Good morning everyone. I have a suction side leak. They suck! lol. I've had the pool since November. From the beginning I had an air leak from the main drain line, as the popups would spit a pretty sizable amount of air when pulling from the drain. When pulling from the skimmer, they didn't spit air, but the skimmer basket still always a 3-4" head of air. Recently, it's been sucking air from either side, as over the last few days, I lose prime overnight when the pool is running on auto. It's on low speed at that hour, but I've never had this issue before. When I wake up in the morning to check it out, I'm barely getting any water from the spa spillover, where in the past, it was spilling over well. When I open the bleed on top of the filter, it's loaded with air! Regardless of pulling from the pool or spa, there is always the 3-4" of air in the skimmer basket.
I greased the pump union and tightened it well. I cleaned and greased the basket cover, and checked it several times for any cracks. I teflon-taped the pump drain plugs. I don't know what else to do. I'm guessing it HAS to be above ground, as it's doing it from skimmer or suction (and I still have the large air pocket in the skimmer basket when pulling from the spa as well, although it doesn't seem that air builds in the filter). I tried to isolate the leak last night with a fog machine (I'm a big kid during Halloween), but I didn't see anywhere that seemed to be pulling fog. Granted, it was tough to tell, because the pump fan was disruptive things a bit. I also tried dousing things with water but that didn't seem to make any difference either. Do the valves ever go south and start leaking? After ruling out the union/basket cover, etc., I'm thinking maybe the valve that diverts from skimmer/main drain? That is a common denominator here. That wouldn't explain the air in the skimmer basket when pulling from the spa, however.
Is there anything I didn't try that would be helpful? I can't keep letting the pump lose prime because of such a massive leak. THANK YOU in advance!!