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Thread: Small amounts of air in filter system?

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    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Chicago, IL
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    Small amounts of air in filter system?

    Hello TFP forum, glad I found you!

    I could write several pages on my saga in getting this pool up and running over the past week (when I should have been unpacking boxes from our move!), but I'll give the short(er) version. I have a simple question, but I think this background may be useful.

    Purchased a house that came with a 30 foot, circular, above ground pool that probably had not been opened since the 2010 season (in Chicago). I'd guess it is 5 years old or so. I am a reluctant pool owner, I wish the house did not come with this, but here it is.

    Day 1 - Paid a guy $1400 to come "open" the pool which entailed pumping out the nasty water, cleaning out debris, cleaning, sanitizing the liner, etc (still seems expensive given that I was left with a verbal explanation of how things worked and a garden hose hanging in an empty pool) He did hook up the filter, but did not turn it on given there was no water in the pool.

    Day 3 - 5 - Once the water line got high enough, I noticed that the pump was leaking badly (had not turned it on at this point) so went through several iterations of taking it apart - replaced gaskets, broken impeller - before getting it to work properly. I almost threw in the towel and bought a new pump, but glad I did not given that parts were only ~$25 or so. Of course, several days of frustration and multiple trips to the pool store was part of the cost as well.

    Day 6 - 7 - Everything is running well, though I notice that a fair amount of air seemed to be getting into the pump/filter system - even with priming the water level in the pump basket stayed pretty low. Hmmm, the PSI guage was shot, so I tried replacing that hoping it was my source for air leaks. Put it in wrong 3 times(!) before finally getting it right, which entailed filling and draining the filter 3 times - what a mess! Here again I almost threw in the towel on the whole pool. I was ready to tear it down. PSI guage in right, but also still sucking a lot of air. Went through all of my fittings and finally found that a coupling on the intake hose was out of round so that was where the air was coming in. Got a new coupler and problem solved!

    Day 8 (yesterday) - Wife and young daughters (ages 1 and 3.5) finally got to go for a swim and they loved it!

    But here is my question -

    The filter still seems to collect air, though there are no obvious signs of this. I only know because for the heck of it I opened the air valve after a few hours and it took about 35 seconds to start shooting water. Is this normal? Or should it stay mostly air free? Am I at risk of damaging something if I don't go bleed the air a couple of times a day? Pressure seems to run between 8-10 psi and all operations appear quite normal.

    Also is it necessary to run the pump and filter 24/7?

    Thanks for your help, I would have never gotten this far without you!
    Dedicated TFPer since 2012 with recommended test kit
    Above ground, 30 foot round pool, 21,000 gallons
    Hayward 150 sq foot cartridge filter, 1HP Waterway pump
    Raypak 400K BTU NG Heater!
    Installed in 2006? (just a guess, pool came with house I purchased in June 2012)

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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    Re: Small amounts of air in filter system?

    Is this normal? Or should it stay mostly air free?
    A perfect system will stay completely air free. A good system will stay virtually air free and that's what you should shoot for.

    You have a suction side air leak. Somewhere between the pump and the skimmer(s), air is being drawn into your system and it is hurting the efficiency of your system a lot.

    You may have more than one spot but you need to find the leaks(s) along that suction side and your pump basket will fill with water and your returns will send a LOT more water back to your pool.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Small amounts of air in filter system?

    Here's the common air leaks
    1) Pump strainer basket O-ring. It has to be free of cracks and well -lubricated with pool lube. And the lid needs to be tight. I have to tap on the ears of the lid to seat mine completely.
    2) Drain plugs in the pump and strainer are loose
    3) Low water level in the skimmer
    4) Stuck weir (flapper) in the skimmer
    5) hose clamps/ couplers/ pipe fittings.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Small amounts of air in filter system?

    Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    You may have more than one spot but you need to find the leaks(s) along that suction side and your pump basket will fill with water and your returns will send a LOT more water back to your pool.
    To clarify, since I replaced the bad coupler, my basket stays full and the flow on the return probably at least doubled, so the remaining leak must be fairly small as there are no obvious signs of it other than air comes out when I open the valve on the filter.

    Richard - thanks, I did put a new a o-ring on the pump basket, will try tapping on it as well as hitting it with the lube again. But otherwise, skimmer basket water level stays high and I do not see any leaks around the drain plugs.

    Is there any way to visually locate a small leak? I know when I had the problem with the coupler it became obvious when I turned the system off as I could see water spurting from the joint, but I don't see anything like that anymore.
    Dedicated TFPer since 2012 with recommended test kit
    Above ground, 30 foot round pool, 21,000 gallons
    Hayward 150 sq foot cartridge filter, 1HP Waterway pump
    Raypak 400K BTU NG Heater!
    Installed in 2006? (just a guess, pool came with house I purchased in June 2012)

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    Jul 2012
    Location
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    Re: Small amounts of air in filter system?

    Well, you guys were correct as usual. By the time I got home from work the leak was obviously at a coupling of the intake hose. The coupler was cheap and just couldn't hold its shape under that pressure and got progressively more out of round. Got a real one from the hardware store and the pump is just humming along at 12-15 psi. Checked after a couple of hours and zero air in the system!


    Although I did notice a small path of water that appears to originate underneath the pump. It is so small I really can't see, but it may be coming from behind the impeller and slowly dripping down. I assume the gasket behind the impeller is not seated perfectly from my recent replacement and it is now showing itself because the larger air leak has been taken care of, agree?
    Dedicated TFPer since 2012 with recommended test kit
    Above ground, 30 foot round pool, 21,000 gallons
    Hayward 150 sq foot cartridge filter, 1HP Waterway pump
    Raypak 400K BTU NG Heater!
    Installed in 2006? (just a guess, pool came with house I purchased in June 2012)

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