but didn't close that open orange line. I think that is something I read at one point to do, but I got impatient.Is this true?

Finally, for the three way line, if that controls the skimmers, I only have two skimmers so I'm just a little confused.

Thank you again. I've been trying to get some answers from local pool companies but they haven't been as helpful as you.
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
You can open or close the drain as you prefer. You do that based on how much suction you want from either skimmer since they are competing for the same suction. Like I said earlier, most tend to focus more suction at the skimmers, but you can do as you wish. For the pump basket cleaning (under the clear lid), you do want to close-off that line so that water doesn't shift. For the 3-way valve, it seems that it controls suction to both skimmers that each seems to have its own separate plumbing line. That's a good thing. So you can have more suction at one end of the pool or another. You might determine that based on which way the wind blows in your backyard. If the wind usually blows towards one skimmer, let that one do most of the suctioning. Or, you can keep it 50/50. Just experiment and watch the water over a few days.