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Thread: How do I stop pump from losing prime when cleaning basket?

  1. #1
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    How do I stop pump from losing prime when cleaning basket?

    Hi there,

    (Picture attached to show my setup.)

    My question is how I can prevent my pump from losing its prime when I clean the gunk from the pump's filter basket. These days, there are a lot of small leaves which end up in the pool and make it to the pump. They are trapped by the basket. However, when I try to clean out the pump's filter basket, I constantly lose prime, and I can hear constant water flow back to the pool (my pump is a few feet above my in-ground pool's water level) whilst the cover is off the pump's basket.

    My workflow: turn off pump, remove pump cover, clean out basket, replace cover, and re-start pump (on high).

    Should I try to turn the valve which is just before my cartridge filter (just after the pump) OFF to the pump before removing the pump's cover? I would really appreciate any help, because it takes at least 4-5 minutes to re-prime the pump after turning it back on, and I worry a little bit about running the pump while it is dry for these 4-5 minutes.

    Thanks!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    25K, 20' x 36' in-ground SWCG pool (liner). Hayward variable speed pump. Cartridge filter. AquaVac vacuum. AquaConnect system. Taylor K-2006 test kit.

  2. #2
    Administrator JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: How do I stop pump from losing prime when cleaning baske

    With a setup like that you should expect to lose prime each time you open the pump strainer basket. In order to prevent loss of prime you would need to install valves on both the pump inlet and pump outlet that allowed you to isolate the pump before taking the lid off. From the look of things, doing that would require a significant amount of re-plumbing.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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  3. #3
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    Re: How do I stop pump from losing prime when cleaning baske

    I have a similar issue. My pump is a good 5 feet above water level. I set all my Jandy valves to isolate the pump. The outflow is able to totally seal but the inflow I can only isolate the bottom or skimmer. I have a second basket. I isolate the skimmer and lose the bottom drain prime when I open the pump. I quickly swap baskets and close the pump lid. I then open the outflow and quickly turn the pump on. Yes it spins dry for 5-10 seconds while I then switch to isolate the bottom drain. I get the skimmer flowing well and slowly open the bottom drain so it pulls air slowly until no more air then I open it fully.
    IG Vinyl liner, 21,500G sport bottom, TR-60 sand filter, 3/4 HP Whisper Flow, BBB with 12.5% Liquid Chlorine

  4. #4
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    Re: How do I stop pump from losing prime when cleaning baske

    I am a little confused. Do the Jandy (black) 3-way valves not have a "closed" position that prevents flow in ANY direction?
    Dave S.
    Site Owner 42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter, No SWG
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    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  5. #5
    Administrator JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: How do I stop pump from losing prime when cleaning baske

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    I am a little confused. Do the Jandy (black) 3-way valves not have a "closed" position that prevents flow in ANY direction?
    Correct, they can't do that. They can only block one port completely, and unless you defeat the rotation stops it has to be one of the two ports that are opposite from each other.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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  6. #6
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    Re: How do I stop pump from losing prime when cleaning baske

    I get it now. Somehow I was under the impression they had a closed position.
    Dave S.
    Site Owner 42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter, No SWG
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  7. #7
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    How do I stop pump from losing prime when cleaning basket?

    My out flow has a closed position only because the input to it is not on the center port. It is on one side of the T so I can close it. My input is plumbed normal.
    IG Vinyl liner, 21,500G sport bottom, TR-60 sand filter, 3/4 HP Whisper Flow, BBB with 12.5% Liquid Chlorine

  8. #8

    Re: How do I stop pump from losing prime when cleaning baske

    All I have is the multi-port valve on my DE filter to control flow. When I empty my pump basket, I turn the multiport valve to "closed" this prevents water from draining out of the reservoir and keeps my prime.

    Just remember to turn it back to filter before you start the pump again!!
    16,000 gal in-ground
    Pump: Hayward C48K2N143 1HP 230V
    Filter: DE Triton Nautilus FNS-36

  9. #9
    Administrator JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: How do I stop pump from losing prime when cleaning baske

    boon4376, unfortunately prop doesn't have a multi-port valve, so that won't work here.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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  10. #10
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    Re: How do I stop pump from losing prime when cleaning baske

    Professed newbie here, but for what it's worth here's what I do. I have a bucket of water handy whenever I need to clean the pump basket, and as soon as the basket is back in, I dump the bucket of water into the pump and put the lid on. Be speedy or the pump drains out again. Seems to work.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    New to pool/spa ownership dealing with;
    In ground gunnite pool recent plaster and coping- 1970's vintage. Comes with a mystery skimmer, capped main drain, two pressure jets, Sand filter, one pump, natural gas heater.
    Pacific Spa Hot tub 2 pump, and circ, electric heat w/ Gecko in.xe spa pack

  11. #11
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    Re: How do I stop pump from losing prime when cleaning baske

    I had not seen the picture. With the exception of the red valve between the three way on the inflow your setup is just like mine.

    1.) set outflow to block what is coming out of the pump
    2.) Close red handle valve.
    3.) Pick which side to sacrifice on the in flow 3 way.

    Follow my previous direction.

    Disclaimer. This assumes that the two inflows on the three way are skim/bottom selectors.
    IG Vinyl liner, 21,500G sport bottom, TR-60 sand filter, 3/4 HP Whisper Flow, BBB with 12.5% Liquid Chlorine

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    Re: How do I stop pump from losing prime when cleaning baske

    My pump is about 1-1.5 feet above the surface of the water, but my skimmer / main drain pipes are routed so they loop above the entrance to the pump. There are times it still backflows out the skimmer/ maindrain, so I too just use a bucket to fill it before I put the lid on the pump.

    Now for a question - would putting a check valve prior to the pump intake create more problems than it would solve ? Obviously - we don't want to prevent the pump from getting water or impeding it too much, but it seems to be that a check valve would take care of it right away if it doesn't cause other problems.
    16x32 IG 19,000 gallons, Pentair 1.5 hp Energy Efficient Superflo pump (348024),vinyl liner, Nature2 Express , Chlorine dispenser, Hayward S-244T sand filter

  13. #13
    Administrator JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: How do I stop pump from losing prime when cleaning baske

    For a check valve to help it needs to be located before the pump and either fairly distant from the pump or below pool water level. Putting a check valve right next to the pump won't work reliably as it won't develop a sufficiently tight seal, air will get in and allow the line to drain. From the picture it doesn't look like it would be at all easy to install a check valve in an appropriate place.

    sefrlw's approach is worth trying, as it will work with the current equipment, though it is a little more work each time compared to some of the more difficult to install options.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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  14. #14
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    Re: How do I stop pump from losing prime when cleaning baske

    Thanks to you all for your valuable comments! sefrlw, I have followed your instructions, and things are *much* better now. Here is what I did just now, and water started flowing immediately after re-starting the pump! This was helped by the fact that I plugged up the flexible hose port (post-pump) with a plug so that nothing can flow in or out (including air). That allowed me to turn the three-way valve OFF to the cartridge filter, preventing any flow of water back to the pump.

    Here is my new workflow:

    1) Turn off pump
    2) Turn the outflow valve off (to the cartridge filter)
    3) Turn the other valve off to the skimmers
    4) Open the pump cover, remove the basket, and immediately replace the pump cover (as I do not - yet - have a second basket)
    5) Clean the basket, taking my sweet time.
    6) Re-install the basket, and turn on the pump.
    7) Watch the water immediately flow!

    Thanks to all of you who helped me sort this issue out. It's great to not have to run the pump dry for minutes at a time (which seem like hours as you're staring at the pump!).
    25K, 20' x 36' in-ground SWCG pool (liner). Hayward variable speed pump. Cartridge filter. AquaVac vacuum. AquaConnect system. Taylor K-2006 test kit.

  15. #15
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    Re: How do I stop pump from losing prime when cleaning baske

    Quote Originally Posted by boon4376
    All I have is the multi-port valve on my DE filter to control flow. When I empty my pump basket, I turn the multiport valve to "closed" this prevents water from draining out of the reservoir and keeps my prime.

    Just remember to turn it back to filter before you start the pump again!!
    Dang, all this time and I didn't know that simple trick! Thanks for that...

    Although I must say, I prefer to let the basket drain just to catch any floaters. Am I wrong in thinking that the little time it takes to prime won't really hurt the pump? My reasoning has always been that it is not in fact truly running dry because it is getting water flow while priming...
    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

  16. #16
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    Re: How do I stop pump from losing prime when cleaning baske

    Am I wrong in thinking that the little time it takes to prime won't really hurt the pump? My reasoning has always been that it is not in fact truly running dry because it is getting water flow while priming..
    That's my thinking as well. Mine often takes three minutes or so to prime but it gets a flow of water usually within 20-30 seconds.
    Dave S.
    Site Owner 42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter, No SWG
    TFTestkits owner
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  17. #17
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    Re: How do I stop pump from losing prime when cleaning baske

    Jason is right, my approach is a bit of a PIA but which is more of a PIA? Step 4 is exactly what I did before I bought a 2nd basket. I like the 2nd as I dump the clumps of stuff out but all the other that stays I let dry and then hit the basket with compressed air from a compressor. It gets it real clean.

    Oh yeah just remember to open the out flow 3 way. I have forgotten and you don't want to forget that!!

    IG Vinyl liner, 21,500G sport bottom, TR-60 sand filter, 3/4 HP Whisper Flow, BBB with 12.5% Liquid Chlorine

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