Pumps below water level?


Active member
Jul 8, 2015
San Antonio, TX
Moved to a new house with an existing pool.

I got a little surprise when I opened the top of the main pump to get some leaves out of the basket. It’s apparently below the water level and water started gushing out of the pump. The pressure was too great for me to get the lid back on so I had to close the valves for the skimmers and the main drain to stop the water flow. Disaster averted.

The problem I am facing is I have a few pumps for water walls that also have leaves in the baskets, but I’m afraid to open them. The don’t have cutoff valves on the suction side, only the exit side. Seems like those valves wouldn’t do anything to stop the flow.

I posted a pic so you can see what I mean.

How am I supposed to clean out the leaves without draining the whole pool?



Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Wow, that's a lot of pumps. Are you pushing water to Six Flags? :) Okay, how about this...... Since you don't have shut-off valves for each pump, can you plug the suction at the skimmer(s)? Maybe a tennis ball or rubber plug that fits specifically into your skimmer(s)? Then you'd only lose a little bit of water from the line. Much like above ground pool owners have to do. Some may even use a skimmer faceplate for that purpose.


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
Bedford, TX

Where do the extra pumps get their water???

In my mind, they would not get it from your main pump skimmers..

Do you have separate skimmers for them or do you have some special wall or floor ports???

If you can find them, then stopping them up, as Pat has suggested, would be what I would try to do..


Jim R.


Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
Central MD
I agree those are the most practical solutions for the current situation. If a PB had been on the ball, would they have installed check valves to keep the reverse flow from happening?


TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
Are you sure that the pumps are below the water level?

Maybe the main pump suction was on Spa, which is higher and would cause the problem.

The waterfall discharge would probably backflow some because the waterfalls are probably higher than the pump, but you can close the discharge valve to stop the backflow .