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Thread: No suction- plumbing leak? Filter deep cleaning?

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    No suction- plumbing leak? Filter deep cleaning?

    Well like many starting out here, I have been a lurker for 2 years and we could not have set up, built and kept our pool clean without this forum. It is awesome beyond words!

    I have now come to a point that I want to ask some questions...I think I know the answer to, but want to verify to maybe save some time!

    My husband and I have done all of the work from the first shovel of dirt, back hoe work, stone work, leveling, plumbing, deck building, chemistry, etc, etc, etc....so I am intimate with every part of the build and set up. Some of our ideas were great, some ...not so much, but were are pleased with our almost-finished project. We have been swimming in it for over a year while we build the deck and finish surrounding area. So I have been maintaining it for a while now without too much trouble at all.

    That said, there are a few things that are out of my area. I will set up questions with a bit of backstory...

    Our back yard slopes down to a running creek in the back of our property so the pool is dug into slope about 2.5 feet on high side to about a 8-10" on low side. Pump was below water line and sat on wall/edge of where skimmer basket was but ended up getting flooded and sitting in water after floods last year. Took pump apart and dried out, put back together and had been working just fine, albeit a bit louder than before.

    We decided on building a little pool house attached to deck with a lean-to for pump, etc. so we moved the pump and filter a little further away and less than a foot above water line. Kept the same pump (not self priming) and installed a check valve so pump would not lose prime. This has all worked for the last 2 months.

    We recently bought a Liquidator to set up bleach because we were about to take an extended vacation, but box had some wrong parts in it and we weren't able to set up before we left. Crossed our fingers to come home to a pool that would not be too bad. Got home and looked ok but had lots of debris on bottom that needed to be vacuumed and water was just a little discolored-nothing I was too worried about. I added bleach. Proceeded to vacuum pool and get all of the junk out and moving all that ick around really made the pool turn cloudy and greenish. So I thought I would let it all settle and vacuum again the next morning. Removed lid of pump, cleaned basket and replaced lid, then went to backwash filter and pump would not stay primed. Filled basket with water to prime -check valve should have made water stay in that portion of pipe but I just kept filling with water and it did not seem to hold. I even asked my husband if a check valve can "fail" because it seems like it is working the opposite of how it is supposed to. Suction not working and losing prime...

    Went to look at skimmer basket to see if door flapper had stuck closed- it was open but no water was moving with pump on.
    Looked around pipes to see if I could see any water leaking from joints , as I knew there was a problem with suction. Didn't see any water anywhere, so I went ahead and ordered a new pump - Hayward PowerFlow Matrix 1.5 hp- same one as we had before but self priming, thinking our pump had just finally bit the dust. Not too upset as we can now have quieter pump! Came in yesterday, husband hooked up last night and everything is the same. Won't stay primed, no suction etc. Husband put water hose down hole in skimmer basket and turned pump on but it wouldn't prime. Only ran from water we were putting in it. Tried to blow pipes to dislodge anything stuck, dirty water came out but still didn't cause any positive change. We took the top off of sand filter and put hose down in there to start cleaning but we were at this point working late into night and in the dark so this is were we have left it last night.

    I guess this is all a really a long way of asking if there is a leak somewhere? Why would it just all of the sudden happen?
    Or is the filter so icky that something is clogged? Would this affect the suction since it is after the pump/suction side?

    Need a good filter cleaning and try again?

    Oh, also somewhere along the way, pool gauge now is at 20 with pump OFF and goes to 0 when turned on... need to go get a new one!

    Any help will be appreciated... After days of this mess, pool IS green now...ugh...luckily I have the whole TF TEST kit and SLAM thing down!
    18x36, 17k gallons, partially buried above ground pool, Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 hp PowerFlow Matrix, 3.5' perimeter and shallow end to 5' center, Liquidator, Full wood deck, TFTest kit.

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    Re: No suction- plumbing leak? Filter deep cleaning?

    Removed lid of pump, cleaned basket and replaced lid, then went to backwash filter and pump would not stay primed. Filled basket with water to prime -check valve should have made water stay in that portion of pipe but I just kept filling with water and it did not seem to hold. I even asked my husband if a check valve can "fail" because it seems like it is working the opposite of how it is supposed to.
    A couple of thoughts come to mind, it could be one of these or a combination of them.

    Check valve has got some "trash" in it and wont seal off.

    Is the water level in pool at its normal level, reason being a possible vortex when it does prime, allowing it to suck air and making it loose prime.

    Lube the rubber o-ring on the pump basket, it may be sucking air there and making it loose prime.

    As a last thought, would it be possible to lower the pump by one foot to put the pool pump water input to the same level as the lowest operating water level in the pool. This would make it so you could delete the check valve, add a stop valve, and would auto prime when after servicing the pump basket.
    Randy H.

    Intex 18' X 48"
    G.A.M.E. Sandpro 75 Sand Filter (Single Speed 3/4 HP, 75 lbs sand, 2650 GPH, 7-way valve)

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    Agent99's Avatar
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    Re: No suction- plumbing leak? Filter deep cleaning?

    Sounds like you have an air leak somewhere and a reasonably large one on your suction line(s) OR

    The check valve could be stuck closed OR stuck open. What kind of check valve do you have? Can you see it? I'm only familiar with Jandy valves and those are easy to see and simple to repair.
    ----Chris----
    25k IG/Spa Figure 8, 18x36, Pebble Sheen Blue Granite, Sta-Rite S8M150 Cartridge Filter, Pentair 460805 400k BTU Heater & 011018 IntelliFlo VarSpd
    Liquidator, Fafco Solar Heat, Polaris PB460 Booster Pump w/280 cleaner, Katchaleaf Cover, TF100 Test Kit, FAKE MAIN DRAIN

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    Re: No suction- plumbing leak? Filter deep cleaning?

    Quote Originally Posted by one_knight4u View Post
    A couple of thoughts come to mind, it could be one of these or a combination of them.

    Check valve has got some "trash" in it and wont seal off.

    Is the water level in pool at its normal level, reason being a possible vortex when it does prime, allowing it to suck air and making it loose prime.

    Lube the rubber o-ring on the pump basket, it may be sucking air there and making it loose prime.

    As a last thought, would it be possible to lower the pump by one foot to put the pool pump water input to the same level as the lowest operating water level in the pool. This would make it so you could delete the check valve, add a stop valve, and would auto prime when after servicing the pump basket.
    My husband said the valve did have debris in it, but since we got the self priming pump, went ahead and removed the check valve all together.
    Pump is brand new, so seal/o ring shouldn't be the issue.
    We have framed the deck around where the pump and filter were, so that's not an option any more.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Agent99 View Post
    Sounds like you have an air leak somewhere and a reasonably large one on your suction line(s) OR

    The check valve could be stuck closed OR stuck open. What kind of check valve do you have? Can you see it? I'm only familiar with Jandy valves and those are easy to see and simple to repair.


    ugh...I was afraid of that.
    Leak detective hat on. We'll see what I find!
    Last edited by becnic; 09-25-2015 at 01:31 PM. Reason: not in right place
    18x36, 17k gallons, partially buried above ground pool, Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 hp PowerFlow Matrix, 3.5' perimeter and shallow end to 5' center, Liquidator, Full wood deck, TFTest kit.

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    Pool Tool's Avatar
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    Re: No suction- plumbing leak? Filter deep cleaning?

    You could also have some of the debris you found in the pool stuck in your suction lines. Try inserting a garden hose near the pump piping to push water back toward the pool. It may be possible to try to stuff a hand towel around the hose to help seal off. You could use an air compressor too.

    I have some thoughts about this affecting the gauge but they're probably wrong, but at any rate I would try to blow out the lines (skimmer(s), main drain) and see what you find.
    16' x 32' (21100 gal), vinyl, 1.5 hp Hayward SuperPump,
    Tagelus TA60/60D Sand Filter, Raypak 399K Digital Heater, TF-100

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    Re: No suction- plumbing leak? Filter deep cleaning?

    Try putting the multiport valve into "recirculate". This eliminates a clogged filter as the culprit.
    In the industry, CSP (Certified Service Professional) by the NSPI and it's successor the APSP. My company services over 600 pools every year. I think the practices regularly espoused on this forum (especially the BBB method) are outstanding; however my comments will be often oriented towards the goal of getting it done, and getting it done right now!

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    Re: No suction- plumbing leak? Filter deep cleaning?

    We found the check valve FILLED with leaves and two small pebbles! My husband removed the valve since we got the self priming pump.

    We still couldn't get the pump to prime by itself and had to force water from a hose in the skimmer towards the pump. Even then it didn't work immediately and it took two of us working on each end to get it going. All the sudden it just primed and started pulling water into skimmer.
    I started the ladybug to start cleaning up the stuff that has fallen to the pool bottom and it ran fine for several hours. Leaves from the vacuuming had gotten in the pump basket so I turned it off and emptied it out. Turned the pump back and it, duh, it did the same thing all over again. We can get it started by forcing a heavy stream of water from skimmer to pump. It is less than a foot above water line. I thought that is what self priming pumps were for! But this all started before we bought this pump so I just don't think it's the pump.. My husband also sealed each joint and tightened each connection that had a clamp.

    Any other suggestions?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Qwaxalot View Post
    Try putting the multiport valve into "recirculate". This eliminates a clogged filter as the culprit.
    Since we got it primed, do I still try this? Although it won't stay rimed if I take the lid off of the pump.
    18x36, 17k gallons, partially buried above ground pool, Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 hp PowerFlow Matrix, 3.5' perimeter and shallow end to 5' center, Liquidator, Full wood deck, TFTest kit.

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