Thursday, May 20, 2010

I Need Some Occam's Razor Refill Blades

OK, if your pool pump is starved for water, you start at the pump, and work backwards, right? Well, you could do that - that's what I did. Or, you could start At The Pool, and go forward, step by step, to get to the pump.

The filters and screens, were all cleaned out. I disassembled what I thought was a 3 way ball valve, but it actually turned out to be a very robust 3 way gate valve, with intact seals that I was careful not to damage or destroy. Perplexed to see the valve in working order, I snaked a garden hose down the pipe from the valve back to the pool, blasting water along the way.

I had convinced myself there must be SOME KIND of blockage in the line. How it got past the plastic strainer basket, who knows? But dern it, I was gonna find it!

I found no blockages in the line. I reassemble everything, and then took things step by step

So I valved the system to suck from the bottom of the pool, and then also turned on the suction discharge booster for the skimmer, which injects water through the bottom of the strainer, to create a venturi effect, and draw in more water through the strainer basket. After running the pump for about 20 seconds this way, the skimmer basket began to run dry, with a waterfall of refresh water, finding it difficult to make it into the skimmer. WTF?

Then it dawned on me... an hour into the rebuild and diagnosis. The intake flapper, that is supposed to keep debris that has been sucked into the strainer from backwashing back out into the pool (pictured to the right here) WAS STUCK! A fibrous piece of cellulose had wedged itself against the edge of the flapper, so it could No Longer Flap! Stuck in the UP position, it was creating a dam that starved the pump. Jamming my arm and hand through the opening, I knocked the blockage loose, and once again water FLOODED into the strainer. Problem solved.

The simplest solution is typically the best one - Occam's Razor. It is reassuring to know that the 3 way valve is in good condition, the pipes are clear, and the pump has enough head pressure and suction to feed the cleaning heads, filter AND solar heater, all at the same time.

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