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Thread: Pump losing prime, not fully primed when only using skimmer line. Trying to vac...

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    MitchRyan912's Avatar
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    Pump losing prime, not fully primed when only using skimmer line. Trying to vac...

    This thread is the closest I've found to what I've got going on, but it's not entirely it.

    Dumb question about using a vacuum plate

    I've noticed that whenever I shut off the valve to the vacuum line, that I see some air bubbles in the pump basket and they never entirely go away unless I open up the vacuum line. Running the vacuum line without the skimmer line is no problem, other than losing the skimmer (I usually do this when using the vacuum line to clean the pool.

    The reason for this post is that I'd like to re-pipe the vacuum line such that it's a second return, and use the skimmer to vacuum, since my pool has incredibly crappy circulation. So far, I'm having NO luck using the skimmer to vacuum. Using a skimmer plate isn't working at all, and I'm getting a ton of air in the pump basket when I plug my hose directly into the bottom of the skimmer. Again, I've had no problems with this same hose when plugging it in to the vacuum line, so it's not the hose.

    is it possible that I've got a slow/small leak somewhere between the skimmer and the shutoff valve? If there is, how would I go about tracking down where the leak is, short of digging up the pipes?
    2016 total pool rebuild thread: here. Pool: 26,000 gal IG vinyl liner (20'x40') in Madison, WI. Gear: ​Superflo VS, Triton TR-60 filter, 2" hi-flow MPV, & Raypak 266A heater. Testing: Taylor K-2006C. Manual chems: 12.5% NaClO liquid, granular CYA, baking soda, 31.25% muriatic acid.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Pump losing prime, not fully primed when only using skimmer line. Trying to vac..

    It is probably just a leak in the pump basket. Have you tried some pool lube on the gasket?

    since my pool has incredibly crappy circulation
    Why do you think that?
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Pump losing prime, not fully primed when only using skimmer line. Trying to vac..

    I've been having the same issue all summer. Finally, on the advice of my pool shop, I tried vacuuming NOT using the plate and sticking the hose directly into the hole in the skimmer - problem solved. No more sucking air while trying to vacuum. You might try the same thing. It seems that the vacuum hoses work best when the joint is submerged.
    16x32 IG 19,000 gallons, Pentair 1.5 hp Energy Efficient Superflo pump (348024),vinyl liner, Chlorine dispenser, Hayward S-244T sand filter

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Pump losing prime, not fully primed when only using skimmer line. Trying to vac..

    vacuum hoses work best when the joint is submerged.
    That should be the same with the vacuum port too. In fact, my vac port is more submerged with the vacuum line than it would be with the skimmer.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Pump losing prime, not fully primed when only using skimmer line. Trying to vac..

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985 View Post
    It is probably just a leak in the pump basket. Have you tried some pool lube on the gasket?

    Why do you think that?
    Debris just sits along the wall opposite the wall with the return, skimmer, & vac port. It's often worse in the corners of the pool.
    2016 total pool rebuild thread: here. Pool: 26,000 gal IG vinyl liner (20'x40') in Madison, WI. Gear: ​Superflo VS, Triton TR-60 filter, 2" hi-flow MPV, & Raypak 266A heater. Testing: Taylor K-2006C. Manual chems: 12.5% NaClO liquid, granular CYA, baking soda, 31.25% muriatic acid.

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    Re: Pump losing prime, not fully primed when only using skimmer line. Trying to vac..

    How many returns do you have and what size eyeballs are used in the returns?
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Pump losing prime, not fully primed when only using skimmer line. Trying to vac..

    You can see the skimmer halfway down the wall along the side to the left of where I'm standing. As of right now, there's one return with a 1.5" 90 degree elbow screwed into it (the 90 is pictured, sitting on top of the coping, as I had a 45 degree elbow in there as well, to see which worked better), which aims toward the deep end and down slightly. There's no eyeball used.

    2016 total pool rebuild thread: here. Pool: 26,000 gal IG vinyl liner (20'x40') in Madison, WI. Gear: ​Superflo VS, Triton TR-60 filter, 2" hi-flow MPV, & Raypak 266A heater. Testing: Taylor K-2006C. Manual chems: 12.5% NaClO liquid, granular CYA, baking soda, 31.25% muriatic acid.

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    Re: Pump losing prime, not fully primed when only using skimmer line. Trying to vac..

    Eyeballs help to increase exit velocity which in turn helps reach further in the pool. Also, you want to keep the return aimed close to the surface so it moves the surface debris towards the skimmer. I would try a 3/4" or 1/2" eyeball aimed toward the opposite side of the pool and see if you can't get the surface water moving in a counter clockwise direction.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Pump losing prime, not fully primed when only using skimmer line. Trying to vac..

    Would I put the eyeball into the return socket, or construct a 90 degree elbow with female threading so that I'll still have some flow pointing towards the deep end (and also towards the skimmer)?
    2016 total pool rebuild thread: here. Pool: 26,000 gal IG vinyl liner (20'x40') in Madison, WI. Gear: ​Superflo VS, Triton TR-60 filter, 2" hi-flow MPV, & Raypak 266A heater. Testing: Taylor K-2006C. Manual chems: 12.5% NaClO liquid, granular CYA, baking soda, 31.25% muriatic acid.

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    Re: Pump losing prime, not fully primed when only using skimmer line. Trying to vac..

    What I had hoped to do would be to convert the vac line to a second return, but that would shoot the water around clockwise. Does it really matter if it's CW or CCW?
    2016 total pool rebuild thread: here. Pool: 26,000 gal IG vinyl liner (20'x40') in Madison, WI. Gear: ​Superflo VS, Triton TR-60 filter, 2" hi-flow MPV, & Raypak 266A heater. Testing: Taylor K-2006C. Manual chems: 12.5% NaClO liquid, granular CYA, baking soda, 31.25% muriatic acid.

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    Re: Pump losing prime, not fully primed when only using skimmer line. Trying to vac..

    No it doesn't matter if it is cw or ccw. But I would try a smaller eyeball directly in the port without a 90 so it shoots directly toward a the opposite wall. You may need to adjust the point slightly to get the circulation pattern you want.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Pump losing prime, not fully primed when only using skimmer line. Trying to vac..

    How does shooting water across the shallow end generate circulation? Wouldn't it be preferable to have it shoot from shallow to deep?

    So re-piping with an extra valve to turn the deep end vac line into a switchable line (either vac, off, or return) isn't needed?
    2016 total pool rebuild thread: here. Pool: 26,000 gal IG vinyl liner (20'x40') in Madison, WI. Gear: ​Superflo VS, Triton TR-60 filter, 2" hi-flow MPV, & Raypak 266A heater. Testing: Taylor K-2006C. Manual chems: 12.5% NaClO liquid, granular CYA, baking soda, 31.25% muriatic acid.

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    Re: Pump losing prime, not fully primed when only using skimmer line. Trying to vac..

    If you are trying to clear debris on the opposite wall, you need to shoot water in that direction. It only needs to be at a slight angle to the opposite wall to start a circulation pattern. An eyeball allows for some adjustment. Also, the smaller eyeball will help as well.

    So re-piping with an extra valve to turn the deep end vac line into a switchable line (either vac, off, or return) isn't needed?
    It may not so I just thought you might want to try something easier first.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Pump losing prime, not fully primed when only using skimmer line. Trying to vac..

    Well, I already started the process of re-piping it Sunday night. Thankfully it can all be done at the pump, rather than digging up the lines running below the grassy side of the pool. I just didn't see how shooting across the short side of the pool with one return would generate any circulation.

    Would it possible be better to shoot across the shallow end (we spend more time in there with the kids) and having the return angled somehow (to not push back against the shallow end return) help? I was originally going to put the 90/45 in the shallow end shooting towards the deep end and have the deep end return shoot across the deep end. Would it be 6 of one, half doze of the other?
    2016 total pool rebuild thread: here. Pool: 26,000 gal IG vinyl liner (20'x40') in Madison, WI. Gear: ​Superflo VS, Triton TR-60 filter, 2" hi-flow MPV, & Raypak 266A heater. Testing: Taylor K-2006C. Manual chems: 12.5% NaClO liquid, granular CYA, baking soda, 31.25% muriatic acid.

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    Re: Pump losing prime, not fully primed when only using skimmer line. Trying to vac..

    I just didn't see how shooting across the short side of the pool with one return would generate any circulation.
    The water velocity out of a return slows the further away it gets so if the debris is collecting on the opposite side of the return, the most effective way of moving it is with a return pointed directly at it. Going the long way around loses energy and so may not move the debris as effectively.

    Also putting in 90s slows the water velocity so although it changes the direction of the water, it also slows it down. But you might want to experiment with different configurations to see what works best.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Pump losing prime, not fully primed when only using skimmer line. Trying to vac..

    So having two returns both pointed across the respective ends of the pool, in the same direction, would not be helpful... would it? If I added a return, it would almost have to have a 90 on it, right? Otherwise the return both shoot in the same direction.
    2016 total pool rebuild thread: here. Pool: 26,000 gal IG vinyl liner (20'x40') in Madison, WI. Gear: ​Superflo VS, Triton TR-60 filter, 2" hi-flow MPV, & Raypak 266A heater. Testing: Taylor K-2006C. Manual chems: 12.5% NaClO liquid, granular CYA, baking soda, 31.25% muriatic acid.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Pump losing prime, not fully primed when only using skimmer line. Trying to vac..

    So having two returns both pointed across the respective ends of the pool, in the same direction, would not be helpful... would it?
    Sure why not?

    If I added a return, it would almost have to have a 90 on it, right?
    Not necessarily. You don't have to point returns parallel to the pool wall to get surface circulation. In fact, I found pointing a return that is close to a skimmer along the same wall will tend to push debris past the skimmer instead of into the skimmer. So sometimes you are better off just pointing the returns directly at the opposite wall. But both methods are completely valid ways of creating circulation. Which is best is dependent on the pool layout but you really won't know for sure until you try both.

    My returns are pointed away from one wall toward another. Below is a video of a dye test I did a few weeks ago to test circulation. Note how the dye hits the opposite wall and then moves both around the edge of the pool back toward the originating wall creating multiple circulation patterns. No matter where the debris is located, it will eventually find it's way to a skimmer. This may also work for you but you won't know until you try it.



    Circulation Dye Test
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Pump losing prime, not fully primed when only using skimmer line. Trying to vac..

    What kind of dye do you use to test this out?
    2016 total pool rebuild thread: here. Pool: 26,000 gal IG vinyl liner (20'x40') in Madison, WI. Gear: ​Superflo VS, Triton TR-60 filter, 2" hi-flow MPV, & Raypak 266A heater. Testing: Taylor K-2006C. Manual chems: 12.5% NaClO liquid, granular CYA, baking soda, 31.25% muriatic acid.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Pump losing prime, not fully primed when only using skimmer line. Trying to vac..

    HTH Party Potion

    HTH Party Potion, 8 oz - Walmart.com

    But ping pong balls work well too as long as there is no wind.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Pump losing prime, not fully primed when only using skimmer line. Trying to vac..

    Cool, they have it in stock at my local Walmarts. How long does this colorant last and are there any side effects to it?
    2016 total pool rebuild thread: here. Pool: 26,000 gal IG vinyl liner (20'x40') in Madison, WI. Gear: ​Superflo VS, Triton TR-60 filter, 2" hi-flow MPV, & Raypak 266A heater. Testing: Taylor K-2006C. Manual chems: 12.5% NaClO liquid, granular CYA, baking soda, 31.25% muriatic acid.

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