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Thread: OK So everything going great, but suction side air leak?

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    OK So everything going great, but suction side air leak?

    HI guys,

    Thanks to TFP my pool is looking clear and clean after shocking and it is ready to swim (except of course it is only 65 degrees in the water since it is so cool this weekend). Anyway, my only problem is I believe to be a suction side air leak. There are a small amount of bubbles coming out of the return closest to the pump and none from the others. If I leave my pump off for a few hours it loses prime. Me thinks these are symptoms of a suction side air leak. I don't see any bubbles in the little window of the thing before my pump basket, but then through the clear pump basket lid I see a whirlpool kinda bubble in the center that I just can't get rid off really. I have checked the ring on the lid, lubed it up, cleaned it, but no luck. The drain plug is in tight too. Not sure where the leak is. Any suggestions on how to figure this out. I poured water over it and nothing happened. I want to set my pump timer but I am afraid if I set it I will lose primer when off and then run the pump dry when on, so I am running my pump 24/7 right now. Suggestions?
    32000 Gallon 18'X40' Rectangular Gunite pool. Pentair 60sqft DE filter. Electric heat pump. Aquamatic Pool Cover.

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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    Re: OK So everything going great, but suction side air leak?

    Suction side leaks are very common and very hard to find sometimes. You simply have to check EVERYTHING between the water height in the skimmer (so it's not sucking air) then every connection and joint right up to the pumps impeller. Sometimes the impeller can be clogged and show similar symptoms,

    What is your operating psi currently?
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: OK So everything going great, but suction side air leak?

    My Psi is 10 without my heat pump and 20 with my heat pump in line. That is the clean pressure. What is the best way to check for air leaks?
    32000 Gallon 18'X40' Rectangular Gunite pool. Pentair 60sqft DE filter. Electric heat pump. Aquamatic Pool Cover.

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    Re: OK So everything going great, but suction side air leak?

    Well, those are good pressures so it seems your pump is producing a good volume of water and not TOO much air. (so it is VERY doubtful your impeller is impeded.)

    As I said above, you simply have to start at the skimmer and work your way methodically at each joint and seal. Sometimes you can slowly pour water over them to see if the bubble in the pump basket disappears. Some folks use shaving cream around the joints to see if they see suction.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: OK So everything going great, but suction side air leak?

    Thanks. Seems like their should be a better way to figure this out. Water method hasn't worked for me. I guess I can try shaving cream.
    32000 Gallon 18'X40' Rectangular Gunite pool. Pentair 60sqft DE filter. Electric heat pump. Aquamatic Pool Cover.

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    alanpaul's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
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    Re: OK So everything going great, but suction side air leak?

    bolleat,
    Valves can be the culprit.
    Some require lubricating.
    In our case, we have a (now-immovable) ball valve that sucks air. I stopped the air leak by prying off the round inset cap on the handle, cutting a 1 1/2" square of heavy plastic bag (from pool salt), placing it across the handle, under the round cap (it extends beyond the cap), and putting the cap back on.
    No more air in the system. But it took time and trial to find the source.
    Good luck to you, and success.
    Alan
    Alan in Wellington, FL - near West Palm Beach
    15,200 gal IG, painted plaster, 1988; 200 SqFt cartridge filter, 2013; 1.5 HP 1-speed pump (uprated), 2005; heat pump, 2005;
    soon to repair (dead) SWG AquaRite T-15 cell, 2005, and replace (dead) suction-side cleaner, 2005.
    Almost everything died this winter 2012-'13, and I know we shouldn't complain... but, Arrgh!

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    Vette's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
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    Ohio
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    Re: OK So everything going great, but suction side air leak?

    Alan, that is exactly why I don't like ball valves.
    11,700 gallon 21' round 54" deep all-resin AGP - June 2012
    Waterway 1HP 2-speed pump / 100 sq ft cartridge filter
    Hayward 150,000btu Natural Gas heater
    I use and recommend the TF-100 for testing

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