Draining A Swimming Pool

by Michael Crum
(San Diego, CA)

The rains in San Diego have necessitated the need for me to take some water out of the pool. My filter does not have a "waste" position that I know of. The positions are off and backwash. At least that is what I believe they are.

There is a spigot near the pump with threads for a garden hose.

Can that spigot be used to drain the pool?

Thanks for the question Michael

I'm not aware of anything that can allow you to drain the pool through the pool filter or pump. The easiest way is to use the hose as a siphon by placing it in the deep end of the pool and allow it to drain, but this would take a long time.

What I used to drain pools in Arizona is a submersible pump which is designed to drain pool water. You can get these from a local pool store or rental place. In San Diego there should be plenty of places for this.

A trash pump is a fast method to drain a swimming pool. You can rent one from a rental store for around $90 for the day.

You can also a pool cover pump. A draw back to using the winter cover pump rather then a larger pump like the trash pump is that emptying the pool will take longer.

Hope this answers your question and best of luck


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Water Won't Come Into The Bottom Of The Spa After Filter Changeover

by Steve
(Oceanside, CA)

We've had an Anthony pool and spa with a DE filter for 18 years.

Recently we changed over to a Hayward star-clear cartridge system and replaced the Jandy actuators with Goldlines. The valves seemed fine though we had to replace one bonnet.

Everything seems to be working except when filtering: water used to come through ports/grills in the bottom of the spa but now don't.

Water comes through the ports in the side of the pool but no matter what position we put the valves in -- the one leading to the filter, the one that goes through the heater, or the one that varies the flow to barracuda or skimmer -- no water comes through the bottom of the spa.

The electrician/plumber who made the switch is mystified and so am I. You seem quite knowledgeable so we're hoping you can help us out.


Thanks for the question Steve

Just a cursory glance through the question, it seems to me it could be an electric problem with the actuator. I've made it clear that electricity and electrical components are not my strong points, but I'll give your question a shot.

Put the control in pool position. Use the dip switch on the actuator to move both valves to pool position. Once you've done that, try setting the valves and turn them. The valves should turn to where you want when you press pool, spa or spa fill.

I believe there are only two positions. You can set them up for the angles you choose. The actuator drives all the way one way till it hits a stop. You can place the stops so that they stop the motion where you want the valve to end up. It should be easier to reset the stops.

You may not be able to do three positions, spa, pool, or a combination of both with just one automated valve. Try setting it as all spa or nearly all pool.

The actuators should be wired in parallel with large enough wire to handle the load.

If your spa has two actuators that are set up on the same switch and they're not adjusted to stop at the same time, the actuator that has already reached position will backup a little and continue to toggle until the other actuator is in position.

It may take a little trial and error to find the right setting. Try moving the cam a notch or two.

If this is confusing you may want to give it to the electrician or plumber and see what they have to say. Again, I'm far from being an electrician and make absolutely no claims to be one, but this is the best I can do at the time.

Hope this helps and let me know how it turns out for you.


Comment By Steve
Date: June 6, 2012

Thanks Robert. I'll run it past the installer. Appreciate your time and I'll let you know how it turns out.

Comment By Steve
Date: June 10, 2012

Hey Robert, thanks for getting back to me.

I solved my problem. What had happened was when the actuators were installed, the guy had them in the "normal" position. In that position, when the water was heating up for the spa, the pool was closed off so the water would just circulate through the heater and back into the spa.

However, when the pump was on to clean the pool, there was no water coming up through the spa to clean it: water came into the filter from the pool and then back to the pool.

I found that inside the actuators there are "cams" which are little plastic circles that fit around the handle stem and they have little arrow-like pieces of plastic sticking out of them.

The arrows click a switch which stops the handle turning (either clockwise or counter clockwise). I put the actuator in the off position, removed the handle and top, and then pulled off a plastic washer and o-ring on top of the cams. I fooled around with the positions of the cams till I got it right: I essentially left the clockwise cam where it was, and positioned the counterclockwise cam about 30 degrees before 180.

The result was the handle stopped turning before it completely closed off the water flow to the spa and now when the pool/spa is filtering, water wells up out of the spa as it should.

This explanation is longer than necessary and the steps to change the cams were outlined in the little booklet that came with the actuators.

BTW as I was discovering this I checked the old actuator and noticed that it had only closed to about 150 degrees. This let me know that I was on the right track.

Thanks again for your time. Your explanations are very clear and it's apparent you work hard at what you do.

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Low Water Levels

by Randy

Pool was built in 1993 inground. Since pool was built I've had to fix suction line and re-pipe it with sch 40 pvc pipe.

Could not find the original flex pipe. I have to fill pool every 2-3 days.

Thanks for the question Randy

I'll first direct your attention to this post. It has alot of good troubleshooting tips about leaks:

Water Emptying Out Of My Pool Through Sewer Drain At All Settings...

Your pool should only be using about 1/4 - 1/2 inch of water each day during the hot months. Any more than that and you might have a leak. Inground pools are obviously much more difficult than above ground when it comes to finding leaks.

It may take some time to find the leak, but if you can, you'll probably need to get a leak detection company to come out, confirm the problem, and fix the issue.

Take a look at the link above and if it doesn't help email back and let me know what you found.

Best of luck.


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Spa Waterfall Into Pool

by Matt
(New Jersey)

I have an IG pool with a spa approx 3 feet above the pool. When the filter is on the spa water flows into the pool.

As a result, when I heat the spa, since the spa water flows into the pool, the spa doesnt get hot.

I am a first time pool owner and the pool preceded my ownership of the house. So, admittedly, I have zero pool sophistication.



Thanks for the question Matt

There should be a way to stop the spa water from going into the pool. Here are some tips and things to look for:

You should have two actuators - one on the valve on the inlet side of the pump, and one on the valve on the return side after the heater. The valve actuator sits on top of the Jandy valve.

Check to see if the actuator on the inlet side of the pump is in "spa mode". It should be drawing water from the spa and not the pool.

On the back or bottom of this actuator there should be a small 3-way switch. The main center position should read "OFF". With the other two positions you can rotate the actuator to spa mode or pool mode. Don't try to change the position of the valves by hand.

Use the switch on the back of the actuator. This will change the position of the valve. Be sure you leave it in the right position or you may end up draining the spa.

On the Jandy control system, put it in "spa mode" and use the actuator switch to move the actuator to spa mode.

If there's no rotatation in these two positions, the actuator may have failed. If the valve rotates properly, leave the switch in the position that turned it to spa mode.

Use the main Jandy valve and go back to pool mode and make sure that both actuators rotate properly.

Hopefully this isn't too confusing. If you're unsure of these directions or how to do anything, it's best to call in a qualified pool tech.

If you need immediate assistance (within 24 hrs) or for emergency personal assistance, you can make a donation of your choice and I'll answer your questions by phone.

Contact Me


Hope this helps and have a great Summer.


Comment By Matt
Date: May 30, 2012

Thanks Robert. That worked.

Appreciate your help.

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