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Thread: Using plumbers putty to fix small air leak on returns-fixed

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    Using plumbers putty to fix small air leak on returns-fixed

    I had no air leaks until I first vacuumed the pool, that's when it started. It's very small causes small spurts of air from returns, almost enough to not worry about, I thought it was just removing the little bit of air I introduced joining the full of water vaccum line to the skimmer input. I plan to re-silicone/lubricate the o-ring on the pump strainer lid. That lid was on there pretty darn tight and I had to use a strong amount of force to unscrew it.

    But I noticed a VERY small leak of water around the main pump return line. The junction right above the pump output. If water can get out, air can get in. Pool store said - something that small, just put some plumber's putty around the union.

    Thoughts on this or should I get in there and disassemble/check the junction. There are air bubbles in my pump strainer basket which is why I'm starting there. Shouldn't that be air free?

    -edit-
    FIXED!!!!!!!
    Took pump strainer basket out, cleaned the heck out of it (wasn't really dirty)
    Scrubbed down pump basket mate top to lid
    Removed O-ring from pump basket lid, scrubbed the heck out of it, inspected=looked good, lubed that o-ring up
    Scrubbed the pump lid o-ring area

    All this scrubbing was with paper towels only to not damage the o-ring or it's mating surfaces. Who say's SCUBA isn't valuable. Leak was from pump filter input lid, once I got that seal pristine, no more trouble.
    18x36 inground vinyl lined, Hayward sand filter and tablet chrolinator, approx 18k gallon

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    Re: Using plumbers putty to fix small air leak on returns?

    You are correct, there should be no bubbles in the pump basket.....

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    Re: Using plumbers putty to fix small air leak on returns?

    Quote Originally Posted by DeeMac
    You are correct, there should be no bubbles in the pump basket.....
    So that points to o-ring/seal on the pump basket? This is my first year with my first pool and had somebody open it, but ****, they had the cover on tight.

    I'll re-insespect for debris and make sure I have a solid seal there.

    Thank you.
    18x36 inground vinyl lined, Hayward sand filter and tablet chrolinator, approx 18k gallon

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    Re: Using plumbers putty to fix small air leak on returns?

    I just went through the same problems........I was told to take the hose and run it over the pump basket to see if the bubbles disappear.........well doing that we figured out that the pipe going into the pump basket was slightly cracked and we also needed a new gasket.........all was going great with no air in the returns, then it came back.......we ended up digging up all the pipes to make sure those were ok...........no air coming in any of those, then we happened to look in the skimmer and noticed a vortex in skimmer and realized we needed to raise our water level more and now no bubbles..........Good luck figuring yours out....

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    Re: Using plumbers putty to fix small air leak on returns?

    Thanks for the reply. For sure there is no vortex in the skimmer. I'll be vacuuming this morning so I'll be turning the drain down half way. If tere are bubbles in pump basket that means its inthe input side?
    18x36 inground vinyl lined, Hayward sand filter and tablet chrolinator, approx 18k gallon

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    Re: Using plumbers putty to fix small air leak on returns?

    If tere are bubbles in pump basket that means its inthe input side?
    That's correct. It's called a suction side air leak. Pump running, air can only be drawn into the system between the pump and the skimmers/main drain.

    The water leak you have above the pump is on the pressure side and, when you shut the pump off, it can also allow air in the system but the pressure side cannot let air in as long as the pump is running.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Using plumbers putty to fix small air leak on returns?

    Any thoughts on why it started the first time I vacuumed? Too much suction putting more strain on pump basket o-ring? I'll be lubing and cleaning that ring today.

    I was told by pool guy who opened it to close the drain about half to 3/4 closed to get more suction on vacuum.
    18x36 inground vinyl lined, Hayward sand filter and tablet chrolinator, approx 18k gallon

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    Re: Using plumbers putty to fix small air leak on returns?

    Does the air go away when you fully open the main drain line, and don't have the vacuum hose in the skimmer?

    If so the pump may be cavitating slightly.

    If the air remains, examine the plumbing junction at the inlet (suction side) to the pump. You may have disturbed the seal taking off the tight lid.

    You can test by rubbing a little putty around the seam. Since it's on the suction side the pump will tend to suck the putty in, thus sealing the leak!
    In the industry, CSP (Certified Service Professional) by the NSPI and it's successor the APSP. My company services over 600 pools every year. I think the practices regularly espoused on this forum (especially the BBB method) are outstanding; however my comments will be often oriented towards the goal of getting it done, and getting it done right now!

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    Re: Using plumbers putty to fix small air leak on returns?

    Too much suction putting more strain on pump basket o-ring?
    It could be but more commonly it is because the leak is in the vacuum hose
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Using plumbers putty to fix small air leak on returns?

    You may be onto something with the pump inlet. I really had to bang on that pump lid to open it.

    Any specific putty I should use? I've got all kinds sitting around the house.
    18x36 inground vinyl lined, Hayward sand filter and tablet chrolinator, approx 18k gallon

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    Re: Using plumbers putty to fix small air leak on returns?

    In answer to your question. No, plumbers putty will not usually work for high pressure or vacuum applications. It works on two principals, filling the small voids between surfaces, there has to be enough surface area between the two parts to obtain the seal, and that it is hydrophobic which helps to keep the water from entering between the two parts. This is the same principal as the wax-seal under the toilet; however, the wax has more structure and isn't normally exposed to high temps... a funny, pour several gallons of extremely hot water down your toiler... the seal will fail... big stinky mess comming! Happened to a customer of Grandpa's, they were canning and decided to pour the boiling water out in the toilet - What a mess!

    -wc
    -WC
    Intex Ultraframe 14'x3.5-Round (4000ish-gal) AG - Vinyl - Intex 5667EG Sand Filter 1600gph :)
    ( retired: 637R Crtrge 1000gph someday it may have another life as a water fountain... or feet washer! Solar Water Heater? )

    :mrgreen: Click here to Goto Pool School. :scratch: How Much Of What? Click Here - Poolcalculator.com :lookhere: TestKits

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    Re: Using plumbers putty to fix small air leak on returns-fi

    FIXED! See OP.
    18x36 inground vinyl lined, Hayward sand filter and tablet chrolinator, approx 18k gallon

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