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Thread: Pentair Intelliflo Pump Priming Alarm

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    Pentair Intelliflo Pump Priming Alarm

    Hello,

    New here so please forgive me if I don't articulate my pool quandry succinctly.

    Pools Stats:

    Inground-FL
    Size: 15 X 30. Hold about 11k H2O
    Built: 1991
    Built In Caretaker system
    Pentair Intellflo Pump (Original version 2006)
    Pentair Quad 80 DE Filter
    Pentair 320 Inline Chlorinator
    Del Oozonator (tube disconnected still inline though)

    Issue:
    Pool Leaks from water line to just below skimmer. It flows out underneath pool deck into backyard. Leaks faster when pump on. Have leak detection company scheduled but have to clean pool first. Very cloudy, can't see bottom and water not moving and jets inactive. Need to filter water and vacuum pool. Backwashed filter but same issue. Took filter apart and a cartridge was blown and DE piled up in bottom. Replaced all 4 filter cartridges with new ones, added DE in a slurry through skimmer.

    Pump goes through priming cycles for about 10 minutes then alarms out with priming message. Reset power several times and reset pump but still alarmed out. Was adjusting setting and punched up cycle 1 but can't disable it and just go to filter mode now. Pump runs from 5 PSI on filter gauge to about 35 PSI. Filter mode alarm set to I think 31 PSI but doesn't trip it when going higher.. Keeps cycling in Cycle 1 mode but no activity and still getting alarm and pump stops. When adding DE in noticed some bubbles in skimmer. Put silicon on o rings for pump basket and inline chlorinator to stop air leak. Bled air from top of filter at startup. Seems to be an air leak on suction side I presume.

    Read to backwash after cleaning filter to reset pump but wasn't sure if just do that for a few seconds with backwash valve up to release water or down. Doing after adding DE would obviously flush it out.

    Any recommendations would be appreciated! Thank you!

  2. Back To Top    #2
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo Pump Priming Alarm

    Welcome to TFP!

    Priming problems are usually caused by air leaks on the suction side. That said, you might be able to work around the problem by adjusting the Max Priming Flow setting to something lower than whatever it currently is. Lower flow rates will draw in less air, and it might be just enough to get things running for a while. I can't say it will certainly work, or even help at all, but it is worth a try.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo Pump Priming Alarm

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    Welcome to TFP!

    Priming problems are usually caused by air leaks on the suction side. That said, you might be able to work around the problem by adjusting the Max Priming Flow setting to something lower than whatever it currently is. Lower flow rates will draw in less air, and it might be just enough to get things running for a while. I can't say it will certainly work, or even help at all, but it is worth a try.
    Thank you for the welcome and the suggestion! It was worth a try but the pump is still alarming out. Even in manual mode it doesn't want to prime.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo Pump Priming Alarm

    If you're seeing bubbles, then you have a suction side leak as you suspect. From the sound of it, it's getting worse. have you checked the drain plugs and the valves, etc on the suction side of the pump? I'd start with the drain plugs, basket lid o-ring, valves and move to the skimmer weir and then any fittings on the suction side.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo Pump Priming Alarm

    The only visible leak I see around the pump is the caretaker return fitting is dripping. Will check it. I just saw bubbles once when entering DE through the skimmer. I see no bubbles in the basket. Put silicon on that o-Ring and the inline chlorinator. When I was putting the top back on the DE filter, there seemed to be an obstruction so it wouldn't seat perfectly. I figure with the band it would but maybe that is the culprit. Thanks!

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo Pump Priming Alarm

    If it's and air leak it won't be the filter or anything else on the discharge of the pump. It'll be on the suction side. If there is no leak, your problem could be a partially plugged impeller or pluggage somewhere else decreasing the flow to where the pump believes it has lost prime.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo Pump Priming Alarm

    Thanks for the help, Dave! Still troubleshooting it. Ed

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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo Pump Priming Alarm

    Still having the priming issue where the Intelliflo "alarms" out. A few times it made it through priming and then into cycle 1 (which I haven't been able to disable) but it was "winding out" at 1500 watts usage. The replacement gauges on top of the filter and caretaker both read the same at 40 lbs. of pressure when this occurs.

    I did install a caretaker rebuild kit, replaced the O rings all over and now the basket is full with water when pump is running unlike prior to the caretaker fix.

    The priming alarm is still going on though. If there is another suction side leak, I don't think it is at the pump but maybe in the pool piping. I need to clean the pool to get leak detection out here but can't because the pump won't stay on. Any further suggestions, would be appreciated.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo Pump Priming Alarm

    If the discharge gauges are reading 40 psi and you're reasonably certain they're correct, then I'd say you have a pressure side blockage. You get the same alert whether it thinks there's a suction side blockage or a pressure side blockage.

    If you have a multiport valve on the DE filter, set it to waste and run the pump for a little while and see if it'll prime. You can route the waste line back into the pool if it's possible to keep from wasting all that water. If it does prime without problems, it's time to hunt down the blockage in the discharge side. Does your caretaker have a bypass around it or can you select other returns?
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo Pump Priming Alarm

    Thanks, Dave! Thought it would help to post some pics of my configuration. The tube running to the ozonator (haven't really used it) snapped off so I cordoned it off with a makeshift plug where the tube came out. You will see in the pic.

    Don't see any leaks from it still could that be the culprit on the discharge side? I replaced the top O ring on the inline chlorinator but not the bottom one (wasn't sure about taking it apart). It seems odd the way this piping was installed as they tried to keep it on a small cement slab. Still, the outbound from the pump piping goes closer to the labelled outlet of the filter than the inlet. Is that normal? tThe valve on the discharge side when turned shoot water up pipes to a non-existent and uncapped roof top solar system that was ripped off by a hurricane.

    Lastly, I don't know how to circumvent the caretaker. When the Pentair rep came out here in 2006 to replace a defective filter, he said the intelliflo had to run with higher pressure to push the heads of the caretaker up and it couldn't be circumvented therefore I would lose some energy efficiency. He set up a filter enabled "Feature 1" which it went to automatically when it did make it thru priming. I used to just hit the filter button and turn on the pump so that is now different. Haven't figured out how to disable that feature. I tried various priming GPM's also as you suggested. Edited pics and made some indicators on there. Also, showed the leak washout from behind pool.

    Sorry if "TMI" or too much information but I thought it might help with the diagnosis. Pics attached. Will try what you said. Do you think my piping needs to be redone to spread it out more since I know the 90 degree turns require more pump pressure and wattage to push the water through. Thanks so much!

    [attachment=2:2jfs1g3n]PoolBoard1.jpg[/attachment:2jfs1g3n] [attachment=1:2jfs1g3n]Poolboard2.jpg[/attachment:2jfs1g3n]
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo Pump Priming Alarm

    Attached some more pics. Thank you!
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo Pump Priming Alarm

    Last of the pics...shows leak washout.Ty.
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo Pump Priming Alarm

    Since you don't have a multiport valve you can't waste or recirc. Try backwashing the filter. I know it'll cost you some DE but if it primes during a backwash then it leads me to believe that there's a discharge pluggage at the caretaker.

    Thanks for posting the pics, they help some.

    On edit. One thing you could do is remove the unioned section of pipe right before the caretaker and route your backwash hose from there back to your pool and try running the system. That way you don't lose water or DE and it'll eliminate the rest of the plumbing.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo Pump Priming Alarm

    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    Since you don't have a multiport valve you can't waste or recirc. Try backwashing the filter. I know it'll cost you some DE but if it primes during a backwash then it leads me to believe that there's a discharge pluggage at the caretaker.
    Thanks, Dave! I can try that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    ...discharge pluggage at the caretaker.
    So the holes in the bottom of the caretaker that feed the pipes could be clogged? Makes sense because the strainer at the top of the caretaker was ripped wide open and I found some rubberized mulch pieces in there so maybe some they got pushed down the pipes? Yike! How would I clear those? Can I just circumvent the caretaker altogether or do you recommend keeping it active (provided I can unclog it)?


    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    On edit. One thing you could do is remove the unioned section of pipe right before the caretaker and route your backwash hose from there back to your pool and try running the system. That way you don't lose water or DE and it'll eliminate the rest of the plumbing.
    So do you mean take off the union coupler and just attach the backwash hose to the poolside end and let her rip? . Attached that pic with my drawn in hose back to the pool from the filter side....is this correct? Also, the 2nd pic is a water flow chart...do I have the right idea? Yellow is suction, Green is discharge side and blue are questions if you could further enlighten me? Sorry but I'm a novice at this. Thx.
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo Pump Priming Alarm

    The unionizer you're pointing to is actually a check valve. I it goes to the pool and is not clogged then a blockage isn't your problem. however if it is clogged too then blockage could still be your issue. The unions I was talking about are the two right on top of the caretaker. The 90º bend is what I'm talking about.

    ...I found some rubberized mulch pieces...
    If there are enough of these and some of them are large enough they would certainly clog up the system. I don't know how they got in there though. They couldn't have come through the filter.

    There is a lot of the plumbing I can't fiigure out, but here's what I think so far.

    1) You have a Main Drain and a skimmer. (pipes in front of the pump) It's set to draw from both in the pics.
    2) It actually appears that the filter is plumbed backwards for that slide valve. I'm really puzzled about this.
    3) Coming out of the filter the 3-way valve either goes through the solar connection (out the bottom, labeled 3.?) or bypasses the solar (out the side as it's set now) and goes through the venturi (labeled 1.?) and around the venturi bypass.
    4) The arrow labeled "2.?" is turned the wrong way. That should be the return from the solar.
    5) The flow then goes through the chlorinator (tall canister) and underground to the Caretaker.
    6) The line you have labeled "4.?" is the big unknown. I don't know what it does or where it goes, but it appears to bypass the Caretaker system.

    The big question is, could the filter actually be plumbed backwards???
    a) Has the plumbing been changed that you know of?
    b) Have you opened the filter and looked at the grids, etc. to see where the dirt is on them?
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo Pump Priming Alarm

    Can you read a part number on the slide valve on the filter?
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo Pump Priming Alarm

    Thanks for the great insight! Comments below....
    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    The unionizer you're pointing to is actually a check valve. I it goes to the pool and is not clogged then a blockage isn't your problem. however if it is clogged too then blockage could still be your issue. The unions I was talking about are the two right on top of the caretaker. The 90º bend is what I'm talking about.?
    Thanks for the clarification. Should I disconnect the check valve and see if clogged? BTW...RE: The unionizer....I replaced the O rings at those turns. I did notice a hairline crack on one of the "couplers" (top one) or the ring that seals the pipes. It seems secure though so I don't think it is a factor. Do you? I also notice a small hole on top of the caretaker housing (upper half)but don't see anything leaking. Not sure if that is just a surface hole or all the way through. I could put some kind of sealer on it?
    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    ...I found some rubberized mulch pieces...
    If there are enough of these and some of them are large enough they would certainly clog up the system. I don't know how they got in there though. They couldn't have come through the filter. ?
    I agree after thinking about it....seems impossible a wedge of mulch could go through even if the strainer was broken as they were caught in the top as there is not an opening to go all the way through.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    There is a lot of the plumbing I can't fiigure out, but here's what I think so far.
    You have a Main Drain and a skimmer. (pipes in front of the pump) It's set to draw from both in the pics.
    2) It actually appears that the filter is plumbed backwards for that slide valve. I'm really puzzled about this.?
    [b]Yes, I was wondering about this...see below where I elaborate.b]
    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    3) Coming out of the filter the 3-way valve either goes through the solar connection (out the bottom, labeled 3.?) or bypasses the solar (out the side as it's set now) and goes through the venturi (labeled 1.?) and around the venturi bypass..?
    When I turn the 3 way valve, water shoots out of the cutoff pipes at the roof line. Since "2" is the solar return and the solar pipes at the roofline are not capped, could they be sucking air into the system? Also, there is a plastic inline valve, I will label "5" so water cant't go back. It appears the little partition inside may be crooked. Not sure how it is supposed to lool. Just wondered if this has an impact? The "venturi" is where I tied off the tube so you see the little green piece stilcking out. It was shooting water 20 feet in the air when without being plugged. Any chance of an air leak without a water leak there?
    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    4) The arrow labeled "2.?" is turned the wrong way. That should be the return from the solar...
    Guess I don't understand how the water can meet (returning from the solar) from opposite directions (from the filter)at that corner (labelled 6)and then go in the same direction through the Venturi?5) The flow then goes through the chlorinator (tall canister) and underground to the Caretaker.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    6) The line you have labeled "4.?" is the big unknown. I don't know what it does or where it goes, but it appears to bypass the Caretaker system....
    Don't suppose that could be an extra line for a pool cleaner?
    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    The big question is, could the filter actually be plumbed backwards???
    Found this in the Filter install manual, Section 2. Installation, pg. 3. Emailed Pentair to ask them if backwards.Can't find any decent diagrams or pictures as yet. Don't think it is backwards because of the sales rep. comments farther down.
    ....[/quote]
    CAUTION — The Pentair Quad D.E. filter has a different water flow pattern than all other Pentair D.E. filters. When plumbing the filter with a backwash valve, one of the following valves, listed below, must be used. Failure to use the correct backwash valve could damage the filter elements and void the warranty.
    6. Your filter requires one of the following Pentair Water Pool and Spa accessories which must be purchased
    separately:
    a. P/N 261055 - 2” Multiport Valve Kit
    b. P/N 261173 - 1½” Multiport Valve Kit
    c. P/N 261050 - 2” HiFlow Valve Kit
    d. P/N 261165 - 2” PVC Slide Valve Kit
    e. P/N 263034 - 2” ABS Slide Valve Kit

    Now, I think this may be correct although it doesn't look like it.
    a) Has the plumbing been changed that you know of?....[/quote]
    Yes, a local company installed the Intelliflo, the quad DE and the in-line chlorinator.They redesigned the whole configuration. I had a dispute with them for shoddy work. Can't go back to resolve it this late though.b)
    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    Have you opened the filter and looked at the grids, etc. to see where the dirt is on them?
    Yes, I replaced all four cartridges 10 days ago. I did notice when I added DE, according to the manual I had the slide valve in the down position instead of up as indicated here. I usually have it up when I backwash it though as I was instructed by the sales rep. who came out here a few years back. He actually replaced my first Quad 60 with a Quad 80 himself. Since he covers like 3 states, I don't think he would put in the replacement wrong.Thanks again!
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  18. Back To Top    #18

    Re: Pentair Intelliflo Pump Priming Alarm

    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    Can you read a part number on the slide valve on the filter?
    261165
    Manual shows P/N 261165 - 2” PVC Slide Valve Kit

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Re: Pentair Intelliflo Pump Priming Alarm

    Found this thread which I think explains it....particularly this quote.
    http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load...023996.html?13
    Please read this thread and see if you can decipher it. Casey is found to be wrong but they reference his sand filter install with the slide valve which seems to indicate mine may be in the wrong position.
    Casey,
    You are wrong on this filter.
    This is not a normal DE filter, it is a QUAD DE. When you use a slide valve with a QUAD you plumb it like a SAND filter, not a DE. You must read the directions of the filter. When you plumb it as you have it, it will EXPLODE the $400 plus cartridges.
    We have installed many of these, plus I have one in my own backyard.


    In the previous answer, This Casey guy says to plumb a sand filter like this...although I don't see how that would work with this filter....

    SAND Info
    Sand Connection: Valve top connection - to waste, middle connection - from pump, bottom connection - return to pool
    SAND Info
    Sand Connection: Valve top connection - to waste, middle connection - from pump, bottom connection - return to pool

    Sand operation: requires Handle up for filtering and handle down for back washing.

    DE INFO
    DE Connection: Valve top connection - return to pool, middle connection - from pump, bottom connection - to waste

    DE Operation: requires handle down for filtering and handle up for back washing.
    i attached two pics...one for sand config and the other for DE. Mine appears to be DE as I backwash out of the bottom to waste. Looks like I have had my slide valve in the wrong position for genearl filter operation. I had it down for filter and up to backwash.

    Hi Pan,
    It really sounds like you have it backwards.
    Slide valve should be up in normal operation.
    Valve should be down during backwash.
    Yes the valve locks in either up or down position.
    No it should not get sucked down unless it is plumbed wrong
    Here is a picture, hope it helps. (Picture not there)
    Too bad the pic is gone. So which is correct? Like a sand filter? or DE Filter as written? Mine is plumbed with "waste" at the bottom. Don't see how you could have waste at the top with no outlet unless the whole thing is moved down? Confusing....lol. Thx.
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  20. Back To Top    #20
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Pentair Intelliflo Pump Priming Alarm

    It appears the my worries about the filter being backwards is unfounded. That's a good thing. It's the "Inlet" and "Outlet" labels that were screwing with me.

    It appears that in the last pic of your plumbing is correct. Specifically relating to the solar; when you have solar selected the flow would go out the bottom of the three way valve, through the solar panels and back through the check valve "2". There would be no flow from the side of the 3-way valve to "6" so there would be no opposing flows.

    It's possible, but highly unlikely, that the solar return is allowing air to enter the system when it's running as the pump pressure would be forcing the check valve closed and if it was leaking it would leak water out at the roof.

    There's still the matter of how the rubber pieces got into the Caretaker and whether they clogged up anything.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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