Need help with a pool that is new to us (Purchased a home w/ a pool)

Summoner12

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2015
71
Riverside, CA
Hey guys,

I rented a house back in 2015-2017 that had a pool. My wife's sister was also renting a house with a pool and it became this joint hobby between my brother in-law and I to learn pool stuff. We both used this forum to expand out knowledge and to care for 'our' pools. Since 2017 neither of us have had pools and this forum wasn't a regular stop for us. But I am back! My wife and I are in escrow on a home and the pool is in need of some TLC. The housing market is red hot here in SoCal and we really have our hearts set on this neighborhood, and anything but a fixer puts us at odds with winning a bid. So we are getting a fixer in a neighborhood we hope to call a forever home.

So here is my question. To me, this pool needs a new plaster job. I have a feeling they might have done a paint on coating at some point? There are these plastic caps in the pool that I saw in a plastering video but I didn't understand what they are for and I can't find that video to learn more about them. I hope you guys can lend a hand.

Also, thoughts on a pool heater. The pool does not have a heater at this time or a spa. I don't foresee us putting in a spa, but we like to swim in warm water. I see some pretty good rebates from SoCal Gas on the Pentair heater, is that overkill?

Also thinking of going SWG...... but the chlorine dosing systems also spike my interest (I have a reef tank... so used to dosers)

Here are some photos from todays inspection. The inspector said he looked at the pool power panel because it is a part of the home wiring, but wouldn't comment on the pool. (I asked him not to do a pool inspect as it was an extra $100) What he found was that the pool light is tripping the GFCI, so I am guessing the housing is compromised.
 

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YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
14,962
Evans, Georgia
Hey Hey Hey! Welcome back and good luck <fingers crossed virtually> on the house bid.

Pool definitely needs a new finish. Are those infloor cleaner pop ups?? I don't see the system in your equipment pad though....otherwise not sure what they are. Perhaps just in floor water returns? Calling in a pro---> @Richard320

Raypack seems to garner more positives for heaters.

Keep us posted!

Maddie
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
12,693
Houston, Texas
Welcome back! The caps could be for floor jets or bubblers. I would get someone to fix the electrical problem first. Could be a bad light or a bad GFCI breaker.
 

Summoner12

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2015
71
Riverside, CA
Thanks guys!

I tried to pull up a plastic cover on one of those floor pieces but it was pretty firm. I did not have a tool, so my efforts were minimal. I did not feel any water flow from them. Now I did see one of those manifolds where it’s like 2” pipe into the top and then it splits to 4 pipes. I find this manifold odd because the pool only has the floor drain, skimmer and looks like one jet return. But I may be mistaken.

I wish I could have another chance to poke around but I feel it isn’t super necessary. The pool is what it is... Building a pool in the area is very difficult as the area is heavy in granite. The home is on a hill and you can see the rock coming out of the hill side. I imagine it wasn’t cheap having the pool excavated. Part of me feels the cost of a remodel is better than building new.
 

Summoner12

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2015
71
Riverside, CA
Hey! I found the video I saw those caps in, or something similar. Thing is, she doesn’t explain them, just mentions them. You do see some on the pool floor arranged similar to our future pool.... the search for answers continues.

 

Summoner12

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2015
71
Riverside, CA
Ok, now I get it. It’s a pop up cleaning jet.... I’d be very curious to know if it still works. I did not see any of them on while the pump was running and there is only one pump. 🤔
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
23,932
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
Those do look like an infloor system, and to me it looks like some genius removed the control when the pump got replaced. I'll bet if you dug up the dirt between the pad and the walkway that you'd find some more pipes. The infloor may not clean things as well as they intend, but at least they return plenty of water.
 

Roscoe

Active member
Jun 3, 2020
43
Southern AZ
I agree with Richard320. If it used to have a 5 port (or something similar to the pic) and it was just cut off then I would think you have a bunch of still water underneath the pop ups.

The other pic is the tool you need to twist the pop ups out.5 port.jpg

pop up tool.jpg
 
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Summoner12

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2015
71
Riverside, CA
I agree with Richard320. If it used to have a 5 port (or something similar to the pic) and it was just cut off then I would think you have a bunch of still water underneath the pop ups.

The other pic is the tool you need to twist the pop ups out.View attachment 158840

View attachment 158838
There is one of those pods off on the side of the pool by the fence.... I am betting @Richard320 is right.... Either there is a pump hiding off on the side of the pool by the distributer cap/pod, or there is a pipe in the dirt by the pad.

So my fear here is that this system, being old, could be a nice way to have a leak. When we get the pool re-plastered.... should I have them cover this stuff up/remove it?

AND.... to re-plaster, do you need to have a full chip-out? Are there any good reads on the forum about this?
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,788
Bedford, TX
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Check to see if the pool can operate without the IFCS... Does your pool have a set of standard wall returns (eyeballs)?? If not, then all the return water has to go through the IFCS..

I'd do a full chip out and remove the IFCS, if possible.

Show us a pic or two of the IFCS system distribution unit by the fence..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Summoner12

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2015
71
Riverside, CA
12,

Check to see if the pool can operate without the IFCS... Does your pool have a set of standard wall returns (eyeballs)?? If not, then all the return water has to go through the IFCS..

I'd do a full chip out and remove the IFCS, if possible.

Show us a pic or two of the IFCS system distribution unit by the fence..

Thanks,

Jim R.
Jim, I only see one return to the pool.

Pump intake looks like skimmer and floor drain. I did not pull the basket from the drain, but I am guessing the drain is plumbed to the skimmer. (BTW, how do you drain the pool if the drain isn't direct to the pump, you can't, right?)

Wondering if I should have chip-out, have skimmer replaced and separated from the floor drain, and add in a suction side port and auto top off.... $$$$
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,788
Bedford, TX
12,

Main Drains are not necessary at all.. Thousands of pool do not have operating main drains.. Not something I would worry about.. You should not need to drain a pool very often or at all. If you do, just use a sump pump.

In your case, the "Main Drain" is most likely plumbed different, as it is where all the debris in the bottom of the pool get sucked up when the IFCS is in operation..

I only see two options...

1. Get your IFCS operational.. ($$)

2. Remove the IFCS and modify the pool to have wall returns.. ($$$$$$)

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Summoner12

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2015
71
Riverside, CA
Alrighty.
Did final walk through today. I finally got a good look at the IFCS. I don’t know why I didn’t recognize the valve and plumbing arrangements... 🤦🏻‍♂️

So the IFCS is valved at the unit next to the pool, not by the equipment pad kind of odd if you ask me. 🤨

while we were there the pump was on, but a low setting,I tried valving on the IFCS but a bunch of air came out of the return andsome water leaked out of the union above the distro. I’m guessing air in the IFCS was bubbling up and blowing out of the return.

the unit looks pretty sad and in need of TLC.

The valve only would turn one quarter. I could not tell if center pipe is feed or return. I don’t think you’d run the return and IFCS at the same time?

I’ll play with it some more when we move in obviously, but at a glance I’m thinking of automating that valve if the system is in working order. It was difficult getting to the valve because of what has been planted around the pool.
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Roscoe

Active member
Jun 3, 2020
43
Southern AZ
Yup, odd positioning. 1st thing to do, when you start, is to take the line off the top of the 5 port. There is a stainless steel dome strainer on the top of the 5 port. I assume it will be choked with debris
 
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Summoner12

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2015
71
Riverside, CA
Update for you guys:

We are FINALLY in the home....o_Oo_O

Not sure if I mentioned, but home is a fixer. So I really want to jump in to the pool stuff but right now the priority is getting stuff inside the home completed. However I’m going to do little pool stuff on the side.

list of To Do’s:
  • Rebuild IFCS pod or replace
  • Automate the IFCS valve, timed with pump increase in speed
  • Get jandy IQpump10 to work with my phone (this is actually #1 on list)
  • Get skimmer door replaced and a better fitting basket
  • Open up and inspect/recharge DE filter.
    make equipment pad bigger to accommodate heater
  • But pool cleaner
  • Automate acid and chlorine dosing
I kept my old pool nets, brush and pole, they’ve been helpful but my wider net got chewed on by rodents 😒

oh and will be draining the pool to reset things....

Fun
 

Summoner12

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2015
71
Riverside, CA
Oh here are a couple more photos. Had pool net guy out. And random dog pic
 

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Summoner12

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2015
71
Riverside, CA
OK, so we've been in the home for a little over three months now.

Since my last post, I have done the following:

  • Connected the pump to WiFi... long story involving that mess.....
  • Replaced the skimmer basket filter and floating weir
  • Replaced the "space ship" or the diverter valve that sits at the bottom of the skimmer
  • Drained and refilled pool - last week I overfilled pool and completely screwed up my chemistry, not happy.
  • Replaced the floor drain cover - while pool was empty
  • Replaced all of the top half parts of the IFCS 5 port cleaning valve (dome had a leak-new dome, gears and valves replaced)
  • Replaced all of the IFCS pop ups.... ($850~) The teeth that turn the heads were all mangled
  • I still ended up buying a rover for the pool. Had bad winds and the bottom was FULL of leaves
  • Theorized I had a leak... found the leak... and repaired the leak - replaced bypass valve and selector valve
  • Dug around to find plumbing along pool - looks like they covered return line with concrete, so this was a fun 'search'

So a recap... Above is what I've done. The leak is a good fun find....... here's the story:

So, when we saw the house the first time I noticed the return pipe on side of pool blew air bubbles, as if soda water was being dispensed. Flow was low, bubbles were steady. Seemed odd but figured "easy fix".... hahahha. So up until a couple of weeks ago I had just figured "I'll fix it when i find it..." I found it. I had just come home from home depot and walked out onto the back patio, the pool pump had just turned off. Standing on the pool deck I could hear a gurgle from the other side of the pool, near where the IFCS selector valve is. At this point I had replaced the IFCS heads and all of the above listed parts. But I had never heard of a gurgle over there. With the gurgle going on, I started digging with my hands, the ground was wet....... here's my leak! With a hand garden shovel I dug up the entire area. I located a pipe and determined it was the IFCS heads in the deep end. This would explain every issue I was having, couple with another issue.

Obviously this is a leak, so it explains why I noticed I was topping off the pool more than I thought I should. It also explains why CYA was going down.... and it explains why when the IFCS is operation the deep end would ALWAYS have air blown out when it would cycle on. It also explains why all sections of the IFCS blow air when the pump is on low speed and the system cycles slowly, taking several minutes for an entire cycle to complete. BUT, this didn't really explain why the return on the side of the pool wall blew bubbles.

I had been to the LPS several times talking to the owner (or manager). He swears I have a suction side leak, "only way bubbles would get there". But I had already figured out the bubbles go away when the pump is on a higher speed, like 1800rpm or more. So i figured it was a pressure side leak. So there are actually two leaks, an internal leak and a cracked pipe. The bubbles in the return pipe on the wall are caused by a leak in the three way valve. When the side return is on and the IFCS is closed off, the water in the IFCS drains down, through the crack in the pipe. The crack is the source of air, the three way valve is leaking.

At this point I determined I am replacing the three way valve and digging out the pipe with a crack in it. But we have some obstacles. The cracked pipe is an elbow, and I can't see the pipe well because it's encased in concrete. So, like Andy Dufresne from Shawshank Redemption, I got a little chisel hammer and picked away at the concrete a little bit each day until I had access to about 18" of pipe. The leak is on a 90* elbow and I needed to expose more of the pipe so I could pull the pipe away from the concrete to fit another fitting on the pipe. Something to keep in mind, There is a metal frame that has a large vining plant that is overgrown on this frame, and it all sites right next to all of the plumbing. So I had to hack away at the vine and had lots of roots I had to cut out in order to uncover all of the pipes.

So after finding all of the plumbing, and coming up with several ideas on how to repair. I was "ready" to start working. Well after three trips to HD for more fittings after making a couple of attempts... I ended up cutting out everything from the pump return, the deep end IFCS pipe, the bypass valve, three way valve, and the cracked elbow. I was determined to use 45* elbows even though I've been told "it doesn't matter" by the LPS guy. My first rendition in my head was to repair just the cracked elbow. Once I realized I had a lot of pipes to match up to, I figured it was easiest to start fresh.

Here are some pics from the journey:

Found the broken pipe...
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Started exposing the other pipes...

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The crack.
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I had planned to just toss in a coupler and call it quits.... but then when I installed it I forgot the locking nut.... i was frustrated and done for the day.
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The pool waterline is slightly higher than the return pipe, so I left some vertical length on it until I drained the pool down a few inches.
E4ACD03C-CDC0-4C4F-BD64-9CEBBF7543C2_1_105_c.jpeg
Everything started going together kind fast...
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