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Maintenance & Repair

Trouble Shooting

Poor circulation pressure:

~ remove automatic or manual vacuums


~check skimmer & pump baskets

~alternate between suction lines(skimmers, maindain, & vacuum)

……isolates problem area

~ put filter on recirculate; bypasses filter………sand or cartridge needs attention ?

~check all valves are open

~make sure plugs & foam rope is out of lines from winter.

Air bubbles more than normal ( without vacuum in)

Quick test: Turn pump off; while listening & looking closely for spurts & hisses around the pump and at the valves & plumbing just in front of it.(some pumps leak at the lid as a matter of coarse)

~gasket on pump in place & lid properly closed

~unions & valve unions tight; plumbing secure: clamps etc.

~reseal thread into pump basket

~plugs in pump not sealed……

* ~seal on motor broken……….replace

* ~pump housing cracked………….replace

* ~line broken between skimmer & pump……pressure test line

Water Moving Slowly; but no significant air bubbles

~fine debris,string, grass and/or pine needles have gotten past pump basket & plugged impeller

……turn off power, remove basket, feel inside pump towards impeller

Possibly pick out debris or disassemble pump.

~valve broken in closed position……replace

~line jammed between skimmer & pump…….blow out line

~ line collapsed on either suction or return; flexible PVC most likely

Very hard to diagnose: bypass each line and compare performance.

Leaks: losing water can lead to expensive repairs, especially if the water is lost in the winter allowing frost and ground water to affect the structure of the pool itself. Likewise, leaks can cause pumps to run dry and damage themselves. The cost of continuously replacing water can also add up depending upon your supply.

Marking the water level is best done with pencil or electrical tape at the skimmer face plate or stair gasket. Be aware that the water moves up & down even as you mark it.

Food colour or dye (blue is best) stop circulation and release dye near an inlet or suspected cut this will often show significant flow if there is a leak.

Losing water quickly: {2 inches or more a day}

~is it possible that water is being lost at the equipment or through the backwash/drain line.

~turn off all pumps

~plug off all circulation lines

~ observe the ground around the pool for especially wet areas

~observe the interior of the pool for a soft area in the liner and/ or obvious cuts in the liner

~mark the water level in the pool and observe without water going in

or out ; leave plugs in & pump off.

~Solar blanket if left on will almost eliminate evaporation.

~Evaporation is usually less than ¼ inch per 24 hours, but can be up to 1 inch under some circumstances{ warm water; dry cool air}

If pool is still losing water similar to previous levels the leak is in the pool not the plumbing.

~make a close inspection of the water level, actual fixtures, and the way that they are sealed against the pool: lights, returns, skimmers, steps etc.

~ Inspect ladder bumpers & where they rest upon the liner.

~Inspect transitions: the vacuum pole will more likely catch the liner at the base of the wall or distinct curves

in the bottom.

Dive : with scuba gear inspect the entire pool thoroughly , inspect main drain & underwater fixtures, plug off all possible exits.

Be sure to inspect or plug the hydrostatic valve.

Often a hole is difficult to identify in a dirty pool or a pool with an intense pattern. Likewise, a hole may be found in the liner that was losing water, but that isn’t the main culprit. More than one test procedure could be required.

Bucket Test: if it is uncertain as to whether or not there is loss.

~take a plastic gallon bucket, weight it down, fill it ¾ full and set it on the top step ¾ submerged .

~mark the water level in both the pool & bucket

~compare the loss after 24 hours between the two .

Pressure test the lines: If the loss is not in the pool or at the equipment; it will be in the underground lines. While the returns & skimmer are plugged off, isolate and pressurize each suction & return line. 15 to 30 psi is generally very effective at showing significant loss.

There is an art to pressure testing; familiarity with the equipment to reduce the probability of false positive is almost essential.

Often there is more than one leak in a pool either the first went unnoticed or the plumbing is all at the point of repair, likewise, what ever caused the first hole in a liner often causes the second etc.

The most common cause of leaks is vacuum pole ends and blocks that

have been dragged in off a winter cover.

Lights & steps are very difficult to diagnose with the above methods other than by elimination.

Liner falling out: When a coping is curved for fitting or affected by frost it may tend to release a liner in certain areas. This can be remedied by slipping in “T-bead” or lock strip above the liner bead. In severe cases a side mount coping can be attached to the wall of the pool below the existing coping. To replace most copings, involves the removal of at least part of the deck. 

Pumps: all pumps are made up of two major components :

The Motor which converts electrical energy into mechanical energy is one of the most likely pieces to need repair or replacement in the first five years. If it creates excess noise or refuses to turn the bearing likely needs replacement.

Often the thermal switch will short out & shut it down , its worth clearing off the small air circulation vents on the forward underside occasionally to assist cooling.

The capacitor, will often blow preventing start-up, a humming

Service calls on motors its often cheaper to just by a new one

than to rebuild, since the several calls, rebuild charge, and reinstallation generally costs more that new


The wet end of a pump is the portion which takes the mechanical energy to use in a way that can move water. The Impeller, spins and uses centrifugal force to pull water from the pool through the “hair & lint” basket and throw it up and through the remainder of the circulation system. Intact seals & gaskets are essential to this process. Often running a pump dry (heat) will deform some of the major components as well as undermining seals & gaskets.

A non petroleum, i.e. Teflon, based lubrication will assist older gaskets and protect newer ones.

Sand Filters and the multiport valves that come with them are generally trouble free as long as they are closed properly. Sand will occasionally blow out during backwashing requiring the addition of some new sand. Sand will wear or calcify requiring eventual replacement. Most manufacturers say 5 years however eight or ten years is not uncommon. General cloudiness in an otherwise chemically maintained pool often points to poor sand. If the waste water during backwash is only slightly dirty despite a dirty pool this is another indication of poor sand.

If filter sand is ending up in the pool this usually means the laterals are cracked or possibly the gasket in the multiport is malfunctioning.

The most common problem with multiports is that they get exposed to extreme heat on those occasions when the pump is turned off while the heater is firing full blast. The water in the heater turns to steam and travels up to the multiport deforming the valve & gasket as well as damaging plumbing.

Most damaged multiports will allow water to seep out of the backwash line regardless of the setting.

Filter aids may be added to the water or filter to assist in the filtration problem, however they are only a temporary measure.

Gas Heaters: Can be one of the more troublesome mechanisms on a pool.

If the heater will not start up check the following:

~Gas Supply: a valve inside the heater as well as one at each end of the supply line need to be on. 

~Power: electronic ignition models make sure there is power at the unit,

i.e. Fuses & switches are in the correct setting.

Millivolt systems create their own power via a pilot light & thermocouple, is the pilot light.

~Safety switches: in each furnace a series of control switches must be at the correct setting to allow current to open the gas valve.

~On/Off…..must be on

~Thermostat….must be set high enough, but can fail as well.

~High limits : are a back up high temperature fuse which can fail if the thermostat fails, or of its own mechanical demise.

~Fireman fuse: some heaters have a fuse mounted below the other mechanisms which breaks the circuit if flame is blown into the control chamber by heavy down drafts.

*** Pressure switch: proper flow of water is sensed by a round switch attached to the water system. These will eventually deteriorate; However, if the pump basket or impeller is clogged, the filter is packed or water flow is otherwise less then normal this switch will shut the heater down.

Gas heaters as with all gas appliances should be serviced annually by a licensed gas maintenance person.

Propane Gas: the tank should be 40% full to provide adequate pressure.

Heat Pumps: Like all air conditioning type units should be serviced regularly in particular air flow is very important to a heat pumps performance. With the power off, pressure wash off heat exchanger and clear away anything that may interfere with air flow. Do not enclose!

Chlorinators: A small vessel designed to hold Chlorine pucks and allow a controlled amount of water to flow over them. While, often referred to as “automatic” they still need someone to monitor chlorine levels in the pool; adjust the flow of water; and control the amount of chlorine in the vessel. The mechanism for flow control is usually quite simple as in a small valve. They do need to be cleaned occasionally, to ensure that flow is maintained.

Careful when removing the lid, there will be harmful gases released.

Salt Chlorinator’s: Pay attention to the owners manual. Keep the salt level in the proper range. The cell on most units will need to be inspected for debris & cleaned of build up occasionally. If the chlorine level gets to high don’t be afraid to turn it off for a while. Likewise, if the chlorine level is to low feel free to use chlorine pucks or shock to get your pool in order.

Lights: All lights have a bulb that can burn out, a fuse that can blow, a GFI that can go off, a transformer that can burn out, a switch, and a breaker that can blow.

Solar Rollers: are attached to the blankets by less than perfect strap systems, none are perfect. Unless, you are gentle in the process of rolling & unrolling you will find it necessary to reattach straps on occasion. The method varies.

Cracks in Concrete: Chisel out any loose material in the crack & clean out. Mix up a fine Portland based mix with a latex or polymer modified additive, press or pour into the crack so that it fills as completely as possible. Use a wet paint brush to clean up any excess material that may adhere to the old surface. If the deck is coloured, it will not be possible to match the old colour just stick to a neutral natural grey.

Sand Control: The sand that migrates into a pool from an interlock can be troublesome in that the pools always dirty and sand often interferes with automatic cleaners. A modified “polymeric sand can be swept into the cracks and wetted . Once settled it will tend to stay put.

Pool side Spa’s: most of these spas rely on the same pump, filter, heater, and chemical treatment system that the pool does. Often there is an additional pump which may be turned on if the turbulence of spa jets is desired.

When turning on the spa it is necessary to isolate it in effect turning off the pool so that water only circulated through the spa. Once isolated the temperature can be raised quickly & efficiently with the relatively large pool furnace.

Turn the return side valve(s) so that water is only being sent to the spa.

Turn the suction side valve(s) so that water is only being drawn from the spa.

Turn the Heat up to the desired temperature.

Turn on booster pump if desired.

To return to normal operation.

Turn off booster pump. 

Turn Heat back to normal.

Turn suction valve(s) back to 100% pool.

Turn return valve(s) back to the desired balance between pool & Spa overflow.

For winterization refer to spa manufacturer’s recommendations.

Pool Safety:

Keep gates operating properly so that they close & latch automatically.

Keep lifejackets on children who are playing in the pool area, unless they are confident swimmers.

Safety fences which are easily removed , yet, effective barriers from children may be appropriate for your application. These can separate the play area from the pool area until the children are more mature.

Several alarm systems designed for pool areas are available, however it is important not to become reliant upon them.

Educate the children so that they are aware of the dangers.

Diving Boards, slides, other toys & accessories must all be used as intended. Rambunctious adults are as likely to harm themselves as out of control children.