Pop-up system pressure low?

BartonSwimmer

Member
Apr 14, 2020
14
Texas
I have a older pool put in by previous owner. This year is my first summer and after setting up the pool and using it, I realized that there was a pop-up cleaner system that was not on.. (I have been using a robot). I thought i will try to set it up.
I rebuilt the five-port Caretaker valve, removed and cleaned all the popup heads and then turned the valve that switch outflow to Caretaker from the pool outflow. Most of the popups open up and there is flow from them. However the pressure at the Caretaker is around 5 psi. This seems low from what i read on the forums.

Observations:
System has a DE filter, whose output goes through a heater (not turned on) to a pipe junction with a valve that controls flow to pool outflow vs flow into caretaker.
The caretaker valve is a five port and the pool has five zones (through observation)
When I turn the valve to send to Pool outflow, i can see flow from the two outflow ports in the pool.
When I turn the valve to send to caretaker, the flow from the output ports tops.

However, I have a spa with a waterfall from the spa. I noticed that the spa ports have outflow in both the above cases. My suspicion is that somehow that the water is being diverted to it and hence reducing the pressure to caretaker.

Is there something wrong in my system or are things working as expected?
(attached rough map of pool)
 

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mas985

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There should be a pressure gauge on the manifold and it should read >14PSI. If not, then the flow might be redirected or the filter is really dirty.
 

BartonSwimmer

Member
Apr 14, 2020
14
Texas
There should be a pressure gauge on the manifold and it should read >14PSI. If not, then the flow might be redirected or the filter is really dirty.

Pretty sure that the filter is not dirty since i have backwashed and cleaned the fins earlier this summer.. As i mentioned the spa is still getting water flow even if the output is directed to the caretaker pump, so my guess is that is the path of lower resistance and hence water is getting redirected.
Are there any common piping patterns somewhere that I can refer to in order to see how the flow is getting redirected?
 

mas985

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Post a picture of pad equipment and maybe I can tell what is going on.
 

Rich D

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Aug 3, 2018
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MA
Do you have a variable speed pump or a two-speed pump? In floor cleaners usually require 2,800 to 3,000 RPM
 

BartonSwimmer

Member
Apr 14, 2020
14
Texas
@Rich D : This is single speed pump.
@mas985 : I am attaching a picture of the pool setup. The valve that is supposed to control flow to caretaker vs pool outflow is in the middle of the first picture and is turned to direct all flow to the Caretaker
 

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mas985

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What is the filter pressure and also the caretaker manifold pressure?

The blue handle is the spa bypass. Turn that off and see if anything changes. That valve is in the wrong location. It should be off the return line only.
 
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BartonSwimmer

Member
Apr 14, 2020
14
Texas
@mas985 : I turned off the blue handle and the pressure went up to 14, the pop ups popped up fully and started spraying with good force. So looks like your solution worked..

What is the function of the spa bypass? is it to allow chlorine tabletss to be inserted in the white container and thus treat the water before it is sent back to the pool? Since i do not use tablets now, is it okay to long term close it?

This brings a question of how to use the popups: should diverting the water to the Caretaker be my default mode of pool operation? Or do I have the water go back through the pool return lines on a daily basis and turn on the popups once in a while?
 

Rich D

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Aug 3, 2018
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This brings a question of how to use the popups
That will be something that depends on how many regular (not IFCS) returns there are and where they are located in the pool. You will have to figure out how much you will use it as you go along. The IFCS does a great job at blending chemicals in and also maintaining an even temperature throughout the pool. As far as cleaning the pool, I run my IFCS 2 hours every night. This keeps the pool and water line clean. They do not do a great job at skimming the pool, and where you only have the single speed pump you will be very limited on how it will perform for that. I have a variable speed pump, so I keep IFCS running all day at 1500 RPM with the suction set to full skimmer. With the exception of very heavy debris days this keeps the top clear all day long. I would just experiment for with it for a while and see how it works for you. I honestly do not think I would like the IFCS if I did not have a variable speed pump.
 

Rich D

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2018
960
MA
Forgot to mention that on very heavy debris times like spring and fall I will some times pause the IFCS on a zone that is on the opposite end of the pool than the skimmer. This will do a fantastic job of clearing the surface. At 3000 rpm I can have my entire surface completely clear in 15 minutes as long as there are no ridiculous apposing winds. So if I take the extra step in the morning to pause the system on the correct zone then the 1500 rpm it will keep it very clear all day even on heavy days.
 

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mas985

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The spa bypass is so you can keep the spa chlorinated. How are you adding chlorine?

You could crack the valve so some chlorinated water makes it to the spa.
 

BartonSwimmer

Member
Apr 14, 2020
14
Texas
@mas985 Thanks for the detailed response.. I also have another pump that is dedidated to a leaf and surface debris catcher... that runs for a couple of hours every day...

I add chlorine via manual liquid chlorine dispersion or occaisional chlorine tabs in a floating receptacle....

The pool is I believe around 20 years old and this season has been quite a learning experience for me :)
 

mas985

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So you will need some water traveling to the spa each so that it will remain chlorinated. But it doesn't need much flow to do that.
 

proavia

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In looking at your caketaker plumbing, one zone goes to the spa - the one with the check valve in it. If the spa makeup line is closed, the spa will still receive chlorinated water when that zone is active. When the infloor is on, close the spa makeup valve. When infloor is off, open the spa makeup line. How much the spa makeup line is open is based on how much flow you want over the spillway. As Mark indicated, you don't need much flow to keep the spa chlorinated..

How may hours per day are you running the pump?

Also, you may want to consider changing your chlorinating method. Continuous use of tri-chlor tabs will cause your CYA to increase. Are you keeping your FC level in range for your CYA? See the FC/CYA Chart chart.
 
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