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Thread: Bubbles in Basket with new Intelliflo

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    Bubbles in Basket with new Intelliflo

    I recently installed a new VS Intelliflo. The old pump did not have any bubbles in the basket area, but the new intelliflo has A LOT of bubbles, even at the highest speed. Its not just a lot of little bubles, but a lot of large swirling bubbles. From what I can see, it looks like they come in from the intake and swirl downwards.

    The only difference at the moment on the intake side is where I cut the old PVC and installed a new stretch with a union. The old pump was straght from an elbow/valve to the pump (12" or so). Now from the same elbow/valve there is 4", union, and then another 4" into the pump.

    When the manual recommends a straight 10-12" pipe on teh intake, does that incldue unions? Could this new union be causing this swirl of bubbles because its so close to the intake?
    IG, 13,000 gal, concrete, DE, VS Intelliflo Pump, Intellichlor SWG

    San Diego, Ca.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Bubbles in Basket with new Intelliflo

    Bubble like that are almost always caused by a suction side air leak. Some of the obvious places to check for air leaks are the water level being too low in the skimmer allowing air to be drawn in, a pump strainer basket lid that doesn't seal correctly, or a union that has not sealed correctly.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Bubbles in Basket with new Intelliflo

    You are sucking in air somewhere between the skimmers and the pump. Since it didn't do that with the old [pump, look closely at the connections that were changed with the new pump....one of them is leaking.

    It could also be the 0-ring at the pump basket lid but that's pretty rare on a new pump. Also check the drain valves at the bottom of the pump basket
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Bubbles in Basket with new Intelliflo

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    You are sucking in air somewhere between the skimmers and the pump. Since it didn't do that with the old [pump, look closely at the connections that were changed with the new pump....one of them is leaking.
    The only change between the skimmer and the pump is where I cut the old PVC and put a coupler on to the union/pump. I looked all over this with the pump running on full. I see no leaks, cannot feel any air movment or any other visable sign of a leak. However, there is a small leak on the thread of the outflow port of the pump. I didn't notice it until I ran it on full for a longer period. Could this leak right at the thread of the return be causing it?

    I'd hate to cut off the intake valve if there is no reason, as my pipes from the pad (in the concrete) are getting pretty short to begin with.

    There is no water or leaks around the drain plug either.
    IG, 13,000 gal, concrete, DE, VS Intelliflo Pump, Intellichlor SWG

    San Diego, Ca.

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    Re: Bubbles in Basket with new Intelliflo

    Which port are you calling "return" port....intake or outflow?
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Bubbles in Basket with new Intelliflo

    The outflow had a leak. I just finished fixing the outflow thread leak. When I ran the pump back up there was a considerable difference. At speeds from 750-1800 rpm, there are no bubbles or so small I cannot really see them and the basket is full of water with the exception of a small stationary bubble on the very peak of the cap.

    However, when I crank it up to 2,500 or 3,000 rpm, the basket fills again with bubbles and I can see small bubbles at the pool return which reduce in number after a few minutes of running. After 5 min there is just a very, very limited amount of bubbles, hardly noticable coming into the pool for the return.

    So, with only a very limited amount of bubbles noticable at the max speed of the pump, is that still indicating a leak on the intake? Or Could it be the pump is pulling too hard and cavitating? For the pool lines, they are all 1.5", but the spa is 2".
    IG, 13,000 gal, concrete, DE, VS Intelliflo Pump, Intellichlor SWG

    San Diego, Ca.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Bubbles in Basket with new Intelliflo

    Getting the air in the basket on high means you still have a leak. It appears that you have the major one fixed. I would check the drain plugs and clean and lube the basket o-ring again. If that doesn't fix it you can run water over the fittings and see if the bubbles go away.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Bubbles in Basket with new Intelliflo

    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    Getting the air in the basket on high means you still have a leak.
    ah ****......

    The level of the new pump to the valve fitting is not exactly perfect, so the union looks crooked a little. When unscrewed, the top of the o-ring touches but the bottom is not due to the height. When I turn the union on, it coems together, but still looks a little off. Maybe that's where its coming from. Otherwise it has to be the old valve or old fitting must have been tweaked a little too much when I installed the new pump/union.
    IG, 13,000 gal, concrete, DE, VS Intelliflo Pump, Intellichlor SWG

    San Diego, Ca.

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    Re: Bubbles in Basket with new Intelliflo

    ok, another development. When I switch to the spa, everything works perfect. No bubbles at all, even at high speed. Therefore there must be a small leak in teh old valve or line that was tweaked when I was putting in the new pump.
    IG, 13,000 gal, concrete, DE, VS Intelliflo Pump, Intellichlor SWG

    San Diego, Ca.

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    Re: Bubbles in Basket with new Intelliflo

    I also recently installed a new Intelliflo VS pump and also am having problems with a few bubbles in my return line entering the pool. I also can see too many bubbles in the lid of the pump. I have been chasing this "phantom air leak" for three weeks now and still have no clue. Makes me wonder if there is something wrong with the pump. Frustrating!
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    Re: Bubbles in Basket with new Intelliflo

    I chased mine on my EcoStar pump for over a year. Back and forth with the PB, and Hayward even sending a Rep out to my place. The small bubbles never go away unless on max speed and then after running for a few hours a large bubble forms and the level drops a bit till its about an inch under the lid.
    The plumbing has been changed more times than I can remember . I have just given up on mine and set a timer after 4 hours to run at high speed then let it resume its normal program.

    VS pumps seem to be much more associated with bubbles, cavitation, water levels, outgassing, etc... than normal pumps. No matter where I go, or what I read others seem to have those issues. My pool has 1.5" pipe and the Ecostar was an upgrade- I am curious what/how this behavior would be if it had the 2" lines.

    The only other option I could come up with is possibly the housing is out of tolerance/warped? Its to the point where I am wondering if it "hurts" anything to leave it alone!!!

    Good Luck with yours- I only gave you my history on mine in case you never seem to get any answers or a solution. This board has many members with lots of knowledge.
    16 x 32 Grecian Vinyl. Salt-Aqua Plus PS-4, Hayward Pro Series Sand Filter, Hayward Ecostar SP34000vsp, Gulfstream HE-125-T-A Heat/Cool heat Pump

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    Re: Bubbles in Basket with new Intelliflo

    I have a Intelliflo VS pump that does the same thing ????? who knows, I have given up on it.
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    Re: Bubbles in Basket with new Intelliflo

    Interesting (and frustrating) thread. Regardless of brand, remember that the source of bubbles in the pump basket virtually HAS to be air getting drawn in on the suction side of the system.

    I suppose it is possible that some brands have issues but then that issue would have to be at the O-ring or the drain valves on the pump basket.....that's the only places I can think of they CAN draw in air.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Bubbles in Basket with new Intelliflo

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    Interesting (and frustrating) thread. Regardless of brand, remember that the source of bubbles in the pump basket virtually HAS to be air getting drawn in on the suction side of the system.

    I suppose it is possible that some brands have issues but then that issue would have to be at the O-ring or the drain valves on the pump basket.....that's the only places I can think of they CAN draw in air.

    Dura......
    You just gave me an idea.......not ONCE that I can remeber did anyone ever check the basket drain valve........hmmmm maybe one more shot at this b4 I give up

    In all reality...other than bubbling the pool a bit (possible PH raise?) does this hurt anything (assuming the level in the basket never goes below pump requierments)??
    16 x 32 Grecian Vinyl. Salt-Aqua Plus PS-4, Hayward Pro Series Sand Filter, Hayward Ecostar SP34000vsp, Gulfstream HE-125-T-A Heat/Cool heat Pump

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    Re: Bubbles in Basket with new Intelliflo

    other than bubbling the pool a bit (possible PH raise?) does this hurt anything
    Well, it probably hurts your wallet a little. The pump simply will not operate3 as efficiently when it's pushing air through the system instead of water....even if it's mostly water and SOME air.

    It's sometimes hard to achieve, but if you can get your system sealed up tight, you will save money.

    I have also heard that it wears the impeller prematurely to be pumping air but I have just a bit of personal skepticism on that. I am not smart enough to know the definitive answer but it seems to me any excess wear would be small indeed.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Bubbles in Basket with new Intelliflo

    After more work, I can only say that it works perfect on my 2" spa line. No bubbles at any speed.

    When I switch to the 1.5" pool lines (spa/pool valve is 12" from pump and original from before pump change) the pump works perfect at any speed up to 3,200 RPM. I gradually increase by 50 RPM (painfully slow process up from 1,000 rpm). From 1,000 up to 3,200 rpm, the basket is completely full and does not reduce volume, and no bubbles (just one solid bubble the size of quarter at peak of glass, but nothing else.

    Literally, as soon as I push the up arrow to 3,250 rpm, BAM, the basket is full of tinny bubbles as deep as I can see in the basket. If I slow back down to 3,200 RPM, it goes straight back to solid volume with no small bubbles.

    I left the pump the last two days run at 1,000 rpm for 16 hours a day and after 16 hours, no bubbles and the basket is still full.

    When I shut down the pump and check again 8-9 hours later the next morning, the basket is 100% full, and even the top bubble is gone, as some small leaves are hard against the top.

    SO, if I am losing no water after remaining off for 8-9 hours (I was losing all water when I had an outflow leak before), and no bubbles until speed is between 3,200 and 3,250, does this still imply an air leak? Or could it be caused by the pump being too large for a 1.5" line?
    IG, 13,000 gal, concrete, DE, VS Intelliflo Pump, Intellichlor SWG

    San Diego, Ca.

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    Re: Bubbles in Basket with new Intelliflo

    and no bubbles until speed is between 3,200 and 3,250, does this still imply an air leak?
    Well, yes, it is still an air leak but not a very troublesome one. What that all means is that your system is airtight until you rev up the pump to produce enough vacuum to pull open one of the seals....most likely the pump basket lid.

    I believe it to be a flexible seal because it seals back up just as soon as you reduce the vacuum your pump is producing. It may be the path of least resistance to simply operate the pump @ 3200 or less.

    If you are going to try to fix it, I believe you will have to lessen the vacuum on the pool lines....i.e replace them with 2" pipe.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Bubbles in Basket with new Intelliflo

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    I believe it to be a flexible seal because it seals back up just as soon as you reduce the vacuum your pump is producing.
    Could it be the old seal in the old Ortega valve that I did not change also? I find it hard to believe a brand new pump would not seal.

    Does anyone know if Pentair actually tests all pumps before sale? When I received mine, the build date on the box was only two weeks prior, and it looked completley new, but there was a few drops of water in the basket, but I assumed it was factory testing.
    IG, 13,000 gal, concrete, DE, VS Intelliflo Pump, Intellichlor SWG

    San Diego, Ca.

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    Re: Bubbles in Basket with new Intelliflo

    I don't know what an Ortega valve is or where it is located in your system.

    They could not possibly test the seals I am talking about. I am talking about the O-ring at the top of your pump basket lid which you seal when you replace the lid or one of the seals at a union or valve on the suction side of the pump.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Bubbles in Basket with new Intelliflo

    If the Ortega valve is on the suction side it certainly could be the source of the leak.

    Dave -- an Ortega valve is a type of 3-way valve.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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