Suction Side Issue - Leak in Diverter Valve?

bailes44

New member
Mar 23, 2020
3
California
Hi All,

I'd love some help with an initial diagnosis of what I believe is a suction side valve issue I'm having.

Recently, I began noticing a few strange things associated with my spa. It's elevated and doesn't have a check valve. So it normally will drain down to the jets, but it's been draining down all the way to the bottom. Completely bone dry. Then when I'd go to fill the spa up (suction from pool and return to spa), it would take forever, and the spillway, which is normally vigorously overflowing into the pool when the spa is full, is now barely capable of trickling over. But when I put it in spa mode (suction from spa and return to spa), the spillway was in full effect, which obviously shouldn't be the case.

I spent some time poking around my pump and filter and discovered that when in pool mode (suction from pool and return to pool) and the spa is empty there is a ton of air getting into the system. I purge it and then it comes right back. When I put it in spillover mode (suction from pool and return to spa) and there is water in the spa, there doesn't seem to be an issue with air getting in. So I'm guessing it is pulling air in from the empty spa, even when it's in pool mode.

For all the settings, the diverter valves are in the right positions. The setup has been working for years and I haven't changed anything recently.

Based on the above symptoms, it seems like there is an issue with the suction side valve. Specifically it seems like there's a leak in the valve that is causing it to pull from both spa and pool regardless of the position of the valve. When it is set to pool, it is also pulling from the spa, which would explain why the spa is draining down to the bottom when in pool mode and why it takes forever to fill up the spa. Then when it's set to spa mode, it would explain why it's spilling over into the pool because it's also pulling from the pool.

Does that seem logical or is there something else I could be missing? If that is reasonable, what's the likely cause? A bad O Ring in the diverter valve? Something else?

Thanks in advance for any wisdom and advice.

Mike
 

bailes44

New member
Mar 23, 2020
3
California
Thanks AJW. Appreciate the welcome and advice.

I actually have a Pentair actuator and Ortega valve setup. It was really helpful to get confirmation that the diverter valve was probably the culprit though as I haven't had to deal with this kind of issue before. When I began to poke around, I discovered the problem. There's a little thumb screw that connects the actuator to the valve stem - it had fallen out. So the actuator was spinning making it look like the valve was in the right position, but in reality, the valve was stuck allowing the pump to pull from both the pool and the spa regardless of the position of the actuator.

Here are a couple of pics. The first shows the setup, and if you look. close at the lower actuator, you can see the screw is missing The second is a close up and shows the screw in place.


.IMG_0380.jpg

IMG_0382.jpgs
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
16,024
Northern NJ
Glad you figured it out.

We rarely see Ortega valves so the assumption is you have a Jandy style diverter valve.

If you are going to hang around here please create your signature with details of your pool and equipment including noting the Ortega valves.
 

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
582
Cabool, Mo
Good job troubleshooting the symptoms and determining the cause on your own. That's the mark of a good tech. And attention to detail, noticing a missing screw and the resulting actuator failure. Are you in the repair business? I have worked with many pool techs over the years that would have needed that explained twice. Well done!
 

bailes44

New member
Mar 23, 2020
3
California
Thanks! Not in the repair business but I am a professional problem solver of sorts. And I've always enjoyed building things (cars, cabinets, decks, computers, software... you name it) in my spare time. I'm not always so great at diagnosing though. True story... when I bought our house I was new to pools. Shortly after moving in, we started to get a ton of water pooling at the base of our elevated spa and it seemed to always occur when the pool pump was running so I figured there was some kind of leak. Had a leak detection company come out and test it. Passed the test. Didn't believe it so had a second company come out and retest it, and they found a leak in the spa tiling. Had someone come out and fix that. Thought for sure that would do the trick, but the water kept pooling everyday while the pump was running. Turned the pump off, and the water was still pooling. I'm going crazy trying to figure out where the leak is coming from and one day my wife is out there and she asks me what this thing is in the landscaping behind the spa. I go over and look. It's an irrigation timer... and it's set to run every day for 9 hours! No problem at all with the pool. It was my three year old. She must have found the timer and decided to play with it. Between the leak tests and water bill, that was like a $1500 penalty for being an idiot. In hindsight, it's pretty obvious that it couldn't be the pool, but at the time, it was all new to me.
 

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
582
Cabool, Mo
LOL. I had a leak detection go like that. I couldn't find a leak, customer had me out multiple times. Finally he realized that the water level in his pool was not going down when I turned off his autofill to prove it. Turned out his uphill neighbor had a leaking sprinkler line.