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Sundancer Pools & Spas
Swimming Pools Escondido    

operation guide


Your SUNDANCER POOL has been built to be as maintenance free as possible. But some care is still necessary. This booklet will help you remember the information the Start-Up Technician told you, and it will help you in performing the recommended pool care procedures.

A swimming pool, like anything of value, must receive periodic attention. If the regular maintenance is not done properly, it will eventually take more effort and expense to correct the problem, and restore you to normal operation. If you have questions concerning the maintenance or proper operation, please give us a call. We stand ready to provide warranty work, and to offer routine non-warranty pool maintenance or service work at competitive rates. It is our desire to keep you as a happy and satisfied client for many years. Please let us know how we can best serve you.


Over the life of any pool, certain essential tasks must be done periodically, regardless of the shape, size, or quality of the equipment installed. These fundamental procedures are:

Maintain proper chemical balance- Test the water every day after start-up until the total alkalinity is in balance. Then periodically test as required, usually two or three times each week. Super chlorinate when required. Please refer to the separate booklet on chemical maintenance and testing for additional details.

Maintain proper water level- Keep the water at least halfway up on the tile at all times. This will keep the surface skimmer operating efficiently, and will prevent the pump from pulling in air, losing prime, and running dry.

Maintain the skimmer and pump strainer baskets- Check and clean the skimmer basket and the pump strainer basket at least once each week. Empty them of all leaves and trash. They may need to be checked more often if you have many trees, grass, or if you experience windy conditions.

Maintain your filter- Clean (backwash) your filter when required to keep proper water flow through the system. This helps assure you that your water will be properly filtered and purified during operating hours.

Brush the new pool plaster- Brush the pool walls, floor, benches, and steps at least four times a day until all "plaster dust" residue is removed. Thereafter, brush the pool when needed. Always brush toward the main drain, and only brush when the filter and pump are ON. Leave the filter and pump operating for at least one hour after you finish brushing.

Maintain your cleaning system- Check the automatic cleaning system periodically to ensure optimum performance. Perform required inspections, adjustments, and other maintenance as recommended by the manufacturer.


A. General -- The filtration system is the heart of pool operation and maintenance. How well and how long it performs will govern, to a large extent, the clarity and sparkle of your pool water.

The primary function you will be required to perform is to remove the dirt and debris that has collected in the filter (called "Backwashing"). The reading on the filter pressure gauge (located on top of the filter) will tell you when to do this task.

The pump on your pool has been engineered to move water at a predetermined number of gallons per minute (gpm), at a certain pressure. The resistance the filter makes to this flow of water back to the pool is measured by the pressure gauge on top of the filter tank. A clean filter will reflect a certain "normal" reading while operating under clean conditions. The specific reading depends on the size of the filter and pump, and the manufacturer 5 specifications and operating recommendations. For a typical pool, the "clean11 reading will generally range from eight to 15 pounds of pressure.

For each hour or day of operation, the filter collects and accumulates dirt. This accumulation, as it builds up, begins to block the water flow. The pressure gauge reflects this fact by showing an increase in pressure. Normally, when the pressure has increased 12 to 15 pounds over the starting pressure, it is time to clean the filter. Failure to do so will cause the accumulation of dirt to completely block the water flow, resulting in improper filtration of your pool water, and creating a potentially hazardous buildup of pressure in the filter tank.

The period of time between cleanings varies by filter type and size, and by the amount of dirt which is removed from the pool. It is possible that your filter will operate from six to eight weeks before it needs cleaning. Please note that this is merely a suggestion, and may NOT represent your specific system. Monitor it regularly, and learn its own "personality." Just one caution: Don’t go for six months without cleaning the filter, regardless of the pressure reading. It is important to remove accumulated dirt with some regularity.

B. Water Conditions -- The heavy concentration of calcium and other minerals in our local water can affect your filter. Our hard water can "calcify" the fabric in the filter grids, and slowly close the pores and water passages. As this happens (over a few years, normally), higher pressures and shorter cleaning cycles will result. This symptom can be easily corrected by giving the filter grids a mild acid bath to dissolve the calcium deposits. We recommend that an experienced pool service person performs this operation—it isn’t very expensive. In extreme cases, you may find it necessary after several years to replace some or all of the filter grids. If calcification has occurred, it is possible that the grids have become brittle or permanently clogged. A new set of filter grids will seem to work wonders.

C. Routine Backwashing -- Please follow these steps, in sequence.

1. Turn OFF the pool pump. (If you have a pool cleaner that operates on its own pump, turn it OFF FIRST.)

2. Check and clean the pump strainer basket and the skimmer basket.

3. Move the lever at the bottom of the filter to the "BACKWASH" position.

4. Deploy the backwash hose to the area where you wish to discharge dirty, contaminated pool water.  Either secure the discharge end, or watch it carefully to prevent it from whipping around and discharging backwash water into areas where you don’t want it.

5. Turn the filter pump ON.

6. Watch the discharge water, either at the "sight glass" at the filter, or at the end of the backwash discharge hose. When the water has been running clear for about ONE MINUTE, the filter should be clean. This usually takes from two to three minutes, possibly a little more. In any case, always backwash for at least TWO MINUTES. When the water is clear, ALWAYS TURN THE PUMP OFF BEFORE MOVING THE BACKWASH LEVER!

7. OPTIONAL: Return the "BACKWASH LEVER" to "FILTER", operate normally for one minute, then repeat the backwash cycle for another two minutes. This may loosen and remove additional dirt and unwanted material from the filter grids.

8. Turn the pump OFF, return the backwash lever to "FILTER", and turn on the pump.  "Recharge" the filter with "D.E." slurry. In a bucket of water, mix in ONE one-pound coffee "Recharge" the filter with "D.E." slurry. In a bucket of water, mix in ONE one-pound coffee can of D.E. for every FIVE square feet of filter area. (Your filter will have a label on it to tell you how many square feet it contains.) Introduce this mix of D.E. slurry in through the skimmer. It will coat the grids of your filter, and provide you with new cleaning medium.

D. Yearly Maintenance -- Most filter manufacturers recommend that the filter is disassembled and the grids cleaned about once each year. Many pool owners can do this at home. Simply remove the grids from the filter housing, rinse them with a gun-type high-pressure hose nozzle, then replace the grids and add new D.E. This should normally be done at a time when you would otherwise perform a regular backwash.


A. General -- Your pump is well designed to operate continuously for long hours and to require minimum maintenance. Please keep the area immediately around the pump open and free to allow the circulation of cooling air. If the pump should become overheated, it will turn itself off.

B. Priming the PumpDO NOT RUN YOUR PUMP DRY! The pump is made to operate at all times with a load of water to be pulled through it. Running it dry could cause it to burn out, requiring expensive repair or replacement. Here are three methods you can use to prime your pump (to fill the pump and water lines with water so that the pump will continue to pull water). IMPORTANT: A primed operating pump will always show a reading on the filter pressure gauge.

Method 1:

a. Turn off the pump.  

b. Attach a garden hose to a faucet or hose bib on the house.

c. Attach the other end of the hose to the hose bib located on the pool-plumbing manifold, on the heater, or near the base of the pump.

d. Turn on the water from the house supply.

e. After a minute or so, turn on the pump.

f. When the pool pump is operating normally, close the pool equipment faucet, shut off water at the house, and disconnect the hose.

Method 2:

a. Turn off the pump.

b. Remove the lid from the pump strainer basket.

c. Clean the strainer basket and clean the gasket and the gasket surface on the strainer pot and lid.

d. Fill the pump strainer reservoir with water and quickly replace the lid.

e. Turn the pump on. The pump should pick up prime within a minute or so. Normally, less time is needed.

f. If the pump prime does not return, shut off the pump, and try again, or try another method.

Method 3:

a. Remove the skimmer basket and flow control plate.

b. Insert a garden hose into the rear (suction) hole at the bottom of the skimmer.

c. Wrap a cloth around the garden hose to force the water from the hose into the suction pipe, and into the pump.

d. Turn on the water from the hose into the skimmer pipe.

e. Turn on the pump.

f. Hold the hose and cloth firmly to ensure that the water goes into the pump.

g. When the pump suction starts to pull at the cloth and hose, the pump is primed. Remove the hose and cloth.

h. Replace the flow control plate and skimmer basket.

Special Note: Pumps operate best against a load (called "head"). Sometimes it is possible to increase the "head" by closing valves on the return manifold when starting to prime the pump. Then, as the pressure picks up, the valves should be slowly opened. This may reduce the time needed to prime the pump.


"Vacuum-type" pool cleaners that attach by a vacuum hose directly into skimmer present a unique potential condition which merits close supervision. Some pool owners prefer to remove these cleaners from the pool while they (or their children) are swimming. Often, they will remove the hose and the clear unit, but leave the vacuum hose attached into the skimmer. (This makes it m~ easier to simply toss the cleaner and hose back into the water when they are finished swimming.) The risk occurs when the cleaner and hose are left out C the water, usually up on the deck, when the pool pump is timed to turn on. If the pool pump turns on while the cleaner hose is out of the water, air will be drawn into the pump, and it could eventually burn out. Remember: pool pumps especially designed to run against the pull of water. If they don’t have this they could be seriously damaged.

So be very watchful! Always replace the hose and pool cleaner back into the pool after swimming, or completely remove the hose from the skimmer while swimming. Don’t let your pool pump draw in air!


Your heater is basically a large water heater (or boiler), and is only slightly more complicated than the one that heats water for your home. To use the heater to your best advantage, and to keep operating expenses to a minimum, you should consider maintaining your pool from 78 to 82 degrees, or about 25 to 30 degrees above the average outside air temperature. Each degree higher costs additional money to reach and to maintain. Naturally, heater use in mid winter adds to the expense due to the need for a greater temperature rise. Use your pool blanket to reduce heat loss, and keep heating costs down.

Instructions for lighting your heater (if necessary) are located inside heater. (Note: Most heaters today use electronic pilotless ignition, a spark igniter that does away with the standing pilot light.)

After using the heater—To operate properly and safely, your heater must turn off ten to fifteen minutes before the pump and filter are stopped. This is extremely important, as the flow of pool water must continue through the heater for the purpose of cooling the heat exchange unit within the heater. If the water is turned off too early there is some risk that the extreme heat inside the heater could seriously damage the heater, the plumbing outside the heater and potentially melt or even burst the PVC pipes.

If you have a time clock which operates in conjunction with your heater will handle this important safety precaution for you. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ADJUST, OVERRIDE, OR CHANGE THIS SAFETY SETTING!


Your time clock has two (2) trippers, which automatically turn your pump on and off daily. These trippers are marked "ON" (silver) and "OFF" (black). They can be set by loosening the knurl screw and adjusting them to the time you desire. Follow the instructions inside the clock for setting the dial to the correct time of day.

Hours of operation—During the colder winter months with little or no swimming, your pool can be operated on a shorter cycle. Many families are successful with as little as four hours each day. It is important that you don’t completely turn off the filtering system for extended periods during the winter Even though the water is cold, impurities and organisms must still be removed daily. If you turn off your filtering system for a long period, you may face repair or restoration costs that far exceed any savings from cutting down daily operation.

During warmer summer weather, with more swimmers, you should consider increasing daily filtration to around eight hours or so daily. Experience will show you the amount of time you need to keep your pool clean. Generally, the warmer the temperature and the more the swimming load the more time will be needed to purify the pool water. For 24-hour-a-day operation, the knurled screws are unscrewed, and the trippers are removed from the timer clock face.

Some authorities suggest splitting the usual hours of operation into two periods during the day. For example, instead of one eight-hour period during the summer, they recommend two four-hour periods. This is a simple operation involving simply purchasing an extra set of trippers from any pool supply store, and installing them at the new on-off times. If you want to use this system, we recommend an "early morning I early evening" schedule.

Automatic Cleaners—Some automatic cleaners use a booster pump. This system requires an additional time clock to control the cleaner operation. It is extremely important that the hours of operation for the booster pump be set within the period of normal filter pump operation. If the cleaning pump should be turned on while the filter pump is turned off (thus not supplying water), severe damage can result to the booster pump and to the PVC plumbing pipes. Normal operation of these systems should be about three to six hours per day, depending on your individual circumstances. Again, experience, combined with swimmer load and outside dirt will determine the best time and cycle to operate the cleaner. As a general guideline, arrange the booster pump to turn on at least thirty minutes after the main pump turns on, and thirty minutes before the main pump turns off.

Heaters & Time clocks—If you have a heater with a time clock, the clock will have a heater delay feature which will be installed on or near the heater. This special "heater delay" time clock prevents hot water damage to the plumbing. It shuts down the heater ten to fifteen minutes before it shuts off the main filter pump. This interval allows the pump to circulate and cool down the heat exchanger and other parts inside the heater, thus eliminating the possibility of damage.


Electrical failures usually show up in one of two problems: The failure of the pool light to come on, and the failure of a pool pump motor to turn 0 The pool light failure can occasionally be traced to a burned out bulb. But more often, these electrical failures are the result of a tripped GFI, a tripped circuit breaker or a time clock that is out of sequence. Please conduct the following simplified check out procedures to isolate the problem and to determine whether it is necessary to call for service.

Pool Light:

a. Turn OFF the pool light switch.

b. Check the GFI (Ground Fault Interrupter) box, and push the reset button.

c. Check the electrical service panel and reset the 110-v circuit breaker by pushing and pressing it completely to the OFF position, then to the ON position.

d. Turn the light switch ON. If the light does not come on, please call for service, as the problem is probably a

defective switch or circuit, or the light bulb is burned out.

e. To change the pool light bulb, unscrew the single screw (Phillips or Allen type screw) at the TOP of the light niche. This will release the entire light assembly, which will float to the water surface. Then unscrew the set of Phillips screws on the BACK of the light niche (usually about six in all). This will allow the assembly to come apart, and expose the light bulb. Then simply unscrew the old bulb and screw in a new one. Reverse the procedure to replace the assembly.

 Pump Motors:

a. Turn OFF the motor switch.

b. Manually turn the Time Clock OFF.

c. Check the Electric Service Panel and reset the dual 23-volt circuit breakers by pushing and pressingly it completely to the OFF position then restore it to ON.

d. Check the time clock, and, if required, reset the dial to the correct time. Determine if the small wheel is turning in the clock mechanism.

e. If the clock was off time and the small wheel is NOT turning, there is a defective clock motor. In such a case the pump can be operated and controlled manually until the clock can be repaired. To operate manually, just push the switch at the bottom of the clock to the ON position.

f. Turn the motor switch ON. If the pump runs, the problem was in the Time Clock being off time, or having a defective motor.

g. If the pump does NOT run, runs momentarily and shuts off or only hums and then shuts off, the problem is in the motor or switch, and a service call is indicated.


It is important that you maintain your water level at a height about half-way up on the waterline tile.  If the water is too low, the skimmer will allow air to be pulled into the pump.  This would cause the pump to lose prime, and possible burn out.  If the water level is too high, the skimmer will not skim.  Pool water, then, may need to be raised or lowered as necessary to keep the level at the midpoint of the tile.

To Raise the water level - Simply attach a garden hose to any household water supply faucet.  Put the hose over the pool deck, and turn the hose on.  (Note:  We recommend that you NOT insert the discharge end of the hose into the pool water.  The sight and noise of the refilling water will keep it in sight and mind.  This should help overcome the problem of overfilling the pool because someone turned on the water then left the house, or forgot about it.)  If you have a below-deck permanent line, simply turn on the water at that supply line.  If you have an automatic level device, you shouldn't need to worry about it.

To Lower the water level - We recommend that a separate submersible pump be used to drain the pool completely.  While it is technically possible to drain the pool using the technique described about (with some modifications to the skimmer), there is high risk that the pump could lose prime, pull air, and then burn out.  So to be safe, use a separate pump especially designed for that purpose.  Nearly all pool service companies carry them for occasional use.

Siphoning - If your pool is above a hill that is deeper than the lowest level of the pool floor, it is possible to drain the pool without using a pump.  Attach a weight to the end of a normal pool vacuum hose ( a pool vacuum head works well for this), and put the entire hose into the water.  Fill the hose just as if you were going to vacuum the pool.  Put one hand tightly over the open end of the hose and carry this end to a suitable discharge position LOWER than the pool level.  To start the siphoning, just remove you hand from the end of the hose.  The water will rush out driven by air pressure and gravity.  Just be sure the discharge is in a suitable place, and watch the outflow.  It can be surprisingly vigorous; it could erode dirt seriously if it is not watched.


Due to unusual conditions, you may sometimes want to vacuum your pool. Here are some step-by-step guidelines to follow to simplify this chore.

1. Turn the pump off. Check the hair and lint strainer basket in front of the pump. Clean it if necessary.

2. Turn the pump on, be sure the pump has primed and water is circulating normally.

3. Attach the vacuum head to the 16’ pole.

4. Attach the vacuum head to the vacuum head.

5. Remove the skimmer basket and diverter valve (if necessary).

6. Lower the vacuum head (attached to the 16’ pole) into the pool water. Hand feed the rest of the hose into the water, being careful to fill the hose with water as you do so. This will generally fill the hose.

7. Hold the loose end of the hose over the closest return inlet to remove any remaining air in the hose.  Note: The hose must be purged of air, as air from the hose could cause the pump to lose prime.

8. Watch the vacuum head. When air bubbles stop, the hose is completely filled.

9. Place your hand over the loose end of the vacuum hose to form a seal. Pull the hose to the skimmer opening. Then push or pull the hose through the skimmer opening and place the free end of the vacuum hose into the rear hole of the skimmer.

10. Vacuum your pool using a slow, regular motion. Use care not to disturb any dust that has settled. If the dust is disturbed, it won’t be able to be vacuumed up, and you’ll have to wait until it settles again to remove it.

11. When your pool is clean, turn off the pump, remove the vacuum hose, clean and replace the pump strainer basket, and replace the skimmer valve and basket.

12. Turn the pump motor on, and watch until the pressure shows on the pressure gauge and the pump is primed.


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