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Thread: A LOT of air, No Pressure - Livable?

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    happyheathen's Avatar
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    A LOT of air, No Pressure - Livable?

    I posted this onto an existing thread. Sorry, had not read the "start a new thread" policy.

    OK -

    Just installed the 3rd pump in about a year (I get credit for the first kill, the Craigslist seller gets credit for the second).

    While they lasted, they all exhibited the same issue: the basket sump has a visible waterline - as in: :watch the stream of water from the pool hit the opposing wall", with droplets on the underside of the cover.

    Turning it off produces a massive hammer effect, with water spurting out from around the cover.

    The pressure gauge (new Home Depot from the sprinkler section) reads zero. On the last two - the old gauge on the first was rusted, so it is not included in tally. When opened during operation, it would produce much more air than water This applies to the first two, have not opened it on this pump (total run time: 20 minutes (very new install)).

    The line from the skimmer (sole outlet for the pool (drain plumbed to skimmer) is 1 1/2". The line coming from the pad is 2". Not only is the pump 40' from the pool, but all of that 40' is paved. Somebody really, really hated to mow the yard.
    I'm stuck with whatever nightmare plumbing is under there. The valves are 25' from the pump, in a small patch of natural ground. At least they thought of valves needing replacement.

    FWIW: When I removed the filter cover, the resulting fountain would reach 12' - about where the top of the original solar panels were (the Yahoo aerial photo is so old it shows the panels and blue water. Google shows a more recent shot with new roof (no solar) and green water).
    Is 12' a respectable height or does it indicate a 1 1/2 hp is seriously under-performing?

    There is a single leak in my shiny new pipe - the pressure line (now with 3 unions) at the filter inlet.
    Doubt that it affects the air in the basket or the lack of pressure.

    Just out of curiosity: what does a properly functioning pump look like when operating? is any movement of water visible from the cover? When turned off, where does the waterline sit?

    For the big Q:

    As long as there is enough water in the basket to completely cover the impeller's inlet, does this situation absolutely need to be fixed, or can it live a long and somewhat productive life as-is?

    If it ABSOLUTELY MUST be fixed: Can I punch a hole next to the existing skimmer and install a large bucket with a pipe connecting it to the skimmer and then running a pipe along the (paved) surface to the pump? In effect giving the skimmer a new sump (to pick up both the skimmer and drain line) and not bothering to bury the pipe to the pump.
    Or, for that matter, just dropping a 2" Sch 40 pipe into the skimmer sump and running it along the surface?
    If this is viable, I can run the 40' of PVC inside steel pipe for physical protection
    Dave
    Sacramento
    1980's 15,000 Gal IG Plaster; 1 1/2 hp Hayward Northstar; Hayward Swimclear C3025 Cartridge Filter (325 sq ft, nom.); Pentair Legend; Polaris PB4-60; Equipment 40' from pool. p.s.: it's an aye-aye.

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    Re: A LOT of air, No Pressure - Livable?

    Hi, Dave,

    You have a suction side air leak and it needs to be fixed. Air is being sucked into your system somewhere between the skimmer(s) and the impeller of the pump.

    Find that leak (or possibly leaks) and all the issues will be solved. The o-ring around the pump basket lid is the most common source but it could be anywhere between those two points. Make sure the water in your pool is deep enough so the skimmer itself is not sucking in air....just observe it with the pump running.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    happyheathen's Avatar
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    Re: A LOT of air, No Pressure - Livable?

    Thanks -

    But the only surviving bit of the original suction line was about 2" of sch 80 2" - onto which I glued 1/2 of a union. from that union to the skimmer is concrete - and I cannot lift a pickaxe, let alone use it. Even if I could, 40' is beyond reasonable. I have no money to pay someone to excavate the line.

    The only exposed item (well, partially exposed) is the valve which selects pool or spa as input.

    Is there some way to determine if the valve is leaking?

    If the air is allowed to remain, will anything be damaged?

    Would a surface line as described in OP be a reasonable work-around.

    I do not have money - I am trying to live on SS - capital improvements are needed all over the place - digging up 49' of pipe is not an option.
    Dave
    Sacramento
    1980's 15,000 Gal IG Plaster; 1 1/2 hp Hayward Northstar; Hayward Swimclear C3025 Cartridge Filter (325 sq ft, nom.); Pentair Legend; Polaris PB4-60; Equipment 40' from pool. p.s.: it's an aye-aye.

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    Re: A LOT of air, No Pressure - Livable?

    It might cost you next to nothing if it turns out to be a gasket on the pump basket or you need to tighten the drain valve on the basket but it is darn sure costing you on your electricity bill now.

    It is almost impossible for any of us on the forum to track down your leak because it takes onsite detective work....something none of us can do....only you.

    A broken pipe is the least common place to find it but that is always a possibility.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    happyheathen's Avatar
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    Re: A LOT of air, No Pressure - Livable?

    OK -

    I tried placing Saran Wrap (tm) around the valve, the PVC union and the Northstar coupling - none of them indicated anything wanting to hold it - is that a valid test for a suction leak?
    If not, what is? Is there a product that can be added to the inlet and produce some indication of an air leak?
    I am running blind here - this is the only pool equipment I've ever seen (not a CA native), and, before seeing the other thread about air in the basket cover, did not realize it was not supposed to be there (should have realized that - duh)

    Is there a flow meter that could fit into a 2" x 6" hole and give me a GPM?

    And would a line on the surface pose problems for the pump?
    Dave
    Sacramento
    1980's 15,000 Gal IG Plaster; 1 1/2 hp Hayward Northstar; Hayward Swimclear C3025 Cartridge Filter (325 sq ft, nom.); Pentair Legend; Polaris PB4-60; Equipment 40' from pool. p.s.: it's an aye-aye.

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    Re: A LOT of air, No Pressure - Livable?

    Remove the cover on the basket skimmer of the pump and carefully take out the O ring gasket. make sure it is smooth, free of cracks and or slices. Clean out the channel/groove it sits in very well along with the surface it sits on when the cover is screwed in place. now smear a liberal coating of vaseline in the channel and all over the gasket before resetting it in the channel/groove. Fill the basket to the top with water and screw the cover back on, open the valves and let er rip. You should now be sure that no air is being sucked in that way.
    Above ground 24', 15,600 gal, sand filter, (unsure of GPH)

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    happyheathen's Avatar
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    Re: A LOT of air, No Pressure - Livable?

    Thanks -

    This brings up another "I didn't know that": I cannot fill the basket sump all the way to the top - the water flows out the suction line. Is that a problem? At least I know to fill is as far as possible. I am not going to ask why a pump would have both "Self-Priming" and "Fill with water before starting".

    This one has a ribbed ring on the cover I checked it and its mating surface - no signs of problems - will smear some vaseline on it.
    I did lube the Northstar's unions o-rings with vaseline (do not have proper lube handy).

    I tried the saran test on the cover as well - except for the kickback when stopping (another indication of air - water won't compress enough to produce that much pressure, will it?) it does not leak.


    I suspect the sch 80 PVC union (from a real plumbing supply, not some big-box "stuff"). I'm going to wrap a layer of teflon thread tape around the mating pieces and then re-assemble it. If it gets deformed or ends up in the basket, I know the culprit.
    If that doesn't work, I'll pack all connections with plumber's putty and see if any holes show up.

    At least I have the old junk pump I can toss in to mix chemistry, but I'll miss the skimmer
    Dave
    Sacramento
    1980's 15,000 Gal IG Plaster; 1 1/2 hp Hayward Northstar; Hayward Swimclear C3025 Cartridge Filter (325 sq ft, nom.); Pentair Legend; Polaris PB4-60; Equipment 40' from pool. p.s.: it's an aye-aye.

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    Re: A LOT of air, No Pressure - Livable?

    Ah sorry, I did not notice that you have an in ground pool. Pump is above water level so it will flow out.

    Still if you have a valve on both the suction and return and they are both closed I don't see why you should not be able to fill the basket with water.

    Force of habit for me to put water into any pump before I start it on the theory that it's better than starting it dry.

    In any case lubing up the gasket is a good idea.
    Above ground 24', 15,600 gal, sand filter, (unsure of GPH)

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    happyheathen's Avatar
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    Re: A LOT of air, No Pressure - Livable?

    I have a somewhat different setup - there are no separate lines for skimmer and drain - the drain is routed into the skimmer - a neat solution to both suction entrapment and water below skimmer entrance problems.
    The only valve on the input selects either pool or spa as input - there is no option to close the line - either setting will have the same result - in one case the water from the basket goes to the skimmer; in the other it would go to the spa drain.
    The return valve is the same - chose one - no option for "none". The only line with an open/close valve is the booster (why a valve on a line operated by a pump is another mystery - how much leakage could get through the 1" hose, a stopped booster pump and back through another 1" hose? If I ever get a properly functioning pump, I'll find out.
    Dave
    Sacramento
    1980's 15,000 Gal IG Plaster; 1 1/2 hp Hayward Northstar; Hayward Swimclear C3025 Cartridge Filter (325 sq ft, nom.); Pentair Legend; Polaris PB4-60; Equipment 40' from pool. p.s.: it's an aye-aye.

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