Skimmers are not pulling in water to the Pump - Problem fixed!

Herkimer

Gold Supporter
Jul 26, 2020
67
Houston, TX
Pool Size
10000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Greetings, so just had the builder over to program the automation and start up the pumps, filter etc. I haven't had "pool school" from the builder yet, but through reading this form I understand that the skimmers and drains pull water into the pump to be filtered/heated/SWG, then returned to the pool. I asked why the main drain and skimmers were all set to "wide open" he said, yeah, that is where they should be. I think that was not correct reading through the forums, so I went all looked at changing the settings because I felt the skimmer's were not pulling in any water to the pump. In the picture, the value to the far left is for the main drain, the next two going right are the skimmers, and far to the right (sort of hard to see) is the drain for the spa.
Now, if I turn off the main drain, should water be pulled in through the skimmers? I tried to turn off the main drain and just draw from the skimmer's but no water was being pulled into the pump. Maybe I am doing something wrong or maybe there is something with the skimmer's, just not sure. Newbie here, just trying to figure this out, thanks.

Pool Suction.jpg
 

borjis

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 19, 2014
3,498
Pacific NW
It's ok to have them all open. Depends how you want to run things.
If you close the main and make sure the skimmers are wide open that should work well.

With everthing powered off, i would try opening up the pump basket and running a garden hose on half or full down the inlet pipe until water comes back. Then put it back together and see if that helps priming the system.
 

Herkimer

Gold Supporter
Jul 26, 2020
67
Houston, TX
Pool Size
10000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
It's ok to have them all open. Depends how you want to run things.
If you close the main and make sure the skimmers are wide open that should work well.

With everthing powered off, i would try opening up the pump basket and running a garden hose on half or full down the inlet pipe until water comes back. Then put it back together and see if that helps priming the system.
Yeah, that is the current issue, if I shut off the main valve, the pump starves of water so I don't think it is pulling any water in through the skimmers. I will try the garden hose and also maybe try it at the skimmer to see if water will come up though the suction line (with the pump off). Thanks.
 
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Herkimer

Gold Supporter
Jul 26, 2020
67
Houston, TX
Pool Size
10000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Another thought..any chance they left Gizmo plugs in the skimmers to keep debris out during construction?
In the skimmers there is one "open" hole and one with a plug in it....maybe that's the issue? should both holes in the bottom of the skimmer be "open"?
 

duckcmmndr

Bronze Supporter
May 7, 2014
346
Arkansas
Pool Size
29980
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
In the skimmers there is one "open" hole and one with a plug in it....maybe that's the issue? should both holes in the bottom of the skimmer be "open"?
In most cases no...since you have a drain and skimmers stubbed up at the pad, there should only be one hole open in the skimmers. I assume you have 3?
 
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Herkimer

Gold Supporter
Jul 26, 2020
67
Houston, TX
Pool Size
10000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
In most cases no...since you have a drain and skimmers stubbed up at the pad, there should only be one hole open in the skimmers. I assume you have 3?
4 suction lines total, one main, one spa drain and two skimmers. The forth is hard to see in the photo as the blower line is in the way.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
23,119
Bedford, TX
H,

Your pump should be able to work with the main drain closed and one or both of the skimmers open.

When you shut off the main drain, the pump should not run of our water, so something is definitely wrong.

Since this is a new build, I'd let the pool builder know ASAP.

Since your main drain is run back to the equipment pad, your skimmers will only have one open hole.

You can run anyway you want, but the best set up is main drain open only about 10% or off all together and the far skimmer open all the way the the near skimmer opened so that it has the about same suctions as the far skimmer.

Is the water level in the pool up to the middle of the skimmer's mouth?

Are the skimmer's weir doors installed and working?

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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Herkimer

Gold Supporter
Jul 26, 2020
67
Houston, TX
Pool Size
10000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
H,

Your pump should be able to work with the main drain closed and one or both of the skimmers open.

When you shut off the main drain, the pump should not run of our water, so something is definitely wrong.

Since this is a new build, I'd let the pool builder know ASAP.

Since your main drain is run back to the equipment pad, your skimmers will only have one open hole.

You can run anyway you want, but the best set up is main drain open only about 10% or off all together and the far skimmer open all the way the the near skimmer opened so that it has the about same suctions as the far skimmer.

Is the water level in the pool up to the middle of the skimmer's mouth?

Are the skimmer's weir doors installed and working?

Thanks,

Jim R.
Yes, water level is in the middle of skimmer's mouth, no the weir doors are not installed at the moment. If I shut off the main, then the water stops flowing to the pump even with both skimmer's open. I will let the builder know this afternoon. Ahhhhhh!!
 
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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
23,119
Bedford, TX
H,

Just so we are both on the same page... Why do you think that the pump is running out of water? In a well running system the IntelliFlo can "look" like the pump basket is empty because the water is right to the top and clear..

Without weir doors the water right at the skimmer will have almost no movement..

I just want to make sure that you actually have no water flowing, when the main drain is closed.. Does the filter pressure drop to zero?

Do you no longer feel a good flow of water out of your pool returns?

Does your SWCG suddenly show the Red "No Flow" light??

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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Herkimer

Gold Supporter
Jul 26, 2020
67
Houston, TX
Pool Size
10000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
H,

Just so we are both on the same page... Why do you think that the pump is running out of water? In a well running system the IntelliFlo can "look" like the pump basket is empty because the water is right to the top and clear..

Without weir doors the water right at the skimmer will have almost no movement..

I just want to make sure that you actually have no water flowing, when the main drain is closed.. Does the filter pressure drop to zero?

Do you no longer feel a good flow of water out of your pool returns?

Does your SWCG suddenly show the Red "No Flow" light??

Thanks,

Jim R.
Hi Jim,

Filter pressure drops, no water flowing into the pump when the main drain is closed and the skimmer's are open. Did not have a chance to check the SWG yet...this is all new to me, but I will get it!!

So I tried to use a snake to see it there was some blockage at the skimmer drain line....nope, snake stopped after about 8 inches....hmmm...got a flashlight, the one hole that is not plugged, only goes down about 8 inches and stops, no other pipes out. I know they are piped as I have photos of the build. Perhaps the plugged the line with the intent to take it out after construction, but didn't tell anyone. Let's see what tomorrow will bring.
 
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Herkimer

Gold Supporter
Jul 26, 2020
67
Houston, TX
Pool Size
10000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
So I am nearly 100% sure the plug needs to be removed, I searched some of my build photos and had to zoom in quite a bit, but it shows the pipe leading out to the pump is in the back of the skimmer (that is where the plug is) and the short piece of pipe that goes no where. What tool is used to remove this type of drain plug? I tired with my hands, no luck and I don't want to "try" to remove it with something that sort of might work vs. the right removal tool. Thanks. Skimmer plumbing.jpgDrain Plug.jpg
 

Diggy77

In The Industry
Sep 3, 2021
46
Glen Carbon IL
Pool Size
11000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
Google eyeball seat removal tool. There are a few to choose from. This will also help you removal the eyeball seat as sometimes those will remain in the wall after removing the retainer ring and eyeball. Though for your skimmer plug, you may need to fit this tool in the groove, then apply force with a set of pliers anyway. Depends what tool and force was used to thread it in.

Keep in mind, there's not alot of room to work in most skimmers.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
23,119
Bedford, TX
H,

Normally the hole closest to the water is the one that gets the plug... the hole farthest from the water is the pipe that normally goes back to the equipment pad..

If the plug is in the hole farthest from the water, then I think you have found your problem...

Good job.. :thumleft:

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Herkimer

Gold Supporter
Jul 26, 2020
67
Houston, TX
Pool Size
10000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
H,

Normally the hole closest to the water is the one that gets the plug... the hole farthest from the water is the pipe that normally goes back to the equipment pad..

If the plug is in the hole farthest from the water, then I think you have found your problem...

Good job.. :thumleft:

Thanks,

Jim R.
All my attempts to unscrew the plug did not work, I tried to buy a tool, nothing at the big box stores or hardware stores, nothing at the pool store. I even tried to make a tool out of PVC to turn it...that didn't work either! The plumbers came today and had a large metal bar with a "box" opening at the end, that will another wrench on the top got them out, turned on the pump...skimmers are now working. I will play around with valves later to get good suction on the skimmers and main drain. Thanks for all the help.
 
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