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Thread: Pump losing suction or something else that gives that appearance

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    Pump losing suction or something else that gives that appearance

    My intellichlor keeps showing a flow error light. I'd opened the pool in March and it was working normally until recently.

    Things I've tried:
    1) Increased pump speed
    2) Reapply silicone to pump lid seal
    3) Removed vacuum from Vac-mate to allow for maximum water flow.
    4) Back flush filter - I'm not doing a full back flush, just pulling the handle up, and then pushing it back down when I see the flow light go green. It takes seconds.
    5) Cleaned the intellichlor - did this first, even though there wasn't that much build up.

    I thought it might be the intellichlor, but I notice a lack of suction at the vac-mate and pool cleaner.

    Any help is appreciated.
    pool owner since 2009
    In-ground, spa/pool combo with Ortega 3-way valves to manually switch between.
    Pentair Intelliflo VS-3050, Sun-touch, Pentair 4000 heater, 48 sq ft DE filter
    The Pool cleaner connected via Vac-Mate with a leaf canister inline
    12500 gal, pebble-tec, kidney shaped.

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    cowboycasey's Avatar
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    Re: Pump losing suction or something else that gives that appearance

    Welcome to TFP

    When was the last time the filter was broken down, cleaned and recharged?
    How does your water look

    It sounds like the flow is getting too low and your SWG is stopping and giving an error..

    could you post your numbers from today?
    Pool: Intex 16x32 15000 gal, 2 speed 340042, Pentair CC320 Filter, CircuPool SJ45 Salt System, Intermatic PE653RC; Hot Tub: 650 Gal SWG Megachlor
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Pump losing suction or something else that gives that appearance

    Please add your state to your location so it shows up over there <-----, climate is important when we help you with your pool and your SWG.

    What is your water temp?

    What RPM are you running the pump?
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    Re: Pump losing suction or something else that gives that appearance

    Haven't checked the temp lately, I'd guess somewhere in the 70's. My RPM was 2440 and I've bumped it up to 2550. My high setting RPM for running the spa is 3300. I had a water test done Friday at a chain pool store in Palm Desert and the only thing off was my calcium was high (normal for my water) and my chlorine was low (because the flow is low and intellichlor stopped working.)

    What is SWG?

    I broke down the filter and cleaned it completely in March, I do it at the beginning of every season. The filter pressure gauge doesn't show a high pressure, not sure it is even making it to 1. When it gets close to 2 is when I clean it.

    Aside from the dirty steps where the cover doesn't reach, the water looks clear. Need to take the cover off and see how the pool looks as a whole, plan on doing that tomorrow.
    pool owner since 2009
    In-ground, spa/pool combo with Ortega 3-way valves to manually switch between.
    Pentair Intelliflo VS-3050, Sun-touch, Pentair 4000 heater, 48 sq ft DE filter
    The Pool cleaner connected via Vac-Mate with a leaf canister inline
    12500 gal, pebble-tec, kidney shaped.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Pump losing suction or something else that gives that appearance

    SWG is saltwater chlorine generator, need to add to your sig so people will know it is saltwater for future advice.

    That pretty much rules out all the options except for a bad flow switch in the cell. Unless the skimmer baskets/bottom drain or pump basket are clogged with debris. Does the water flow to the pool returns feel normal?
    TFP Moderator
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    Re: Pump losing suction or something else that gives that appearance

    Is the pump basket broken or cracked anywhere?
    Have you replaced the pump basket recently, or in the past,because it was broken or cracked?
    If yes to either, then debris will be able to find its way to the impeller and clog it.

    This is a common problem that a lot of people are not aware of, based on questionable suction at cleaner, and the flow issue you mention

    Clogged impellers reduce any pumps normal performance curve, and it only takes a pebble or two to cut normal operation by 25-50% so check and make sure this is not a problem, disassembly of pump is best way to be certain it is clean.

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    Frankhugus's Avatar
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    Re: Pump losing suction or something else that gives that appearance

    Quote Originally Posted by cowboycasey View Post
    Welcome to TFP

    When was the last time the filter was broken down, cleaned and recharged?
    How does your water look

    It sounds like the flow is getting too low and your SWG is stopping and giving an error..

    could you post your numbers from today?
    What kind of lube for the filter O ring? Lube after every cleaning? Thanks.
    14,000 Gal, InGround, Spa Attached, Satin-Matrix Northshore Tahoe Pebble-Tec, Remodel 6/15, Taylor K-2006 Kit, Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pump, Polaris 280 Sweep, Jandy CL460 Cartridge Filter, Solar Heated. Taylor K-2006 Test Kit

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    Re: Pump losing suction or something else that gives that appearance

    Without sounding mean there are actual products call o-ring lube. Because you have pvc parts you are working with try not to use petroleum based products. Pure silicone grease or silicone based o-ring lubes are best. A tube like this one will last you a lifetime. You can find cheaper lubes I've used this stuff for years and I have never seen it swell an o-ring or pvc fitting.
    http://www.amazon.com/CORNING-MOLYKO.../dp/B00B2OHYMU
    Chuck-
    15x30 Above ground, Pentair Superflo VS, 19" sand filter, TF-100 test kit
    Aqua Comfort ACT750 heat pump / 6x20 ground mount solar panel / DIY automation

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    Skitch's Avatar
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    Re: Pump losing suction or something else that gives that appearance

    Silicone grease, available in the plumbing section at your big box hardware retailer.
    18k gal AG Sand Filter K-2006

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    Re: Pump losing suction or something else that gives that appearance

    You may get a different answer from others but gently wiping the oring and the grove clean, then relubricating every time you take it apart is the ideal way to keep things in good condition. Be very very mindful of and grit or debris on the o-ring or in the grove.
    Chuck-
    15x30 Above ground, Pentair Superflo VS, 19" sand filter, TF-100 test kit
    Aqua Comfort ACT750 heat pump / 6x20 ground mount solar panel / DIY automation

    Photos of 2016 Build, Inside Your Breaker Panel, Free Copy of 2017 NEC code
    TFP is funded by member support click here to help

  11. Back To Top    #11

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    Re: Pump losing suction or something else that gives that appearance

    Checked the pool return flow. When the flow light is green, it feels normal, when the flow light is red it feels low. Definitely don't think it is the SWG. I've got Ortega 3-way valves between the pool/spa drains/inlets and the pump that might be causing the problem. I took the suction side apart tonight and put some silicone on it, but the seals look a little worn. Going to replace those seals and see if that fixes the problem.

    The flow for my pool is as follows: skimmer basket/pool drains to 3-way valve to the pump, likewise for the spa drain. So any leaks would have to be at the skimmer basket (from the vac-mate and cleaner hose connection), the 3-way valves, or the pvc connection to the pump which hasn't been removed since the pump was installed.

    I don't suspect the pump efficiency as I've kept the baskets in good condition and try to keep them cleaned out, but will consider cleaning it out anyway. Also, the suction starts out high, but then drops, even at higher rpms. Is there a possibility of the pump having a seal leak? Maybe one of the drain plugs?
    pool owner since 2009
    In-ground, spa/pool combo with Ortega 3-way valves to manually switch between.
    Pentair Intelliflo VS-3050, Sun-touch, Pentair 4000 heater, 48 sq ft DE filter
    The Pool cleaner connected via Vac-Mate with a leaf canister inline
    12500 gal, pebble-tec, kidney shaped.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Pump losing suction or something else that gives that appearance

    Usually a suction side air leak will cause the pump to lose prime or the basket will slowly fill with air or it will shoot air bubbles out of the returns. More here, Pool School - Suction Side Air Leaks

    What about your filter? Clean pressure, current pressure, when was the last backwash, when was the last break down and clean?
    TFP Moderator
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

  13. Back To Top    #13

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    Re: Pump losing suction or something else that gives that appearance

    Problem solved! Bolts on the pump were loose. I'd noticed them when I opened the pool, but didn't realize what they were for. When I disassembled it to check if the impeller was clogged, I saw that the housing bolts were loose and were allowing the seal to break enough for the pump to lose prime.
    pool owner since 2009
    In-ground, spa/pool combo with Ortega 3-way valves to manually switch between.
    Pentair Intelliflo VS-3050, Sun-touch, Pentair 4000 heater, 48 sq ft DE filter
    The Pool cleaner connected via Vac-Mate with a leaf canister inline
    12500 gal, pebble-tec, kidney shaped.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Pump losing suction or something else that gives that appearance

    Good news! Easy fix!
    TFP Moderator
    If TFP helped you or saved you money - Become a TFP Supporter! <--Click here
    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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