Last night we responded to the home of one of our customers who could not get their hot tub to function (due to automatic valves not opening to the right settings). When most people look at their pool equipment they see nothing but a maze of white pipes and black valves. It can be very confusing (especially to new home owners). To be honest, it takes us a few minutes to figure out what each of the pipes and valves are for because each pool is plumbed differently. Having these in the proper settings is yet another crucial element to your pool. Two of the most basic things valves control is where the water is being taken from (either the pool or the spa) and where it is being returned to (either the pool or the spa). These valves control exactly how much water is taken and returned. For example, pools with electric (automatic valves) are set to move when you put your pool in “spa mode” (if you have a remote or panel in your home). In “pool mode” these valves are set to remove water from your pool, run it through your filter, and then return it back to the pool (with a small amount also going to the spa to make it overflow into the pool). When you switch it to “spa mode” these valves close off the “pool pipes” and begin to remove water from the spa only, run it through your heater, and return it directly to your spa. If one of these valves is in the wrong setting or is not working properly, your spa will drain itself bone dry. (This was the case with our customer last night). We were able to reconfigure the valves to the proper setting which allowed the spa to function properly.
Other uses for these valves include the waterfall feature (common in most pools) as well as the pool cleaning robot. Often when the valves are in the wrong setting, the cleaning robot is not working to it’s full potential. Other possibilities can include how much the pool draws from each side skimmer basket etc. It can be very frustrating when you are not sure what these valves do and you know you have them in the wrong setting.
If you are in this situation don’t get angry! Just give us a call and we will be happy to come out and help you get them back to the correct settings and teach you what all the crazy pipes are meant to do. Often we will take a black sharpie marker and label them for you. This technique can be very helpful.