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Thread: Air bubbles in the return lines

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    Air bubbles in the return lines

    So I've got air bubbles coming out of the return lines into the pool. When I start the pump, I leave the air vent on the filter open until water comes out, and then I close it (I learned that on this site). Everything looks great, and then about 10-15 minutes later, I've got quite a few air bubbles coming out of both return lines (and the booster pump return as well).

    So air is getting in there somehow. I have identified a leak in the above ground plumbing right before the pump input. But it only leaks when water flows in the opposite direction, right after shutting the pump off. Could that introduce enough air to make it through the pump and filter and to the return lines? Or do the air bubbles mean there is a leak after the pump?

    Also, can air like this contribute to cloudy water? I wouldn't think so, but since I'm in the middle of a pool shock right now, I'd hate to be wrong and be waiting for something that is never going to happen.

    Thanks for any suggestions or further references. I didn't even know that was a problem until I started reading this site!

    -Dave
    ~30,000 gallon 35' x 15' in ground plaster (1975) * 6 hour turnover time (85 gpm) * Sta-Rite Max-E-Pro 1 HP pump P6E6E-206L * Pentair Clean & Clear Plus CCP 420 cartridge filter (150 gpm) * Polaris 280 F5 cleaner + PB4 booster pump

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Air bubbles in the return lines

    Usually air entering the plumbing while running is due to the suction side. If you see water coming out of the plumbing when you shut the pump of, that could certainly be where the air is getting sucked in.

    Do you see air in the pump?
    When the air is entering the pool and you open the filter air valve again does more air come out?

    Posted from my Droid with Tapatalk ... sorry if my response is short
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Air bubbles in the return lines

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    If you see water coming out of the plumbing when you shut the pump of, that could certainly be where the air is getting sucked in.
    OK, good to know. I'll definitely look into repairing that part of the plumbing.

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    Do you see air in the pump?
    Are you talking about that little window area right before the impeller in the pump? If so, yeah, there are a whole bunch of air bubbles in there. What's it supposed to look like? Just straight water?

    When I start the pump, I can see a tube of water pouring into the basket through the window. Then, it starts to form bubbles, or more like turbulent water, as if all the water can't be drawn through the impeller fast enough. I can take a picture if it will help. Once I find my card reader. We're still not completely moved in and I can't seem to find anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    When the air is entering the pool and you open the filter air valve again does more air come out?
    Whoa! Sweet trick! I opened it up and fully expected water to come out and all I got was air. For about 30-60 seconds before water started to come out and then I shut it off again. So that definitely tells me that air is being pushed in at/before the filter.

    And if that air/turbulence at the pump is not supposed to be there, then it sounds like it enters before that as well. Which is exactly where that dang plumbing leak is. But it only leaks when the water runs in reverse.

    Wow, thanks for the help. When I get a chance to tear up my plumbing, I'll post back with the results. And let me know if I have missed anything. I know there is some plumbing underground, but hopefully that's not causing any problems.

    Thanks again!

    -Dave
    ~30,000 gallon 35' x 15' in ground plaster (1975) * 6 hour turnover time (85 gpm) * Sta-Rite Max-E-Pro 1 HP pump P6E6E-206L * Pentair Clean & Clear Plus CCP 420 cartridge filter (150 gpm) * Polaris 280 F5 cleaner + PB4 booster pump

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Air bubbles in the return lines

    You should not see any air in the pump. So you definitely have an air leak on the suction side of the pump. Either in the plumbing or the pump lid gasket or drain plug.

    Posted from my Droid with Tapatalk ... sorry if my response is short
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
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    Re: Air bubbles in the return lines

    I didn't even know the pump had a drain plug! OK, I'll check there as well. Thanks!
    ~30,000 gallon 35' x 15' in ground plaster (1975) * 6 hour turnover time (85 gpm) * Sta-Rite Max-E-Pro 1 HP pump P6E6E-206L * Pentair Clean & Clear Plus CCP 420 cartridge filter (150 gpm) * Polaris 280 F5 cleaner + PB4 booster pump

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Air bubbles in the return lines

    some have drains, not sure about all though.

    Posted from my Droid with Tapatalk ... sorry if my response is short
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
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    Re: Air bubbles in the return lines

    Common one is pump basket cover. Clean and lube up that o-ring really good. Also where it mates. A single piece of small debris can cause an air leak.
    18x36 inground vinyl lined, Hayward sand filter and tablet chrolinator, approx 18k gallon

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    Re: Air bubbles in the return lines


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    Re: Air bubbles in the return lines

    I had that happen to me not long ago. A white stream of water coming out of the returns and bubbles rising to the surface.
    I found the skimmer basket ajar. That corrected it.
    I have no idea why it caused that. It was not sending any air to the pump that I could see. The basket was still under water tilted to one side.
    10,000 gal / Plaster / Cartridge Filter / 1 1/2 HP pump motor/ TF-100 test kit.

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