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Thread: Need help with plumbing vacuum air leak

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    Need help with plumbing vacuum air leak

    I just installed a new 2 speed 3/4hp Superflo pump, and my air leak that I had before has grown worse, I think due to this pump working better than the last pump.

    Air is leaking in at both high and low speeds. I wrapped a lot of electrical tape around all of the exposed plumbing fittings on the vacuum side hoping it would at least slow the air leak enough for me to find the faulty connection, but the rate the air leaked in never changed.

    I also turned off the valve on the return line for the deep end drain (pictured on the right, coming out of the ground), and that did not change the leak rate.

    So I think the leak is most likely located underground, somewhere between the skimmer, and the pump.

    Is there anything I can do to confirm the leak location without digging? The only good news is I'm already preping for a lawn remodel next month, so I'm not worried about the lawn.

    Here are pictures and videos to help show my setup.









    Video of Strainer Basket at High Speed:
    http://youtu.be/M06jiPc0y1M

    Video of Strainer Basket at Low Speed:
    http://youtu.be/0tHmYa-RzY0
    30K gal, 18x40 IG vinyl, 2 Speed 3/4hp Pentair Superflo Pump, Hayward S-244T Sand filter, BBB, TF-100

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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with plumbing vacuum air leak

    Is the drain plug(s) on the pump basket sealed well?

    Did you lubricate the o-ring on the basket lid well?

    Next you can use a wet rag and wrap that around the different joints of the suction side of the pump's plumbing to see if the air lessens. I would do this on high.
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with plumbing vacuum air leak

    Did you lube the o-ring on the pump basket?
    The water looks a little low in skimmer maybe. No vortex in there?

    The ball valve that you closed is a union-type that can be unscrewed from the pipe. Might be good to check that the o-rings in there are not cracked and letting in air.

    Before digging, I would even suggest replacing the plumbing going into the pump and using either a real pool 3-way valve or 2 pool 2-ways on the floor and skimmer so that you can be sure to isolate each one.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Need help with plumbing vacuum air leak

    Quote Originally Posted by linen
    Is the drain plug(s) on the pump basket sealed well?

    Did you lubricate the o-ring on the basket lid well?

    Next you can use a wet rag and wrap that around the different joints of the suction side of the pump's plumbing to see if the air lessens. I would do this on high.
    Every O-ring was lubricated at installation (Yesterday), drain plugs are tight, and I can see the air coming into the strainer basket from the plumbing, also when I turn the pump off, the plumbing continues to burp into the strainer basket.
    30K gal, 18x40 IG vinyl, 2 Speed 3/4hp Pentair Superflo Pump, Hayward S-244T Sand filter, BBB, TF-100

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    Re: Need help with plumbing vacuum air leak

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    Did you lube the o-ring on the pump basket?
    The water looks a little low in skimmer maybe. No vortex in there?
    No Vortex, this was considered.

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    The ball valve that you closed is a union-type that can be unscrewed from the pipe. Might be good to check that the o-rings in there are not cracked and letting in air.
    This is something to look into, I did hand tighten the union, but I did not inspect the O-ring. Good Idea

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    Before digging, I would even suggest replacing the plumbing going into the pump and using either a real pool 3-way valve or 2 pool 2-ways on the floor and skimmer so that you can be sure to isolate each one.
    Thanks, also a good idea
    30K gal, 18x40 IG vinyl, 2 Speed 3/4hp Pentair Superflo Pump, Hayward S-244T Sand filter, BBB, TF-100

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    Re: Need help with plumbing vacuum air leak

    So I think the leak is most likely located underground, somewhere between the skimmer, and the pump
    Don't be in a big hurry to dig. We have daily instances of suction side air leaks reported on the forum. They are in the underground piping I would say less than 1% of the time. Have you checked the drain plugs on the pump basket? The 0-ring on the pump basket is the most common place but I would check and recheck every single above ground connection before I pulled out the first shovel.

    The fitting between the pump and the T that joins the main drain and the skimmers is funky looking. What kind of fitting is that?
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Need help with plumbing vacuum air leak

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    So I think the leak is most likely located underground, somewhere between the skimmer, and the pump
    Don't be in a big hurry to dig. We have daily instances of suction side air leaks reported on the forum. They are in the underground piping I would say less than 1% of the time. Have you checked the drain plugs on the pump basket? The 0-ring on the pump basket is the most common place but I would check and recheck every single above ground connection before I pulled out the first shovel.
    That is good to know. Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    The fitting between the pump and the T that joins the main drain and the skimmers is funky looking. What kind of fitting is that?
    The union or the 90* fitting?
    30K gal, 18x40 IG vinyl, 2 Speed 3/4hp Pentair Superflo Pump, Hayward S-244T Sand filter, BBB, TF-100

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with plumbing vacuum air leak

    I think he meant the 90 degree street elbow.

    Posted from my Droid with Tapatalk ... sorry if my response is short
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with plumbing vacuum air leak

    If all the other suggestions don't pan out...try covering the joints one at a time with shaving cream. If the air bubbles slow down, you've found a leak.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
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    Re: Need help with plumbing vacuum air leak

    think he meant the 90 degree street elbow.
    Yeah, the street elbow (if that's what it is....I just can't tell)

    It's pretty irrelevant but anytime something unusual ( a street elbow is not) is in the system, that's a good place to inspect carefully.

    Does your pump (off) hold prime overnight?
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Need help with plumbing vacuum air leak

    A garden hose is your best friend for finding air leaks. Take the hose without any nozzle on it, get a good stream coming out but NOT FULL FORCE. Run the stream of water on everything on the suction side and kinda cup underneath the pipes with your other hand. Run it on the pump lid as that may have hairline crack in it, suction port fitting, all valves and drain plugs. Usually you will find the culprit doing this.

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    Re: Need help with plumbing vacuum air leak

    UPDATE!

    Leak found!! It turns out the air was leaking in at the union on the front of the pump. I found it by running water over the fittings.

    Union removed and replaced and all is working perfect!

    Thanks for the help!!

    -Kurt
    30K gal, 18x40 IG vinyl, 2 Speed 3/4hp Pentair Superflo Pump, Hayward S-244T Sand filter, BBB, TF-100

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    Re: Need help with plumbing vacuum air leak

    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
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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