Skimmer switched drain holes

Jvee

Member
Jun 6, 2018
12
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Hi TFP members,
I’ve had this pool for 5 years now, it is much older than that, but every year seems there seems to be a new challenge to get the water clear.
I switched 2yrs ago to liquid chlorine that I add daily with a couple of chlorinated pucks thrown in to keep the cya up.
Last year was the first time I opened the pool this way and it was easy peasy, took less than a week to clear my winter algae.
Not so this year, I’m on my 4th gallon of chlorine and since the first gallon which turned the water turquoise , which is usually a good sign, there has been no improvement, in fact it went back to the previous shade of green and has stayed there after two brushing and 3 more gallons. Am I following the TFP system to the letter ?, no, but it worked last year, the pool stayed clear all summer.
My suspicion is with the filter, when backwashing, the dirty water was no where near as green and dense as it usually is when opening. But the pressure gage reads the same, around 18 when filtering( it does have a stutter if you will, it waivers a bit, but always has it was new last year or the year before), then drops to 15 when it needs backwashing. Yes , it drops, it has never gone higher as one would expect if it were having to strain more to move the water through more debris.
The only thing I changed this yr, is I removed the extra pipes and detour for the ozonator that I never use as it’s valve had broken this winter. If anything, this made it easier for the pump to prime, less pipe to travel. But, back to the skimmer issue of my title, last year was difficult to get pump to prime and one of the ways I found to help was to put a hose at full pressure down the hole that goes to the pump . This is the hole farthest from the pool, right? Well this spring the hole that has suction is the one closest to the pool, which supposedly goes to the drain at the bottom of the pool? I do not understand how this works, and could it be the reason my pool is not clearing up? I am not mistaken about the switch because last year, I played with the cover over the suction hole to try and increase the suction to help prime the pump, that hole has no suction whatsoever this year.
If anyone can help me understand or trouble shoot this pool monster, I’d be ever so grateful!
jvee
 
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jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
42,991
Tucson, AZ
The filter pressure can't drop when it gets dirty. That does not make sense. You sure the gauge is not bad?

It should not be possible for the suction to switch from 1 hole to the other in the skimmer.
Usually it is plumbed as you described. Furthest hole from pool goes to the pump and the closer one goes to the floor.
The only way I can think of that could cause what you are stating is that the closer hole goes down to the floor but is also teed back to the pump and that the furthest hole has gotten clogged forcing the suction into the closer hole ... but this would all be very abnormal
Or maybe the both holes in the skimmer are just tied together and go to the pump and are not attached to the floor at all?

What does the plumbing at the pump look like?
 

Jvee

Member
Jun 6, 2018
12
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
The filter pressure can't drop when it gets dirty. That does not make sense. You sure the gauge is not bad?

It should not be possible for the suction to switch from 1 hole to the other in the skimmer.
Usually it is plumbed as you described. Furthest hole from pool goes to the pump and the closer one goes to the floor.
The only way I can think of that could cause what you are stating is that the closer hole goes down to the floor but is also teed back to the pump and that the furthest hole has gotten clogged forcing the suction into the closer hole ... but this would all be very abnormal
Or maybe the both holes in the skimmer are just tied together and go to the pump and are not attached to the floor at all?

What does the plumbing at the pump look like?
There is one pipe coming in and one out to the filter. And I know none of this makes any sense, one thing for sure when the gauge was new I got the same readings.
I am pretty sure the skimmer hooks up to the drain hole at the bottom of the pool because one of my earlier attempts to winterize with antifreeze, ended with pink fluid coming out of the drain at the bottom of the pool which seemed like a waste to me.
I was wondering if the far pipe got clogged too, but didn’t understand how the pump could still run if that was the case. How can I unplug or verify that the line is plugged?[/QUOTE]
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
42,991
Tucson, AZ
You can try running water through the pipe with a drain king or even just a rag wrapped around the hose.
I would first try to run the water from the pump back toward the skimmer, we would expect the water to enter the skimmer hole further from the pool.
 

Jvee

Member
Jun 6, 2018
12
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
You can try running water through the pipe with a drain king or even just a rag wrapped around the hose.
I would first try to run the water from the pump back toward the skimmer, we would expect the water to enter the skimmer hole further from the pool.
Hmm I will give this a go, it will take a day or two until I can get someone to come and watch what hole it comes out of, but it’s a start.
Thank you so much jblizzle, I will let you know
Jvee
 

Jvee

Member
Jun 6, 2018
12
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Well, I tried to hose water thru the pump side of my problem pipe only to have the reservoir immediately fill up and completely soak myself. So , went to skimmer side managed to insert hose a good 7 feet down the hole furthest from pool, but I believe it all came back to skimmer because only thing that happened is skimmer water became clearer. My water is so gross I can’t see the two holes in the bottom of the skimmer, that’s complete obscurity in about 18”.!
Also tried blocking hole closest to pool and then primed pump, no go, pump started to smell hot after a few minutes and no pressure was created so I stopped. Then I tried to blow through to skimmer with shop vac, again absolutely no movement of water in or near skimmer.
In conclusion that line is blocked, I called club piscine for a service man/woman and they of course want me to have my water checked, , my levels are fine,I just can’t clean it out fast enough.
Help, do I rent a plumbers snake? They make me nervous. Getting service people in means I have to suffer through the whole barometer of questions again instead of just listening to what i am telling them, they assume i’ve done any number of stupid things, its very frustrating.
Don’t know what to do next,
Jvee
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
42,991
Tucson, AZ
So, your chemicals are not fine if your pool is still green. Are you following the SLAM Process process? Even without a filter you can get the algae killed as long as you can keep the water circulating.

It does sound like you may have a plumbing issue which will need to be resolved as well.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
14,976
If both holes are open, will the pump run properly?

Sometimes the front hole is plumbed as the suction.

Note: I have a similar problem with the gas tank on my car. Every time that I go to get gas, the gas tank is on the opposite side.
 
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Jvee

Member
Jun 6, 2018
12
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
So, your chemicals are not fine if your pool is still green. Are you following the SLAM Process process? Even without a filter you can get the algae killed as long as you can keep the water circulating.

It does sound like you may have a plumbing issue which will need to be resolved as well.
First, what I meant to say about the water is the ph, alkalinity and possibly the cya are at the right levels to do the slam, I still have to get the test to determine the differential between the fc and tc. As I said earlier, last year I winged it and had good results , so I mistakenly assumed that the same quantity of chlorine would do the trick this year. As there is still circulation, I will go back to slamming, scrubbing , not sure the vacuuming will work with the clogged line , but will try. I don’t usually vacuum until I can see to the bottom, which hasn’t happened yet this year.


If both holes are open, will the pump run properly?

Sometimes the front hole is plumbed as the suction.

Note: I have a similar problem with the gas tank on my car. Every time that I go to get gas, the gas tank is on the opposite side.
This drain king that is mentioned often, is it a drill with a cone of woven wire that presumably uncoils into the pipe by pulling the trigger, my Home Depot doesn’t use the same terminology, or is it safer to use the hand wound jobbie that looks sort of like you are unwinding a garden hose?
I want to do it myself to save a min. 200$ service visit.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
14,976
If both holes are open, will the pump run properly?

If yes, is the suction only on one hole?
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
42,991
Tucson, AZ
No, the drain king attaches to the end of your hose. You then put it in the hole and turn on the water. The water causes a bladder to inflate to seal off the pipe and force the water down the pipe.

You can almost accomplish the same thing by wrapping the towel around the hose and shoving it in.
 

Jvee

Member
Jun 6, 2018
12
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
If both holes are open, will the pump run properly?

Sometimes the front hole is plumbed as the suction.

Note: I have a similar problem with the gas tank on my car. Every time that I go to get gas, the gas tank is on the opposite side.
Hello James,
With both holes unplugged the water does circulate to the filter, its just odd that the suction is definitely going down the hole closest to the pool, whereas last year, it was going down the further hole, this is not a case of forgetting which side the tank is on, the plumbing would have to be really weird for this to happen, all i know is the filter doesn’t seem to get dirty enough to have been on all night (as backwashing shows) I changed the sand two summers ago, and have attempted to rinse it all out at end of season , but like one other poster mentioned, my equipment is inside a shed, so overflowing the sand filter is not ideal, i manually grab gunk out and rinse with hose inside tank to loosen more gunk from sand before draining.
Anyway, jblizzle recommends to keep slamming to at least kill algae even if I can only filter it out very slowly. Until I get plumbing issue solved.
Disheartened
J
 

Jvee

Member
Jun 6, 2018
12
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
No, the drain king attaches to the end of your hose. You then put it in the hole and turn on the water. The water causes a bladder to inflate to seal off the pipe and force the water down the pipe.

You can almost accomplish the same thing by wrapping the towel around the hose and shoving it in.
Okay, I didn’t see anything like that, i had tried to put the hose in the pipe just before the pump but had a logistic problem, in that my on/off valve is quite a ways from the pump, so I used the brass nozzle that you turn to open, but of course by the time i got it shoved down the pipe and even attempted to make a seal, the water was back washing into my face. So I will try affixing my hose down the pipe and plugging up hole with towel and tape so I can then run and turn hose on and run back to be sure it doesn’t pop out again.
Thanks again for your patience
J
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
14,976
The suction can't just switch holes. So, we're missing some important information. If it's running ok, it should be filtering.

If you put a hose on the back hole of the skimmer, does water flow easily or does it build up pressure?
 

jimmythegreek

Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Aug 10, 2017
1,038
Morris Cnty NJ
First leta have u run and grab a new filter guage. Its not working if it's going down in pressure on it's own. A little teflon tape on threads and swap it so we know that's good. 2nd the suction cant switch. I cant see ur plumbing inside shed can u take some pics of good angles so I can see all of it. Can you also list what holes you have in pool like skimmers drains returns etc. Who winterized this pool last year?