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Thread: Do Air Bubbles always indicate problems?

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    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Durham, CT
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    Do Air Bubbles always indicate problems?

    Hi everyone

    I am a new pool owner; this is my second year with the pool. Its an in ground gunite pool with 24000 gallons of water. Last year a friend of mine was over and commented that I have a leak somewhere because he saw air bubbles out of the return jets and into the pool. I didn't really think much of it since everything seemed to be working fine. I did not discover this forum until a couple of days ago. The pool ran 50% on skimmer and 50% on main drain. There was one air bubble on top of the pump basket. I have a solar heating system on top of my roof and the pump was able to move the water up to the top of a two story house (PSI reading was around 25).

    I just had the pool opened this year and am still filling it up with my garden house; so the pool is circulating on the main drain only. I see that there are a lot of air bubbles in the pump basket and again air bubbles are entering the pool through the return jets. The pressure is about 15-18 psi steady and the pump is not loosing any prime. I have something called a "Vac Alert" which is hovering around 10 (last year it seems it was usually 0). I have no idea what that is. I don't think I am loosing water, but since I am still filling the pool I don't know. Last year I never lost any water. I have a cartridge filter system with an air release valve on top. If I turn the valve to open a lot of air is pushed out before water come out. I only need to run the system 5 minutes and more air accumulates in the cartridge system.

    So do I have a leak or problem in the system? How could I isolate it if I do? And then what?? All the pipes are under the patio and not accessible.
    24000 gallon Gunnite Pool
    WhisperFlo 1.5 hp Pump
    AquaConfort SWG System
    Solar Heating System

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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    Re: Do Air Bubbles always indicate problems?

    You have a suction side leak and it needs to be fixed. Air is being sucked into your system somewhere between the skimmers and the pump. It can be from several locations (but rarely the underground pipes) among which are the pump basket lid, joints or unions, the pump drain plug, etc.

    You need to track down that source of air and the bubbles will disappear and your system will function normally.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Do Air Bubbles always indicate problems?

    The most likely problem is a loose pump strainer lid, strainer lid O-ring that needs lubed or replaced, a loose pump drain plug or problems with its O-ring, or a loose union or a valve somewhere between the pool and the pump, which is the drain and skimmer lines.

    Do you have any spots that drip when the pump shuts off?

    ETA: Dave, you beat me to it, but I wasn't going to delete the typing
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Durham, CT
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    Re: Do Air Bubbles always indicate problems?

    Thanks for the answers. I don't have any leaks on the pump when it is off. I had a problem with the pump last year where it developed a leak and the pool company came out and fixed the leak. Not sure what they did, though.

    What's the best way to check for leaks? Is it somewhat like checking leaks in a tire by spraying soapy water on the suspected areas?
    24000 gallon Gunnite Pool
    WhisperFlo 1.5 hp Pump
    AquaConfort SWG System
    Solar Heating System

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    Re: Do Air Bubbles always indicate problems?

    Checking for suction side leaks doesn't work to well with spraying since air is being sucked into the leak vs. blown out of it.

    First thing I would do is get some silicone lube and slather the pump strainer pot lid and O-ring. Chances are this is where the problem is. If not, check the other areas mentioned above.

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    Seattle
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    Re: Do Air Bubbles always indicate problems?

    Quote Originally Posted by PatG25
    Thanks for the answers. I don't have any leaks on the pump when it is off. I had a problem with the pump last year where it developed a leak and the pool company came out and fixed the leak. Not sure what they did, though.

    What's the best way to check for leaks? Is it somewhat like checking leaks in a tire by spraying soapy water on the suspected areas?
    Sort of, but backwards becuase it is under sucktion rather than pressure. You can play a garden hose over likely leaks and watch the bubbles in the pump basket. When you find the leak the bubbles will stop becuase the leak will be sucking water in, instead of air.
    20,000 Gallon kidney sort of a sand filtered gunite in ground pool w/ hot tub.

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