What is this valve doing?

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
10,458
Central California
Pool Size
12300
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Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
This all makes sense and aligns with what I was thinking. My concern in just going out and moving the valve around is whether or not there is some reason the installer would have needed to restrict the water flow or set it that way. Is there any reason the water flow would need to be restricted in this way? Is it possible to have too much flow through a system or something like that?
It's possible, but not likely. My guess is that the plumber thought it best that your water run through both the chlorinator and the SmartGuard all the time, but for whatever reason didn't plumb them in series to achieve that. Perhaps there are scenarios where you want to defeat either the chlorinator or the SmartGuard for a time, and only run the other one? I really don't know. And as several of us have been alluding, we kinda doubt that SmartGuard is doing much of anything.

There is absolutely no reason to restrict the water coming out of the heater, if that's what you're asking. If that valve can do that, that is definitely a plumbing error, and as I mentioned above, that should be corrected so it can't inadvertently happen. A 2.7HP pump, if deadheaded, can do serious damage to itself, or your filter or heater or all three.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
28,066
Bedford, TX
DG,

I can't think of any reason that you would ever want to reduce the return water coming out of your heater going back to the pool.

I think your automation can be set to not run the booster pump when the system is in the spa mode.

Jim R.
 

dailygenesis

Gold Supporter
Nov 19, 2022
78
Oklahoma City
I was thinking some errant failure could run that booster dry, I hadn't thought of freeze mode, but you've discovered exactly what I was warning about. The booster's supply line needs to be replumbed, to a line that always has water in it, no matter the mode.

When the plumber comes back to fix that, you can ask him about the other three-way in question, and have him prove to you that it is assembled correctly, and that it can't deadhead your pump.

Ideally (though not always possible) you want your plumbing to be fool proof. Such that you, or a kid, or a "helpful" neighbor can't mistakenly turn something that will destroy your equipment. And that includes misprogramming, or freeze mode, or any number of other scenarios. As I said, it's not always 100% possible, but where it is possible, it should be done that way.

Though I've seen plenty of plumbing schematics where it is possible to turn a few valves to deadhead a pump, I've seen plenty too that can't be set to do that. It's just a matter of using the right parts and assembling and plumbing them correctly. IMO, you've got at least one avoidable/correctable plumbing error. That leads me to believe it's possible you have more than one. They're both quick fixes, so the builder shouldn't give you any grief about redoing them.
Thanks, that helps. I'll talk to the builder about it.

But assuming neither of the scenarios you are warning about have happened thus far, is there any harm to the system of having it set up this way? In other words, this hasn't been causing damage or unusual wear and tear in normal operation, has it?
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
10,458
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
But assuming neither of the scenarios you are warning about have happened thus far, is there any harm to the system of having it set up this way? In other words, this hasn't been causing damage or unusual wear and tear in normal operation, has it?
You've already experienced harm (though hopefully not permanent). Your booster ran dry (presumably on more than one occasion). Did that take a few years off of it? It's possible. And while nothing adverse has happened yet due to the SmartGuard three-way valve, if that valve is assembled the way I think it is, it could happen.

Now that you've identified the issue with the booster during freeze mode, and found a fix, you could conceivably run things as they are for a hundred years and never have a problem. I'm merely pointing out that doing so will require that you remember exactly how to set the valves and program the controller and run your system, and that no one else ever touches it, or needs to. And that the return manifold valve actuator never stops working. If you're confident in those conditions going forward, you're all set. But if you're like me, who after a year (or a month or a day!) tends to forget such things, or has mischievous kids running, or a significant other who might try to turn the spa on when you're not around, then do you really need this possibility lurking? Only you can answer that...

Getting it fixed should cost you nothing. How much is a new pump? Or booster? Or filter? Am I being overly cautious? Well, that's what I do around here! ;)
 

ferretbone

In The Industry
May 24, 2016
257
tx
Like Jim said about the valve because he is right. Keep it simple guys.

Blue heaven is a cookie cutter pool builder. They build hundreds of the exact same pools in different back yards. One of these days they are going to build a pool that is above the equipment. That's why you have a valve that can shut off the return line after the heater. And that's why you have a smart guard thingy and an ozonator that does nothing to help you or anyone elses pool. They use the same plan for every pool. Unless you catch them and ask them not to install something. Like a smart guard or ozonator or three way valve after the heater.

Turn the valve handle to face to the right slowly, your filter pressure will go down a little. Leave it there, that's where it should be. Now take the handle off so no one else can turn it. There your finished.
Turn that handle slowly a little more to the left (of facing down) while the pump is running and you will hear a noticeable change in the sound. And your filter pressure will go up. That means you are closing that valve and getting close to bursting your filter.

Don't turn that handle it all the way down. The tab on the other side of the valve handle says off. Which ever pipe that off tab is facing thats the line being closed off. Dont close off the heater, Right now the valve is half closed. There is no reason for anyone, at any time to close that off. Unless you like buying new filters. Or if your pool is above the equipment and your doing a repair while the pump is down.

Just turn slowly while watching the filter pressure. If it starts going up you are closing off the wrong line, which is the line coming out of your heater.
 
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Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
10,458
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Like Jim said about the valve because he is right. Keep it simple guys.

Blue heaven is a cookie cutter pool builder. They build hundreds of the exact same pools in different back yards. One of these days they are going to build a pool that is above the equipment. That's why you have a valve that can shut off the return line after the heater. And that's why you have a smart guard thingy and an ozonator that does nothing to help you or anyone elses pool. They use the same plan for every pool. Unless you catch them and ask them not to install something. Like a smart guard or ozonator or three way valve after the heater.

Turn the valve handle to face to the right slowly, your filter pressure will go down a little. Leave it there, that's where it should be. Now take the handle off so no one else can turn it. There your finished.
Turn that handle slowly a little more to the left (of facing down) while the pump is running and you will hear a noticeable change in the sound. And your filter pressure will go up. That means you are closing that valve and getting close to bursting your filter.

Don't turn that handle it all the way down. The tab on the other side of the valve handle says off. Which ever pipe that off tab is facing thats the line being closed off. Dont close off the heater, Right now the valve is half closed. There is no reason for anyone, at any time to close that off. Unless you like buying new filters. Or if your pool is above the equipment and your doing a repair while the pump is down.

Just turn slowly while watching the filter pressure. If it starts going up you are closing off the wrong line, which is the line coming out of your heater.
I appreciate your knowledge on this subject, you know more about it than I do. That said, IMO, you just substantiated my point.

DG, in a year or so, when you inadvertently trash your water by using a chlorine tab feeder, you'll be back for a solution. At which point we'll explain the niceties of a saltwater pool. Then you can rip out the UV, the SmartGuard, the tab feeder and that three-way valve and replace them all with an SWG. Until then, you can decide which way you want to go with the plumbing, uh, foibles.

If you'd like to know more about what I'm describing, I'll be happy to explain. Otherwise, ferretbone's suggestion to set that three-way valve correctly and then removing the handle is prudent.
 

dailygenesis

Gold Supporter
Nov 19, 2022
78
Oklahoma City
Thanks to everyone. I really appreciate the help and the dialog. As mentioned, I am brand new to pool ownership. I do like learning, however. I just don't like the idea of ruining my very expensive equipment as a part of my education :)

I got brave enough to go do a little experimenting with the valve, and the results are essentially what everyone expected here. If I move handle more towards the 3 o'clock position, the intake coming from the heater opens up more and the pressure goes down a bit. Everything seems to function pretty much the same, just with 2-3 less PSI on the meter. Interestingly, in SPA mode, there is no difference in pressure when this change is made. Spa mode pressure is higher generally, so my assumption is that the limiting factors for pressure in spa mode are the spa returns themselves and so moving this valve has no effect on that mode.

Before I started this experimenting, I noticed some rattling coming from what I think is called an inline spring check valve between the filter and the heater. This rattling seemed to get slightly worse when I opened the diverter valve more. This is the only effect of changing the valve that I could detect, but it was enough to give me a little pause, so I left the valve somewhere between where it was and it's "fully open" position for now.

@Dirk I'm definitely interested in learning more about other pool systems, but I might hold on that a bit and try to get through this winter first. I tend to get a little overwhelmed by all of the thoughts about all the ways to improve things when I'm just getting use to the systems I have :)
 

ferretbone

In The Industry
May 24, 2016
257
tx
I noticed some rattling coming from what I think is called an inline spring check valve between the filter and the heater. This rattling seemed to get slightly worse when I opened the diverter valve more. This is the only effect of changing the valve that I could detect, but it was enough to give me a little pause, so I left the valve somewhere between where it was and it's "fully open" position for now.
That crackling, and popping, thumbing, jumping sound is just air flushing through the system. It will do that, leave that valve open where I said earlier awhile and it will stop.

If you take away anything from this post remember, always watch the filters pressure gauge when turning things on and off. Even when starting the pool pump, if that gauge quickly shoots up over 30-40 psi, stop, or kill the pump. Then find out what valve is shut off that's causing the high pressure.

If you bust your heater (you won't) you'll might get a little wet, if you bust a PVC line, you may get a little more wet, or just hose down the side of your house. If you blow your filter, that's like a large bomb, flying lids, band clamps, etc. That is rare but real. I have blown many PCV lines, not on purpose, and got pretty wet. I have saved myself from god knows what kind of grief for years by watching the filter pressure when changing valve settings, or starting up a pool. Your filter and PVC lines are the weakest links. Crackling, and popping, thumbing, sounds in your system are normal, it's just air and sounds scary. Watch the filter pressure when you change valve settings. Always watch the filter pressure, don't be scared of exploring your equipment, just watch your filter pressure. A jump to 30 psi is troubling, 40-50 I shut the pump off and look for problems.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
10,458
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I'm definitely interested in learning more about other pool systems, but I might hold on that a bit and try to get through this winter first. I tend to get a little overwhelmed by all of the thoughts about all the ways to improve things when I'm just getting use to the systems I have
Yep, understood. We'll be here when you need. FYI: SWGs don't work in water below about 50°, so now is not the time for one even if you wanted one. You can visit this topic next year.

Keep up the learning, and don't be shy to ask whatever whenever.
 

dailygenesis

Gold Supporter
Nov 19, 2022
78
Oklahoma City
Always watch the filter pressure, don't be scared of exploring your equipment, just watch your filter pressure. A jump to 30 psi is troubling, 40-50 I shut the pump off and look for problems.
Thank you this is very helpful and puts my mind at ease a bit.

Keep up the learning, and don't be shy to ask whatever whenever.
Thanks so much, I appreciate it!
 
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reggiehammond

Gold Supporter
Oct 4, 2020
709
Fort Worth, Texas
Pool Size
30000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-60 Plus
DG -
I recommend reviewing and getting a proper test kit:

Then read up on pool school, specifically the sections regarding chlorination:

You'll really want to stop using chlorine tabs, likely rip out the tab feeder and the magic doo-hickey (that's doing nothing) next to it and and move to a salt water chlorine generator. Liquid chlorine is an option, but given your long warm weather seasons (like N Texas), a SWCG is perfect.
 
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tsya

New member
Nov 20, 2022
3
Texas
Hi everyone, this is my first post to the forum. I am new to pool ownership as of this past summer (2022). You can see the details about our setup in my signature.

Things have been going pretty well so far and I've been learning a lot by reading this forum so thanks to all of you for your insights. But for whatever reason, I just now noticed something curious about one of the valves in our flow and I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on it. Please see the image below which shows the return side of the equipment with water flowing out of the heater and into this valve before splitting into two pipes -- one runs through the chlorinator and the other through the "Smartguard Soft and Clear".

This valve looks to me, though, like it is restricting the flow of water generally and I am just curious as to why it would be set this way. I haven't adjusted this valve since installation and I can't remember what the installer said, if anything, about its purpose.

Thank you for any insights you can provide.

View attachment 462995
Hey all. New to pools (4 months new since moving to Texas) and just joined to get a little more knowledge. However, I can help answer this question for you. Its important to have this as your installer must of noticed way too much flow (whether its pressure or just a flow rate as gpm). This is a relief or bypass setup so it allows some of the filtered pool water to flow through the chlorinator and the rest back to the pool. Dont mess with the settings until you know for sure why it was added so you are aware and not cause any negative effects. As for the smart guard thingy - its probably a check valve to prevent concentrated chlorine and/or chlorine gas supplied from the chlorinator from flowing back to the heater.
 
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Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
10,458
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Hey all. New to pools (4 months new since moving to Texas) and just joined to get a little more knowledge. However, I can help answer this question for you. Its important to have this as your installer must of noticed way too much flow (whether its pressure or just a flow rate as gpm). This is a relief or bypass setup so it allows some of the filtered pool water to flow through the chlorinator and the rest back to the pool. Dont mess with the settings until you know for sure why it was added so you are aware and not cause any negative effects. As for the smart guard thingy - its probably a check valve to prevent concentrated chlorine and/or chlorine gas supplied from the chlorinator from flowing back to the heater.
Hi TS, and welcome to TFP. Thanks for contributing, but I gotta correct you on a couple points.

There is no reason to restrict flow to the return manifold, but especially when there is a variable speed pump. If you wanted less flow, you'd dial down the pump RPMs, not block the return with a valve.

While it's possible to have a bypass setup on a chlorinator, if the overall flow is too high for the device, that's not what that particular setup is doing. It's splitting the return water between chlorinator and the "thingy," for reasons none of us quite understand, but it's not for limiting flow through the chlorinator.

As for the "smart guard thingy," that is not a check valve. If you look closely at that pic, you'll see that there is, indeed, a check valve between the chlorinator and the heater, right where it belongs. The "thingy" is some sort of filtering/cleaning device, that we've yet to determine has any actual value or not.

But I'm with you, and said so. I still think the OP should call the builder and have him sort this all out, especially while still under warranty.

Again, thanks for contributing, that's what makes this site great. But if you stray a bit, you'll sometimes get a counterpoint.
 
Last edited:

1poolman1

In The Industry
Jul 14, 2014
3,121
Sacramento
Hi everyone, this is my first post to the forum. I am new to pool ownership as of this past summer (2022). You can see the details about our setup in my signature.

Things have been going pretty well so far and I've been learning a lot by reading this forum so thanks to all of you for your insights. But for whatever reason, I just now noticed something curious about one of the valves in our flow and I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on it. Please see the image below which shows the return side of the equipment with water flowing out of the heater and into this valve before splitting into two pipes -- one runs through the chlorinator and the other through the "Smartguard Soft and Clear".

This valve looks to me, though, like it is restricting the flow of water generally and I am just curious as to why it would be set this way. I haven't adjusted this valve since installation and I can't remember what the installer said, if anything, about its purpose.

Thank you for any insights you can provide.

View attachment 462995
The tall tube appears to be a tablet feeder. The best thing you could do is remove it. Second best, turn the valve so no water goes through it handle in line with pipe pointing away from the feeder. Third best, never use tablets in it, ever. Even with that Jandy check valve before it, which is not chemical resistant, unless you never turn your pump off, the solution from that feeder will work its way back into the heater and do a lot of damage if you it to feed chlorine.

The picture shows the valve in a restrictive setting, turn the handle so it points directly to the pipe on the right, toward the "Smart Guard," that will give full flow, the valve will have both ports fully open. The valve itself is a CMP clone of a 3-way Jandy valve. CMP makes good stuff.
 

tsya

New member
Nov 20, 2022
3
Texas
Hi TS, and welcome to TFP. Thanks for contributing, but I gotta correct you on a couple points.

There is no reason to restrict flow to the return manifold, but especially when there is a variable speed pump. If you wanted less flow, you'd dial down the pump RPMs, not block the return with a valve.

While it's possible to have a bypass setup on a chlorinator, if the overall flow is too high for the device, that's not what that particular setup is doing. It's splitting the return water between chlorinator and the "thingy," for reasons none of quite understand, but it's not for limiting flow through the chlorinator.

As for the "smart guard thingy," that is not a check valve. If you look closely at that pic, you'll see that there is, indeed, a check valve between the chlorinator and the heater, right where it belongs. The "thingy" is some sort of filtering/cleaning device, that we've yet to determine has any actual value or not.

But I'm with you, and said so. I still think the OP should call the builder and have him sort this all out, especially while still under warranty.

Again, thanks for contributing, that's what makes this site great. But if you stray a bit, you'll sometimes get a counterpoint.
Yep your right. I also googled the "thingy" it appears as some sort of "snake oil" add on. One of it's features is breaking down CYA. Here is the link:


So the diverter is to both chlorinate and use the features of the "thingy"
 
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Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
10,458
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
One of it's features is breaking down CYA.
Which is a great "feature," for the manufacturer! I don't believe there is any magic to "break down" CYA, but it does break down on its own over time. So they could just claim "See, it works!" and the user will just think "Oh, look at that, it does!" Classic.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
10,458
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
The tall tube appears to be a tablet feeder. The best thing you could do is remove it. Second best, turn the valve so no water goes through it handle in line with pipe pointing away from the feeder. Third best, never use tablets in it, ever. Even with that Jandy check valve before it, which is not chemical resistant, unless you never turn your pump off, the solution from that feeder will work its way back into the heater and do a lot of damage if you it to feed chlorine.
DG, you're getting beat up pretty good about that tab feeder. It's because we all know how much trouble they can cause. It's what I meant when I said you'd be back next year looking for a solution to a CYA problem, and that's one of the many downsides of using tabs. 1p1 points out another, how they leech a stew that is toxic to your heater. So, again, when you've come up for air, we'll go over all this with you and give you lots of great info about which way to go. So use it, or don't use it, but frankly I'm with 1p1 and give a +1 to his advice.
 

dailygenesis

Gold Supporter
Nov 19, 2022
78
Oklahoma City
DG, you're getting beat up pretty good about that tab feeder. It's because we all know how much trouble they can cause. It's what I meant when I said you'd be back next year looking for a solution to a CYA problem, and that's one of the many downsides of using tabs. 1p1 points out another, how they leech a stew that is toxic to your heater. So, again, when you've come up for air, we'll go over all this with you and give you lots of great info about which way to go. So use it, or don't use it, but frankly I'm with 1p1 and give a +1 to his advice.
Thanks to you and everyone. You guys are really making me feel good about my pool purchase of snake oil and toxic chemical leeching tablet feeders! :)

Just kidding on that. I understand what you all are saying and recognize that my first time pool buying is nothing but opportunity for (expensive) cost of education.

But one question -- if I wanted to minimize the downsides of having the chlorine feeder without changing equipment, could I use other methods to keep the pool chlorinated and just stop using tablets in it? At least until I decide to take your advice and install the SWG?

If so, what would be preferred methods? I heard someone mention liquid chlorine. I have thought about but haven't looked into it.
 

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