Multi-prong issues this year...which to tackle first to avoid $$$?

BruceInCola

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 9, 2013
39
Columbia, SC
I am happy to say that I haven't needed to come here for years, thanks to the amazing initial support I received when I first started with my pool. However, this year...oof. Multiple things happening at once, and I have no idea where to start troubleshooting, and if the order matters.

I don't close my pool during the winter here, and this was the first winter where I didn't worry about running the pump a few hours a day or night during winter (extremely mild this year, not sure we even got below 20º and if we did, only for one day) I now wonder if that caused some problems.

Problem 1: pool pump motor is whining...AGAIN. FWIW, this is the 3rd motor I have had to replace in 7 years. That seems excessive, but maybe not.

Problem 2: Water leveler does not seem to be working. When I was running the pump (prior to the motor whining), I noticed that the water level was unusually high, and not lowering to normal like it normally does. The previous owners installed a "auto fill" mechanism, but not sure if that decreases as well as increases water level, and also not sure how to check if it's actually working.

Problem 3: Extremely low pressure from jets. It's never really been high that I can remember, but now it's particularly low. I can't run my Polaris, not enough pressure. When I turn pump on, water churns, basket fills up, pressure in filter rises, just at the pool side...the flow is REALLY low (from jets, to vac, skimmer suction)

Problem 4: Winter of 2018, I foolishly turned my 3 way diverter valve when it was below freezing. CRACK! :( Only the shaft broke, but that never seemed to cause me a problem during last summer's swimming season. I just left it as it was and skimming worked normally. I don't think this issue has to do with the first three, but thought I would mention it. Also unfortunately, the three way valve seems to have been made by Intermatic, who apparently stopped making these more than a decade ago, so I guess I need to replace the entire thing, not just the piece that broke? Ugh! Does that entail cutting PVC?

Here is what I have done so far, trying one thing at a time:
1. My first thought was that there was a blockage somewhere in a line (still could be that). Bought a drain king, put it in the skimmer towards the pump, nada. Put it in the pump basket area to the pool - nada. Unfortunately the pipes from the diverter valve make immediate right angles into the ground so not the best use case scenario for that tool.
2. Thinking the motor whine was possibly causing a problem with pumping, I replaced the shaft seal today. If anything, the whine is worse now. Yay! :p Ordered new motor.
3. Thinking MAYBE the broken shaft in the diverter valve is letting air escape, reducing suction, I ordered a replacement from eBay (hopefully it's the right size). Before that, I unscrewed the top from the valve, and manually moved the "blocking" screen from skimmer, to main drain, and back. Did not seem to make a difference.

I'm just at a loss at this point, and pretty down after paying Leslie's absurd price for a shaft seal kit ($45!!!), and several hours of work later realize it was for nothing (probably bearings I'm thinking, and I am not willing to get into that, plus I don't have the tools).

Any thoughts, help, etc. would be most appreciated. Just a nod in the right direction would be appreciate at this point! :D I feel like I'm being attacked on multiple fronts, and losing. Pool is green for the first time since I have moved in, and that is having a curiously outsized effect on my mood. Never really thought about the pool status "affecting" me, but then again, it's never been in the dire straits it is now!
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
19,405
Northern NJ
You have equipment problems and a green pool problem. Let’s discuss the green pool first.

What test kit do you have? Post the water chemistry from your own tests in the format:

FC
CC
pH
TA
CH
CYA

How do you chlorinate your pool?

What type of pool do you have? Please put it in your signature.

Please read ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry
 

BruceInCola

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 9, 2013
39
Columbia, SC
Thanks, ajw - I have read the water chemistry ABC's many times (years ago), and converted a few people myself since that time (from pool store reliant, to using resources here)! :D I have enough experience and confidence (most of it from extensive reading here over the years) to get my pool sparkling again if it weren't for the equipment issues.

But on to your questions:

I chlorinate with SWG (liquid bleach until the water warms up enough for SWG to kick in). Water temp is now in range to work with SWG (about 74º currently).

I haven't even done the full, pre-open battery of chemical tests I always do yet due to equipment issues (if I can't mix the chemicals well into the water with the pump and filtration, I'm afraid readings might be skewed, if chemicals are not mixed in well).

But, I have measured, and normalized:
Ph (currently in range/normal)
Salt (added the bags needed already - 2 days ago)
FC/CC - kinda...since I have NOT yet done CYA. Have only put in some trichlor and liquid bleach simply to keep the pool from becoming a Superfund site and mosquito attraction. I was waiting to get pumping situation resolved before tackling the whole CYA/FC/CC relationship working. So to answer, it's low, I can tell yo from experience. I normally need to add a considerable amount of Calcium Chloride at this time of year to get it up to normal. However, I will take a current reading in a bit and repost here.
TA haven't tested yet
CH haven't tested yet

I will fill in blanks above and update.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
19,405
Northern NJ
if your pump is running you can get accurate test results.

Your flow issues are likely algae clogging your filter.

Your autofill and diverter problems have nothing to do with your water chemistry.

So I don’t understand posting vague words instead of test results.
 

BruceInCola

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 9, 2013
39
Columbia, SC
if your pump is running you can get accurate test results.

So I don’t understand posting vague words instead of test results.
:(

My pump is not running (horrible screeching), thus my interest in fixing the hardware before the water balance.

I forgot to add that I opened up the filter and washed all the algae out, and replaced w new DE a few days ago. Have not opened it up since then though, and temps reaching mid to upper 80's today.

I have the Taylor K-2006

FC* 6.5 (got this result AFTER testing, getting ZERO, and adding a bottle of liquid bleach, and stirring around a lot, brushing, etc)
CC 7.5
pH 7.5
TA 40
CH 250
CYA 0
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
19,405
Northern NJ
You have to get your pump running. Where do you stand with that?

Add a gallon of liquid chorine every day and stir it into the water until you get the pump running.
 

Rancho Cost-a-Lotta

Silver Supporter
Apr 10, 2018
1,552
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
I noticed that the water level was unusually high, and not lowering to normal like it normally does. The previous owners installed a "auto fill" mechanism,
I think you need to get on this in the event your autofill valve is stuck open. Does your pool have an overflow pipe? It would be somewhere along the tile line at water level. If you've had a great deal of rain, the water level may have reached the overflow pipe and leveled off there. Autofill systems are generally designed to fill. They won't lower the water level to a set-point; evaporation takes care of that. There are different types of systems. Some are built into the skimmer and some are standalone units in the deck. Look for a lid, similar to a skimmer lid, which will contain some type of float valve. Mine uses a toilet float valve.
 

BruceInCola

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 9, 2013
39
Columbia, SC
I think you need to get on this in the event your autofill valve is stuck open. Does your pool have an overflow pipe? It would be somewhere along the tile line at water level. If you've had a great deal of rain, the water level may have reached the overflow pipe and leveled off there. Autofill systems are generally designed to fill. They won't lower the water level to a set-point; evaporation takes care of that. There are different types of systems. Some are built into the skimmer and some are standalone units in the deck. Look for a lid, similar to a skimmer lid, which will contain some type of float valve. Mine uses a toilet float valve.
Yes, we had epic, historic rains within the past few months. Noticed the weird levels after that. Would the pipe be set IN the concrete patio perhaps? There is a small white (maybe 8" diameter?) cover set into the concrete about 1' away from the pool edge. I will unscrew that and look inside. Not sure what I am looking for though.
 

BruceInCola

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 9, 2013
39
Columbia, SC
You have to get your pump running. Where do you stand with that?

Add a gallon of liquid chorine every day and stir it into the water until you get the pump running.
Picking up the new motor tomorrow. I still might try to see if I can fix the existing one and take it apart again tonight to make sure I put everything back correctly when I installed the new shaft seal. If this was the first time I had replaced a shaft seal, I would just assume I messed up since it can be a bit tricky. But I've done it successfully before. Probably bearings as I said (but the motor is only like 2 years old! WTH 3 at most)

Since for now, I have the chlorine levels above normal, would you recommend adding the CYA so as not to lose the chlorine levels I have now, so quickly?
 

Rancho Cost-a-Lotta

Silver Supporter
Apr 10, 2018
1,552
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Would the pipe be set IN the concrete patio perhaps? There is a small white (maybe 8" diameter?) cover set into the concrete about 1' away from the pool edge. I will unscrew that and look inside.
Yeah...I think you found it. There should be water in the well and something that looks like a toilet valve or float. If you put your ear down near the well and the valve is stuck open, you should be able to hear running water (like a toilet filling). If you search around your pool or exterior home plumbing, you will probably find a shut-off valve for the autofill. Post pics if you need help.