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Thread: Bubbles coming out of my return line...please help!

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    Exclamation Bubbles coming out of my return line...please help!

    Hi All,

    I am stressed out about my return line. I had a pool service company come out to my house yesterday to open up my pool. My filter/pump has been running since around 4pm yesterday and this morning around 10am, I noticed that one of my return lines was still plugged. The guys forgot to uncap it. After I uncapped it, I noticed that a lot of bubbles are coming out of this line. I have three total and the other two have no bubbles. My first question is, are the bubbles the result of the line being capped for so long with the filter/pump running? Did that do damage somehow? My second question is, if the bubbles are totally unrelated to the cap, what might be causing this? I did not have this problem last year. If anyone could help and offer me some advice, I would greatly appreciate it. I am really worried!

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    Re: Bubbles coming out of my return line...please help!

    Typically, up north, the lines are blown out. Hopefully, it’s only air from the lines being empty. It should resolve quickly.

    If it does not resolve quickly, it could be air from a suction side air leak. Is there air in the pump basket?

    Try opening the air relief on the filter periodically to see if air continuously comes out or if it’s mostly water after the first relief.

    No damage is likely if the water flow was not totally blocked. As long as there was some water flow through other returns, there was probably no damage.

    Also, note that if the line was damaged, air would not get in, water would leak out.

    Another source of gas bubbles is SWGs. When running, SWGs produce hydrogen bubbles, which are typically very small.

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    Unhappy Re: Bubbles coming out of my return line...please help!

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesW View Post
    Typically, up north, the lines are blown out. Hopefully, itís only air from the lines being empty. It should resolve quickly.

    If it does not resolve quickly, it could be air from a suction side air leak. Is there air in the pump basket?

    Try opening the air relief on the filter periodically to see if air continuously comes out or if itís mostly water after the first relief.

    No damage is likely if the water flow was not totally blocked. As long as there was some water flow through other returns, there was probably no damage.

    Also, note that if the line was damaged, air would not get in, water would leak out.

    Another source of gas bubbles is SWGs. When running, SWGs produce hydrogen bubbles, which are typically very small.

    Thank you for your response James. The bubbles unfortunately have not stopped and now I am also noticing some bubbles coming out of another return line. The third periodically spits out bubbles here and there, but pretty infrequently. But that first one continuously shoots out bubbles, and they are pretty big. I was hoping that the bubbles were a result of the lines having been blown out because that would make sense, but it's been going on like this for a few days now so that can't be it. I've been checking the pump basket and at one point, I did notice a bunch of bubbles in there, but then they went away (after I restarted the pump). Even bigger issue I noticed though is that my water level seems to be dropping. Since opening my pool, my water has gone down about half an inch, so now I have to get someone to come do some testing to find out where the leak is. Would a leak in the line explain the bubbles?

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    Re: Bubbles coming out of my return line...please help!

    Quote Originally Posted by poolnoob88 View Post
    Thank you for your response James. The bubbles unfortunately have not stopped and now I am also noticing some bubbles coming out of another return line. The third periodically spits out bubbles here and there, but pretty infrequently. But that first one continuously shoots out bubbles, and they are pretty big. I was hoping that the bubbles were a result of the lines having been blown out because that would make sense, but it's been going on like this for a few days now so that can't be it. I've been checking the pump basket and at one point, I did notice a bunch of bubbles in there, but then they went away (after I restarted the pump). Even bigger issue I noticed though is that my water level seems to be dropping. Since opening my pool, my water has gone down about half an inch, so now I have to get someone to come do some testing to find out where the leak is. Would a leak in the line explain the bubbles?
    as James said, a leak in the suction side will cause bubbles. If you had a leak in the pressure side, then you would not have bubbles, but would have a water leak somewhere. The fact that you have bubbles to some extent in all three returns also indicates a section side leak.

    Check everything between where you suction lines come together and the pump - the pipes, the filetr pasket, the union going to the pump etc. You can try pouring water around the joints and see if any gets sucked into the line. That would indicate where the leak is.

    If there is no leak between where our suction lines come together and the pump, you can then try shutting down all but one line at a time and seeing which one still causes bubbles - that would then be the line you need to look for a leak in. Note that you have to shut the lines down at the equipment pad, not by plugging them at the pool. If you plug them at the pool, the pump will still suck air from the leak in the line.

    -dave
    27' Round ABG (17,000 gal) - +/- 11 hours of full sun per day
    Hard plumbed Hayward Perflex EC-40 DE filter w/ 1 HP pump (Got a new one June 2015)
    Filered 4 hours per day (on a timer)
    Pentair Aqualuminator - now working - and now dead once again, this time for good.
    Zodiac Wahoo

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    Re: Bubbles coming out of my return line...please help!

    Quote Originally Posted by phonedave View Post
    as James said, a leak in the suction side will cause bubbles. If you had a leak in the pressure side, then you would not have bubbles, but would have a water leak somewhere. The fact that you have bubbles to some extent in all three returns also indicates a section side leak.

    Check everything between where you suction lines come together and the pump - the pipes, the filetr pasket, the union going to the pump etc. You can try pouring water around the joints and see if any gets sucked into the line. That would indicate where the leak is.

    If there is no leak between where our suction lines come together and the pump, you can then try shutting down all but one line at a time and seeing which one still causes bubbles - that would then be the line you need to look for a leak in. Note that you have to shut the lines down at the equipment pad, not by plugging them at the pool. If you plug them at the pool, the pump will still suck air from the leak in the line.

    -dave
    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for your response. I will take a look. Just a side note, there were no bubbles whatsoever when that third line was capped. It was only when I uncapped it did the bubbles start spewing out and then coming out from the other line. Could that be an indication that the air leak is related to that particular line?

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    Re: Bubbles coming out of my return line...please help!

    Quote Originally Posted by poolnoob88 View Post
    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for your response. I will take a look. Just a side note, there were no bubbles whatsoever when that third line was capped. It was only when I uncapped it did the bubbles start spewing out and then coming out from the other line. Could that be an indication that the air leak is related to that particular line?
    No- not really. If you have a leak on the pressure side - after the pump, it will not cause bublles, but will instead leak water. If you have a leak on the suction side (before the pump) then it will be sucking air..

    I GUESS you could have a small leak in a pressure side fitting where cavitation is occurring and it is cauing a localized negative pressure situation and sucking air, but that would be amazing.

    My guess is that this particular return is higher than the others, and when it was plugged it was "collecting" the air from the suction side leak. Now that it is open, it is showing the bubbles. The swirling of the water in the valve is also distrubiting bubbles to the other returns as well.
    27' Round ABG (17,000 gal) - +/- 11 hours of full sun per day
    Hard plumbed Hayward Perflex EC-40 DE filter w/ 1 HP pump (Got a new one June 2015)
    Filered 4 hours per day (on a timer)
    Pentair Aqualuminator - now working - and now dead once again, this time for good.
    Zodiac Wahoo

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