Need help understanding my valves

julio

Member
Jun 16, 2010
20
Round Rock, TX
Hi all, new pool owner here. I can't seem to figure out what all of my valves on controlling. Hopefully the pics are posted below. Sorry I can't provide better pics, the lattice around everything makes for tight quarters.

Anyway, here's what (I think) I know... (top to bottom). Pressure side: goes through chlorinator and into three-way valve which is currently flowing to the returns only. The other direction provides flow to the waterfall. In the second pic, you can see 2 smaller pipes that go into the ground between the 3-way valve and the return... hard to see, but those pipes each have an on-off valve and they each control a spray (I think that's the correct term) at either end of the pool. I'm pretty sure I have this side correct, yes?

So, moving on to the suction side... 2 pipes that come out of the ground, I can figure that out, skimmer and drain, right? But what the heck is the deal with the pipe connecting the return side to the suction side. My guess is that the top suction pipe is the drain. I guess that's the reason for the 3-ways connecting it to the return... so I can send return water out of the drain, maybe??? Why would I need to do that?

So then the suction line with the blue on-off valve I can deduce must be the skimmer.

The rest I am ok on, next one down (single smaller pipe that heads off to the right) is the suction for the booster pump, and the other small pipe on bottom that comes out of the ground and goes back in with the electronic valve is for the Levolor.

So did I get this all right? Also, there are 2 drains in my pool. My assumption is that one is the main drain and the other is connected to the suction side of the booster pump. Correct, or am I off base?

Sorry, I know this is way long, and if you're still reading at this point, I greatly appreciate it. Here are the pics (I hope).

[attachment=1:2bju75uw]photo-1.jpg[/attachment:2bju75uw]

[attachment=0:2bju75uw]photo.jpg[/attachment:2bju75uw]
 

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Bama Rambler

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Jun 22, 2009
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If the top valve is set to flow water out of the returns then the pipe on the very top is the waterfall and the next large pipe down is piped to the returns. The second valve from the top directs flow to the returns (straight down) or to the suction piping. It's set now to allow flow thru all ports. The third valve down is for flow from the maindrain or the returns back to the pump. In the photos it's set to block flow to the pump but allow flow to the returns and thru the maindrain. If you're confident that the blue handled valve is the skimmer and there is water coming out the returns, then that's how it's plumbed.

In the photos the system is set up to draw water from the skimmer and return water thru the main drain and the returns at the same time.
 

julio

Member
Jun 16, 2010
20
Round Rock, TX
Thanks BR. I am sure that there is water coming out of the returns... and I'm pretty sure that the blue valve is the skimmer. I do know the skimmer is flowing, so I think that's the only one it could be.

So how about my assumption about the second drain being for the booster pump suction? Does that sound right? If not, what would the second drain be for?
 

Bama Rambler

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Jun 22, 2009
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Your two main drains should be plumbed together. It's a safety requirement so that if a person blocks one the suction just diverts to the other and doesn't trap the person. There's probably a pipe running from one to the other with a tee in the middle going to the equipment pad pipe (third large pipe from the top).

Your booster pump suction is actually coming off the main return line before the chlorinator.
 

julio

Member
Jun 16, 2010
20
Round Rock, TX
Ok, that makes sense. And I think I figured out the booster pump as well. The pipe that comes out of the ground is the return line, and it is fed from the return side of the main pump, right?
 

julio

Member
Jun 16, 2010
20
Round Rock, TX
Awesome! Thanks for all the help. One last plumbing related question and then I'll let this thread die...

Another pic posted below for reference.

The question is: what is the best way to drain this pool. I have a faucet plumbed into the top of the main pump. Seems this would be the most effective, but as it is set up currently, the flow with the faucet wide open is pretty slow. BTW, you can't tell from the picture, but there are no valves between the pump and filter. It seems to me that if there were a valve to turn off flow from to the filter, I would get more water pumped through the faucet, and therefore when I needed to drain, I could just connect a hose, shut off the filter, turn on the pump and go.

Is this a plausible solution or am I over-thinking? Is there any valve arrangement that would increase flow as the system is now? Maybe opening suction on the main drain (now that I know what my valves do)? I wouldn't think the pump would push any more volume regardless of if there is more available, but I'm sure someone on here knows for sure.

Thanks!


[attachment=0:2a4q3bti]IMG_0204.jpg[/attachment:2a4q3bti]
 

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Bama Rambler

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Jun 22, 2009
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There's a couple things you can do.
One is to remove that spigot and replace it with a full port ball valve spigot. That will flow water a lot faster than a standard one.
Next is to not close off the main return valve (top three way valve), but partially close it to increase the pressure a good bit. That will cause water to flow a lot faster out the spigot.
 

Melt In The Sun

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Oct 29, 2009
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julio, where are you going to send the water? Just a thought; if you're not sending it to a sewer, you may be able to get the sewer charges waived on your water bill.
 

Bama Rambler

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You just don't want to restrict the pump discharge that much. Nor do you need to. I think you'll be surprised how much water will flow out the ball valve spigot if you close it enough to increase the pressure about 10 PSI above normal.
 

julio

Member
Jun 16, 2010
20
Round Rock, TX
Melt In The Sun said:
julio, where are you going to send the water? Just a thought; if you're not sending it to a sewer, you may be able to get the sewer charges waived on your water bill.
Haven't figured this out yet. I need to check with the city to see if it's ok to drain to the street. If not, I'll have to locate my sewer clean-out and drain to there. If I can drain to the street, I'll definitely see about getting the sewer charges waived. Thanks for the tip!
 

julio

Member
Jun 16, 2010
20
Round Rock, TX
Bama Rambler said:
You just don't want to restrict the pump discharge that much. Nor do you need to. I think you'll be surprised how much water will flow out the ball valve spigot if you close it enough to increase the pressure about 10 PSI above normal.
Ok great, that makes a lot of sense. Thanks for all your help Bama!