by Mark Garcia July 2, 2013
Last fall, the pool industry lost one of it's great pioneers. Andy Pansini, founder of Jandy, and inventor of many pool cleaners and systems, passed away.
Part of the legacy of Andy Pansini are the hundreds of thousands of pools out there, with a Jandy Energy Filter set-up, used to power an automatic pool cleaner, without a booster pump.
Like all of Andy's inventions, the system developed by Jandy to power the Ray-Vac and many other earlier pool cleaners was nothing short of unique.
Sylvan pools used the design for years, as did hundreds of other smaller pool builders. It's still used to this day, and here's how it operates. A 3-way valve is installed in the pipe between the pump and the filter. The valve can be rotated to allow water to be sent to the pool cleaner, connected into the pool wall.
OK, so what? Well, the unique thing is that the water is being sent to the cleaner before it has passed through the pool filter, in other words, as the water is being pushed towards the pool filter, a percentage of it is drawn off, and is diverted to the pool cleaner. This allows the cleaner to operate without putting back pressure on the pool filter tank.
This design for the original Energy pool cleaner called for a small cartridge filter - and it was called the Energy Filter. It's not like a normal filter cartridge, but instead is a spun plastic material, very durable. It's purpose is to prevent the pool cleaner from clogging up, since the water powering the cleaner has not been filtered and will have some small bits of debris that pass through the pump basket.
Stripped Threads: A common problem that occurs is the plastic threads for the pressure gauge can strip easily from cross threading the gauge during reinstallation. This problem has been fixed, as Jandy has been using a brass insert for many years now, but many older models still exist, like our problem example shown here, stage right.
The method of repair? Using a Tap and Dye Set, with a 1/8" NPT Tap, you can cut new threads into the plastic of the filter top.
Be sure to cut straight and evenly. Apply a layer of silicone to the threads on the filter top and on the pressure gauge. Wrap the gauge threads 3x with Teflon tape, and gently thread into the filter top. Allow the silicone to dry for 24 hours before testing for pressure. Be sure that it's securely threaded in place, under pressure the gauge could become a projectile if it breaks loose!
If this repair fails you and the plastic is too deteriorated to confidently secure the 1/8" Jandy pressure gauge, you can use a 3/8" drill bit, and the use a 1/4" Tap to enlarge the hole size, to accept a regular 1/4" bottom mount pressure gauge.
Cracked Threads: Another common problem is that a small crack can occur, on the top of the filter bowl, running through the pressure gauge threads. Not a big leak, but big enough to be a concern. In this case, it's not usually cross threading that causes the problem, but using too much Teflon tape on the gauge threads. Adding new tape each year makes the diameter of the gauge too large for the hole, and a crack can occur.
Again, the redesign of the Energy Bowl, with the brass insert used as threads - has solved this problem as well. But, assuming that you may have this problem one day, here's a neat trick to repair a small crack in the filter top threads.
With the pressure gauge threaded into the filter top, so that the crack opens up a bit, fill it full of Super Glue. Fill it all the way up, and then quickly but gently unthread the pressure gauge, so the crack will close. Give it a few minutes, and then thread the gauge back into the valve.
Super glue is a remarkable friend for many repairs to pool systems - I always kept a few tubes in my pool service truck!
Broken Threads: There seems to be a common "thread" here - problems with the threads on the Jandy Energy Filter Top. In this case, the threads on underside, for the Energy Bowl, can become brittle and break.
Sealing up the Energy Bowl is sometimes not easy. A new Filter Bowl o-ring helps, and adding lubricant can help prevent leaks. When the molded threads break off on the inside however, the bowl just won't seal up.
And, I'm afraid that I have no repair in this instance, other than a replacement of the Jandy Filter Top. You may need to cut further back on the pipes to reinstall, but hopefully you won't need to replace the 3-way valve.
Thanks for Reading!
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