My skimmer, pipes...What happened during that way below freezing when skimmer got no water?

Hachu

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Aug 11, 2020
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Dallas, TX
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Hi,

I'm trying to to figure out or pictured what is going on inside my skimmer and pipes during the freeze spells.

Situation...
2am single digit temperature and high wind
Power shut off and then came on right away at 2am (rolling blackouts started) that is how I found out about the skimmer Is blocked with ice.
Rolling blackouts
Near skimmer weir door got blocked with ice
No water getting into near skimmer (not sure how long this was happenening)
Removed ice. Water fill up skimmer
Power came on, pump tried running because I saw sheer descent trying to get water going and spa water movingq. It stopped quickly maybe less than 30 and never started again (everything was quiet).
Panic mode- shut off circuit breaker.
Saw pump still has full water in it.
Drained pump, filter, heater
Back to sleep...actually got on TFP and then start googling evrything and really never sleep.

Is the water coming into the skimmer goes straight to the pumped first?
What do you think is going inside that near skimmer?
Do you think my pipe had froze when the skimmer is?
Will it burst when temperature warms up?
Do you think the pump is ok?

Thank you

Sorry so long 😁
 
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HermanTX

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May 20, 2020
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Katy TX
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Is the water coming into the skimmer goes straight to the pumped first?
Do you have only 1 skimmer? Do you have a bottom main drain? Skimmers are plumbed directly to the suction side of the pump. if you have 2 skimmers they can be either tied in series (so 1 pipe going to pump with 2 skimmer lines tee'd together) or they can be independent lines for each skimmer back to the equipment pad and controlled by a valve. A main drain line is usually plumbed independently back to the equipment pad (although it can also be tied to a skimmer line). So maybe some more info is needed but regardless a skimmer should be a direct suction to the pump.

What do you think is going inside that near skimmer?
If you only had 1 skimmer line open to the pump suction, an ice block would reduce flow to the pump and cause the pump to cavitate (i.e. suck air because all available water was sucked up and skimmer door blocked additional water to enter. So shutting pump off was good idea but you also state that you saw water in pump basket. So in reference to first point, do you have additional suction from either a second skimmer or a main drain?

Do you think my pipe had froze when the skimmer is?
Will it burst when temperature warms up?
Do you think the pump is ok?
It is difficult to say unless you see physical damage in your skimmer such as a crack. Since everything is drained, best to wait for warmer weather and investigate further. Can you see any physical damage to exposed pipes at the equipment pad?
 

Hachu

Bronze Supporter
Aug 11, 2020
86
Dallas, TX
Pool Size
10750
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Do you have only 1 skimmer? Do you have a bottom main drain? Skimmers are plumbed directly to the suction side of the pump. if you have 2 skimmers they can be either tied in series (so 1 pipe going to pump with 2 skimmer lines tee'd together) or they can be independent lines for each skimmer back to the equipment pad and controlled by a valve. A main drain line is usually plumbed independently back to the equipment pad (although it can also be tied to a skimmer line). So maybe some more info is needed but regardless a skimmer should be a direct suction to the pump.


If you only had 1 skimmer line open to the pump suction, an ice block would reduce flow to the pump and cause the pump to cavitate (i.e. suck air because all available water was sucked up and skimmer door blocked additional water to enter. So shutting pump off was good idea but you also state that you saw water in pump basket. So in reference to first point, do you have additional suction from either a second skimmer or a main drain?


It is difficult to say unless you see physical damage in your skimmer such as a crack. Since everything is drained, best to wait for warmer weather and investigate further. Can you see any physical damage to exposed pipes at the equipment pad?
Hello 👋

The pool has two skimmers. The near skimmer is the one that got blocked, the other was flowing fine. We have a main drain.... That is located at the deepest part of the pool floor right?

I just realized I did not drain the Polaris booster pump and found a burst pipe that is connected to it. I'll attach that picture. I'll also attach a picture of my equipment pad that I have on file.

Edit: with careful inspection of the equipments, the booster pump is cracked, too.

Edit 2: I was looking at the parts for replacements and it looks like just the booster body part is cracked right? Booster motor may be ok? I sae that they are sold as separate parts.
 

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Hachu

Bronze Supporter
Aug 11, 2020
86
Dallas, TX
Pool Size
10750
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Do you have only 1 skimmer? Do you have a bottom main drain? Skimmers are plumbed directly to the suction side of the pump. if you have 2 skimmers they can be either tied in series (so 1 pipe going to pump with 2 skimmer lines tee'd together) or they can be independent lines for each skimmer back to the equipment pad and controlled by a valve. A main drain line is usually plumbed independently back to the equipment pad (although it can also be tied to a skimmer line). So maybe some more info is needed but regardless a skimmer should be a direct suction to the pump.


If you only had 1 skimmer line open to the pump suction, an ice block would reduce flow to the pump and cause the pump to cavitate (i.e. suck air because all available water was sucked up and skimmer door blocked additional water to enter. So shutting pump off was good idea but you also state that you saw water in pump basket. So in reference to first point, do you have additional suction from either a second skimmer or a main drain?


It is difficult to say unless you see physical damage in your skimmer such as a crack. Since everything is drained, best to wait for warmer weather and investigate further. Can you see any physical damage to exposed pipes at the equipment pad?


I don't see see any damage in the skimmer (where the skimmer basket would normally be). I'm wondering if water that goes into the skimmer, to the underground pipe where I cannot see, would freeze while the skimmer door was blocked? Water is staying in the skimmer basket after I removed the ice though+. Our pool froze again over night. It should start thawing again today.
 

HermanTX

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May 20, 2020
1,613
Katy TX
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I don't see see any damage in the skimmer (where the skimmer basket would normally be). I'm wondering if water that goes into the skimmer, to the underground pipe where I cannot see, would freeze while the skimmer door was blocked? Water is staying in the skimmer basket after I removed the ice though+. Our pool froze again over night. It should start thawing again today.
Since you have 3 suction lines to your pump you always had good flow through the pump even with 1 skimmer maybe partially blocked off before the power outage so if you were able to remove the pump drain plugs after the power outage it would appear your pump is fine.
In your near skimmer the pipe below ground would be less likely to freeze but investigate the sides of the skimmer above the basket. If no visible cracks it may be fine. Once you get everything back up and running, you can keep your main drain open for suction and keep your near skimmer open as well. Then partially close your other skimmer (it is great that you have separate valves for each) to create higher suction in your near skimmer. If you can see flow through the near skimmer then may not be blocked but watch it carefully. You want to keep the main drain partially open as you indicate in the picture just to ensure you have always some other source of water flow to your pump while doing this test of each skimmer. If you see issues with the near skimmer, they open the valve for the far skimmer and close the near skimmer. You can also confirm if your far skimmer is functioning at this time as well.

It is unfortunate about your plumbing from your booster pump but that appears to be an easy fix. However your booster pump is fed from flow of your pool return to the inlet of the booster pump. So the tests noted above on your skimmer cannot be done unless you have this pipe repaired or it appears you have a threaded connection on the exit of the booster pump. You could cap that off however PLEASE NOTE - ensure your booster pump main breaker is switched OFF so it can not turn on.

Keep us informed.
 
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Hachu

Bronze Supporter
Aug 11, 2020
86
Dallas, TX
Pool Size
10750
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Since you have 3 suction lines to your pump you always had good flow through the pump even with 1 skimmer maybe partially blocked off before the power outage so if you were able to remove the pump drain plugs after the power outage it would appear your pump is fine.
In your near skimmer the pipe below ground would be less likely to freeze but investigate the sides of the skimmer above the basket. If no visible cracks it may be fine. Once you get everything back up and running, you can keep your main drain open for suction and keep your near skimmer open as well. Then partially close your other skimmer (it is great that you have separate valves for each) to create higher suction in your near skimmer. If you can see flow through the near skimmer then may not be blocked but watch it carefully. You want to keep the main drain partially open as you indicate in the picture just to ensure you have always some other source of water flow to your pump while doing this test of each skimmer. If you see issues with the near skimmer, they open the valve for the far skimmer and close the near skimmer. You can also confirm if your far skimmer is functioning at this time as well.

It is unfortunate about your plumbing from your booster pump but that appears to be an easy fix. However your booster pump is fed from flow of your pool return to the inlet of the booster pump. So the tests noted above on your skimmer cannot be done unless you have this pipe repaired or it appears you have a threaded connection on the exit of the booster pump. You could cap that off however PLEASE NOTE - ensure your booster pump main breaker is switched OFF so it can not turn on.

Keep us informed.
Thank you so much. I will update once the pupe is repaired and replacing the pump or maybe just the pump house?
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
13,118
Houston, Texas
I would dismantle the wet end of the booster pump and make sure the impeller and diverter plates are in good shape. You should plan on replacing the mechanical seal as well. Total up the cost of parts, factor in age of the pump and decide if you are better off repairing or replacing.
 
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Hachu

Bronze Supporter
Aug 11, 2020
86
Dallas, TX
Pool Size
10750
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I would dismantle the wet end of the booster pump and make sure the impeller and diverter plates are in good shape. You should plan on replacing the mechanical seal as well. Total up the cost of parts, factor in age of the pump and decide if you are better off repairing or replacing.

Ahh ok I'm looking up and reading about the mechanical seal. I guess there are more parts that may need to be checked as well and could be replaced instead of buying all new parts...some may be ok. Thank you foe your information.
 

Hachu

Bronze Supporter
Aug 11, 2020
86
Dallas, TX
Pool Size
10750
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Thank you so much. I will update once the pupe is repaired and replacing the pump or maybe just the pump house?

Updating... we got a new polaris booster pump put in by a pool tech. He used the Polaris tube instead of the big, round 4" pvc pipes (see picture of the new install). Does it matter which is used? Is there one better than the other?
 

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HermanTX

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May 20, 2020
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Katy TX
Pool Size
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Does it matter which is used? Is there one better than the other?
The new flexible pipe should be good. Just watch to ensure there is no leaks where it connects to the pump or to the return lines. I personally like hard pipe plumbing but many booster pumps are set up with the flexible lines.
 

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