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cpmart
10-22-2006, 05:08 PM
I wanted to share our success with a lo-tech method for blowing out our main drain. This is the first year my husband and I closed our 24k gal, IG vinyl pool (in coastal RI).

We were able to blow out the returns and skimmer by attaching our shop vac to the lines without any problem. However our shop vac wasn't able to clear our main drain (didn't see any air bubbles from the drain). So we tried attaching our leaf blower. No luck. I had read here, and confirmed with our pool store guy, that the line for the main drain doesn't have to be completely blown out, just clear of water above the frost line. But how do you know this? We would have felt better if we saw bubbles coming our of the main drain to know that the water level was definitely below the frost line!

Fast forward a couple of weeks and I came across this thread http://www.poolforum.com/pf2/showthread.php?t=5912 mentioning a stopper with a tire valve stem in it to blow out lines using an air compressor. I found one for sale on-line (called "expand-n-purge"). I showed it to my husband, and he was able to make one by using one of our unused winterizing plugs (a 1 1/2" rubber stopper with a bolt/wingnut on it), and sacrificing a bike innertube for the valve stem. He cut out the tire stem and glued it into the hole where the bolt went through the rubber stopper (he used permatex, a silicon adhesive) and let it dry over night.

Today we blew out our main drain using this stopper and our manual bike pump! It worked great! It's a 2-person job (3 would be better actually). One person held the plug snugly in the pipe, and the other person (me) pumped the pump (you know the kind, a cylinder with a t-shaped handle, and you stand on the bottom of the pump stand to steady it). I was getting tired, and I asked my husband if he saw any bubbles, and he peeked through our fence and said "oh my gosh it's bubbling like crazy!" This is where the third person would be helpful, at the edge of the pool looking for bubbles. We closed the valve, took out the stopper and gave each other a high five.

Thanks again for the great ideas you guys generate, what a great resource!
Chris

waste
10-22-2006, 05:38 PM
Chris, thanks for the info and credit given to the forum members!! :)
A very warm welcome to the forum!! It's folks like you that keep folks like me comming here to proffer advice, hopefully you'll open your pool without needing any help from us, but know that if you do need some help, I and the other members are always more than willing to do all that we can for you and your pool :) - Waste

tommy_b
11-09-2006, 01:47 PM
Chris,

Can you provide a picture of your invention?

cpmart
11-09-2006, 01:54 PM
I'll try to post it, but if it doesn't work, google "expand-n-purge" (in quotes) and the word winterize. The first search item was from the everything4pools site. Click it, and look for the expand-n-purge plug (#v5306), and that's basically what ours looked like. It's about $11 at that website.

sorry tried to post a picture opf ours, but here's the link to the one for sale
http://www.everything4pools.com/products/102/251/2479.html

Good luck
Chris

tommy_b
11-09-2006, 02:07 PM
thanks Chris

bryjen
10-16-2007, 11:41 PM
Hi Waste I have a few questions.
1. If you dont lower below returns and plug after it bubbles,how do you get antifreze in. Last pool guy just poured antifreeze straight in. Also I was wondering if I added at the chlorine feeder (never use) would it get there.The line that comes from it angles up to the jandy valve so I dont know if it would get there.
2. I have a d.e. filter. When I blow out the lines do I take the Drain plug out too. Also do you recommend taking it apart every year and clean the grid. The Pool builder did the first year. The pool guy that I used last year said not to.
3. Saw a pool store advertising a chemical to add when you backwash that prevents pump from rusting over winter. What do you think.

Thanks

waste
10-17-2007, 07:27 PM
Hi Waste I have a few questions.
1. If you dont lower below returns and plug after it bubbles,how do you get antifreze in. Last pool guy just poured antifreeze straight in. Also I was wondering if I added at the chlorine feeder (never use) would it get there.The line that comes from it angles up to the jandy valve so I dont know if it would get there.
2. I have a d.e. filter. When I blow out the lines do I take the Drain plug out too. Also do you recommend taking it apart every year and clean the grid. The Pool builder did the first year. The pool guy that I used last year said not to.
3. Saw a pool store advertising a chemical to add when you backwash that prevents pump from rusting over winter. What do you think.

Thanks

Hi Bryjen I have a few answers;)

1. We usually don't worry about antifreeze in those lines, it's just too impractical. Because our lines are run well below the frost line, it's not a problem. As I've said before, if the lines are ~ fully evacuated of water, antifreeze isn't necessary (however, if I had a pool I'd add it). The only way I can think of getting antifreeze into your return line is to use a small flexible hose to 'snake' up and into the Jandy and pour in the AF, though probably a fair bit of it will come back out the opening you put the hose into:(

2. I recommend taking the DE filters apart at least 1x a year to fully clean the grids/ nest and lube any gaskets and o-rings and visually inspect for damage. Doing it at closing is a good time and lets you know that the filter is all set for next spring.

3. There should be nothing to rust in the pump if the seals are all good. I don't know what the chemical is but would assume that it would have to be some sort of conditioner to keep the seals from rotting. All I do is take out the drain plugs, blow some air through the effluent port to get ~ all the water out of them and either cover them or (preferably) take them in for the winter. What's most likely to rust over the winter is either the motor's shaft seal or the starter switch - if you can keep moisture out of the motor, you'll most likely open with no troubles.

Hope that the closing goes well , that you have a great winter and that we'll see you back here next spring!:)

bryjen
10-17-2007, 07:45 PM
Thanks Waste for the quick reply. I forgot to ask when your blowing out your lines. I have a polaris that runs off the pump by turning a Jandy valve. Should I blow this line out while im doing the others by turning the valve. It has its own fliter in a glass case. Also when you blow out the lines does it go thru the de filter.
Thanks Again

waste
10-17-2007, 08:40 PM
Yes, blow them all at the same time. The filter for the polaris should unscrew, after it's blown out, remove the filter and store it with your other pool stuff. I usually have the filter disconnected while I'm blowing the lines, or I put the multiport on 'recirc'.

bryjen
11-04-2007, 08:40 PM
Hi Waste im back with another question. Closed my pool today . I blew out the lines thru the skimmer closest to the pump. Everything blew out ok except i couldnt get main drain to bubble. I went out and bought a new shop vac 5hp was the highest i could find. Still couldnt get it to bubble. I had evrything plugged up and used valve to bypass the pump. Let me say I was using my pool vacuum hose since it fit perfectly into the skimmer. Is it possible that the lenghth of hose even though i had a good seal is the problem. Any help thanks.

Poconos
11-04-2007, 10:30 PM
A shop vac won't have the pressure to blow a main drain. An easy way to tell how high of a column of water you can blow is to just stick the blow end of the hose into the pool and keep moving it deeper. When it stops bubbling that's the pressure in inches of water it can push. Chances are you will be lucky to get 2 feet down. You may have also noticed this but those shop vacs (the brand and the generic term) leak on the outlet side, probably intentionally, for motor cooling in case you totally block the outlet. I modified mine a little to make a better seal and get a little more pressure at the hose. As for what you do with a main drain? I know it's been discussed on this forum somewhere but I don't have one and never paid much attention to the posts.
Al