Spa drains while in Freeze Protection Override

Sep 25, 2009
147
Tucson AZ
Pool was in Freeze Protection Mode this morning (a rare event here in So. Arizona). I selected spa and hit the enter button to override the freeze protection. Everything seemed to be fine, but when I went out to get in the spa 45 minutes later, the spa was almost half empty. A lot of water had drained into the pool. Worked fine the other day when it was not in freeze protection mode. Any idea what could cause that?
 

ajw22

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Jul 21, 2013
40,103
Northern NJ
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I don’t see your automation control system listed in your signature.

Observe how your suction and return actuators move in pool mode, spa mode, and when in freeze protection and see if an actuator is not turning when it should.
 
Sep 25, 2009
147
Tucson AZ
Sorry - it's a 19 year old Jandy Aqualink RS controller. Next time it gets that cold, I'll run out and watch the valves turn. I did look at them this morning when we got out there, and they appeared to be in the correct positions, but maybe one of them is moving very slowly or not turning completely when it's cold. Next time it's this cold, I'll watch more closely.
 

ajw22

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Jul 21, 2013
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Take a cup of ice water with some salt in it and dunk the air temperature sensor in it and you can simulate freeze protection to test it.
 
Sep 25, 2009
147
Tucson AZ
Great idea about the salty ice water. I went out to try that this afternoon, but before I did that, I wanted to see how the valves operated while not in freeze protection mode. When I selected spa on the controller, both valves moved simultaneously as expected. I did notice a very slight drip out of one of the valves while the valve was transitioning, but it stopped as soon as the valve got in position. More concerning was the pump. When it turned back on, the water level in the pump skimmer basket was below the intake pipe level, and it stayed below the intake level for the 10 minutes I let the spa run. The water level in the spa stayed at the top for the entire 10 minutes. I thought that maybe the sand filter was in need of a backflush, so I returned the valves to pool mode. The sand filter pressure gauge was at its normal level, but I went ahead and backflushed for a couple of minutes anyway. The backflushed water looked pretty clean. When I restarted the pool pump, the pressure gauge was at the same level as pre-backwash. Then I put the pump in spa mode. Unlike the first time, the skimmer basket water level was at the top when the pump started, but after about 5 minutes, the water level was once again below the intake pipe level. That cannot be good. The other thing I noticed is that the sand filter pressure gauge was only about 3 psi higher than when in pool mode. Usually it's at least 6 psi higher. Where should I go from here?
 

ajw22

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Jul 21, 2013
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Northern NJ
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It sounds like your pool water level is too low. The water should be halfway up the skimmer mouth when the pump s running.
 

ajw22

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Jul 21, 2013
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Is that very slight drip out of one of the valves while the valve was transitioning from your suction valve?

If so the valve is sucking in air and causing the suction air leak that is emptying the pump basket.

You need to replace the O rings in the valve stem.
 
Sep 25, 2009
147
Tucson AZ
I removed the actuator (it's a Jandy 2444). The leak appears to be coming from the valve post that connects to the underside of the actuator. There are no O-rings or other seals that I can see; not on the actuator or valve. I removed the four screws that hold the valve in place and tried to (gently) pry the valve out of the PVC housing, but it would not budge. The valve is original (2004) equipment; I replaced the actuator about 5 years ago. All I could do was tighten the four screws that hold the valve in place and reinstall the actuator. When I selected spa mode, the leak still happened (just a few drops) while the valve was repositioning and again stopped leaking once valve stopped and the pump turned back on. The good news is that the pump maintained suction for the 7 minutes I ran the pump at max RPM and the spa water level stayed up. Not sure there's much more I can do but welcome any suggestions.
 

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bradgray

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Jun 16, 2021
193
St. George, UT
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I removed the actuator (it's a Jandy 2444). The leak appears to be coming from the valve post that connects to the underside of the actuator. There are no O-rings or other seals that I can see; not on the actuator or valve. I removed the four screws that hold the valve in place and tried to (gently) pry the valve out of the PVC housing, but it would not budge. The valve is original (2004) equipment; I replaced the actuator about 5 years ago. All I could do was tighten the four screws that hold the valve in place and reinstall the actuator. When I selected spa mode, the leak still happened (just a few drops) while the valve was repositioning and again stopped leaking once valve stopped and the pump turned back on.
I'm not sure I follow your explanation perfectly, are you saying you could not open the valve? You may try convincing the lid to rotate in place just slightly to get a better edge from the screw mounts to lift from. Be careful not to shove anything deeply between the lid and the body because there is an o-ring there as well.

The O-rings in question are inside the housing. They sit at the base of the stem, top of the diverter, and press against the underside of the housing. There are usually two rings. Sometimes with a spacer.

If you don't see these, that's probably confirmation they failed and they're long gone.
The good news is that the pump maintained suction for the 7 minutes I ran the pump at max RPM and the spa water level stayed up.
The system will run fairly well with a small suction leak like you have, other than bubbles below the pump lid or your pool.

It's when the pump is shut down, that you'll lose prime because it's not able to hold vacuum with that leak.
 
Sep 25, 2009
147
Tucson AZ
I've attached a picture of the valve with the actuator removed. You can see a little bit of dampness around the center post. I took all the screws out and tried to wedge a screwdriver between the valve and the housing but no luck. It's really tight. I can't find anything on the internet that looks like this valve; I wonder if it's obsolete. So I'm very wary of breaking it.
 

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ajw22

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Jul 21, 2013
40,103
Northern NJ
Pool Size
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Plaster
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Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
You have a Jandy valve. Hard to tell is it is the Neverlube type or the Grey valve.

O ring parts 5 & 6 should be replaced. I think he parts are the same for either valve.

Show me a pic of the handle that was on it.

Install the handle on the valve with the screws out and use the handle to lift the diverter out.


 

1poolman1

0
In The Industry
Jul 14, 2014
3,182
Sacramento
I've attached a picture of the valve with the actuator removed. You can see a little bit of dampness around the center post. I took all the screws out and tried to wedge a screwdriver between the valve and the housing but no luck. It's really tight. I can't find anything on the internet that looks like this valve; I wonder if it's obsolete. So I'm very wary of breaking it.
Remove all screws, replace the handle and knob (not completely tight), lift on the handle as you turn it. That's a current Jandy valve.
Some times a stiff knife can be tapped in between the valve lid and body to break it loose. A screwdriver can damage the valve so be very careful and use a very small one if you must. Be sure to replace all 3 O rings (2 stem, 1 lid) and use a good pool lube on them.
 

Mayorb

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In The Industry
Mar 16, 2010
184
Also check the lid for any indentations in the center hole where the two o-rings fit.
Sometimes if the pump runs hot, the o-rings will "sink" into the plastic a little bit. The sides of the hole should be perfectly flat.
 
Sep 25, 2009
147
Tucson AZ
Thank you all for the great information. I will have to try and find a handle. That valve has always had an electric actuator attached to the top of it. I'll figure out something and report back. Oh wait - I guess I could take the handle off the electric actuator - duh!
 
Last edited:
Sep 25, 2009
147
Tucson AZ
I do have one question though - if the valve leak is the cause of the less than ideal pump suction while in spa mode, why is there not a similar problem when the pump is in pool mode? There's no large bubble in the filter basket when in pool mode.
 

1poolman1

0
In The Industry
Jul 14, 2014
3,182
Sacramento
I do have one question though - if the valve leak is the cause of the less than ideal pump suction while in spa mode, why is there not a similar problem when the pump is in pool mode? There's no large bubble in the filter basket when in pool mode.
Usually, a spa's suction is at a maindrain, lower in the body of water, making it harder to lift the water. In pool mode most, if not all, the water is being pulled from much higher (skimmer), therefore easier to lift. Pump is pulling harder and any small air leak can have a greater effect. Also, with the restriction of the jets, there is less flow that may not allow all the air that is already in the basket to be removed as it would in pool mode.
 
Sep 25, 2009
147
Tucson AZ
Got it. Thank you. I tried the spa mode this morning and got similar results. After letting it run for 15 minutes, the spa water level was 3 or 4 inches below where it started, so I returned it to pool mode. I'm thinking maybe that valve is not sealing correctly and some water is getting diverted from the spa back into the pool. I'll see if I can get the valve off today and check it out.
 

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