Spa/Pool Pump and Air Issue - Please Help!

Hi,
I have an outdoor pool/spa combo. Basically the Spa is attached to the pool, uses similiar equipment (pump/filter/etc) and the water runs over the top into the pool.
The Spa does not have an air pump, it simply has a pipe that supplies air - through some sort of vaccuum - to the spa when the water is pressured through the spa lines.
Problem is - it quit working. It worked for a couple of months, but now it works no longer. Water is flowing back into the air line, which prevents th vaccuum from functioning. I drained the spa, hooked a blower up to the air pipe, and pushed all excess water through the lines.
Fired up the pump and as the water started to rise above the incoming water holes (in the spa), the air pipe filled up with water and eventually the vaccuum was gone.
When I mentioned this to our pool company last time they were onsite, they told me to buy a blower. Now - the thing worked without a blower, so I don't think that's it. Secondly, they mentioned my pump is on the way out. They are probably right there. It's getting more and more noisy.
Other helpful info may be the filter thing? It's a big tall canister looking thing that reads 30 (PSI or whatever that is) when it's pumping for the pool, 50 when it's pumping for the spa. I clean the filter every week...and my pool guy tells me the two filters I have are not old at all.
I have no idea what to do next? The air pipe is not the issue, I can easily empty any back-flowed water into it by draining the pipe and blowing it out (w/a blower). Could my pump be getting weaker?
Why is this irritating you ask? Because I just replaced my old spa heater w/a $2300 super-unit, and it's just sitting there looking new and unused!
Jeff
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On 28 Jan 2004 17:43:41 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@amril.net (Jeff) wrote:

Probably the control valve that mixes the air is bad.
BB
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Did it work after the heater replacement?
Filter on 30 for a pool is a bit high. I have a sand filter and mine is really dirty at 20. Runs about 10 psi. If it rises to 50 on the spa then there might be a restriction some where in the system. Paper filters run higher than sand or dia filters. I agree with the other poster, check your control valve.
If you have 50 psi, then the pump is working.
The hole in the water where all the money goes. I have had pools for 30 years. My new home does not.
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My pool is set up in a similar way, however the spa pump is separate from the filtration pump and there is nothing in the spa pump circuit except pipes (no filters or valves). I believe the air jets are just holes in the top of the pipes. When fast water moves through the pipe, a vacuum is created which sucks air into the pipe. Things that cause this not to work:
1. Did someone close off the air intakes (kids like to rotate them!). This doesn't affect head pressure, but eliminates the bubbles. 2. Is the pump moving enough water to cause sufficient vacuum to be developed. At 50 PSI, I doubt it -- you're probably moving hardly any water at all with that head pressure. Poke a flexible rod into the water pipes to see if they are obstructed. 3. Broken pipes. Your pressure will be low for this and you should notice water where it doesn't belong.
-- Mark Kent, WA
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Hi,
I talked to a spa guy...he asked me if all the outtakes (jets) were working. 2 Work, one semi-works, one barely works. He told me that if they are backed up, water won't get forced through them fast enough as the water rises for a vaccuum to be created.
So I took my air blower and blew air into the outtakes to shake things up in there a bit. Sure enough, after turning everything on they worked...for about 10 minutes. I'm guessing at this point whatever is stuck in there is getting jammed back up against the outtakes.
So his next suggestion was to look up the outtake pipe, and about 12" up there's a nut-type thing that you can put a ratchet on and remove, thereby opening up the pipe - then you can turn water on and blow the junk out.
Problem is, mine won't budge. 12" up is a lot, and I can't get enough pressure on a ratchet w/the massive extension to turn the thing. Not to mention, they are plastic and one broke off.
So now I know the problem, I just don't know the solution. If I could somehow backwash my pool (ie put the pump in reverse), I could suck all of that debris out of those pipes out.
My theory is that the old heater, which wasn't used for 5 years, blew a ton of rust and garbage up into those pipes (and the heater is post-filter), which caused the problem.
Any ideas? I've tried to blow both air and water through the jets (backwards), but that just shoves the debris back - and it returns as soon as you turn the pump/spa back on. Jeff
ps On a side note, I think my pressure gauge is messed up. It reads 20 when the filter is removed and the pump is off - ie no pressure!

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snipped-for-privacy@amril.net (Jeff) wrote in message

When your spa was built, the plumbing of the air line on to your jets should have had a "hartford loop" put in. What this means is the pipe from your jets that supply air should rise above the waterline of the spa(inside the wall of the spa). This keeps water from backing up into the air line. They were right to say "buy a blower." That is the only way to correct this problem short of tearing out the spa wall and replacing pipe. The blower will clear the line of water the first time you turn it on. I suggest you install a one way check valve in line under the blower. This will hold air inside the pipe when the blower is turned off and it won't have to work as hard to get started each time.(Longer life for the blower)
If you pump is making noise...the bearing are most likly going out. I have seen noisey motors last for two years after they started to make noise. You can replace just the motor if it were to die on you. This would sve a little money.
Your fitler...when in pool mode, your water is being pushed through 1-1/2" or 2" pipes. In spa mode your water is being pushed through nozzles that are about 1/2". This change in size of outlet for the water causes back pressure on your equipment and your PSI(Pounds per Square Inch)goes up. Totaly normal.
Is your filter sand or D.E. or cartridge. It will say on the side of the filter.
D.E filters do not need to be cleaned as often as sand filters. When you clean a D.E. filter you have to "recharge" the filter with D.E.(Diatomateous Earth.
If you need other questions answered please feel free to contact me.
Daryle Abel www.atlantaswims.com
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Daryle wrote:

Most pools that I have seen do not have large enough pipes for the blowers that are installed. Typical blower installation instructions will call for 2-1/2 to 3 inch diameter pipe from the blower to the spa. Many pool installers will use 1-1/2 or 2 inch PVC. Apart from operation the importance of this is that most blowers are designed to be cooled by the air that is drawn in and passed over the motor before being delivered to the spa. If the air flow is restricted the cooling is lessened and this can lead to shorter blower life.

If you can do it, replacing the bearings is a much more economical solution. I just had the bearings on my Polaris pool sweep motor fail and was quoted several hundred dollars for a new motor. The bearings cost me about $10.00.
RB

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