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Thread: Issues with losing pump prime

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    Issues with losing pump prime

    Fairly new to the forum. I have a Hayward super pump and a jacuzzi filter on our 18x36 ig pool. We have a large solar array on our roof controlled by a automatic solar controller. Just some background.

    My issue is that last fall I kept losing the prime at the pump. I replaced the check valve before the pump and it helped a bit, but this spring, it was doing it again. I decided that my next course of action was to replace the two filter o rings and see if that helped. It didn't. I can hear a hissing sound coming from the multiport at the top of the filter. Could it be the spider gasket?

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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    Re: Issues with losing pump prime

    The air you hear is coming from the suction side of your system...somewhere between the skimmer and the pump. Often a bit hard to track down, but find that suction leak and the hissing in the multi-port will stop.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Issues with losing pump prime

    You can try either shaving cream around suspect fittings to see where it is sucked in, or you can try spraying water on the suspect fittings and watch for the air bubbles to stop when you get water on the right place.

    Ike
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Issues with losing pump prime

    Is that hissing sound with pump off? And does it look like you're losing water? The reason I ask is that someone else here in the last few days discovered the multiport was leaking to waste and since it was hard plumbed he didn't see a puddle. If you meet those conditions, I could see you losing water with the pump off, maybe even siphoning it out of the pump and causing it to lose prime.

    Otherwise, check the usual suspects: low water level, stuck weir in the skimmer, loose drain plugs on the pump, poor seal on the pump strainer basket, and leaks at the fittings, especially any couplings.
    [center:3hpcfz2u][youtube:3hpcfz2u]vtSmfws0_To[/youtube:3hpcfz2u][/center:3hpcfz2u]
    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: Issues with losing pump prime

    Here is the suction side setup for our pool inside our garage. The gate at the left is to our deep end drains, the right to our skimmer. I have heard these types of gate valves are lousy. I replaced the backflow rubber inside the piping going from the pump to the 2 suction lines. Should I just bite the bullet and replace the two gates (I hate them anyways so it won't break my heart if I have to replace them).



    I also have 2 ball valves outside my garage in our pool area that also control the skimmer and deep end drains for ease of use when I am vac'ing the pool. I added those two years ago. They are the Lowe's style ball valves. Could it be that they are not made for used in a pool environment?



    Here is the pic of my entire pump house setup, including solar piping, etc.



    Lee

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Issues with losing pump prime

    Wow, lots and lots of couplings. I see a can of shaving cream in your weekend.
    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: Issues with losing pump prime

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320
    Is that hissing sound with pump off? And does it look like you're losing water? The reason I ask is that someone else here in the last few days discovered the multiport was leaking to waste and since it was hard plumbed he didn't see a puddle. If you meet those conditions, I could see you losing water with the pump off, maybe even siphoning it out of the pump and causing it to lose prime.

    Otherwise, check the usual suspects: low water level, stuck weir in the skimmer, loose drain plugs on the pump, poor seal on the pump strainer basket, and leaks at the fittings, especially any couplings.
    [center:35avtn21][youtube:35avtn21]vtSmfws0_To[/youtube:35avtn21][/center:35avtn21]
    I had an issue a few years ago that I was backflushing to waste was trickling out. I plumbed a shutoff right at the waste line to eliminate that possibility of a leak.

    Yes, the hissing is when it starts to back drain. Very quiet.

    Let me ask a supremely dumb question...I have been fixing a leak on the pool and dropped the level below my skimmer. So far, I have been using just the deep end side to get it filtering. The gate and ball valves are both closed on the skimmer side. Could it be that the gate valve is causing the issue? Wouldn't the check valve catch and not allow it to back drain.

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    Re: Issues with losing pump prime

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320
    Wow, lots and lots of couplings. I see a can of shaving cream in your weekend.

    I may just bit the bullet and simplify it by cutting out the gate valves. and just going straight to outside the garage. I think it would be the easiest and most thorough way of fixing it once and for all.

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Issues with losing pump prime

    Quote Originally Posted by bigdaddy72
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320
    Wow, lots and lots of couplings. I see a can of shaving cream in your weekend.

    I may just bit the bullet and simplify it by cutting out the gate valves. and just going straight to outside the garage. I think it would be the easiest and most thorough way of fixing it once and for all.
    Not if they're not the problem.

    An hour spent diagnosing it thoroughly could save two or three hours changing good parts unnecessarily. And a lot of money.
    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: Issues with losing pump prime

    How do I do the "shaving cream test"?

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Issues with losing pump prime

    Anywhere you suspect a leak, coat it with shaving cream. When it tries to suck in air, it will suck in the cream and you might see it happening. Or it might seal it up and you won't hear that hissing. So do them one at a time.
    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: Issues with losing pump prime

    I assume you do this while the pump is running? I really appreciate you assistance!!!

    So if it sucks it in, it my be and o ring or structural with the joints, unions or gates?

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Issues with losing pump prime

    Quote Originally Posted by bigdaddy72
    I assume you do this while the pump is running? I really appreciate you assistance!!!

    So if it sucks it in, it my be and o ring or structural with the joints, unions or gates?
    Try it running first. If you start seeing soap suds coming out the returns, you'll know the cream is being drawn in. If you get nothing, try it with the pump off. If the hissing stops or you see the cream developing a hole and it's not dripping off, you'll know it's being drawn in.

    My guess is a gate valve stem seal or an O-ring. Just coat each valve one at a time.

    One problem is your top-mount filter. You don't develop an air pocket like a sidemount filter would, so if you're sucking air, it's not always obvious.
    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: Issues with losing pump prime

    Got it. If it is the gate valve, is there a way to coat the stem seal? It looked like it is a sealed assembly. I thought it was just a replace type of item...

    You mention the top mount filter. I just replaced the two main gaskets last night, but not the spider gasket. I thought that may have been the issue. The pool is 7 years old and has been in great shape. Just minor little issues...

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    Re: Issues with losing pump prime



    This is the pool outside. Solar panels all over the back of the garage heat it nicely.

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    Re: Issues with losing pump prime


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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Issues with losing pump prime

    Quote Originally Posted by bigdaddy72
    Got it. If it is the gate valve, is there a way to coat the stem seal? It looked like it is a sealed assembly. I thought it was just a replace type of item...

    You mention the top mount filter. I just replaced the two main gaskets last night, but not the spider gasket. I thought that may have been the issue. The pool is 7 years old and has been in great shape. Just minor little issues...
    I don't think your type of valve is rebuildable. But cutting and replacing one is better than replacing all, don't you think?
    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: Issues with losing pump prime

    Absolutely. That gate is glued right into the T section. That would mean I would need to replace both gates and the piece with the backflow preventer going into the pump? Is there any way to salvage the T or is replacement the only option.

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Issues with losing pump prime

    Quote Originally Posted by bigdaddy72
    Absolutely. That gate is glued right into the T section. That would mean I would need to replace both gates and the piece with the backflow preventer going into the pump? Is there any way to salvage the T or is replacement the only option.
    Aren't you getting a little ahead of yourself, here? You don't even know where the leak is yet.
    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: Issues with losing pump prime

    Yes and no. Just trying to be ready with what I may encounter. My pool supply is near work, would typical home center ball valves work fine in pool environments? I can get parts easily today, but may not this weekend.

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