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I have 15k gallon pool with a 1.5hp pump, 1 skimmer and 1 drain. I have a Float valve assembly over the skimmer. If the skimmer is fully open does that mean there is no suction in the drain? I don't want suction in the drain. How does this work?

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Here's a picture of a pool pump that I've worked on:

Picture of pump

See the gray valve right before the pump/basket on the left? That's a three-way valve. It can be turned a couple of different directions in order to adjust the flow of the water. If you turn it one way, it will pull entirely from the drain, and if you turn it the other way, it will pull entirely from the skimmers. In that picture, it's positioned halfway in between -- 50% drain, 50% skimmers.

If you want to pull from the drain only, you're going to have to move the three-way valve that's positioned in front of your pump. If you have a spa, it will have two three-way valves. You'll have to figure out how it works by messing with them. If the pump starts making bad noises, it's either pulling in air or you've turned the valve in such a way that it blocks the pump's inlet, which is something that you don't want to do. If it happens, turn the valve 90 degrees in either direction to open up the pipe going to the pump.

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Oops... sorry, Niall. :) I've been using imgur.com pretty well the past few weeks but forgot about it. :( –  Michael Jul 26 '11 at 22:57
    
You have a nice setup. We recently bought the house and unfortunately we do not have a nice setup and equipment like yours. I added an image to of our setup in my question above. Is the blue handle at the bottom of the photo what control the suction between skimmer and drain. Can you tell which one is the drain pipe. –  Hussein Jul 27 '11 at 3:04
    
That's a gate valve. It will shut that specific pipe off, which is presumably the skimmer(s). You'll probably have to turn it quite a bit, though -- maybe 20 times before it will completely block the skimmers off. Unfortunately gate valves aren't very trustworthy in the long run, so I'd expect the skimmers to be 95% blocked off, not 100%. –  Michael Jul 27 '11 at 3:09
    
Thanks. I want to actually turn of the drain suction to avoid any suction entrapment. Just a safety thing. I'm assuming i just need to turn the knob either way and see which way shuts off the drain. I would assume the lower pipe is the drain, otherwise if the lower pipe is for the skimmer then the turning the knob will only block/unblock the skimmer and drain will always be open. Do i have this right. –  Hussein Jul 27 '11 at 3:20
    
As you'll see in your pictures, you have two pipes coming out of the concrete. There's about a 99.9% chance that one is coming from the drain and one from the skimmer... and there's about a good chance that the gate valve is on the skimmer pipe. In order to drain the pool, you have to stop the pump from sucking in air from the skimmers, which is why it's most likely the case that the gate valve is for them, not the drain. If it is indeed the skimmer, you'll want to keep it open, as closing it would force the pump to pull from the drain exclusively. You could try it, but I suspect this is.. –  Michael Jul 27 '11 at 5:00
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