My spa's water level drops overnight

Otis Campbell

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 5, 2013
115
Lewisville, TX
I have an attached spa that overflows into my pool. About a month ago I noticed that often the water level is down quite a bit in the morning. I've attached a picture that I took this afternoon. Since we are in the colder months I'm running my pump 4 hours a day. I'd like to try to fix this myself, if possible, before calling my repair guy. Thanks.
 

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mknauss

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May 3, 2014
47,350
Laughlin, NV
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Check your equipment pad for a check valve on the spa return line, or if you have on, the makeup line. Take a picture of your equipment pad and post it.
 

mknauss

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That picture is sized such as it is impossible to see any of the equipment.

Take a few close up shots of your return lines.
 

mknauss

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I see a check valve on the line to the left of the Ozone thing. Is that your spa return line?
 

ajw22

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Jul 21, 2013
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Below is a marked up picture of your return plumbing for us to discuss.

The green arrows are your normal water flow as the filtered water returns to your pool and spa. I don;t knwo what pipe 1 is where the diverter valve is closed. Pipe 2 feeds your spa return. Pipe 2 has a check valve that allows water to flow the green way and should prevent flow the red arrow direction.

The red arrows show the way the spa is likely draining back into the pool if the check valve is leaking.

I don't know what the diverter valve with the yellow ?? on pipe 3 is set the way it is. That setting is blocking water down pipe 3 and sending most water through the spa spillover. Usually you want 70%-80% water doing down pipe 3 to the pool returns and 20%-30% down pipe 2 to the spa spillover.

Questions?

Otis check valve.JPG
 

Otis Campbell

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 5, 2013
115
Lewisville, TX
Thanks ajw22, I think you are on to something. I went back to an older picture of my equipment and the valve that you have the ? marks on was parallel to the ground, or a 180 degree angle, not angled down like it is now. Not sure what happened there. I will correct that now.

Random question, would this explain why my Polaris cleaner can't get out of the deep end? Thanks.
 

ajw22

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Jul 21, 2013
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Thanks ajw22, I think you are on to something. I went back to an older picture of my equipment and the valve that you have the ? marks on was parallel to the ground, or a 180 degree angle, not angled down like it is now. Not sure what happened there. I will correct that now.

If the handle is vertical and on the bottom then water will equally flow to both pipe 2 and pipe 3.

If the handle is parallel to the ground with the handle to the right then all water will flow down pipe 3 and the T to pipe 2 and 1 will be blocked.

Which way are you thinking of setting the handle?

Random question, would this explain why my Polaris cleaner can't get out of the deep end? Thanks.

Please post a big pic of your entire equipment pad. Do you have a Polaris 380 with a booster pump or a 280 without a booster pump? How old is your Polaris?
 

Otis Campbell

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 5, 2013
115
Lewisville, TX
I set the handle horizontal with the handle to the right. That fixed the Polaris problem but no water is coming over the spa which is consistent with how I understood your explanation. So I should move the handle to vertical with the handle on the bottom?

To answer your follow up to my second question, I have a 280 with a booster pump. I installed it September 2018. I've posted a larger version of the original picture that was too small. Does that show you what you need to see.

Thanks again for your help here.IMG_0918(1).JPG
 

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ajw22

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Jul 21, 2013
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Northern NJ
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I set the handle horizontal with the handle to the right. That fixed the Polaris problem but no water is coming over the spa which is consistent with how I understood your explanation. So I should move the handle to vertical with the handle on the bottom?

If you have the handle horizontal at 0 all the water will flow to your return and none to your spillover as you discovered. If you want the spillover running all the time I would move the handle down slightly to 30 to 45 degrees and make the spillover as slow a trickle as satisfies you.

Running the spillover all the time causes your pG to rise due to the aeration created by the spillover. If that is what you like and you accept that tradeoff then keep the spillover flow as low as possible. Moving the handle vertical will give you maximum spillover flow.

You can enable the SPILLOVER mode on your EasyTouch, keep the handle horizontal, and program the times on the ET for the spillover to run. Running the spillover for 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the middle of the day is adequate to turnover the water in your spa and keep it fresh and chlorinated.

To answer your follow up to my second question, I have a 280 with a booster pump. I installed it September 2018. I've posted a larger version of the original picture that was too small. Does that show you what you need to see.

I can't see the plumbing behind the first line of pipes. I can;t see where the booster pump picks up the water or where the booster pump output pipe connects to.

You have a lot going on with your plumbing. You should label all of your pipes. Here is my guess:

Returns:
1 - ?
2 - spa fill
3/4 - pool main return
what is the green line plugged in next to 4?
5 - ?
6 - this the cleaner booster return?
7 - spa jets

Suction:
A/B/C - main drain & skimmer(s)?
D - spa suction

Otis pool.JPG
 

Otis Campbell

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 5, 2013
115
Lewisville, TX
If you have the handle horizontal at 0 all the water will flow to your return and none to your spillover as you discovered. If you want the spillover running all the time I would move the handle down slightly to 30 to 45 degrees and make the spillover as slow a trickle as satisfies you.

Yesterday morning the spa level was up at the spill over level Yesterday evening I moved the handle down to about the 45 degree angle in your picture. The spa started to spill over as expected. However, this morning the spa water level was down again. I made the change around 5:30 PM yesterday evening and pump ran until 9:00 when it shut off for the day. Any ideas?
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
33,563
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
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Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Yesterday morning the spa level was up at the spill over level Yesterday evening I moved the handle down to about the 45 degree angle in your picture. The spa started to spill over as expected. However, this morning the spa water level was down again. I made the change around 5:30 PM yesterday evening and pump ran until 9:00 when it shut off for the day. Any ideas?


With the path open water can drain up pipe 2 into pipe 3. It points to the check valve on pipe 2 is not closing properly to prevent the backflow.
 

Otis Campbell

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 5, 2013
115
Lewisville, TX
I ended up fixing this myself. I watched a YouTube video and it is pretty simple. I ordered a ATIE check valve from Amazon for $20.99 (I had a Jandy check valve). I installed it Sunday morning before church. It took me about 5 minutes. I fired up the pump and everything seemed fine. I checked in after church and there was no evidence of any leaks. I did dial back the flow through the spa as suggested.

This actually fixed two problems. First of all the spa level is up near the overflow every morning. Secondly, the Polaris 280 runs like a champ again. Previously it didn't have the power to get out of the deep end. Now it is back to climbing walls and covering the entire pool. So thanks again for all the diagnostics and advice. My LifeTime support fee may have the best ROI in my portfolio.
 
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