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Thread: Help with pH & pump prime

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    Cool Help with pH & pump prime

    I've been testing my pH level almost every day because it seems to go up very quickly. I do have a waterfall which I've turned down so that it only runs the last hour of the pump time. If I don't let it run at least a little bit then my pump won't prime the next day. I'm still trying to figure that one out. The pool is approximately 3 feet lower than the pool equipment and I can hear a little "gurgling" in the filter housing when everything is off. I've tried cleaning and lubing the O-ring and making sure the band is tight. I don't see any leaks when the pump is running so it's a bit of a mystery to me. I'm sure the pH rise is due to the waterfall running but I don't seem to have a choice! Any thoughts?

    Today's chemistry prior to adding 4C acid:

    FC - 6
    pH - 7.8
    TA - 80
    CH - 425 (just drained and refilled pool in May)
    CYA - 30 (was over 100 prior to drain)

    Thanks!
    Chris
    22K gal, IG Plaster w/waterfall, Pentair Intelliflo VS 3hp
    Hayward Cleaner & Filter Cartridge

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Help with pH & pump prime

    Hello again Chris. I seem to remember some of your previous posts. I don't recall though ... how old is your pool? The plaster is not new is it? Also, no chance you have return jets facing a little too high that may be causing some rise in PH? I would ask about rain, but I'm originally from Vegas so I know better. ha.

    About the pump ... you only have the one pump correct? So if I understand correctly, on this statement,
    I do have a waterfall which I've turned down so that it only runs the last hour of the pump time. If I don't let it run at least a little bit then my pump won't prime the next day.
    I'm assuming you have a shut-off valve to your waterfall so you can adjust flow right? As a troubleshooting method, have you tried shutting-off the waterfall completely for one day to see if that effects your pump prime? That's if it's even possible. Also interesting to note the 3-foot drop from pump station to pool. Others may have an idea on that with water trying to flow backwards resulting in the gurgling sounds you are hearing.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
    If you enjoyed your TFP experience, please consider donating to Support TFP!

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    Re: Help with pH & pump prime

    Hi Texas Splash! - yes I do have a shut-off valve for the waterfall and I tried shutting it completely off which is the first time the pump didn't prime the following morning so I opened the valve slightly and adjusted the pump to run at a low speed first and then switch to higher speed so the waterfall would run a little bit at the end of the day. This trick worked for a few days but now the last two mornings the pump would not prime.

    The pool is about 13 years old I think. I'm assuming it was built when the house was built. We did acid-wash last summer. I checked all of the returns and they are not pointed up at all.

    I can tell you I wouldn't have put the pump above the pool if I would have built it!

    Thanks
    Chris
    22K gal, IG Plaster w/waterfall, Pentair Intelliflo VS 3hp
    Hayward Cleaner & Filter Cartridge

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    Re: Help with pH & pump prime

    If you hear gurgling you have air getting in your system somewhere. With the pump off your system should always stay primed or you have air getting in the system some where.

    Do you have a valve for your return jets ? I would try closing return and water fall jets. Your system should hold pressure, if it doesn't you know that it is not your return or waterfall return lines. Try the opposite closing the valve for your skimmers, drain and see if you hold pressure, again if it doesn't you know it is not your suction side lines. This is with the pump "off" obviously, after these 2 tests if you are losing pressure you know it is a leak after the valve in suction side and before the valve in return side, filter or pump. ( unfortunately you have air getting in the lines somewhere between the valves and the pool if your system holds pressure with one of the valves closed ) but by the sounds of it you have a leak near the filter, just good to test the lines to make sure they hold prime.

    Do you see any leaks when you run the pump on high speed ? Run it on high and check for even the smallest little drip of water on the lines and check all o rings or seal on the equipment.

    Hope this helps

    Another thought, take some pictures of your valves and connectors, pump, filter, maybe someone has similar equipment and can give you better advice
    1999, 18x36 29k Gal, IG Vinyl, Sta-Rite Intellipro VS, Pentair SD80 Sand Filter, Pentair Millivolt 250m NG Heater
    2007, Hydropool H625 Platinum, 3HP/4HP pumps, Balboa Spa pack, Poly Planar Stereo c/w pop up speakers

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    Re: Help with pH & pump prime

    Thanks Dirtdog - love the name by the way!

    I will try your recommendations. I have run the pump at higher speeds and don't see any leaks but I'll do it again. I'm not sure about the valve for the return jets so I will take a picture and post it for any other suggestions. I do know that if I turn the waterfall off completely that this is where I run into trouble. If I leave it on at a good clip then I don't seem to have any priming issues but of course that's where I run into the pH problem. I tried to turn it down so it's not splashing as much which seemed to work at first but now gives me the same priming problem.

    I'll go get some pictures now.
    Chris
    22K gal, IG Plaster w/waterfall, Pentair Intelliflo VS 3hp
    Hayward Cleaner & Filter Cartridge

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    Re: Help with pH & pump prime

    image.jpg

    I'm not quite sure why the picture comes in upside down. Sorry about that! I closed both valves, one at a time and then both at the same time and can still hear a small drip or gurgle sound coming from the filter housing. If you look closely at the housing it looks like it leaks on a regular basis from the water spot but that is from the water that escapes when I open the pressure-relief valve. I turned the pump on high and waited for a bit to see if I could see any leaks and the only thing I saw was a very faint bit of moisture at the bottom of the leg or stand of the pump but when I felt all around it I wasn't able to feel any moisture anywhere. I suppose I can open the filter housing tonight and try to re-lube the gasket???
    Chris
    22K gal, IG Plaster w/waterfall, Pentair Intelliflo VS 3hp
    Hayward Cleaner & Filter Cartridge

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    Re: Help with pH & pump prime

    ok, let me get this straight. You turn your 3 way valve (right side of picture fed from heater) so that the waterfall is in the "closed" position, feed and jets in the "open" position with the pump off and the system stays primed ?
    1999, 18x36 29k Gal, IG Vinyl, Sta-Rite Intellipro VS, Pentair SD80 Sand Filter, Pentair Millivolt 250m NG Heater
    2007, Hydropool H625 Platinum, 3HP/4HP pumps, Balboa Spa pack, Poly Planar Stereo c/w pop up speakers

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    Re: Help with pH & pump prime

    It does but I can hear that little drip. If I leave it this way it will not prime in the morning.
    Chris
    22K gal, IG Plaster w/waterfall, Pentair Intelliflo VS 3hp
    Hayward Cleaner & Filter Cartridge

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    Re: Help with pH & pump prime

    ok so that tells me the lines out to your waterfall are not the issue, I would check the following

    Pump - lid, drain plug, suction pipe, discharge pipe. just make sure everything is sealed and tight (when your pump is running can you see air bubbles in the lid dome ?) If so you can try the water pouring trick, just slowing pour water over the pipes if the bubbles go away you found your leak.

    Filter - Pressure relief valve, pressure gauge ( remove and reseal with Teflon tape ) Pipes IN/OUT on the side of the filter those screw connectors are like a union with an O-ring if one is bad you will have a leak, check lube and tighten. Do the same on the heater. Also check the big clamp and seal on the filter housing lube and tighten to spec.
    1999, 18x36 29k Gal, IG Vinyl, Sta-Rite Intellipro VS, Pentair SD80 Sand Filter, Pentair Millivolt 250m NG Heater
    2007, Hydropool H625 Platinum, 3HP/4HP pumps, Balboa Spa pack, Poly Planar Stereo c/w pop up speakers

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    Re: Help with pH & pump prime

    Take the top off your check valve and make sure there is no trash on the sealing surface. I had the same problem and I replaced the flapper in the check valve and it solved my problem. If the check valve is not sealing the water can drain back to the pool over time.
    32,000 gallon inground plaster pool/spa combo spillover. Aqua Rite Pro with Sense and Dispense. Jandy iAquaLink Control. Polaris 280 vac. Sheer Descent, Fiber optic deck jet water feature. Vanishing wall. Whisperflo pumps, Pentair clean and clear cartridge filters.

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    Re: Help with pH & pump prime

    Thank you! As soon as the sun goes down tonight I'll go through and do your recommended checks. Fingers crossed I'll find something. Quick question about the water bubbles in the lid. I do see bubbles and I think I always have. If I pour water over the pipes do you mean all of the pipes connecting to the pump, filter, and heater?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by 1poolguy View Post
    Take the top off your check valve and make sure there is no trash on the sealing surface. I had the same problem and I replaced the flapper in the check valve and it solved my problem. If the check valve is not sealing the water can drain back to the pool over time.
    is the check valve the one next to the pump where you need to remove a bunch of screws and lift off the top?
    Chris
    22K gal, IG Plaster w/waterfall, Pentair Intelliflo VS 3hp
    Hayward Cleaner & Filter Cartridge

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Help with pH & pump prime

    Air under the clear lid (pump basket) would indicate air coming in from the suction side - somewhere from your skimmer/drain to your basket. So go slowly all along that route. The idea is that if there is a small suction side leak, it's pulling-in air. Once you run the water over it, it pulls-in water (instead of air) thereby letting you know that's a potential air leak area.

    Take a look at my pool pump pics (in my signature as "My pool". You'll see my check valve on the left just at ground level before the pump basket. It's basically a round housing with a flap in it. Mine had junk in it once too. You might have a similar valve along your lines as well.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
    If you enjoyed your TFP experience, please consider donating to Support TFP!

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    Re: Help with pH & pump prime

    Got it. Yes, I'll check that as well. I can see little strands of debris in there so it may not be closing completely.
    Chris
    22K gal, IG Plaster w/waterfall, Pentair Intelliflo VS 3hp
    Hayward Cleaner & Filter Cartridge

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