There are a few reasons why you may be experience poor pool flow or poor circulation. There are of course many obvious reasons along with some that might take some serious detective work to figure out. Poor pool flow will of course affect the over all water quality and safety of the pool water. Correcting poor flow and poor circulation is a must and here are some of the reasons for it.
Let us start with the basic issues. Check to make sure the skimmer basket is not full of debris. If the basket is full of debris, simply empty it and you should get your normal pool flow back. The pump basket can also be clogged with debris and this will also slow down the pool flow. Even if the basket looks clean there may be debris stuck in front of the pump impeller causing poor flow. Of course, check the pool water level to make sure it is not too low as this could affect the pool flow. Also, in the skimmer there is a weir gate that sometimes get stuck in the up position. Check to make sure that the weir gate is moving freely when the pump is running.
If you have a suction side cleaner sometimes the cleaner could get some debris stuck in the cleaner clogging the mouth of the cleaner and causing poor flow. Also, if you have an in-line canister it could also be clogged with debris. So, the point here is to make sure the obvious reasons are checked first and then you can move on to some other possible causes.
Moving on to the pool pump you will want to check the impeller for a possible obstruction. Usually the filter gauge will show a lower PSI than normal. For example, say it normally rides at 20 PSI but if the impeller is jammed it may show 10 PSI. This is easy to fix, simply turn off the pump, remove the basket and use a screwdriver to spin the impeller free. Once the clog is cleared you will here a gurgling noise as air passes into the filter. Fill up the pump pot with water, put the lid on and start the pump. In rarer cases the impeller will be cracked, or the diffuser will be warped. But in most cases clearing the impeller gets everything flowing again.
There could also be an air leak at the pump area in the intake or outlet area of the pump where the pipe threads in. If your pump has unions check the O-rings in the unions for any wear or cracks. In most cases with a suction leak you will see water leaking from somewhere at the equipment area. Replumbing that area will solve the flow issue.
In rare cases the line could get clogged with debris. This happens if your skimmer basket gets a crack in it or it floats up and lets large debris into the suction line. Vacuuming without a canister or having a suction side cleaner without an in-line canister can also cause a clog. Using a drain bladder to free the clog in the line is usually very effective. If the clog is very compacted you may need to call a plumber or pool service company out and they will blow the line with a Co2 tank. In rare cases the skimmer line could have a crack in it and you will need to replace the entire skimmer to fix the issue. Usually a cracked skimmer will also cause water to leak from the pool, so you will see a significant drop in your pools water level if this is the case.
Moving on to the filter it could be something as simple as a vert dirty filter. Clean the filter if it is a DE or a Cartridge Filter or backwash your Sand Filter. In some cases, the cartridge could be old and after replacing it your will see a dramatic increase in flow. Same with a DE Filter, changing the grids may also solve your pool’s flow issue. If you backwash your sand filter and still have poor flow, consider replacing the sand. The filter can be the cause of poor flow and the filter gauge is a good indicator of this.
On rare occasions there could also be an obstruction on the return side of your pool. A bad check valve can restrict flow and I see this often with the older Ortega Check Valves. Or a piece of the heater can break off and clog the return line. A Return Side Cleaner like the Polaris 360 with a clogged screen can also restrict flow. But this is pretty rare and most of the flow issues are on the suction side of the pool.
If you still can’t solve the flow issues it may be time to call in a pool professional or a Leak Detection Company like American Leak Detectors.
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