Waterfall Woes

evanwellens

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Bronze Supporter
Jun 9, 2012
108
So we got this house with a pool and waterfall years ago. All worked fine. Back then we used to hire out closing/opening as we were pool clueless. Seems one season the waterfall stopped working. Since I have tried to troubleshoot with no luck. The pump doesn't prime or engage ( sorry not sure the proper word ) . I can sit there with a hose pouring water in and it never tops off. I have taken the pump partially apart, the impeller looks new. I have replaced the orings. Not sure what to do next. The waterfall is on it's own "plumbing circuit" distinct from the pools system ( even on it's own breaker ) . Here some shots , hope someone has some ideas/experience with this soft of thing and can lend some advice. Thx in advance !!!!!
 

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JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
17,043
Tucson, AZ
The waterfall pump has it's own suction line running to a wall drain somewhere in the pool. If you add water to the pump basket and it simply never overflows, then the suction line is most likely clear. If the suction line fills up and overflows, then there's something blocking it and you'll need to go find the suction drain in the pool and inspect it. It appears you have a check valve on the waterfall suction line, so if you do fill up the suction line you need to do it by opening up that check valve and filling from there.

The pump discharges to the waterfall return line (pipe inside the waterfall). You need to have that line checked. Did the closing company accidentally leave a plug in the line? Did something crawl into that line and die thereby blocking the line? One thing you could try is to get a DrainKing hose bladder, take apart the 3-way Jandy valve and use your garden hose with the DrainKing attached to blow out the return line to the waterfall. You should also inspect the ground where that the waterfall return line runs through to look for any obvious wet spots that would suggest a leaking or broken pipe.

After that, you might need a plumber or leak detection company to come out and scope the line to see if there is any obvious damage,
 
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evanwellens

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 9, 2012
108
The waterfall pump has it's own suction line running to a wall drain somewhere in the pool. If you add water to the pump basket and it simply never overflows, then the suction line is most likely clear. If the suction line fills up and overflows, then there's something blocking it and you'll need to go find the suction drain in the pool and inspect it. It appears you have a check valve on the waterfall suction line, so if you do fill up the suction line you need to do it by opening up that check valve and filling from there.

The pump discharges to the waterfall return line (pipe inside the waterfall). You need to have that line checked. Did the closing company accidentally leave a plug in the line? Did something crawl into that line and die thereby blocking the line? One thing you could try is to get a DrainKing hose bladder, take apart the 3-way Jandy valve and use your garden hose with the DrainKing attached to blow out the return line to the waterfall. You should also inspect the ground where that the waterfall return line runs through to look for any obvious wet spots that would suggest a leaking or broken pipe.

After that, you might need a plumber or leak detection company to come out and scope the line to see if there is any obvious damage,
Thanks for the reply..
So if I properly digested everything you said here there is an obstruction on the discharge side that is preventing the pump from priming ? Since there are 3 discharge points not sure how all 3 could be clogged ?

You don't there is a is suction side leak preventing prime ?

I did inspect and purchase plugs for the 2 large openings in the waterfall, there is nothing in there that is obvious , but agreed something would definitely find that a nice home ( considering we live in the woods and chipmonks abound )

I'm not certain the company we used to close our pool was thorough, we stopped using them after I realized our water heater was never drained and the heat exchange got irreparably damaged from what I assume was frost, so I don't know what they did with the waterfall if anything :-(
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
17,043
Tucson, AZ
I think I see your problem - turn the 3-way valve handle 180 degrees so that handle is down and the flat is up....in the configuration you show in the picture, you are dead-heading (closing off) the discharge side of the pump...
 

Rich D

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2018
778
MA
You definitely want to open those valves as mentioned above. If you follow the suction line from the waterfall pump there is first a check valve then there is a T with a sill cock on it. This is most likely to aid in priming the pump. you will need to get yourself a washing machine hose so you have two female ends and connect that to the garden hose from your house. I would turn the water on and go in the pool and try to find where water is coming into the pool that would be the suction line for the waterfall pump. Have somebody simply hold their hand over the end of the pipe in the pool so the entire line fills up with water and pushes through the pump and let it continue to run and fill the lines going to the waterfall. Then close that sill cock fire up the pump and have the person remove their hand from over the pipe that's in the pool.
 

evanwellens

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Bronze Supporter
Jun 9, 2012
108
Apologies to all , everything was opened last time I worked on this. Since then I closed the system down which is why the diverter and discharge lines are closed ( I pour non-tox antifreeze in the lines as a preventative.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
17,043
Tucson, AZ
I would suggest you do as @Rich D suggested and fill the pump basket and prime the suction side of the system using the hose spigot to fill the suction line. The pump strainer basket should fill up to the level of the pump lid and you can leave the hose connected to the spigot to fill up the suction line and just turn it off when you start the pump. With water in the pump basket and the suction line filled, the pump should easily prime. If it runs dry and there is no water coming into it, then take apart the check valve and make sure it isn't stuck. You can even pull all the guts out of the check valve and just test the system without it. The check valve is only there to make sure the pump doesn't drain back into the pool when the waterfall is off. For a test, it's perfectly ok to disable the check valve.
 

evanwellens

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 9, 2012
108
Ok ordered the drain king and need to jury rig a hose. Looks like i have some weekend work. Thanks for advise, I'll report back.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
17,043
Tucson, AZ
If you open up the 3 way valve and the check valve, you’ll have access to all the pipes and you can put the drain king in through those opening. You should be able to pressure test every PVC line to ensure water moves in each of them. If all the lines are clear and the hose can push water through them, then the issue is with the pump.
 

evanwellens

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 9, 2012
108
If you open up the 3 way valve and the check valve, you’ll have access to all the pipes and you can put the drain king in through those opening. You should be able to pressure test every PVC line to ensure water moves in each of them. If all the lines are clear and the hose can push water through them, then the issue is with the pump.
Thanks... When it arrives I'll give it a go..
 

evanwellens

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 9, 2012
108
If you open up the 3 way valve and the check valve, you’ll have access to all the pipes and you can put the drain king in through those opening. You should be able to pressure test every PVC line to ensure water moves in each of them. If all the lines are clear and the hose can push water through them, then the issue is with the pump.
Spent most of my sunday on this , here's what I appear to have discovered.

Drain king'd the path to the water fall outlet and to the return to the pool, both had flow.
Drain King'd the suction side and there was nothing, in fact the drain king would get stuck for a while, felt this indicated a possible blockage. So I dove plugged one side of the waterfall's main drain (with a winter plug ) and plugged the drain king in the other. That filled the pump with water, so repeated previous step from pump to main and cold water flowed into the pool out waterfall's main drain. So one would think I cleared something , but no evidence was found in the pump.
Took apart the 3 way valve on the pressure side and found the indicator for off ,was backwards ( so corrected that )
Also took apart the check valve on the suction side , that was broken, so on the list of parts to get.
Ran the pump with the hose connection, return just bubbled and waterfall trickeled. Looked like there is a signifigant suction side issue ( see video link) ?

Also momentarily turned on pump with basket filled lid off and it drained quickly , hoping that indicates the pump is good.

So I guess I need to order some parts and cross my fingers. Any other suggestions would be welcome

Here is a link to the current status ( can't upload large files and a video seems more intuitive that just pictures)

Thanks again for your thoughts and time !!!
 

evanwellens

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 9, 2012
108
If you open up the 3 way valve and the check valve, you’ll have access to all the pipes and you can put the drain king in through those opening. You should be able to pressure test every PVC line to ensure water moves in each of them. If all the lines are clear and the hose can push water through them, then the issue is with the pump.
Thank you for all your help and advice. I finally got it going. 5 years since I've seen this.
Here's a picture.