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Thread: Skimmer air in pump - Issues Fixed! Time for swim?

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    Skimmer air in pump - Issues Fixed! Time for swim?

    Hey there,

    Josh from west valley Phoenix Arizona. Just closed on our first house and it was built in 2004. I'm assuming the pool is the same age.

    cliffs: I'm having trouble getting my automatic vacuum to work and I believe it is because I have an air leak on the suction side causing the skimmer to not have enough suction.

    7/2/16: Click here for update #1
    7/4/16: Click here for update #2 (pump issues gone! swimming time?)


    • Pool Size in Gallons: No clue, I'll watch a video and try and figure out how to derive this.
    • In-ground pool, pebble (I think, it looks like pebbles).
    • Salt water pool
    • Triton 2 sand filter according to the label.
    • Not sure what brand pump, it's 1.5 hp, included pictures/videos.
    • Filling pool from hose if necessary.
    • Also have above ground spa.
    • Purchased mx-8 elite automatic vacuum.


    Water description: Looks cloudy with dirty all over. Automatic vacuum when running you can see the path.


    Closed on a house two days ago. Pool was pretty messy, there was bird feces everywhere around the ramp/beach entrance. According to the timer it was being ran for four hours a night. I started off watching some youtube videos to see how I could begin to clean it up. Figured I needed a vacuum (house didn't come with one apparently) among other chemicals.

    I took some water to Leslie's and had them test it. I've since purchased:

    perfect weekly
    sand filter revitalizer
    chlor brite
    acid
    pool net
    mx-8 elite vacuum

    I don't really want to buy anything else there anymore. Especially not after finding out many of these chemicals are available with cheaper labels.

    After purchasing the mx-8 vacuum I got it moving around a bit but it stops moving. Based off my troubleshooting I believe there is an air leak on the suction side. I ran the hose over all the joints near the pump but that did not seem to change the pumps behavior. I'm attaching some pictures and videos.

    Please help! It's really hot here and we want to move our things into the new house. It would be nice to be able to jump into this pool as we're moving stuff.

    Kind regards,

    Josh and family


    Pump video 1: 20160701 151810 - vidme
    Pump video 2: 20160701 152243 - vidme narrated!
    Pool overview: 20160701 152037 - vidme
    Picture album: Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet


    edit: i'll include the water test once i'm back to the house. I left the paper there.
    edit2: When I have the pump intake valve half-way between skimmer and main-valve there was a drastic reduction in the amount of agitation/air in the pump water?

  2. Back To Top    #2
    needsajet's Avatar
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    Re: Possible air leak from suction side - Vacuum not running - New owner

    Welcome to TFP! Good to have you here

    I'm a believer in starting with the simple stuff. It could just be air getting in through the lid on the pump basket. You can take that off and check if the o-ring looks good and drops into place nicely when the basket, o-ring, and lid are clean. Lubricate it with a silicone-based lubricant. I get mine at a pool $tore (crazy $5 for a little tube) and it's one of the very few things I buy there. If the o-ring is swollen or cracked, you can probably get a new one at the pool $tore.

    This link is helpful. Pool School - Suction Side Air Leaks
    12k IG salt; glass beads in plaster; K-2006C, K-1766, CCL, and Aussie 4in1 (HTH); Pentair Eco800 1.2HP VS; Zodiac SWC 1.3 lb/day (25 g/hr); 25" filter recycled glass; OKU solar panels; 1/2 HP solar pump; Rebel (Warrior) pool cleaner; FlowViz; prior pool AG 10k | Read Before Posting to get the best possible advice | ... and this helped me a lot!: TFPC for Beginners

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    ITR's Avatar
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    Re: Possible air leak from suction side - Vacuum not running - New owner

    Hi, Josh! Welcome to the best pool forum out there. The group has helped me with several problems since we got a pool a year and a half ago.

    I just watched the narrated video. Quick comment...I had a similar problem just yesterday. When on the skimmer side the pump lost prime....but when it was on the main drain, it was fine. I had just drained some water out of the pool to adjust my salt and CH level....to the point where it was just at the bottom of the skimmer. As soon as I figured that out...I laughed at myself, switched to the main drain and filled the pool back up. No issue. So, it might be something restricting the flow (dirty skimmer, low water level (should be about halfway up the skimmer, etc) and perhaps not a leak.

    Now, after watching your pool overview view, it shows the vacuum nozzle is not inserted into the hole in the skimmer (under the basket). I assume you did have it connected to the port when you were trying to run the vacuum, right?
    ----
    15' x 29' 10,300 gal w/ spa, IG-Plaster (Stonescapes Tropics Blue), 2spd WhisperFlo pump (1.5hp WFDS-26), Pentair Clean and Clear CC200 cartridge filter, Pentair MasterTemp 300BTU heater, Clear o3, RS-8 iAqualink

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    TFP Guide

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    Re: Possible air leak from suction side - Vacuum not running - New owner

    This looks like the Sta-Rite Dynaglas pump. You say you have a spa, is it attached to pool. If it is then one of the ports on the valve is the spa suction, the other the pool suction. When you have the valve in the middle there is no air in pump, so I might rule out air leak. Pull the cleaner out of skimmer and see what pump does, sounds and looks like cavatation from restricting flow to pump.Also I noticed your pump basket broken on top, this could lead to debris clogging pump impeller. This cleaner has a regulator, you might want to put it on the loosest setting

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    Re: Possible air leak from suction side - Vacuum not running - New owner

    Welcome! I can not offer any assistance just yet as I am in the same boat as you. We are closing in a few days on a home in Peoria which also has our first pool. Hopefully we don't have a mess of a pool by the time we get our keys with these monsoons rolling through. Look forward to following this thread for insite!

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    Re: Possible air leak from suction side - Vacuum not running - New owner

    I had the exact same symptoms a couple years ago, and it turned out to be the Jandy valve. It had worn out enough that air was getting sucked in around the handle.

    Wherever the leak is, it is obviously between the Jandy valve and the pump basket (inclusive), so you don't have far to look. Get some foaming shaving cream (e.g. Gillette, not Edge). Spray some on the valve, and mold it thinly (about 1/4") around the base of the valve handle and around the seal where the top is screwed on. The suction leak will pull some shaving cream into the pipe, leaving a visible hole in the smooth layer of shaving cream.
    25000-gallon semi-public IG concrete/plaster pool, Triton II sand filter
    750-gallon semi-public IG concrete/plaster spa, cartridge filter
    Volunteer pool caretaker for my condominium complex

  7. Back To Top    #7

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    Re: Possible air leak from suction side - Vacuum not running - New owner

    Thank you for the warm welcome and help. It's much appreciated.

    I did not manage to find any air leak with the shaving cream method on the Jandy valve.

    I read that air in the pump may also be caused by blockage. I bought a tool that you attach to the end of the hose and stick it into the line and it fills with water and sends a stream of water pressure to clear any debris in the line.

    After running the drain buster through the pump I was able to just reach inside the small pvc pipe (pic attached) and pulled out a thermometer. This sadly wasn't the resolution of my pump issues but feels one step closer.

    Would this come under our home warranty coverage for pool/spa to get this looked at?

    The pvc pipe in the skimmer was too small for me to fit the end of the drain blaster hose attachment inside of it. I find it odd that the size of the hole in the skimmer is much larger than the drain and i can wiggle my fingers around the pvc pipe.

    The thermometer I pulled out of the pipe: http://i.imgur.com/I2QSPn7.jpg
    PVC pipe in question: http://i.imgur.com/WikJ6W8.jpg
    Skimmer without basket in: http://i.imgur.com/1cJlDB3.jpg

    I ordered the TF-100 test kit.

  8. Back To Top    #8

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    Re: Skimmer air in pump - Vacuum not running - New owner

    Something looks drastically wrong on that skimmer pipe picture. Are those rocks around the Pvc pipe?
    30k in ground vinyl lined pool surrounded by decking in the woods.
    Hayward sand filter circa mid 80's
    If there is a way to do things less expensively and yield a superior product I am all ears

  9. Back To Top    #9

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    Re: Skimmer air in pump - Vacuum not running - New owner

    That looks like someone tried to sleeve the return from the skimmer and it isn't even attached to the basket. The air in your basket may be pump cavitation due that smaller restricted line in the skimmer. I don't know how to break this to you gently but that skimmer is not plumbed correctly at all. This might get expensive
    30k in ground vinyl lined pool surrounded by decking in the woods.
    Hayward sand filter circa mid 80's
    If there is a way to do things less expensively and yield a superior product I am all ears

  10. Back To Top    #10

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    Re: Skimmer air in pump - Vacuum not running - New owner

    What's next?

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    TFP Guide

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    Re: Skimmer air in pump - Vacuum not running - New owner

    If you have a wet dry vac you may be able to clear some of that out. This looks like someone purposely did this. Otherwise you might try a service professional to blow out with co2

  12. Back To Top    #12

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    Re: Skimmer air in pump - Vacuum not running - New owner

    First off congratulations on home ownership.
    Private sale or foreclosure/as is? Did you have a home inspection done and did it cover the pool? Guessing no
    the pipe sleeve was stuck there for a reason possibly a leak somewhere under ground. Inside that skimmer basket there are two holes that type usually has another pipe for addition suction connection or it will be plugged.
    Judging from the amount of gravel in there some of that probably went through the 3-way valve at the suction of your pump and damaged the valve seats allowing air to come from the skimmer no matter the position.

    Like was noted above a shop vac might pull some of the rocks out and report back if there are pipes physically connected to both of the skimmer holes.
    30k in ground vinyl lined pool surrounded by decking in the woods.
    Hayward sand filter circa mid 80's
    If there is a way to do things less expensively and yield a superior product I am all ears

  13. Back To Top    #13

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    Re: Skimmer air in pump - Vacuum not running - New owner

    Thank you.

    We did have a home inspection done for the sale. It included the pool. He never said anything about the skimmer bucket. The items related to the pool were:

    1. The liner was dirty at the time of the inspection. Recommend vacuum to clean pool bottom.
    2. Common cracking and damage was visible at the pool decking surface.
    3. The pool pump seal appeared to be leaking at the time of the inspection.
    4. Exposed wiring on the pool timer there is no guard.
    5. The pool chlorinator does not appear to be operating needs to have the system cleaned.
    6. No aaerator installed
    7. Spa operated normally.
    8. Upgrades need to be made at access points to ensure we meet local requirements for pool barriers.
    9. Tripping hazards where the old pool fence was cut out and the posts still remain about half an inch out of the ground.

    Here is the summary from the pool part of the inspection:
    Screenshot 2016-07-03 09.14.23.jpg

    Will pick up a shop vac today to continue this journey.

    Kind regards,

    Josh

  14. Back To Top    #14

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    Re: Skimmer air in pump - Vacuum not running - New owner

    I asked if it was foreclosure/REO because there is a higher probability a skimmer in that condition was sabotaged by the outgoing owner.
    The home inspection basically indicated everything required repair so you own this now.

    Every plumbing system is a bit different and if you can give us an idea of how DIY handy you are? PVC is an easy product to work with and with some work and luck you may be able to to fix that mess.

    ETA. If you have a 1yr warranty you may ask the realtor or read the fine print of the contract. Most of the time pool and spa stuff is excluded.
    Last edited by basod; 07-03-2016 at 12:55 PM. Reason: Eta
    30k in ground vinyl lined pool surrounded by decking in the woods.
    Hayward sand filter circa mid 80's
    If there is a way to do things less expensively and yield a superior product I am all ears

  15. Back To Top    #15

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    Re: Skimmer air in pump - Vacuum not running - New owner

    Quote Originally Posted by basod View Post
    Every plumbing system is a bit different and if you can give us an idea of how DIY handy you are? PVC is an easy product to work with and with some work and luck you may be able to to fix that mess.

    ETA. If you have a 1yr warranty you may ask the realtor or read the fine print of the contract. Most of the time pool and spa stuff is excluded.
    If I can locate youtube videos / guidance from others I'm all about DIY. Depends on how intimidating the project looks. I've worked with PVC a little bit with the sprinkler system we've had at our rental.

    I ran some google searches of "skimmer replacement" and seeing the concrete all tore up... that looks pretty hardcore.

  16. Back To Top    #16

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    Re: Skimmer air in pump - Vacuum not running - New owner

    Judging from the short width of concrete around the pool that project might not be as hardcore as you think.
    Lets get that gravel out of there and if you don't have a meat marinade injector grab one of those Tony Chachere marinade kits grab one or any type of plastic syringe. Red wine food coloring or some dark juice and you can slowly squirt some of the dark liquid around the two skimmer connections(with pump off and water calm). If the liquid is being pulled into the openings there is a leak.
    30k in ground vinyl lined pool surrounded by decking in the woods.
    Hayward sand filter circa mid 80's
    If there is a way to do things less expensively and yield a superior product I am all ears

  17. Back To Top    #17

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    Re: Skimmer air in pump - Vacuum not running - New owner

    So good news I believe. Bought a wet/dry vac and worked on that skimmer drain for awhile today.

    I got one of the rocks out by freeing it with a screwdriver. After that rock came out I noticed the PVC pipe was wiggling a bit.

    I pulled out the other rocks and the PVC pipe came right out! Turns out it wasn't PVC pipe but the thermometer casing with a piece of plastic wrapped around the tip.

    After pulling out the rest of the rocks and thermometer pieces the skimmer looked like the others on the internet.

    The skimmer suction is much improved and vacuum is running.

    I cleaned out the intellichlor with an acid wash.

    It is showing red under "low salt".

    I've added two bags of salt and will have a new water test done tomorrow.

  18. Back To Top    #18
    needsajet's Avatar
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    Re: Skimmer air in pump - Vacuum not running - New owner

    That's great news!! Well done
    12k IG salt; glass beads in plaster; K-2006C, K-1766, CCL, and Aussie 4in1 (HTH); Pentair Eco800 1.2HP VS; Zodiac SWC 1.3 lb/day (25 g/hr); 25" filter recycled glass; OKU solar panels; 1/2 HP solar pump; Rebel (Warrior) pool cleaner; FlowViz; prior pool AG 10k | Read Before Posting to get the best possible advice | ... and this helped me a lot!: TFPC for Beginners

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: Skimmer air in pump - Vacuum not running - New owner

    That's excellent news. Was one of the two connections plugged and just covered with sand?
    Hows the air in the pump basket? You'll have to keep the water level halfway or more up the skimmer.
    30k in ground vinyl lined pool surrounded by decking in the woods.
    Hayward sand filter circa mid 80's
    If there is a way to do things less expensively and yield a superior product I am all ears

  20. Back To Top    #20

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    Re: Skimmer air in pump - Vacuum not running - New owner

    Yeah the one connection was solid.

    The air in the pump basket still has some cavitation when on the skimmer, much less than previously. The vacuum is actually operating.

    The skimmer was more than half covered, I do want to add a bit more water anyways.

    I imagine the next step is figuring out how my intellicholor works.

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