New Year, New Problem

Smeade

LifeTime Supporter
May 25, 2014
44
Ft. Wright, KY
#1
Hoping to get my pool running for the year, waiting on some new parts (simple stuff, gaskets, etc). Today I was moving some ornamental grass that was too big/too close to the pump and filter and managed to break the pvc return line. Oops. I don't think it will be a huge repair, but my husband was wondering if we should replace the old ball valves, which led to the question of whether or not there was some plumbing updating/upgrading we could do since we're doing plumbing anyway.

The pool was built in the '70s and has a very simple plumbing setup. The pump and filter are near the pool, no changing that (the ornamental grass was to buffer the sound of the pump). Pipe comes from the skimmer to the pump, to the filter, and then back to the pool. There's a ball joint where the pipe comes up through the ground to the pump, and another from the filter before the pipe goes back underground and back to the pool. The ball valves don't completely close off the pipes anymore and that's where we were thinking there might be another option.

When we vacuum to waste, we have to hook up a flexible vinyl pipe to a different (Hayward brand) ball valve and run it to the driveway. There is no option to bypass the filter and just recirculate the water. We vacuum through the skimmer. No water feature, main drain non-functional, no swg (not opposed to one, this is only the third summer in 21 years that we haven't used pucks).

Any thoughts or advice? I can post pictures if that would be helpful (after I've figured out how to do it).
 

duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
31,321
Sebring, Florida
#2
Replacing the ball valves is probably a good idea. Pictures of your equipment is a great idea and will help us assess
 

Smeade

LifeTime Supporter
May 25, 2014
44
Ft. Wright, KY
#3
IMG_3881.jpg IMG_3882.jpg

If I attached the photos correctly (and I'll try again if not), one is of the plumbing setup in relation to the pool and the other is a closer view.

I misspoke about two of the valves, they are gate valves, not ball.

Also, yes, that is a tub of pucks. They are three years old and that's what I tie my CYA sock to. It's been there all winter because I'm lazy. 😜
 

duraleigh

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#4
Why was the plumbing dug up? How did that pipe get broken?

I am thinking it would be much easier and cleaner to replumb everything.
 

Smeade

LifeTime Supporter
May 25, 2014
44
Ft. Wright, KY
#5
As I said in the OP, I was grubbing out some ornamental grass that had grown around the pump and filter area. I had to fight the grass every time I needed to clean out the pump basket. That's how the pipe got broken (accidentally hit it with the grub axe, apparently the PVC was/is very brittle, it shattered into several pieces). There's another piece of pipe that was laying off to the side and didn't make it into the photo that was between the filter return line and the PVC in the ground. The black pipe is the one coming from the skimmer and is fine. I dug around the pipes underground because that's where we will cut the pipe to begin the repair. We'll cut before the elbow and replace everything from there up.

Thus my ultimate question, should we change anything about our setup while we are making this repair.
 

Texas Splash

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#6
I suppose if you were ever contemplating a change, now is the time. You can thank the grub axe for that one. :) Now that you have some pool experience under your belt, you can contemplate pad location/position, 3-way or check valves, additional plumbing for expansion (if needed), even the type/size of the filter should you consider changing from DE to sand or cartridge. Just one of those impromptu situations where circumstances have dealt you a few options to consider. :) Much depends upon your budget, DIY skills, and perhaps most importantly your willingness to be out there messing with it. :)
 

Smeade

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May 25, 2014
44
Ft. Wright, KY
#7
Hi Pat, thanks for your input as well as that from Dave S. At this time we're not considering a pump or filter change; both are fairly new, 5 years old or less, and seem to be serving us well at this point. All of the plumbing runs below the concrete apron, so highly likely we'll not ever change that (unless we win the lottery and replace the pool deck, something that is NOT highly likely ��). I don't think we'll ever put in a heater, probably not a SWG either (but again, lottery).

I need an education on 3-way and check valves. I know just enough pool stuff to be dangerous but haven't had a need until now to learn more about the hardware side of things. I don't know what they do or if either of those is applicable in my case. I read about Jandy valves and multi port valves and "make sure you always turn the handle in one direction" valves but I'm ignorant about what they are/what they do/do I need one.

Any insight is appreciated!
 
Last edited:

Texas Splash

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#8
Below is an example of a 3-way valve. As you can see, it plumbs into the PVC in such a way that you can divert water to two different directions.
3-Way.jpg
The next pic is a check valve. While not always required for every pool set-up, some use it just before the pump to help keep the pump basket full of water when the system is turned off. It has a flap inside that flaps open when water is moving, and flips closed when the system is off preventing water from going backwards.
Check.jpg

You can see examples of both of these in my pool pictures - link below in my sig "My Pool".
 

Smeade

LifeTime Supporter
May 25, 2014
44
Ft. Wright, KY
#9
So in your setup (pretty pool BTW, I love the color) water comes in through the skimmer, passes through a check valve and then a 3-way before hitting the pump (why the 3-way if the water only has one place to go, to the pump? or is that to draw water from two places, skimmer or main drain?). Water leaves the filter and goes through the white cylinder thingy with the grey lid (what's that?) and through another 3-way which directs water to the jets or to...terra cotta water feature? (Which is cool, BTW).

Translating that to my setup, should I use a 3-way in the same way you've used one before the pump for the same reason you did (if you have a 3-way so you can draw water from the main drain as well as the skimmer, that doesn't apply to me as my main drain doesn't work, hasn't in decades). Right now there's no purpose for another 3-way on the return line since the water only has one place to go, right? Replace old gate valve with a new one or something different or keep gate valve as is (it doesn't seem to close all the way). If we go back to the pump side, if we DID go with a 3-way, we could reconfigure plumbing to add the option to recirculate and bypass the filter, yes? We don't have that option now, so I'm not sure it's that important. Am I missing out on something?

It almost sounds to me that, because we don't plan on making any equipment changes in the foreseeable future, we should just repair what's there and keep things simple. I don't know what I don't know and therefore wanted to see if there was anything I should do differently to improve our setup apart from changing out equipment. I'm probably overthinking things (highly likely).
 

Texas Splash

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#10
why the 3-way if the water only has one place to go, to the pump?
Yeah, that one actually works as a simple 2-way on/off valve. Water enters from the skimmer and I can shut it off to basically isolate my equipment pad while working.
white cylinder thingy with the grey lid (what's that?)
In-line chlorinator installed in the beginning. I never use it now. :)
and through another 3-way which directs water to the jets or to...terra cotta water feature?
Correct! I can choose how much water goes to the return jets and/or water feature.
that doesn't apply to me as my main drain doesn't work,
In that case, a simple on/off valve to serve the same purpose as my valve before the pump will work to allow you to isolate the equipment pad.
Right now there's no purpose for another 3-way on the return line since the water only has one place to go, right?
True, but a 3-way on the exit side may not be a bad idea "if" in the future you ever elect to run another line for something. You can always just not open the valve to the open end, or install a short "stub out" section of PVC and cap it off just in case you want another return line for something.
if we DID go with a 3-way, we could reconfigure plumbing to add the option to recirculate and bypass the filter, yes?
Only if the valve is "after" the pump and before the filter. In fact, many folks with filters (like me with a cartridge) who don't have multiport valves do just that for easy draining or filter to waste. Perhaps not the most critical thing, but some people like it.
It almost sounds to me that, because we don't plan on making any equipment changes in the foreseeable future, we should just repair what's there and keep things simple.
Nothing wrong with that! Balance simplicity with practicality and pool experience to do what is best for you two. You see my set-up ... it's very basic and simple. One day I may upgrade a thing or two, maybe not. I don't have a lot of pool features or a spa, so my equipment is simple and I do like it that way. You could just repair what got damaged, upgrade the valves, and press-on. Hopefully the repairs you do will be rewarding and not a major pain in the backside. :)
 

Smeade

LifeTime Supporter
May 25, 2014
44
Ft. Wright, KY
#11
Thanks, Pat! I really appreciate you educating me on how this stuff works (and being patient with my questions!). I have a better understanding of the plumbing side of things. I'll discuss with my husband and see what he wants to do and how much $$ he's willing to part with. �� I'm handy in a lot of areas but not plumbing. Maybe I'll learn from him as he does it and I'll know what to do next time I bust a pipe with a grub axe.

I've done a little more research (I almost said digging, that's what got me here in the first place) about the valves and what I might need. There are several places that explained everything quite well with lots of pictures. I think this might actually be kind of fun (my DH will probably disagree).

Thanks again for your help!