Featured Why am I Losing prime/head while vacuuming? arrrgh!!!

Sharelick

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2020
35
Sharon, Ma
So I’m trying to vacuum the crud out from my deep end. (It’s a combo of three year old decomposed leaves, etc and stone dust from when we built a new stone deck and wall this past spring.)

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So vacuuming through the skimmer. First I stopped up one skimmer and turned on the pump to around 3000rpm. Then i connect my Water filled hose to a suction plate and placed that in top of the skimmer basket that has a sock on it to help collect some of the debris before it goes through my lines to the filter.

2E913F78-D791-4521-AF30-F51782B23D5A.jpeg

It ran this way for a few minutes then I lost prime (or head not sure of the difference) but basically the filter pressure dropped from 8psi to 2psi and there’s air in the pump window and the vacuum stops working.

So I removed plug from the second skimmer and tried it again. But somehow air keeps getting in the line and the psi drops and the vacuum stops.

This only my second time vacuuming since I bought all new equipment and things seems to work fine last time. The only differences were that I was using the other skimmer for the suction and I didn’t have the skimmer sock. But after running the vacuum for a few minutes, I started getting dirt coming out the returns. So I cleaned out the filter a reattached everything to make sure it was all seated correctly.

Anyway, any advice is appreciated. And if someone has a link to proper vacuuming setup through skimmers please let me know.

Thanks in advance!
 

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mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
13,584
Pleasanton, CA
Did this work before or is this the first time vacuuming?

You should vacuum a lot of leaves as they will probably clog the lines. I would use a leaf rake first and then vacuum.

Second, is there a valve between the two skimmers or are they plumbed in tandem.
 

Sharelick

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2020
35
Sharon, Ma
They each have Their own return line to the pump. I could close one of the valves when I vac. There is a main drain as well, but it is still plugged since I can’t get to it with all the debris at the bottom.
I have a vinyl liner and there could be some stones on the floor that I can’t see, so I was trying to avoid use a rake/net to scrap up the leaves.
 

duraleigh

Admin
Mod Squad
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Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
34,045
Sebring, Florida
Before ANYTHING, I would suggest your get a VERY strong leaf net and try to clear all that junk from your pool. I think it is overpowering the vacuum. I can't see any stones as being a significant problem.
 

Sharelick

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2020
35
Sharon, Ma
I found this old post about vacuuming. I think I may have had the wrong end of the hose connected to my filter.

As someone already posted -

-Attach vacuum head to pole and your hose (swivel end) to vacuum head.
-Drop the whole works in the pool.
-Now take the other end of the hose and hold it right against a return jet.
-Air will be forced out of your hose by the water. Your vacuum head will float up and then sink. when it sinks, there is no more air in the hose.
-Now you can attach the skimmer vacuum plate and drop it into the skimmer.

If your return jet is far from your skimmer, you can just place the palm of your had over the end of the vacuum hose while you walk to the skimmer and this will stop the water from draining out of the vacuum hose.

There is no need to leave the hose in the pool for hours, or to use your garden hose to fill it.

Oh, to remove the skimmer vacuum plate after you're done vacuuming. Stand beside your skimmer and grasp the skimmer plate (make sure you grab the plate, not the hose or you will just pull the hose off) You should be pulling up on the plate, but won't be able to remove it because of the suction. Now bring the vacuum head out of the water. Air will now be pulled into the hose - as the air reaches the skimmer plate, the suction will be lost and (you should still be pulling up on the skimmer plate) the skimmer plate is easily removed. With this method, there is no need to shut the pump off to remove the skimmer plate and you will not get air in the lines as you are removing the skimmer plate since it is pulled away as soon as the air reaches it so no air goes to the pump. I have never lost prime doing it this way.
 

Sharelick

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2020
35
Sharon, Ma
So I’ve tried to use this but it’s not really grabbing anything.

E9A9FB62-D95D-4CF0-9E97-BD52257B132E.jpeg

Which is why I keep vacuuming. Am I use it wrong, or is this not a leaf rake?
 

Sharelick

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2020
35
Sharon, Ma
I pushed forward like four times and lifted straight up and out of the water. Then I turned it over, extended it to its furtherst reach, went straight down and dragged it back to me then lifted up.
I don’t think it’s a lot of large leaves down there. I think it’s more broken down leaves, dirt and tiny stone chips/dust.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
13,584
Pleasanton, CA
I don't think you are using the rake properly. Don't try to lift the rake straight up. Put the rake on the bottom of the pool with the debris further away from you. Then push the rake forward while it is on the floor of the pool and this is where the debris is scooped up. The front edge of the rake is the scoop that directs the debris into the net. After it scoops up the debris, pull straight backwards, not up, at a constant speed to trap the debris in the rake.

I don’t think it’s a lot of large leaves down there. I think it’s more broken down leaves, dirt and tiny stone chips/dust.
A leaf rake should easily capture all of that if used properly.
 

Sharelick

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2020
35
Sharon, Ma
I don't think you are using the rake properly.
youwere definitely right. Although, it really helped first to brush the gunk all to one side of the pool. Then let it settle. Then rake. I just brushed again. And will rake some more later this week. Unfortunately, I think I also have a leak in my liner at one of my returns. Time to read up about how to detect a leak.
 

Sharelick

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2020
35
Sharon, Ma
So after four day and two nights of sweeping and raking I’m not pulling out any more leaves from the bottom, but there’s still a ton of muck down there.

Plus I’m losing water from the pool and can’t find a leak. For the past few nights I’m adding water to the pool and I have a bucket in there With a marked water level. Each night following, the bucket level barely drops but the pool level goes down an inch or two. So the skimmers aren’t working very efficiently and my main drain is still plugged. But if I don’t add water, the level doesn’t change all that much. So I thought there must be a leak near the top of my liner. Last night after adding over an inch of water, I tried adding food coloring drops in all suspicious areas around the liner, returns and skimmers with the pump turned off. I found nothing.

The company that installed my equipment said a few weeks back, when I first noticed a huge drop in the water level, there could be a tear in the liner that’s getting sealed by all the Crud and muck at the bottom of the pool. Has anyone heard of anything like this? They think that brushing and vacuuming may dislodge the dirt, that opens the leak, then it seals itself back up again with more dirt getting in there. This doesn’t seem likely to me. But I feel like I’m in a catch 22. I keep adding water and brushing, only to find my water level dropping and then the pump and filter working poorly. So the deep end still is a mess. I’m basically ready to give up and call in the dump trucks to fill in this money pit in my backyard.

Whoever read this and got to the end. Even if you can’t help. Thank you for trying!
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
13,584
Pleasanton, CA
So after four day and two nights of sweeping and raking I’m not pulling out any more leaves from the bottom, but there’s still a ton of muck down there.
Again, if you are using the leaf rake properly, you should be able to remove almost all of the debris except for maybe sand. Anything larger than the net size should be captured. Can you post a picture of the pool including the bottom?

The company that installed my equipment said a few weeks back, when I first noticed a huge drop in the water level, there could be a tear in the liner that’s getting sealed by all the Crud and muck at the bottom of the pool.
That seems very unlikely. A dirt clog may reduce the outflow of a leak but I seriously doubt that it would completely plug it. Perhaps near the MD?
 

Sharelick

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2020
35
Sharon, Ma
So here’s the fine silt-like particles in the pool. (Yes there may still be a few leaves too, but that’s less then 5% of what’s there).

8CA8C680-0B4B-4A52-A982-2776E5564492.jpeg

Then here’s a picture of one of the returns. That’s been previously patched. I thought this was the source of my leak, but according to the food coloring, it’s fine.

1733D878-190F-452C-A3DF-D91178738103.jpeg
 

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mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
13,584
Pleasanton, CA
Ok, so you are ready for the vacuum. The key is to start at a lower RPM and work your way up slowly. Before, your RPM may have been much too high when the only suction line is through the vacuum head.