Please help. Haven't opened pool in 3 1/2 years. Never had a pool! Severe help needed

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
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Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
Can you post a recent pic of your pool?
Eg can you now see what's on the bottom?
In mine, once it cleared, we found a cell phone battery, a full bottle of floc, and a leaf net among the debris ;) Stones, twigs and mulch bark were the culprits on clogging the vac.

Maybe try this cheap contraption that attaches to a hose to get more of the debris up, but be warned that disturbing the stuff on the floor will also cloud up the water. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0020H42VY/ref=asc_df_B0020H42VY5020099/?tag=hyprod-20&creative=394997&creativeASIN=B0020H42VY&linkCode=df0&hvadid=167126215582&hvpos=1o3&hvnetw=g&hvrand=17322445889666687043&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=t&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9017527&hvtargid=pla-309740825020
 

Flimflam22

Well-known member
May 17, 2017
125
New york
For whatever reason the drain from the skimmer is extremely small where I even had a problem putting a snake line into. I finally got it in and moved it along but it got completely stopped at certain point. After really looking at bottom I realized there were chipped brick pieces at the bottom under the algae and am real worried there are pieces of brick in the pipes causing the blockage and that seems like a real problem. After doing the snake I got the pressure from 0 to 10 but still less than the 20 it normally is. Does anyone have any suggestions if it is brick in the pipes? Sorry Swampwoman didn't get any pictures had my daughter's play all day. It is clear for the most part but am terrified to do any real cleaning again and that's if I get the pressure back up. Is there any other means of vacuuming or is that net with the hose the only other alternative?

And no pool amateur def not scared off I am motivated to get this going for my kids I know it will be a blast for them but appreciate the honesty haha
 

xyz

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Sep 8, 2016
641
Escondido/CA
Do you have a shop vac? Pulling those pieces back out the way they came will be a good bet. If you have a straight or only somewhat curved path to your pump intake you may be able to push a hose from the pump input and blast that stuff out that way.
 

Pool Amateur

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Jun 19, 2015
618
Central, NJ
I like xyz's idea of a hose pushed in from pump side, but it would have to be after your valve as hose would probably not make it through valve. Also, Home Depot or on internet , you maybe able to buy a relatively cheap camera and light on a flexible cable to put in and visually inspect. I know a lot of plumbers have them, but that is bigger money to get plumber involved. I'll keep thinking. Maybe someone else will have a good idea.

It has been a good 2 years and looking forward to this year. A lot of fun and good memories made and definitely worth it, but thank God I live in northeast, would not be able to sustain all that entertaining year round, I think it is why I sold the boat.
 

Pool Amateur

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Jun 19, 2015
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Central, NJ
I tried one of those leaf vacuums to get leaves, it did not too good, but I only had large pour mess bag, fine mesh might capture silt. also a fine mesh leaf rake may work. Do you use skimmer basket under vacuum plate when vacuuming. (I know I asked before, but do not remember an answer, sorry if I forgot)

Can you get pic looking down into skimmer so we can see pipe?
 

Flimflam22

Well-known member
May 17, 2017
125
New york
So stick it in the skimmer and suck it back out? I will get a photo tomorrow. No there is nothing on the bottom of vacuum it's wide open
 

Swampwoman

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Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
Flimflam, do you have one of these? I can get anything off the floor with this one ;)
https://www.amazon.com/ProTuff-Pool-Net-Guarantee-Professional/dp/B00KCXXVPQ

I was worried you had something more than dead algae on that floor. What size of drain king did you buy? There are different diameters. The idea is it balloons for a snug fit then shoots pressurized water from the hose to force things out of the line. Its just the black part that needs to be in the line.

Sometimes you can move a clog by turning valve back and forth to act a bit like a plunger (stop go stop).

Once you get everything filtering again, just let to top layers clear as much as possible and then do some slow passes with the leaf rake to get anything up you can before trying to vacuum again, or consider getting that leaf cannister to catch any more brick parts.

I had a lot of 2-3" stones in mine ;)
 

Pool Amateur

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Jun 19, 2015
618
Central, NJ
Couple Of more questions so I can more fully understand. You went from 0-10 on pump, was that with the main skimmer isolated? or were both skimmers open and bottom drain? If when it is with main skimmer isolated, pull plug on other skimmer and what is pressure? Then open bottom drain, what is pressure? Any news on "3rd return"?

So stick it in the skimmer and suck it back out?

Yes, and if possible at same time pushing with hose or snake from Pump /Valve side if you can get it too the blockage.

Is there any other means of vacuuming or is that net with the hose the only other alternative?

Not a simple one that comes to mind yet, If you could think of a way to attach a vacuum to a trash pump that would be great, then share with everybody, I just do not know any simple adapter to use to do this.

PS. if pump is not running (and I would not run it long at only 10 PSI, because I think you are starving pump of water at that point) be sure to brush frequently especially after adding chlorine.
 

Flimflam22

Well-known member
May 17, 2017
125
New york
Ok so I think there may be some pieces of brick or something else blocking the bottom drain. Together they both read at just under 10. Separate they are 0 and pump is sucking air mostly. I have no clue how to clear blockage at bottom drain, looks like there is no filter cover on top of it. I am on vacation as of Saturday so will have plenty of time to really get this situated. I haven't been able to do any chemicals because there really isn't much circulation I feel like that will be wasting bleach. My net isn't too strong and most of the algae seems super small but if you think a net alone can get it done I'll go for it. Going to attempt the shop vac but not feeling very positive about it. I got the medium drain king but even a small will be a pain to get in. The snake I bought is about inch or inch and half and I had to seriously maneuver it in and that's metal. I don't think even brushing and filtering will work with how low the pressure is. All that junk on the bottom was in the deep end on top of the bottom drain I moved it away in hopes it would allow a little more suction down there but I think somethings stuck. I have been trying the open close before to no avail.
 

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Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
Sorry, don't mean to seem dense but can you explain pressure a bit better -- if the pump went dry, reprime it with water before repeating and reporting test below - and first, clean out the pump basket and check the impeller, and make sure the pump basket seal is wet wen you tighten the lid. A drop in pressure for me often meant a clog in the pump basket/impeller area.

Then, test again with full prime:

1. What is psi with main drain completely closed and skimmer(s) completely open?
2. What is psi, if any, with main drain valve completely open and everything else closed? (Reprime after this if you suck air again.)

If your skimmers are working with the main drain closed, just keep it closed for now and finish your slam. Otherwise you'll go backwards. You don't really need a main drain anyway, and removing a blockage may take some underwater work and jetting.

If the skimmers are NOT working with the main drain closed, then there's a clog somewhere in the skimmer lines that needs to work itself out/get snaked/get water jetted/ etc.

For the net, I meant to get any more brick out. For soft stuff, once your skimmers are confirmed as working right, you will (eventually) vacuum it out. I just don't want any more obstructions in your lines ;)
 

Flimflam22

Well-known member
May 17, 2017
125
New york
It's the same thing for both skimmer and main drain. When pump is primed filled with water and one is open and the other is closed, there is 0-1 pressure being given. There's water going to the pump but it's such a small amount. The basket is clean and there are no apparent clogs in the impeller. When both are opened together there is between 9-10 pressure, which does not give a real steady stream from the returns but more a random burst and bubbling
 

Pool Amateur

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Jun 19, 2015
618
Central, NJ
I assume the 1st picture is of main drain, from what you wrote there is no filter cover over it so I assume in the picture the bricks/rocks are sitting in a cup and under the bricks and rock is the drain. Since your plumbing pipes are all 1.5 " or appear so from previous picks there should be a 1.5" pipe to that drain. We will not know till you can uncover, but if it is I think you should be able to get a snake down it. I have seen many snakes that are only .25" thick with a .5" head. Even a garden hose if you have to cut off head so it fits down better. Another way to possibly get those pieces out hook vacuum hose up to shop vac, tape other end to the bottom of pole with the end of vacuum hose sticking out past pole. Use that to go down to those pieces in the drain put it right on those pieces and turn on shop vac once it sucks for a few seconds lift up see if you can lift piece out. you should have about 15-30 seconds before shop vac fills.
Another idea would be to get a light bulb replacer for a high ceiling the end will have something to grab with the bulb with, I have seen several different types of ends some a suction cup but other a mechanical opening and closing device that you control from your end.

I would also like to see a picture of the bottom of skimmer to see the pipe size in the skimmer.

In any event I would not stop Slam until Swampwoman checks in I would keep at slam level and brush because I would not want to go backward. I get this is demoralizing, but do not let emotions get in the way of rational thinking (I know easier said than done)
 

Pool Amateur

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Jun 19, 2015
618
Central, NJ
Take a look at this Home Depot page . 1/4" Snake x 30'. Scroll down to Customers who Viewed this item bought, there is a 5/16 diameter snake 50'. Take the other one back.

You may have to open up pipe after the valve to get snake down, snake from pump side may be more effective simultaneously sucking from skimmer or bottom drain.
 

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
Good morning, Flimflam.

I'm just going to throw a suggestion out here because I'm personally a bit out of my depth beyond water jetting to clear a clog. Eg. In my system, if I closed one valve, eg the main drain, I'd have extra flow on the other, eg skimmer. So I'm having difficulty comprehending the circumstances or setup where closing one valve zeros out the other but together you have pressure at all. So I'm a bit nervous about offering DIY advice of any kind and exacerbating your situation.

One of te things I did to get comfortable with my new-to-me pool equipment was I paid the techs from the original builder to come out and SHOW me how everything was interconnected, and which valves did what. It turned out to be a good thing I did, because in my case, I had an extra valve that pulls storm water from a sump under the deep end that needs to be drained periodically.

In your case, you have a valve of unknown relationship that we suspect operates a water feature.

It might be worth the price of a service call to have someone take a look at your situation. I'm not saying you can't resolve it yourself, but I am saying you might make a discovery about your system that's helpful and saves you time and frustration.

These techs will generally ave different opinions about water chemistry than TFP. I just ignore their discussions on such things (as soon as I saw them testing with strips, we were done on the chemistry front ;) ) But they know their plumbing ;)

Another thing I wanted to mention is that "slow flow" filtering is actually more effective...folks with variable speed pumps for example can turn the pump speed down for more thorough filtering.

And for some people, a is of 20 is high and is backwash level...lots of folks operate with pressure in the 12-15 range...its also possible that your "normal without algae" operation level is not really 20 psi, which for me, would be backwash territory.

So if the water circulates at 10 psi and the pump is not particularly starved, and the air in the system goes away after a bit or running, you could choose to keep slamming to get the water clear and sanitized before investigating a main drain clog further, because someone will need to get down there ;)

There's also the chance that just running it will dislodge the clog. Fingers crossed that your vacation becomes dramatically more "trouble free" starting today ;)
 

Flimflam22

Well-known member
May 17, 2017
125
New york
Well after fears of having to possibly open up a line bc of this brick situation I got a waterproof endoscope which should arrive tomorrow. I'll stick that little camera in the line to get a better idea of what is going on. I have no problem running the pool on low pressure if it's moving but I still need to get the rest of the crud out and need to vacuum to do that
 

Flimflam22

Well-known member
May 17, 2017
125
New york
Ok here's an update. Went outside to see what's going on and after turning valve open and closed which I've done before I could clearly hear a loud clanking right at that elbow in the above picture which I can only guess where the obstruction is. The pressure is up to 15 right now and when I close the main drain it goes down very minimally. Now if I use this camera and I see the block is right there would you recommend taking that piece apart? Or attempting to suck it back through skimmer? I'm worried taking anything apart as they are old looking pieces but also worried if I try to suck it back it might get stuck somewhere further away and less manageable to get to
 

Pool Amateur

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Jun 19, 2015
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Central, NJ
Tough call, I see pros and cons on either direction you take. How familiar are you working with PVC pipe? This is a long shot and I do not think it is plumbed this way, but I wonder if it is left hand turn on one side of valve and right hand turn on the other side so that if you turn the valve it would loosen or tighten both ends like a turnbuckle. There are a few threads showing, can you determine the twist on each end of valve?
 

Flimflam22

Well-known member
May 17, 2017
125
New york
I know absolutely nothing about pvc pipes that's what worries me. I will know more tomorrow or Monday when that little camera comes hoping I can manipulate the blockage better
 

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