A wiffle ball with a wad of string attached to it is stuck in the skimmer vacuum pipe of the pool at my Dad's place...

It is not completely clogged, but flow is restricted. At a guess, the ball traveled about 15' underground (from the skimmer drain inlet towards the pump/furnace) before stopping.

We're assuming the ball is stuck at a joint coupling two different sized pipes together. The above-ground pipes near the pump are galvanized metal, but the pipe at the skimmer drain side is PVC.

Things we've tried:

  • The pool company folks weren't able to help.
  • It's not possible to get a drain auger head through due to a couple of right-angles
  • An air compressor didn't help
  • Reversing the pump also didn't have any effect

Any suggestions on what else we can try?


You are going to need to "pig" the line. You will need to insert something very slightly smaller than the pipe diameter (so it doesn't get stuck!) into the pump side of the pipe (i.e. where the whiffle ball wants to go "to") a tennis ball or racquet ball might work, so might just some crumpled up news paper. Seal your pig into the pipe and rig up a fitting for the air compressor hose. Turn on the air compressor and your pig will travel to the blockage and then proceed to push it backwards out of the pipe.

You will probably spend $25-$50 USD on the fittings and such (depending on what you already own) but it is far cheaper than digging up the pipe and cutting it out.

  • Thanks. We were considering doing something like this, but there is the fear of clogging the tube entirely because it works "sort of". Newspaper is an interesting idea. – l8nite Jul 7 '12 at 18:50
  • I'll mark this answer accepted once I get a chance to go over to my Dad's place and actually try this... been a busy month :) – l8nite Jul 23 '12 at 5:18
  • 2
    ice pigging will not clog, it melts. Found in @DaveNay's link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_pigging – rjt Jul 5 '14 at 5:15

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