Not sure where to start

johnnymack

Member
Jul 18, 2011
22
El Dorado Hills, CA
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
35-40k gal in-ground plaster pool. Just moved in, pool looks terrible. Regular algae, black algae in addition to a lot of plaster issues so resurfacing is going to be needed soon down the road. They've been using a puck floater but I'm not sure how much they were even using that. There's no chlorine in the pool and almost no CYA either.

Biggest issue to adding chemicals and getting on the road to a healthier pool is that the pump doesn't want to prime. It is a Hayward SP3200VSP and I have a 325sf cartridge filter. Because of this there is little/no suction on the skimmer lines. The Polaris (280) doesn't move much at all either but since there's not a lot of pressure coming from the return lines I think that's compromising the Polaris? There's a bypass manifold that I assume is for the skimmer vs drain lines but I've tried to prime with each individually and it doesn't ever fill the basket with water. I have replaced the skimmer basket o-ring and lubricated it but it was in pretty decent shape already.

I have not yet taken the filter apart to see how dirty it is - could that be a culprit here? I have bled the air out of it when trying to prime. I feel like it's a waste to dump much in the way of chemicals into the pool if it's getting low circulation but maybe that's better than letting it get any worse? I currently have the puck floater filled with 6-7 tabs, but with such a large pool and hot sunny days without any CYA I don't think it's doing a ton of good.

I had wanted to convert this to a SWG system but since it needs pretty major work I was going to wait until after that to install the SWG, and instead install an in-line puck feeder to this system. Should I just skip the pucks and go to the SWG now?
 

DeanP66

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2014
1,230
San Jose, CA
A few pics of your equipment pad could help us help you. Without that, I'd start by taking the filter apart and cleaning it. It is very easy. Do you have a DE or a cartridge filter? Your signature says DE filter, but in your post, you say you have a 325sf cartridge filter. If it's a DE filter, you'll have to add fresh DE powder back to the skimmer after you get the pump running.

You say the pump won't prime? Have you taken the pump lid off and sprayed water back toward the suction lines to make sure they are full of water? If you've done this, fill a 2 to 5 gallon bucket full of water and pour it into the pump basket fast to fill it to the top. Screw on your pump lid quickly so you don't lose too much water. Then try turning on the pump and make sure the filter air bleed valve is open. See if it will prime and if it does, then wait until you see water spraying out of the filter air valve and then close it fully.

If this doesn't work, you may have a suction leak somewhere. Pics would really help us troubleshoot even better.
 
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johnnymack

Member
Jul 18, 2011
22
El Dorado Hills, CA
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Ah, that was my old pool. This pool has a cartridge filter. Here is a pic of the main equipment pad. I have tried to run a hose in the pump basket for a couple of minutes but the water just flows down the suction side pipe. Will try with a bucket of water to see if I can fill it further



IMG_1348.JPEG
 

JJ_Tex

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
2,539
Prosper, TX (DFW)
Pool Size
13000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I'm not sure I'm understanding the part about it not priming. Since it is a variable speed pump, are you sure it is not just turned on a low RPM setting?
 

johnnymack

Member
Jul 18, 2011
22
El Dorado Hills, CA
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
It has a priming function when I stop and restart the pump. As currently set, it will prime for 1 min but the basket never fills. I tried setting the prime function to 5 min and it still would not fill the basket.

Even when running at a lower RPM, which the normal program does have it do, shouldn't the pump basket be full of water?
 

DeanP66

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2014
1,230
San Jose, CA
Are there a lot of bubbles when it is trying to prime? How high does the basket fill? There must be some type of suction leak. It doesn't appear that you have any valves on the suction side. The suction pipe appears to go right into the ground. Check the union at the inlet of the pump and check anywhere there is a fitting by spraying soapy water from a spray bottle. If there's a leak, you'll see it get sucked in. Another option is to put shaving cream on those areas. You can definitely see that getting sucked in.

Worst case scenario is there is a problem with the connection under your skimmer. Hopefully, that 's not the issue because that will cost you a lot to get it fixed by a pro.
 

johnnymack

Member
Jul 18, 2011
22
El Dorado Hills, CA
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
There are two skimmers and by the one closer to the equipment there is a diverter valve. I am pretty sure I can hear air escaping from this valve so I'm going to disassemble it and take a look. On an unrelated note it's 105+ here today and one of my inside A/C units quit last night. Ahhhh new/used home ownership......
 

DeanP66

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2014
1,230
San Jose, CA
Yeah, I'm just not too far from you here in San Jose. Currently 99 degrees here. My water with just a solar cover is around 90 so at least I get some relief. No air conditioner here. The pool IS my air conditioner. LOL!

That diverter valve has got to be the issue. If it's a Jandy valve, you can order the replacement o-rings for under $10 I believe. If not, you might just bite the bullet and install a fresh new valve altogether, but make sure you DO NOT use a ball valve. Those are notorious for sticking after only a couple of years rendering them quite useless.
 
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johnnymack

Member
Jul 18, 2011
22
El Dorado Hills, CA
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
I took apart the diverter valve. The larger o-ring was pretty dry but in tact. Washed and lubed everything and put it back on but didn't see much difference. (I have new o-rings coming today, but now not really expecting them to help much).

The main drain line seems to pulse when I switch the diverter to just pull from it. From a very limited amount of reading this sounds like maybe a clog in the line? The skimmer line doesn't have as much pulsing but still doesn't pull enough water to prime the pump.
 

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johnnymack

Member
Jul 18, 2011
22
El Dorado Hills, CA
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Well I fixed the priming issue!

Replaced the diverter valve but that wasn't the main issue. It was leaking a little air but it wasn't until I power washed the cartridges (carefully) of the filter that I finally got a full prime! So now I feel a lot better about starting to add chemicals, brushing, etc. and not feeling like I'm wasting time/money! But new questions....

The diverter valve actually appears to switch between the two skimmers, and I don't see any shutoff or valve where the main drain comes in. Is this normal/ok? Basically I have to move it so one skimmer is partially blocked in order to regulate the flow between both skimmers.

The Polaris has good pressure but doesn't seem to drive so now I get to take that apart to see if some of the bearings/wheels are worn and in need of replacement.

Originally I had planned to convert to a SWCG system when we moved in but the plaster is in worse shape than I thought and needs a full resurfacing. There's almost no CYA in this pool and I was just going to install a puck feeder for now and chlorinate it relatively high because we have algae and black algae issues to deal with and even if we ran up the CYA it's going to get drained for the work. Then plan to replace the puck feeder with the SWCG when we resurface so that I'm not putting that thing in now and stressing it through the mess of what we're currently working with. Is that dumb logic? Should I just install the SWCG now if that's what I want or does it make sense to wait until the pool is redone?
 

Bperry

Gold Supporter
Aug 20, 2020
1,069
Knoxville, TN
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-60
Well I fixed the priming issue!

Replaced the diverter valve but that wasn't the main issue. It was leaking a little air but it wasn't until I power washed the cartridges (carefully) of the filter that I finally got a full prime! So now I feel a lot better about starting to add chemicals, brushing, etc. and not feeling like I'm wasting time/money! But new questions....

The diverter valve actually appears to switch between the two skimmers, and I don't see any shutoff or valve where the main drain comes in. Is this normal/ok? Basically I have to move it so one skimmer is partially blocked in order to regulate the flow between both skimmers.

The Polaris has good pressure but doesn't seem to drive so now I get to take that apart to see if some of the bearings/wheels are worn and in need of replacement.

Originally I had planned to convert to a SWCG system when we moved in but the plaster is in worse shape than I thought and needs a full resurfacing. There's almost no CYA in this pool and I was just going to install a puck feeder for now and chlorinate it relatively high because we have algae and black algae issues to deal with and even if we ran up the CYA it's going to get drained for the work. Then plan to replace the puck feeder with the SWCG when we resurface so that I'm not putting that thing in now and stressing it through the mess of what we're currently working with. Is that dumb logic? Should I just install the SWCG now if that's what I want or does it make sense to wait until the pool is redone?
Liquid chlorine would be a better choice than the pucks. Pool industry is way backed up and it may be a while before can schedule a replastering. Is there a leak or is the plaster just degraded? My pool has needed a replaster since we bought it two years ago and it’s still just a cosmetic issue at the moment. Depending on what shape yours is in, you may be able to wait a while as well. I don’t see what using pucks will do for you.
 

DeanP66

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2014
1,230
San Jose, CA
I agree with Bperry, using pucks won't do anything for you except continue to raise your CYA. Liquid chlorine would work fine. There's no reason why you should wait if you want to get a SWG except maybe a chance that the prices will come down a little in the near future, but I wouldn't bet on it.
 

notmycupoftea

Active member
Jun 19, 2014
28
NJ
Pool Size
18000
Surface
Vinyl
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
Well I fixed the priming issue!
Glad to hear you fixed the priming issue - I have a similar pump, when you go to the menu setting the diagnostics menu with be "locked" you have to hold the < and > buttons for 2 seconds and it unlocks it. there you can scroll over and can change the self prime function to 0sec or +8min if you want. I usually toggle this down to zero if I am doing some work on the pool like vacuuming and switching the multi port around a lot - just thought I would share that info.

Any pics of the pool as is? I have had my fair share of swamp pool just curious to see what your dealing with.
 

johnnymack

Member
Jul 18, 2011
22
El Dorado Hills, CA
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
My biggest reason for thinking to go with the pucks right now is that the in-line feeder is readily available, easy to install, takes less upkeep, and with major work coming up I wasn't too worried about the CYA. I wouldn't mind the cosmetic aspects of the plaster as it is but there are a bunch of black algae patches that are going to be difficult and expensive to keep away with it having worked its way into the current plaster (at least, that's my thinking), so I was hoping to have the resurfacing completed within the next 9ish-mo. If I can get a handle on the algae and keep it at bay then we may hold off on the major work.

At my old pool I installed a Hasa Liquidator and used LC and would ideally do that (if not the SWCG) but I didn't see them for sale and Hasa site says stay tuned for the new model?

Pics attached showing a couple spots. The water is fairly clear but you can see some of the algae issues and I haven't had enough chemicals on hand to shock it since I wasn't going to do that until I got it primed and pumping. Today we will fetch some chlorine and get started and then use some algaecide after that. I also realized that at the RPM settings that the previous owner had on the pump there was never going to be enough flow so that was a big issue as well. He was running at low rpm 24/7, I'm guessing to "save electricity", but it wasn't actually turning the pool over. It will be louder now, but shouldn't have to be on all day (well, that is after I get everything killed!)




IMG_1339.JPEGIMG_1340.JPEG
 
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Bperry

Gold Supporter
Aug 20, 2020
1,069
Knoxville, TN
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-60
I’m afraid pucks will just make that worse if that’s all you use. You need a lot of chlorine to keep that from getting worse. If you use pucks, you’ll need to add so many of them to get the chlorine high enough, but it’ll raise the CYA even higher, which will force you to need even more chlorine and it’ll reach a point where no amount of pucks will be able to keep the algae at bay.

You really just need a lot of liquid chlorine to start and probably some scrubbing after the chlorine has been in there a while. You don’t need algaecide or anything else. Get the stabilizer/CYA up to 30ppm and bring the Free chlorine up to 12ppm and maintain it at 12ppm (SLAM process) until the algae is gone. It’ll get a lot of that algae even if you don’t scrub right away. You’ll need a test kit that can do FAS-DPD to measure chlorine over ~5ppm.

if you don’t maintain the water chemistry, it can ruin equipment if the pH gets way out of whack.

looking at it closer, some of that black just looks like the plaster is worn off down to the gunite. Mine has a few similar spots, but not nearly as many. Are you sure it’s all algae?
 
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johnnymack

Member
Jul 18, 2011
22
El Dorado Hills, CA
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Thanks Bperry - No, definitely not sure it's all algae. I have never seen this pool during/after a shock process so I am not sure what are plaster issues and what's algae. I am going to add stabilizer and start the SLAM tonight after the sun goes down, and then plan to brush it in the morning with nylon and then wire in spots. I just cleaned out the filter cartridges yesterday but I might open it up again today to see how bad it looks and rinse them again before the SLAM starts. I'll leave the puck floater in there with pucks in it for now to help during the sunny days but I'm going to send back the inline puck feeder and either buy the SWCG now/soon or keep looking for a good liquid chlorinator. I already have the TFT-100 test kit so I should be good to go there. How have you liked the Circupool RJ60+ SWCG? That is the model I have been looking at adding to the pool.
 

Bperry

Gold Supporter
Aug 20, 2020
1,069
Knoxville, TN
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-60
Thanks Bperry - No, definitely not sure it's all algae. I have never seen this pool during/after a shock process so I am not sure what are plaster issues and what's algae. I am going to add stabilizer and start the SLAM tonight after the sun goes down, and then plan to brush it in the morning with nylon and then wire in spots. I just cleaned out the filter cartridges yesterday but I might open it up again today to see how bad it looks and rinse them again before the SLAM starts. I'll leave the puck floater in there with pucks in it for now to help during the sunny days but I'm going to send back the inline puck feeder and either buy the SWCG now/soon or keep looking for a good liquid chlorinator. I already have the TFT-100 test kit so I should be good to go there. How have you liked the Circupool RJ60+ SWCG? That is the model I have been looking at adding to the pool.
I like the RJ-60. My pump runs 24x7 on low speed and the swcg is on a timer that runs about 6 hours per day and it’s set to about 40% of its power output. I check chlorine every few days and it’s usually pretty consistently held at 5.5ppm. I’ll probably turn it up a notch as July gets closer.

I’d stick with the nylon brush for now. The wire brush can be kinda harsh on the plaster. I’d save it for confirmed black algae that won’t go away, though I was able to get rid of the black algae with just liquid chlorine.

how is the pool otherwise? No leaks, etc? I’d certainly do the water cleanup with liquid shock/chlorine but you could install the SWCG any time really. I think I’d do one thing at a time though just to avoid getting too much on my plate.
 

johnnymack

Member
Jul 18, 2011
22
El Dorado Hills, CA
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
No leaks it seems, as I haven't been losing any water other than a little from the sun baking it all day. Pump now stays primed if I keep the rpms up. Added LC and stabilizer last night, added more this morning to keep the FC level up pretty high during the day since the CYA is still low and it will be in the sun most of the day. Have done nylon brushing of everything we can reach and a few spot hand-brushing with the metal just to see what will come off.

Definitely looking better, will post some pics today after the brushing debris settles :)
 

johnnymack

Member
Jul 18, 2011
22
El Dorado Hills, CA
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Last night I added 4gal of 10% LC and 4lb stabilizer. Today during the day I added 2gal 10% and 4lb stabilizer. How long will the stabilizer take to show up in testing? CYA tube still showing under 30 but I thought it could take up to a week to see so I'm not planning to add more.

At 9pm tonight my results were:
pH drop test looked in the 7.5 range but the strips I use too have always shown the pool with a low pH so I don't know really
6.0 FC
0.5 CC
275-300 CH
85-90 TA
Added 2.5gal 10% LC, which was probably a little more than necessary but only by a few cups.

We've done some brushing, probably not as much as necessary to really get the spots off. And the Polaris is not working correctly but I didn't get around to fixing that today so it isn't much help.
 

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