Spa goes down when pool is on

Silver_2000

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Nov 29, 2015
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Carrollton tx
Ive noticed recently that the spa goes down by a few inches when the pool kicks on
You can see in the imiage that the spa went down a couple inches recently

It was already low
The pool in this image had been running for 10 min
you can see the wet line in the tired plaster

Is this a check valve issue ?

I hadnt noticed it before because the spa fountain had been on which refills the spa from the pool when the pool is running
I recently turned that valve off
spa IMG_5071.jpg
 

pool&spatech

In The Industry
Jul 28, 2015
123
Gilbert,AZ.
It seems since it only does it when it turns on, suggests that the spa suction is open a little bit, with the fountain off there is no water returning to the spa, this is why you notice it getting lower, with the fountain on it kept filling the spa faster than the suction was able to lower it, equalizing it, or at least hiding it enough to where you only noticed it with the fountain off, that's what is happening.

If the spa were to continue to run, it will completely drain to the pool, normal spa valve settings when spa is not being used is to close off the suction valve to the spa, and only allow return back to the spa that spills back to the pool, it is very difficult to establish an equal amount of suction and return valve adjustment to balance the spa level without it wanting to fill or drain, and because it is much better to have the spa spilling back to the pool (as it really is supposed to do anyway) than taking a chance of having the spa level go lower, is why the spa suction always should stay off unless you are using the spa.
 

Silver_2000

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Nov 29, 2015
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Carrollton tx
the valves are automatic and it looks like the spa suction side valve is all the way to the closed position as best I can tell when its in pool mode

The reason I was testing running the spa with the fountain off is because the spa fountain is a pool return. So when the pool is on the spa fountain is returning pool water to the spa.
To keep ONLY the spa warm in the winter I would need to turn off the spa fountain so that when the pool comes on the warm spa water doesnt spill to the pool ...

Still checking for solutions
 

pool&spatech

In The Industry
Jul 28, 2015
123
Gilbert,AZ.
Let me put it another way, I have been a pool & spa repair tech in Phoenix,AZ. for 25 long years, I have worked on thousands of pools.

First off, even the spa jets if the 3-way auto return valve was set to spa "on" and the 3-way auto suction valve was set to spa "off" would become pool returns.

When you describe this fountain thing, do you mean on of those cheap ones that float on top of the water and connect to a return line for there water pressure?

It sounds like you have one of those connected to the spa return line that is used to provide the water to go over the spillway back to the pool, when your in normal filtration mode when you don't use the spa this is how it run's

Your not supposed to turn off the return from the spa that goes back to the pool, which in this case would be the fountain as you describe it, all spillway spas when spa is not being used operate this way, they have a return "on" with the spa suction "off"

When you turned off the only return the spa had in the fountain, you in effect shut off any circulated water back to the spa "you isolated the pool from the spa" that means the spa would just be another big glass of non moving water, that you would notice in a few weeks would be green, and the pool blue.

There should have not been any water loss occurring in the spa other than evaporation if it sat for two weeks because the suction and return were both off.

The fact you shut the only return the spa had back to the pool when you turned the fountain off, and that the water level only drops with the pool "on" and does it that quickly, tells me instinctively that it means the spa suction is open slightly, because if the only return was turned off, and the pump turns on, and the spa starts getting lower water level, means the spa is being drained into the pool, which you couldn't see when the fountain was on because the fountain was returning more water to the spa than the spa suction was taking out.

Does this make a little more sense now?

The fact that the valves are "automatic" has nothing to do with anything, and looking at the valve and saying it "looks like it's closed the best that i can tell" is not the same as looking at the valve and saying "i checked it all out, and without a doubt that valve is closed"

Good luck, try to wrap your head around my logic here, i think it will make sense to you. (the pic is one of my residential service accounts, be glad you don't have to deal with that)
 

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Silver_2000

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.spa-fountain-IMG_5085.jpgIMG_5084.jpg
Thanks for the input
Hopefully the images will help explain.
The first picture shows that the far left return is the spa fountain - it only runs when the pump is in pool mode
The spa returns are on the right side of the Actuated valve.

for completeness, the second image shows the suction side and the rest of the pumps

So you can see that when I turn off the spa fountain there is still plenty of return in the spa when pump is in spa mode.

Your comment that the spa would be non circulating green water soon is incorrect. The spa would be both filtered and chlorinated when in in spa mode ...

I bought the house with the pool, i didn't choose to have 5 pumps and all of this ...
 

pool&spatech

In The Industry
Jul 28, 2015
123
Gilbert,AZ.
If you want to test something, isolate the spa from the pool, with spa return valve "on" and spa suction valve "on"
the spa should not lose water this way, that also will further strengthen my theory.

The spa fountain when it's on will be turned off when you turn the spa suction/return valves "on" to heat the spa because of the 3-way valves taking the pool out of the plumbing circuit completely, you "isolate the spa from the pool this way so the only water that gets heated is the spas.

The way you turn off the fountain now won't matter when the spa is isolated from the pool, it will be disabled, and even if you turned it on no water would come out, understand?
 

pool&spatech

In The Industry
Jul 28, 2015
123
Gilbert,AZ.
What i was trying to say was , you do agree that when turning off the spa fountain you shut the spa off 100% right? (yes)

the spa does not get anything at that point there is no circulation at all.

What i am saying is if it was left like that, normally if the suction valve wasn't an issue, the spa would not drain down like it did. would it? (no it would not)

Because it did drain down today when the pool pump came on is definitely not right, the spa water level because everything is off should not fill or lower, if it was filling instead of draining, i would have said it was the return valve that was the possible problem , but no, it is draining so what valve other than the suction valve could it be??

The green spa was an analogy of sorts, disregard.

And no, you would not have any "nothing" going to the spa if the fountain was left off, that was what i was trying to explain
 

pool&spatech

In The Industry
Jul 28, 2015
123
Gilbert,AZ.
I know and understand every single thing about every single piece of whats pool related in those pics, they definitely helped, the green spa thing did not go over like i wanted it to, you misunderstood what i was trying to explain, and that is my fault for not being more careful putting my thoughts to paper here, but what i was explaining is 100% correct the spa would be green, no need to kick a dead horse here, just wanted you to not lose faith here
 

pool&spatech

In The Industry
Jul 28, 2015
123
Gilbert,AZ.
re read what i am saying, as i re read your posts there is something you are not grasping about my explanation which is more than clear, it is not normal for the spa to drain down when the pump turns on, when it is completely isolated from the pool. That especially means the spa fountain is off too, nothing can get back to to the spa like that. The reason that it would drain like that is first and foremost an issue with the suction valve. That is the most logical starting point.
 

Silver_2000

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First Thanks for your help
Second - "there is something you are not grasping about my explanation which is more than clear," is not helpful. Im asking for help so the idea that I don't understand something shouldnt be surprising. You have stated REPEATEDLY that you are an expert, I get it. You are an expert. You are in the business. Im not, hence Im asking for help. If your explanation were "more than clear" to non experts, like me, there would be no confusion.
Third there are at least 12 valves in the picture - Which is the "suction valve" you are referring to ?
Fourth - still not getting the continuing referral to green spa, its not green now and wouldn't be if spa mode runs a couple hours a day.
Fifth- attached image with numbers
valve-numbers-IMG_5084.jpg
 

kadavis

TFP Guide
In The Industry
Apr 5, 2015
1,645
tucson, arizona
No.10 is the spa and pool suction. What the previous gentleman is referring to is the spa side might not be sealing positively. By the way what is the far right pump for, there's a lot of plumbing in and out.
 

Silver_2000

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Nov 29, 2015
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Carrollton tx
Thanks for the clarification
the far right pump is the water feature pump

Ive replaced the 2 check valve flaps - one of them was eaten up but it hasnt helped

Ill look for a valve rebuild kit for #10
 

Silver_2000

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Nov 29, 2015
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Carrollton tx
Ok I see that I can buy replacement o rings and the diverter gate - one question before I buy the diverter ...

Is the valve designed so that the gate has stops built in or is it possible the valve actuator is misaligned when it stops ?
Ill check the alignment first before burning $40 on parts

Edit - answred my own question
When it stops raining and being COLD in Dallas Ill go check the actuator cams to see if the alignment is right ...

Im now wondering if this is related to my "pool leak"
if the spa has been losing water to suction when in pool mode I may have been spilling water to the overflow every day a few gallons at a time, every time the pool turns on pool mode, then the autofill replaces any water automatically. Should be interesting ...
 

Silver_2000

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Carrollton tx
Ok I've replaced both check valves and both diverted kits and orings on the automated valves

the loss is less but not eliminated ...

id say the percentage of loss per day was reduced by 60-70 % but after 24 plus hours the spa is still down an 1.5 inches
 

mas985

TFP Expert
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May 3, 2007
13,770
Pleasanton, CA
Ive noticed recently that the spa goes down by a few inches when the pool kicks on
You can see in the imiage that the spa went down a couple inches recently
When the "pool kicks on" are the actuators moving? If the spa goes down by only a few inches and then stops, then it could be the actuators are in motion and some of the suction occurs in the spa but only for a short period of time.

If a valve was leaking, I would expect the spa to empty with enough pool run time.
 

Silver_2000

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Nov 29, 2015
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Carrollton tx
What does the pump move water to and from?
If it is a pump that pulls water from the pool and puts it into the spa, for effect, then this may be an area to explore. i dont see a check valve on the plumbing, so it may not be a related issue.
the water features are sheer descents and a water fall they pull from the pool and return to the pool

The first 2 pumps connect to the spa - the second pump is spa boost and only goes to and from spa when spa is on
first pump is shared between the pool and the spa and it has the filter and the heater inline

- - - Updated - - -

When the "pool kicks on" are the actuators moving? If the spa goes down by only a few inches and then stops, then it could be the actuators are in motion and some of the suction occurs in the spa but only for a short period of time.

If a valve was leaking, I would expect the spa to empty with enough pool run time.
the spa is emptying ... just slowly... it appears to lose water during the transition ...

The schedule is set to run the pool 2x a day and the spa 1x in the middle of the day - im pretty sure the pumps dont kick in till the valves are turned

I also need to check to be sure that the actuator is keyed right ... It may be stopping early or late on the spa side ... tough to tell though because the manual valve handle has stops but the automated one relies on the cams ... hmm
 

Silver_2000

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ive adjusted the actuator to get perfect alignment and I still lose water

So I finally decided to turn off the spa funtion entirely so now the pool and spa are not connected by the spa fountain AND the pump is not switching to spa mode for a few days
In the end the spa loses water even when the valves DONT change
So either there is water being drawn past the valves when they are closed or the shell or pipes themselves are leaking
 

Pool Clown

In The Industry
Sep 5, 2008
2,172
Silicon Valley, CA
Since you have the spa isolated, leave it, and don't do anything. Monitor the water loss. If you have a leak, you should loose water at a certain rate, then the loss should decrease as the water level nears the point of loss (speaking elevation). level should eventually stabilize. When it does, that is the elevation of the leak unless it stabilizes at the level of the pool. Then i would suspect you have something leaking back through the plumbing.

Just for laughs, you may want to take the valve actuators off of the valves and rotate them by hand. If they appear to rotate very freely, you may have a broken diverter stem, or the sealing surface of the diverter may be worn or deformed allowing water to get through.