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Thread: Air Pocket Comes and Goes in New Pump

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    phalcon51's Avatar
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    Air Pocket Comes and Goes in New Pump

    After having my new Hayward EcoStar pump installed last Saturday I've noticed that when it's running at higher speeds there's an air pocket about an inch deep under the strainer basket lid, right about at the level of the top of the strainer. When I turn the pump down to low speed for a couple of hours it slowly goes away and there's virtually no air under the lid. There are no bubbles going back to the pool that I can see, though I haven't sat and watched it for an extended period of time. Should the strainer cavity be full to the top with no air pockets whenever the pump is running? All my plumbing is new as of Sept. 2010 and all fittings are tight.

    Thanks for any help.

    Gary
    26,200 gal. 35' x 16' Plaster IGP (50 yrs. old), Hayward 48 sq. ft. DE filter, Hayward EcoStar VS pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWCG, The Pool Cleaner 4X suction, Pool Skim and Pool Devil skimmers. Re-plastered Sept. 2010.

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    crookm11's Avatar
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    Re: Air Pocket Comes and Goes in New Pump

    I'm going to take a guess at this. You might have a very small air leak between the pump and the basket lid. When the pump is at higher speed there is more suction thus pulling the air into the basket. At lower speeds there is less suction thus alowing a lot less air to be pulled in to the basket. This is just a guess. Put some lube on the O ring between the pump basket and lid to try and create a better seal.
    Mark Crook
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    phalcon51's Avatar
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    Re: Air Pocket Comes and Goes in New Pump

    Thanks, I'll give tnat a try when I get home from work.
    26,200 gal. 35' x 16' Plaster IGP (50 yrs. old), Hayward 48 sq. ft. DE filter, Hayward EcoStar VS pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWCG, The Pool Cleaner 4X suction, Pool Skim and Pool Devil skimmers. Re-plastered Sept. 2010.

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    Re: Air Pocket Comes and Goes in New Pump

    crookm11 has made a darn good guess, I think. Even if it's not at the 0-ring, there is certainly a small suction side leak. It could also possibly be the level of your pool water being just a little low.......see if the skimmers are "slurping" when you run at high speed.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    phalcon51's Avatar
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    Re: Air Pocket Comes and Goes in New Pump

    No, the water level in the pool is right where it's supposed to be. I removed the strainer lid and found the o-ring somewhat dry and the lid was snug but not tight. I cleaned the o-ring, the groove in the lid and the lip on top of the strainer basket and lubed the o-ring with silicone grease. After cinching down the lid tightly and turning the pump back on it appears to be slowly dissipating the air. I'll see how it goes tomorrow.

    Thanks for the help.

    Gary
    26,200 gal. 35' x 16' Plaster IGP (50 yrs. old), Hayward 48 sq. ft. DE filter, Hayward EcoStar VS pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWCG, The Pool Cleaner 4X suction, Pool Skim and Pool Devil skimmers. Re-plastered Sept. 2010.

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    phalcon51's Avatar
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    Re: Air Pocket Comes and Goes in New Pump

    That seems to have done the trick. After running the pump for about an hour so far this morning there's only about a 3" diameter bubble under the strainer lid. I'll check to see if it's all gone when I get home from work.

    Gary
    26,200 gal. 35' x 16' Plaster IGP (50 yrs. old), Hayward 48 sq. ft. DE filter, Hayward EcoStar VS pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWCG, The Pool Cleaner 4X suction, Pool Skim and Pool Devil skimmers. Re-plastered Sept. 2010.

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    Re: Air Pocket Comes and Goes in New Pump

    so far this morning there's only about a 3" diameter bubble under the strainer lid.
    I would consider that "problem solved".

    My system sometimes remains air tight and then other times I have a small bubble.

    You and Mark Crook do good work!
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Air Pocket Comes and Goes in New Pump

    Well, the air pocket is back. I double-checked all the pump fittings, inspected the lines and joints leading into the pump and everything looks solid. All the cemented joints at the elbows and the reducers have a nice solid fillet of glue all round the joints on all of them without any gaps or thin spots. I double-checked the lid sealing surface and o-ring and it all looks perfect. It doesn't blow any bubbles into the pool except when the salt cell is active (but that's another post.) It also never gets any lower than just above the top of the strainer itself.

    Is it ever normal to have a trapped air bubble under the lid? The pump I swapped out last weekend would always purge the air from the strainer cavity completely within a fairly short time. Should I try running the pump at max speed (3250rpm) for a short while and see whether the problem gets better or worse? (the speed is currently limited in the menu to 2750rpm) Is there any good way to pinpoint an air leak from outside? If it is an air leak it's got to be in the pipes above ground as they were the only ones disturbed during the pump swap.

    The joints in these pictures are the only ones that were involved on the suction side:





    Thanks for any help,

    Gary
    26,200 gal. 35' x 16' Plaster IGP (50 yrs. old), Hayward 48 sq. ft. DE filter, Hayward EcoStar VS pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWCG, The Pool Cleaner 4X suction, Pool Skim and Pool Devil skimmers. Re-plastered Sept. 2010.

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    Re: Air Pocket Comes and Goes in New Pump

    Anybody?
    26,200 gal. 35' x 16' Plaster IGP (50 yrs. old), Hayward 48 sq. ft. DE filter, Hayward EcoStar VS pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWCG, The Pool Cleaner 4X suction, Pool Skim and Pool Devil skimmers. Re-plastered Sept. 2010.

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    Re: Air Pocket Comes and Goes in New Pump

    Quote Originally Posted by phalcon51
    Is it ever normal to have a trapped air bubble under the lid?
    Yes, seeing a relatively small air bubble is quite common.

    Your air bubble is a bit larger than I would expect. Also, in normal operation, an air bubble is most likely at low speed and should shrink or go away entirely at higher speeds.

    As long as the air bubble doesn't get any bigger than what you describe, and you don't see foaming, or lots of bubble churning, in the strainer basket, there is no immediate problem. What you describe is suggestive of a very small air leak that is being pulled open by the higher suction from running at higher speeds. That could be a very tiny leak around the strainer basket lid seal, air drawn down on of the skimmers, or something almost anywhere along the suction plumbing.

    One good way to investigate further is to get a running garden hose and run water onto each joint and valve on the suction side in turn for several seconds each and watch to see if the air bubble shrinks or goes away when you do that. While the garden hose is running over a leak the leak will draw in water instead of air. That may allow you to narrow down where the problem is.

    Even if you can't find it, there is no immediate problem. The pump will be fine until the air leak gets worse, which it may never do.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Air Pocket Comes and Goes in New Pump

    Thanks Jason. Let me run this idea by you: Since the old pump didn't have this problem just a week or so ago it seems that the leak, if any, must be in one of the joints in the two pipes with elbows joining to the Jandy valve in the pictures above or in the short pipe going from the valve to the pump inlet. Would it be useful to use a Q-tip and apply a small external bead of PVC cement around each joint leading to the valve and then to the pump (when the pump is off, obviously)? Do you think this could take care of any small air leaks?

    Gary
    26,200 gal. 35' x 16' Plaster IGP (50 yrs. old), Hayward 48 sq. ft. DE filter, Hayward EcoStar VS pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWCG, The Pool Cleaner 4X suction, Pool Skim and Pool Devil skimmers. Re-plastered Sept. 2010.

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    Re: Air Pocket Comes and Goes in New Pump

    Unless you've dealt with PVC glue quite a bit, you will find it tough to insure any good seal from the outside of the joint.

    If you are dead set on fixing it, I would look at the valve body itself or the joint/union where the new pump is joined to the system.

    If those check out, that coupling between the pump union and the valve looks to be a little crooked. (maybe just my imagination)

    If it is crooked, that would be a prime suspect.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Air Pocket Comes and Goes in New Pump

    I agree w/ Duraleigh above; the inlet connection to the pump is a much more likely place for a leak than any of the glued connections. Mine leaks a tiny bit as well, but not enough to warrant repair before I replace the pump.
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
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    Re: Air Pocket Comes and Goes in New Pump

    Okay, thanks. I'll double check the connection at the pump. Does the o-ring there need any type of lube or does it go in dry?

    Gary
    26,200 gal. 35' x 16' Plaster IGP (50 yrs. old), Hayward 48 sq. ft. DE filter, Hayward EcoStar VS pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWCG, The Pool Cleaner 4X suction, Pool Skim and Pool Devil skimmers. Re-plastered Sept. 2010.

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    Re: Air Pocket Comes and Goes in New Pump

    Quote Originally Posted by phalcon51
    Does the o-ring there need any type of lube or does it go in dry?
    The O-ring should be lubricated. I recommend a silicone lubricant like Magic lube II by Aladdin

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    Re: Air Pocket Comes and Goes in New Pump

    I dont have a two speed pump but when it runs its fully primed but when I turn it off I have air that leaks into the pump. I have replaced the lid and lid oring but still have the air getting into the pump only when its off. turning the pump on after normal off time , it will take a couple of minutes to prime up but after that no air bubbles at all. I must have a small crack somewhere in the pump housing, but I've given up worrying about it since it runs great after initial prime up. I just release any air that may have floated up to the top of the filter.
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    Re: Air Pocket Comes and Goes in New Pump

    I just installed the ecostar 3400 and have the same problem. Very sure it's in the 2" fitting on suction side of pump, because i re - seated it and got better suction. But alas, the bubble in the lid came back. Next I'm gonna undo fitting retape and put more lube on the gasket. Do you think it could be too tight??
    33K gallons, 20x40 Vinyl, Hayward EcoStar 3400 VSP, Hayward S-240 sand filter
    & CL-200 auto chlorine feeder, 1 1/2 plumbing

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    Re: Air Pocket Comes and Goes in New Pump

    I am sorry to say for all of us with 1 1/2 pool piping the esostar sp 3400 vsp will never have a remedy for air pockets. I have talked to the reps at Hayward and they all say the same thing ... " your gonna have air pockets with a setup that has 1 1/2 feeding 2" pump suction." And further more since I've had my pump 2 months now there is bearing noise already. Called the reps - they said " Pump should not exceed 2000 rpm with 1 1/2 " plumbing." Possible warranty claim?

    Needless to say I am very dissatisfied with this pump. Air pockets and now this, Luckily I got the $600 rebate and a $180 in store discount. Are there any variable speed pumps out there with 1 1/2 suction inlets. ? If so please let me know because I'm willing to down size..
    33K gallons, 20x40 Vinyl, Hayward EcoStar 3400 VSP, Hayward S-240 sand filter
    & CL-200 auto chlorine feeder, 1 1/2 plumbing

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    Re: Air Pocket Comes and Goes in New Pump

    your gonna have air pockets with a setup that has 1 1/2 feeding 2"
    You should get the names of the folks that are telling you that because it isn't true. I cannot comment on your other problems but transitioning from 1.5" to 2" piping is done on a daily basis.....it just has to be done properly.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Air Pocket Comes and Goes in New Pump

    Yeah the jury is still out on the pipe transition. A Hayward tech. name Derrick dropped that knowledge , or mis-knowledge, on me.
    33K gallons, 20x40 Vinyl, Hayward EcoStar 3400 VSP, Hayward S-240 sand filter
    & CL-200 auto chlorine feeder, 1 1/2 plumbing

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