Need help understanding basic setup

mschelle2

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Jun 17, 2021
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43023
We purchased a fixer upper a few months ago and it came with an inground pool. We don't know anything about owning a pool, so hired someone to open it. We assumed they did it correctly, but as it turned out they didn't open the valves to allow water to the heater. We learned that from the plumber who came to repair the non-broken heater ($107 for nothing, thank you). We had hoped to learn from them, but they didn't explain much.

We're told the above ground plumbing is just a couple of years old, but nothing is labeled. There is a gas heater not in the frame of the photo (can just see the edge in the lower right corner). I think the 2 lines going into the ground from the pump go to the skimmers (there are 2 skimmer boxes) and I believe they are both open because the valves are going the same direction as the pipes. I'm less clear about the red valves ... I'm assuming one carries water to the heater and one carries the heated water away from the heater. What is the valve that is in between for? It's closed and I'm thinking it should be open for when we backwash?

Things had been going ok, but we're losing inches of water a day. I have turned everything off but still hear water gurgling/draining somewhere, not clear if that means there is a leak or if we have a drain open somehow? Edit: I no longer hear the water moving, maybe it was still from having the pump on when I heard it earlier.
 

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Rocket J Squirrel

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Jun 7, 2018
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Alamo, CA
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Without being able to see the whole setup, I will guess that the 3 red ball valves are your heater bypass. The way they are set in the photo, water will run through the heater. Turn all of them 90° and the water will bypass the heater. I'll have to leave it to someone else to explain why a bypass is desirable; my setup doesn't have one so water passes through my heater all the time without ill effect.

The 2 white ball valves look like shutoffs for your 2 skimmers. They will be handy when you need to clean out the pump's debris basket if the pool is elevated from the pump. Just make sure never to run the pump with both of those valves closed.
 
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mschelle2

New member
Jun 17, 2021
2
43023
Without being able to see the whole setup, I will guess that the 3 red ball valves are your heater bypass. The way they are set in the photo, water will run through the heater. Turn all of them 90° and the water will bypass the heater. I'll have to leave it to someone else to explain why a bypass is desirable; my setup doesn't have one so water passes through my heater all the time without ill effect.

The 2 white ball valves look like shutoffs for your 2 skimmers. They will be handy when you need to clean out the pump's debris basket if the pool is elevated from the pump. Just make sure never to run the pump with both of those valves closed.
Thank you!
 

Rocket J Squirrel

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 7, 2018
1,213
Alamo, CA
Pool Size
36000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I was going to edit in some more info that occurred to me, but had an internet outage. Our utilities have been fluctuating today. Power out earlier, then cable TV and internet bouncing like rubber balls.

Anyway, I don't know about heater bypass for normal operation, but it could certainly be useful if the heater sprang a leak and/or needed to be worked on or replaced.

The skimmer valves are useful whether your pool is above or below pump level when you need to empty the basket. You want the water to stay where it is and neither flow out (if pool is elevated) or drain down (if pool is lower).

I also forgot to say one thing: welcome to TFP! Read up on Pool School and you'll learn a lot real quick.
 
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