New pool owner trying to make sense of pool plumbing - also issue with return jet

dpl252

Member
Jul 21, 2022
12
Clayton, CA
Pool Size
23000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Hello TFP!

Just bought a home recently with a 23,000 gallon fresh water, in-ground plaster pool. I knew nothing about pools and inherited this one with the purchase. To add to it, the previous owners let it go a few days before we took possession and then we were out of town for 2 weeks. Needless to say we came home to a swamp. We ended up needing to replace the main pump due to corrosion (got the previous homeowners to cover this) but treating the pool myself (I REALLY didn't want to drain it, and every one around me was booked up for a month) has been a 2 week saga. I discovered TFP via reddit.com/r/pools and this place has been a lifesaver. The following is a brief timeline:

- Came home to swamp, took advise of pool repair guy who replaced pump and bought a case of Leslie's Powder Plus 73. Opened 2 bags into a bucket of water and dumped into pool. I don't think the pellets fully dissolved (this will be important later)
- After a few days of no progress and pool turning dark green, I read TFP, pool school and learn about SLAM. I order the Taylor K-2006c.
- First test shows PH too high, I buy Muriatic acid and add WAY too much since I failed at directions. I buy sodium bicarb to balance it back. I start SLAM with 10% liquid chlorine.
- No results after 2 days, I test CYA and it's off the charts. I buy a small pump and drain half the pool and refill. CYA is now 40.
- 8/9 days of constant SLAM at 14FC. After 5/6 days in I realize my filters are breaking and music be super old, I buy new cartridges. I start vacuuming and brushing/skimming daily. Between the brushing (this was key honestly) and the new cartridges, SLAM having great affect.
- Upped my FC to almost 24 since I suspected I had yellow algae, and a few days later my water is crystal clear. Haven't passed OCLT yet but i'm only losing about 3ppm overnight so i'm close!

I think i'm on the right track and about to be stable but i'm considering removing my lights to clean behind them. I just today took the Polaris cleaner and (unused) tab floater out as I didn't realize they could be harboring algae. My reason for posting is mostly to understand my system as now that I can FINALLY see through the water I can actually see what's in my pool.

  1. Some questions based on pictures I included: My pool has tons of drains, like 5? Then with the skimmer and a suction port, is it normal to have that many? I know I can isolate the suction valves to figure out which one is the skimmer vs drains, I just thought it was weird there's so many drains.
  2. In the "Pool Piping 2" picture, my flow goes from the filter, then there's a valve for solar heating or gas heater, after the gas heater it goes to the returns, BUT there's this bypassed line with a valve, I don't understand what this is for. (the top pipe with the solid red line tracking it)
  3. Next to my suction port in the pool is another port that I have no idea what it's for. There's two of them in the pool. (see the "Suction port and something else" picture)
  4. I have 1 return jet in my pool with no flow. All other jets work great. This one jet (see "Return jet no flow" picture) will emit small bubbles for 1 minute right when I turn on my pump. I suspect since I have the Varispeed Pentair pump, since it primes on a really high RPM setting, it pushes something through this line but then when the RPMs drop, nothing comes out. How can I test/fix blockage on one specific return when all others work fine? Here's a videos of the bubbles when I first turn on the filter, after that, nothing.
  5. I have a few lights in the pool, not sure the brand. Some of the lights are installed on a curved section and therefore they're not flush against the wall. That's okay right? I imagine water gets behind them and there's probably algae growth there.
So sorry for the wall of text and pictures but really hopeful I can get some of these questions answered so I can take proper care of this equipment and really understand how the pool has been setup. I can post a complete test result soon but i'm still in SLAM.
Thanks so much!
 

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HermanTX

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
May 20, 2020
4,105
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Jandy Aquapure 1400
Welcome to TFP.
I see this is your first post. You should have started asking questions when you began the SLAM - you did well with that but there are lots of people to help you through that process - especially if you have issues or get frustrated.
Thanks for the pictures.

Some questions based on pictures I included: My pool has tons of drains, like 5? Then with the skimmer and a suction port, is it normal to have that many? I know I can isolate the suction valves to figure out which one is the skimmer vs drains, I just thought it was weird there's so many drains.
You have 2 pool main drains that are tied together to one pipe and come up to your suction to main pool pump. You have 1 skimmer line that also goes to suction of main pump. These are both to the right side of the POOL/SPA suction valve. They each have a manual blue valve which you can turn either full open or partially open to have more or less suction from either the main drain or the skimmer.. You NEVER want to close both of these smaller valves as you must have some suction to the main pump. You should also have a 1 or 2 drain covers in spa which is connected to 1 pipe which goes to the suction of main pump (this is the single pipe on the left of the POOL/SPA suction valve.

You also have 2 drain covers on the wall. These are tied to 1 pipe and is the suction to your water feature pump. They are put on the wall so no debris goes into them as you notice there is no filter after your pump on the water feature.

Next to my suction port in the pool is another port that I have no idea what it's for. There's two of them in the pool. (see the "Suction port and something else" picture)
You indicate it is a suction port but it would need a cover on it to prevent entrapment. Are you sure? You show a booster pump which tells me you have a pressure side cleaner and the cleaner line would be connected to the return line such that only the booster pump should operate when the main pump is on pool mode. The other port is hard to tell from this angle but could it be an overflow port? Is it at water level or is it located below water level.

In the "Pool Piping 2" picture, my flow goes from the filter, then there's a valve for solar heating or gas heater, after the gas heater it goes to the returns, BUT there's this bypassed line with a valve, I don't understand what this is for. (the top pipe with the solid red line tracking it)
The picture is not clear where this “bypass” connects to - can you take another picture of where it ends and what pipe it ties to?

The jet that only emits bubbles during high speed RPM can be addressed later.

The algae can definitely be behind lights. These older lights need water around them to cool. They are sealed where the faceplate meets the light can. So you should be able to unscrew the screws to the wall and pull the whole light out as there is several feet of cord wrap behind to enable you to bring it to surface. Don’t have the light on if you pull it out of water.

As said earlier, you have done great on SLAM on your own. If you have a CYA of 40 then you should maintain your FC at 16ppm throughout the day which means testing every 3-5 hours as algae consumes it quickly.
You can start another thread for your SLAM if you have any questions.

You have a nice set up but with all the rocks and other items, there are many places for algae so look every everywhere, even behind the skimmer weir door, under the main drain covers, etc. You can swim in SLAM conditions so long as you can see the bottom .

Good Luck.
 

DrewLG

Gold Supporter
May 31, 2022
203
Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Pool Size
8000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
In the "Pool Piping 2" picture, my flow goes from the filter, then there's a valve for solar heating or gas heater, after the gas heater it goes to the returns, BUT there's this bypassed line with a valve, I don't understand what this is for. (the top pipe with the solid red line tracking it)

That's a bypass line to the spa, yes. It allows some water to flow to the spa return even when the Pool/Spa Return valve is set to Pool. This ensures that filtered, chlorinated water circulates through the spa whenever water circulates through the pool, so the spa water will stay fresh even if the spa isn't being used regularly.

The bypassed water flows into the spa, which overflows and spills into the pool over the spillway. If the blue inline valve isn't frozen, you can turn it to adjust the flow.
 
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dpl252

Member
Jul 21, 2022
12
Clayton, CA
Pool Size
23000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Hey all sorry for the lack of reply but really appreciate everyone's contribution! I managed to clean behind the lights and after an extra day of SLAM I finally passed the OCLT! FC dropped .6 overnight, water is crystal clear and CC is 0!!!!

Super excited to FINALLY get to actually swim in this thing! I'll make a separate thread for my issues with that one return but again, thank you all! I'm also labelling my equipment lines, just understanding how everything flows is a game changer!
 
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