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Thread: Pump primed for 5 mins without full water in basket!

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    PoolingAround's Avatar
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    Pump primed for 5 mins without full water in basket!

    Hi all,

    Cleaned out the the pump basket (Intelliflo Variable Speed) put it back, and fired up the system (primes for 10 minutes at 3450 rpm before going back to normal speed). Was brushing the pool and noticed the spa overflo was doing nothing. Checked skimmers and noticed no suction there either! Noooooo. Then the pool shutoff. I went over to the pump and sure enough, the readout said ALARM, priming failure! Went back and read the manual and what do you know, it said instructions for cleaning pump strainer basket included adding water back to basket before turning back on. #@#@. As I'm sitting up reading up on this this the pump turns back on. Apparently it tries 5 times before quitting. I notice the pump basket is now half filled with water. I also looked at the filter pressure and it read 0! How could that be? I didn't take any more chances and shut the system down.

    My question now is, what damage has been done? Obviously air was being sucked into the system. The fact that water was present the second time the pump turned on is a good thing right? Will the pump be good to go if I just add water like I originally should have done next time I fire it up?

    Thanks and it stinks being a newb!
    18k gallon, 20x32, salt IC20, gunite with quartz finish, raised spa with overflow, flagstone coping, moss rock waterfall, Pentair Intelliflo variable speed pump, Pentair Racer, Pentair pool pump, cartridge filter, heater, etc., acid dispenser.
    TF-100 kit for sparkling clean water.

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    Re: Pump primed for 5 mins without full water in basket!

    what have you done?! Now you need to rebuild your pool at the minimum

    Nothing really happened. Air will be pushed out the next time system primes successfully. The only thing you might want to do is to bleed air from your filter using some air bleeding valve after it primes. At least mine has such valve on top of the filter.

    Do you have normal water level in the pool? You might want to turn pump again and watch what is going on in the skimmer basket (not the pump basket): if the water in the pool is too low pump will suck in air from the skimmer instead and won't ever prime even if you fill pump basket with water: pump pushes basket of water out in a fraction of a second.

    My system primes on its own even after I let a lot of air in by cleaning the basket, I don't even bother to fill pump basket with water.
    44k plaster pool, Pentair 011018 pump, DE6020 filter, LED lights, K2006 test kit

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    Re: Pump primed for 5 mins without full water in basket!

    Quote Originally Posted by max2k View Post
    what have you done?! Now you need to rebuild your pool at the minimum

    Nothing really happened. Air will be pushed out the next time system primes successfully. The only thing you might want to do is to bleed air from your filter using some air bleeding valve after it primes. At least mine has such valve on top of the filter.

    Do you have normal water level in the pool? You might want to turn pump again and watch what is going on in the skimmer basket (not the pump basket): if the water in the pool is too low pump will suck in air from the skimmer instead and won't ever prime even if you fill pump basket with water: pump pushes basket of water out in a fraction of a second.

    My system primes on its own even after I let a lot of air in by cleaning the basket, I don't even bother to fill pump basket with water.
    Oh man, drinking and working on the pool equipment at night sometimes don't mix! As I went back to add water to the pump basket (just fill up to the inlet pipe, right?, because it seemed like it could take on water forever) I noticed a shiny black thing on the ground. At this point I wish it would have been a snake but yup, you guessed it, my o-ring fell off and was not attached to the lid. !@$@#. Looks like it was sucking air in the whole time as it didn't have sufficient vacuum. My pump is smart like yours so I assume even if was low on water in the pump basket it would make up for it, but the unsecure lid was probably the deal breaker (no prime for you!!!!!).




    So, I re secured the lid and added water to the basket up to the inlet (not over right?). am I good to go next time I fire it up? Do I need to relieve pressure on the filter? FYI water level in the pool was sufficient so no sucking air there.
    18k gallon, 20x32, salt IC20, gunite with quartz finish, raised spa with overflow, flagstone coping, moss rock waterfall, Pentair Intelliflo variable speed pump, Pentair Racer, Pentair pool pump, cartridge filter, heater, etc., acid dispenser.
    TF-100 kit for sparkling clean water.

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    Re: Pump primed for 5 mins without full water in basket!

    nah, mine is smarter- it would swear at me if I lost that o ring

    turn it on- it should work just fine. You want your pump to circulate at low speed. I run mine around 1k nightly to have clean pool for the morning swim. As I said I don't bother with priming it as mine keeps taking the water and probably leaking it out to the pool as it's slightly below the pump level. It primes on its own within a minute.
    44k plaster pool, Pentair 011018 pump, DE6020 filter, LED lights, K2006 test kit

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    Re: Pump primed for 5 mins without full water in basket!

    Quote Originally Posted by max2k View Post
    nah, mine is smarter- it would swear at me if I lost that o ring

    turn it on- it should work just fine. You want your pump to circulate at low speed. I run mine around 1k nightly to have clean pool for the morning swim.
    1k seems awfully low (but I'm still wet behind the ears so bear with me), hmmm. My speed varies and starts at 10am to 10 pm (we like the pumps on for the spa overflow and bubblers). When it turns on it primes for 10 minutes at 3450, then runs at 3350 for the next 3 hours (pool pressure cleaner setting), 2700 for the next 8 hours, then 3350 for the last hour before it shuts off. I assume this is overkill?

    Also and to confirm, is there not a need to relieve pressure from the filter? Thanks man and I owe you a beer.
    18k gallon, 20x32, salt IC20, gunite with quartz finish, raised spa with overflow, flagstone coping, moss rock waterfall, Pentair Intelliflo variable speed pump, Pentair Racer, Pentair pool pump, cartridge filter, heater, etc., acid dispenser.
    TF-100 kit for sparkling clean water.

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    Re: Pump primed for 5 mins without full water in basket!

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolingAround View Post
    1k seems awfully low (but I'm still wet behind the ears so bear with me), hmmm. My speed varies and starts at 10am to 10 pm (we like the pumps on for the spa overflow and bubblers). When it turns on it primes for 10 minutes at 3450, then runs at 3350 for the next 3 hours (pool pressure cleaner setting), 2700 for the next 8 hours, then 3350 for the last hour before it shuts off. I assume this is overkill?
    I think it is overkill- you should lower your 2700 + 3350 to 1500 at the most and run it for 9 hrs straight at that speed. DE filters (don't recall yours) are more efficient at lower flow rates so running your pump at high rpms just wastes money and creates extra noise. VS pump advantage is exactly that- ability to run efficiently at low speeds and you're using yours almost as single speed pump close to its highest rmps at all times. I believe prime time is programmable too, don't recall mine priming for 10 minutes ever.

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolingAround View Post
    Also and to confirm, is there not a need to relieve pressure from the filter? Thanks man and I owe you a beer.
    Short answer- please bleed the air at your earliest opportunity to keep things working efficiently.

    It's not so much to relieve pressure as to fill up filter with water: when air gets sucked in it tends to collect at the top of filter housing pushing water off the grids at the top of the filter. If you open that valve with pump running at max speed you should hear hissing sound of escaping air. You should keep it open until water starts coming out of it. At that point your filter housing will be completely filled with water as intended. If you have DE filter please make sure you do this bleeding every time you replace DE media as you always want DE filter to be full of water before adding DE media to the skimmer. If you have different type of filter I wouldn't know the details.
    44k plaster pool, Pentair 011018 pump, DE6020 filter, LED lights, K2006 test kit

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    Re: Pump primed for 5 mins without full water in basket!

    Quote Originally Posted by max2k View Post
    I think it is overkill- you should lower your 2700 + 3350 to 1500 at the most and run it for 9 hrs straight at that speed. DE filters (don't recall yours) are more efficient at lower flow rates so running your pump at high rpms just wastes money and creates extra noise. I believe prime time is programmable too, don't recall mine priming for 10 minutes ever.
    Good to know that I've been wasting my money. I'll revisit this next time I turn my pumps on. How long do you usually prime for? I have a cartridge filter by the way.


    Quote Originally Posted by max2k View Post
    Short answer- please bleed the air at your earliest opportunity to keep things working efficiently.

    It's not so much to relieve pressure as to fill up filter with water: when air gets sucked in it tends to collect at the top of filter housing pushing water off the grids at the top of the filter. If you open that valve with pump running at max speed you should hear hissing sound of escaping air. You should keep it open until water starts coming out of it. At that point your filter housing will be completely filled with water as intended. If you have DE filter please make sure you do this bleeding every time you replace DE media as you always want DE filter to be full of water before adding DE media to the skimmer. If you have different type of filter I wouldn't know the details.
    I won't be turning the pump on for 48 hours to try and diagnose a leak. Is it ok to leave it the way it is until I go to turn the pump on? Also, just to make sure I have my ducks in a row when I go to fire up the pump.

    Once I turn it on, how long do I wait to relieve the pressure? It is to my understanding that I need to keep the air venting until water starts coming out (ie, fill the filter up with water). Then close the valve and everything will be hunky dory?
    18k gallon, 20x32, salt IC20, gunite with quartz finish, raised spa with overflow, flagstone coping, moss rock waterfall, Pentair Intelliflo variable speed pump, Pentair Racer, Pentair pool pump, cartridge filter, heater, etc., acid dispenser.
    TF-100 kit for sparkling clean water.

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    Re: Pump primed for 5 mins without full water in basket!

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolingAround View Post
    ...
    Once I turn it on, how long do I wait to relieve the pressure? It is to my understanding that I need to keep the air venting until water starts coming out (ie, fill the filter up with water). Then close the valve and everything will be hunky dory?
    My pump self primes within minute but this depends on plumbing configuration, not just pump.

    I usually let it prime with closed valve and when pump basket becomes practically full with water I open the valve and keep it open until water comes out. Close the valve enjoy life . If system doesn't have leaks it will remain primed and air free until next time you open pump basket for cleaning.
    44k plaster pool, Pentair 011018 pump, DE6020 filter, LED lights, K2006 test kit

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    Re: Pump primed for 5 mins without full water in basket!

    Quote Originally Posted by max2k View Post
    My pump self primes within minute but this depends on plumbing configuration, not just pump.
    Is there a way to tell if the pump has been fully primed? I have the same pump by the way.

    Quote Originally Posted by max2k View Post
    I usually let it prime with closed valve and when pump basket becomes practically full with water I open the valve and keep it open until water comes out. Close the valve enjoy life . If system doesn't have leaks it will remain primed and air free until next time you open pump basket for cleaning.
    Awesome, I'll let you know how it goes Saturday morning! I bet you can't wait!

    18k gallon, 20x32, salt IC20, gunite with quartz finish, raised spa with overflow, flagstone coping, moss rock waterfall, Pentair Intelliflo variable speed pump, Pentair Racer, Pentair pool pump, cartridge filter, heater, etc., acid dispenser.
    TF-100 kit for sparkling clean water.

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    Re: Pump primed for 5 mins without full water in basket!

    Just to add, in a perfectly correct circulatory system, you will never have to prime the pump nor bleed air from the filter. Both those symptoms are indicative of a suction side air leak.

    That air leak may not even be worth chasing but an airtight system is just that.....airtight`
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Pump primed for 5 mins without full water in basket!

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    Just to add, in a perfectly correct circulatory system, you will never have to prime the pump nor bleed air from the filter. Both those symptoms are indicative of a suction side air leak.

    That air leak may not even be worth chasing but an airtight system is just that.....airtight`
    Even when you open pump basket lid to clean? In my system water gets sucked from the basket through the pump if I do that taking in air through the open pump lid. If I keep lid closed it stays filled with water. This probably depends on plumbing/valves configuration as in my case I can't close return path with the valve, it has only 2 positions: spa or pool and since the pad about 1.5' above water level water simply leaks out due to gravity if I let air in through the pump basket lid.
    44k plaster pool, Pentair 011018 pump, DE6020 filter, LED lights, K2006 test kit

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    Re: Pump primed for 5 mins without full water in basket!

    Even when you open pump basket lid to clean?
    Of course not.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Pump primed for 5 mins without full water in basket!

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    Of course not.
    well, that's what OP did. Being slightly 'tired' after the party he also forgot to put o ring seal in .
    44k plaster pool, Pentair 011018 pump, DE6020 filter, LED lights, K2006 test kit

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    Re: Pump primed for 5 mins without full water in basket!

    Well, our pool guy came out and turned on the system unbeknownst to me. Everything looks good so I'm not going to question it. Filter pressure is 20, pump basket full of water (with one nickel sized air bubble at the top) and everything is flowing. Yay, and now I can chalk this one up as a lesson learned.
    18k gallon, 20x32, salt IC20, gunite with quartz finish, raised spa with overflow, flagstone coping, moss rock waterfall, Pentair Intelliflo variable speed pump, Pentair Racer, Pentair pool pump, cartridge filter, heater, etc., acid dispenser.
    TF-100 kit for sparkling clean water.

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    Re: Pump primed for 5 mins without full water in basket!

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolingAround View Post
    Well, our pool guy came out and turned on the system unbeknownst to me. Everything looks good so I'm not going to question it. Filter pressure is 20, pump basket full of water (with one nickel sized air bubble at the top) and everything is flowing. Yay, and now I can chalk this one up as a lesson learned.
    keep questioning, they don't always know what they are doing and you pretty much became an expert in pool care by now.
    44k plaster pool, Pentair 011018 pump, DE6020 filter, LED lights, K2006 test kit

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    Re: Pump primed for 5 mins without full water in basket!

    I know what you are saying and definitely want to learn everything I can so nothing happens like this again. Next time I clean the pump basket I will do the proper procedure and see how it goes.
    18k gallon, 20x32, salt IC20, gunite with quartz finish, raised spa with overflow, flagstone coping, moss rock waterfall, Pentair Intelliflo variable speed pump, Pentair Racer, Pentair pool pump, cartridge filter, heater, etc., acid dispenser.
    TF-100 kit for sparkling clean water.

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