Removed debris basket while pumping to waste, bad move.

mick1putt

Silver Supporter
Mar 15, 2014
52
Raleigh, NC
I just installed a new SuperFlo variable speed pump, and everything was working perfectly. I've gone about a month with no pump, so the pool was in the worst shape I've ever seen it. The water was about as dark as a Louisiana bayou, there was a fair amount of spring tree debris on the bottom, and the surface was yellow with pollen.

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I was so proud of my clean install, and so happy with the way the variable speed pump was working, I was really anxious to get the pool cleaned up. I started SLAM this morning. Remarkably, in about 5 hours, and 2nd bump with liquid chlorine, the water was almost clear. I decided to suction the debris off the bottom to waste, but in less than a minute my the pump pre-basket was full and the pump was laboring.

This is where things went wrong. I thought to myself, "Since I'm pumping to waste, do I need the basket? None of this stuff is big, and it's just going straight through the the multivalve, to waste, not into the sand....hmmm...No, I don't need the basket" So, I removed the basket, and went back to sucking stuff off the bottom...for about 30 seconds.

I'm not sure where that debris went and clogged things up, but I'm no longer moving any water. I tried backwashing...nothing. Tried to rinse...nothing. If I was pumping to waste, doesn't it just pump straight through the multivalve? Is that where it's clogged?

What do I do now? Am I going to have to take the multivalve off and clean it out?
 

Divin Dave

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 2, 2013
5,414
Longview, Texas
I guess the Multi Valve is a good a place to start as any. If you have any 90 bends, those can probably clog too.

I dont know how likely the pump impeller is to clog up. I suppose you can stick your finger up in there and see....
 
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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
39,178
Tallahassee, FL
I agree with ^^^^^ that.

-Turn off the power to the pump at the breaker box
-Take the pump basket off. Here is where having unions is going to come in handy. If you don't have unions you will be cutting PVC pipe so be ready to reconnect with unions.
-Stick your fingers into the impeller area and get all of the stuff out. Make sure you get it all. Even one little leaf can cause lose of suction.

Let us know if you need any help with installing the unions and such.

Kim:kim:
 

mick1putt

Silver Supporter
Mar 15, 2014
52
Raleigh, NC
Thanks, I'll get after it this morning. I have unions on the pump, can easily remove downstream side, and obviously the basket. Water hose and shopvac should do it from there??

As Divin Dave says in his signature, Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!
 
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mick1putt

Silver Supporter
Mar 15, 2014
52
Raleigh, NC
Wow, that stuff is really jammed in there, the shopvac and water isn't even close to moving it. My hand barely reaches, I can just pinch a tiny bit at a time. I'm assuming I need to be very careful about scratching up the impeller, don't want to be jamming a screwdriver up there do I?
Any other tricks to getting this stuff out?
 

Costas > DownUnder

Bronze Supporter
Dec 17, 2017
597
Adelaide | Australia
Impellers are usually constructed from a hard composite plastic material - so you will be safe with a screwdriver unless you use gorilla force.

Another option is to make a small hook out of some coat hanger wire or similar and try using this to remove debris.

Best option is to remove the 'wet end' off the pump to perform a thorough check/clean as you cannot always remove all the debris out through the intake as the diffuser usually prevents full clear access to the complete impeller.


Below is a pic of some of my pump components - 1st pic shows what we typically refer to as the 'wet end'.

Note the conical shaped device - This is the diffuser and it sits over the impeller which is shown in the 2nd photo attached to the remaining 'motor' section of the pump.

You can see that with the diffuser sitting over the impeller it can make it difficult to fully clear debris from the impeller.






 
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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
39,178
Tallahassee, FL
Did you take the basket holder off? If you do that it should be easy to get to the stuff. Well that is if you pump/basket is like mine.

Needle nose pliers might help you grab the stuff. Take your time and you should be fine.
 

mick1putt

Silver Supporter
Mar 15, 2014
52
Raleigh, NC
Thanks for all the advice, TFP comes through again!

I got it, one tiny bit of debris at a time. Like most things, it just takes a little persistence.
 

djdonte

Well-known member
Mar 25, 2019
153
Houston, TX
You shouldn't need to cut any pipe or unions. Remove the motor and seal plate out of the back end and clean the impeller. Have new seals on hand as well... with the pumps age you might be ok reusing them but you never know.
 

mick1putt

Silver Supporter
Mar 15, 2014
52
Raleigh, NC
What worked for you? This will help me help others in the future!

Kim:kim:
I basically followed your instructions:
> pulled disconnect on power to pump
> closed valves to isolate pump from pool
> removed pump basket
> disconnected union on downstream side of pump (I had a compression coupling about a foot above that union so could easily remove short section of pipe)
> used shop vac to remove water in pump
> reached my hand in from bowl and pulled out the debris, one tiny bit at a time. As I said above, this took some patience, at first I didn't think I could get it. I gently poked and twisted with a small screwdriver to pry it loose, this helped a lot, and once I got some out, it got easier.
> used water hose to loosen and blow out the last bits, and shop vac to suck it up, tried blowing with shop vac from outlet side, but that didn't do much

That's it, I did not have to remove wet end of pump.

It's had a day to dry out and was much more compacted yesterday, but his is what was in there.
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Thanks again for the help! Everything running smoothly, I can get back to sucking up that debris today, leaving the basket in this time :hammer:
 

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