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Thread: Help! Husband deployed, pump not working right???

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    Help! Husband deployed, pump not working right???

    I really appreciate any help anyone can offer with our pool. It is a 30,000 gallon in-ground pool with a DE filter. We also have a small filter bowl for a ray-vac. Normally when you turn the pump on (it's a Challenger pump), it all kicks in and starts cycling the water within a minute or so. Now the pump runs and the pressure gauge bounces around like it wants to start, and water trys to cycle in the little basket, but it takes like 20 min. to actually start running. We just opened the pool this past Friday. TodayI was watching the pressue gauge while everything was up and running and the gauge would randomly bottom out at zero and then jump back up to where it was before. I have no idea what's going on? The only other thing I noticed that I don't ever remember happening before is when we turn the pump on and it is strugging to get going, air bubbles come out of the hole in the pool where we hook the rayvac hose (it's not attached yet). I feel like I've checked and rechecked things a million times. If anyone can help I would be ever so grateful! Thank you!

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Husband deployed, pump not working right???

    First thing I'd try is unscrewing the lid off the pump strainer basket and then cleaning and lubing the O ring inside then screw it back on tight after maybe manually filling it full of water.
    16x32x52" Steel Cornelius Miramar AGP Vinyl liner 13,100 gal. Buried 2 ft.
    2 Speed Hayward Power-Flo Matrix 85 g.p.m. 22" 250lb. sand filter hard plumbed
    Pool Rover Jr., Pool Blaster Max, Diver Dave TF100 Test Kit/Speed Stir
    Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker, Liqour Chiller, & Drink Mixer & Party Tub----Collect 'um all!

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Husband deployed, pump not working right???

    That surging is usually caused by an air leak. Don't miss the obvious ones like low water level or a stuck skimmer weir. It will suck the skimmer dry, lose prime and stop pumping which allows the skimmer to refill, and then the cycle starts again.
    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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    CUTiger78's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Husband deployed, pump not working right???

    After following WoodyP & Richard's tips, see if you can close a valve to the ray-vac hole and see what happens. If ya can't find a valve for that, plug in the ray-vac hose and see what happens. Maybe you're returning more water to the pool than the skimmers/main drain can provide, thus the pump runs out of water & the pressure drops.

    Good luck and welcome to TFP! Don't hesitate to ask for help. There are plenty of folks on TFP ready to help anyone, especially a family with a deployed GI. With your DH away, you certainly don't need any additional worries from your pool.

    Cheers!
    36K gallon 42X22 gunite/plaster kidney-shaped IG;
    1 hp Hayward Super Pump (new in 2012);
    Hayward S244T sand filter w/ Zeosand (both new in 2009);
    175K BTU LAARS Lite2 LG natural gas heater; Polaris 380;
    TF-100 test kit.

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    Re: Help! Husband deployed, pump not working right???

    Thank you both ... I've tried lubing the o ring and filling the basket with water with no success. How often do you need to replace the o ring? Is there a way to tell if it's gone bad? As for leaks, I don't see anything obvious or with the skimmers. I do have a broken skimmer door on one of the skimmers, could that cause a problem? If there is a leak somewhere else how do you tell? Once the pump is running for a while it no longer does the bottom out thing, that seems to only happen when it first starts up. Would that make a difference? Thank you again so much for all your suggestions!

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Husband deployed, pump not working right???

    Quote Originally Posted by seeberger
    Thank you both ... I've tried lubing the o ring and filling the basket with water with no success. How often do you need to replace the o ring? Is there a way to tell if it's gone bad? As for leaks, I don't see anything obvious or with the skimmers. I do have a broken skimmer door on one of the skimmers, could that cause a problem? If there is a leak somewhere else how do you tell? Once the pump is running for a while it no longer does the bottom out thing, that seems to only happen when it first starts up. Would that make a difference? Thank you again so much for all your suggestions!
    The O-ring will feel hard, and there will be hairline cracks in it when it's bad.

    A missing skimmer door will reduce the efficiency of the skimming action, but won't cause starvation issues. Leak detection is done by the "bucket test". Use the search function to read up on that.

    What kind of filter do you have? You might have air compressed in the tank, which will fight the pump when it tries to prime, as well as force water out of the filter when the pump is off. But that is all speculation because you haven't filled out the signature so we have a clue what type of equipment you have.
    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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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Husband deployed, pump not working right???

    That broken weir door would only be a problem if you have water "whirlpooling" and sucking air down the skimmer hole.. If so, try raising your water level and see if it stops.
    16x32x52" Steel Cornelius Miramar AGP Vinyl liner 13,100 gal. Buried 2 ft.
    2 Speed Hayward Power-Flo Matrix 85 g.p.m. 22" 250lb. sand filter hard plumbed
    Pool Rover Jr., Pool Blaster Max, Diver Dave TF100 Test Kit/Speed Stir
    Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker, Liqour Chiller, & Drink Mixer & Party Tub----Collect 'um all!

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    Re: Help! Husband deployed, pump not working right???

    Thank you also for the ray-vac tips. I did try closing the valve and also attaching the hose, but unfortunately there was no change. Do you think there could maybe be a clog somewhere? I'm sorry I didn't know about the signature, I will take care of that. What do you do about compressed air if that could be the problem?

    30,000 gallon in-ground with waterfall
    DE filter, Challenger pump, Ray-vac
    Pool install approx. 1989/1990

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Husband deployed, pump not working right???

    On top of the filter, where the gauge is, there should be some kind of air bleed. On mine, there's a big collar you push down on and turn - sort of like a child-proof pill bottle - and air will come out the port on the side of it.When water starts spraying out, close it up again. You do it while it's running.
    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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    CUTiger78's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Husband deployed, pump not working right???

    Can you isolate the suction sources (skimmers, main drain) one at a time to see if one of them appears to cause the problem?
    36K gallon 42X22 gunite/plaster kidney-shaped IG;
    1 hp Hayward Super Pump (new in 2012);
    Hayward S244T sand filter w/ Zeosand (both new in 2009);
    175K BTU LAARS Lite2 LG natural gas heater; Polaris 380;
    TF-100 test kit.

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    Re: Help! Husband deployed, pump not working right???

    Okay I let air/water out of the valve at the top of the tank. Maybe that will do the trick? I won't know until I turn things off tonight and try to start them up again in the morning.

    I think I can isolate the skimmers ... do you mean covering up one of the holes in the skimmers one at a time and see what happens? I'm just not sure what I should be looking for?

    I appreciate so much all of the help from everyone!!

    30,000 gallon in-ground pool with waterfall
    DE filter, Challenger pump, Ray-vac

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    CUTiger78's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Husband deployed, pump not working right???

    I was thinking that maybe you could close a valve for each skimmer to see if the pump worked better with any of them shut off.
    36K gallon 42X22 gunite/plaster kidney-shaped IG;
    1 hp Hayward Super Pump (new in 2012);
    Hayward S244T sand filter w/ Zeosand (both new in 2009);
    175K BTU LAARS Lite2 LG natural gas heater; Polaris 380;
    TF-100 test kit.

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    Re: Help! Husband deployed, pump not working right???

    Hmmmm... I don't think I have a separate valve for each skimmer. I actually did try closing off a hole in the skimmer in the deep end(not the one from the main drain in the bottom of the pool, but the other one) just to see if it would make any difference, but it started to cut the pump off when I did this?? Does that mean anything or is that expected?


    30,000 gallon in-ground pool with waterfall
    DE filter, Challenger pump, Ray-vac

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    CUTiger78's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Husband deployed, pump not working right???

    Quote Originally Posted by seeberger
    Does that mean anything or is that expected?
    I'm not sure. If you've only got the one suction line and you blocked it off, then yes, I think that would be expected. I have two suction lines - one is the deep skimmer/main drain combo, the other is the shallow skimmer. If I close the valve on either line, the pump won't cavitate and the pressure guage doesn't bounce around. But, I can't pass judgement on yours without knowing how it's plumbed or it's normal behavior.

    Maybe one of the resident experts has a better idea.

    Good luck!
    36K gallon 42X22 gunite/plaster kidney-shaped IG;
    1 hp Hayward Super Pump (new in 2012);
    Hayward S244T sand filter w/ Zeosand (both new in 2009);
    175K BTU LAARS Lite2 LG natural gas heater; Polaris 380;
    TF-100 test kit.

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    Re: Help! Husband deployed, pump not working right???

    I actually have two skimmers just like yours, combo in the deep end and one in the shallow. If I cut one off (not the main drain), then after a few seconds the pressure drops on the filter and it acts like it's going to cut off. I really losing my mind on this. I've tried all the suggestions and today went and bought a new O ring and a new skimmer door to replace the broken one. I'm grasping at straws to see if anything will work. What's weird is the past two mornings everything started circulating after only 5 min, instead of 20 or 30. Then tonight I went to backwash and couldn't get things circulating again at all. I finally gave up. The pump is kicking on and seems to be running fine, could it be going bad for some reason? Do they lose strength over time? I'm also wondering if there could be a clog somewhere in one of the pipes?


    30,000 gallon in-ground pool with waterfall
    DE filter, Challenger pump, Ray-vac

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Husband deployed, pump not working right???

    Quote Originally Posted by seeberger
    I actually have two skimmers just like yours, combo in the deep end and one in the shallow. If I cut one off (not the main drain), then after a few seconds the pressure drops on the filter and it acts like it's going to cut off. I really losing my mind on this. I've tried all the suggestions and today went and bought a new O ring and a new skimmer door to replace the broken one. I'm grasping at straws to see if anything will work. What's weird is the past two mornings everything started circulating after only 5 min, instead of 20 or 30. Then tonight I went to backwash and couldn't get things circulating again at all. I finally gave up. The pump is kicking on and seems to be running fine, could it be going bad for some reason? Do they lose strength over time? I'm also wondering if there could be a clog somewhere in one of the pipes?


    30,000 gallon in-ground pool with waterfall
    DE filter, Challenger pump, Ray-vac
    It might be time to call in the handy neighbor or friend. You might have a wad of leaves or a chunk of a broken toy - something - in one of the pipes. Running a drain king backwards through the lines from the pump strainer inlet is one way to get it out. I don't think I could walk you through that except in person.
    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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    Pops37's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Husband deployed, pump not working right???

    Just in case here are a couple other things to ck.

    Quote Originally Posted by seeberger
    I ... bought a new O ring and a new skimmer door to replace the broken one. ...
    When you installed the new O ring did you put some silicone lube on it and the threads of the cover? Was there "old" lube that had turned stiff or cakey if so clean off the old lube (paper towel it is a bit gummy) and use fresh lube.

    Are there any drips or leaks at the valves or pipes that you can see when the pump is turned off?
    Gunite/plaster pool w/spa built 1983, 17,000 gal. (depth 3' x 6' x 3') (37' X 16' +spa, stairs & large in-pool bench seat). Arneson (now Hayward) pool vac (rebuilt 3 or 4 times over 30 years), 350k BTU (nat gas) XE heater (in need of a serious herbal cleansing lol), 2HP Marathon pump & filter basket, DE filter NSS-48, air pump for spa bubbles, one skimmer plus in-line filter Hayward CANISTER W560 to the pool vac. Re-plastered May 2013 reinforced quartz (Marbletite) Diamond Bright. Test kit: Taylor K-2006; Bleach

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    Re: Help! Husband deployed, pump not working right???

    Okay ... I'm pretty sure there is a clog somewhere. I do have two areas that are slowly dripping water on the pipes coming out of the filter, but only when the pump is running, not when it's turned off. I went to Home Depot and bought a water bladder to try and blow out the pipes, but the thing blew up instead ... it literally popped so obviously I assume there is a clog?? Any suggestions on how to get to the clog out?

    On another note, what I thought was just dirt in the bottom of the pool from being extra dirty when the pool was opened now appears to be DE. Any thoughts on why DE would be in the pool? Could a clogged pipe cause this for some reason? I have a suspicion the clog is somewhere around where the deep skimmer line and shallow skimmer line come together.

    As always, thank you all so much! It's really nice to know I can come here for help.

    30,000 gallon in-ground pool with waterfall
    DE filter, Challenger pump, Ray-vac

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Husband deployed, pump not working right???

    Now you've got me wondering if the clog isn't inside the filter, like this one: extremely-dirty-d-e-filter-help-t60455.html

    Now, it is possible that you stopped backwashing too soon and there was some residual DE in the plumbing when you resumed filtering and it blew into the pool. How much are we talking about? A couple handfuls? A pile?
    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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    Pops37's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Husband deployed, pump not working right???

    Are you having fun yet Seeberger? LOL leaks on the suction side (pump off) (ie valve or pipes above ground) could have indicated a place for the pump to suck air into the system. Drips from pump area could indicate a crack in the housing or a blown seal. Just like the "O" ring if not lubed w/silicone. Your drips on the pressure side will need to be on your list ( a stitch in time saves nine).

    Burst the bladder WOW. but there is a lot of water down the pipes and it does take pressure to move it so it is possible bladder just failed or it is clogged. Hope you can get a refund.

    DE in pool, well assuming it was not spilled into pool when the filter was charged this would indicate one or more holes in your filter screen or a separated bypass screen on the filter manifold. When was the last time y'all opened the DE filter and cleaned and inspected the grids? Also inspect the manifold for cracks and the bypass screen if you have one. Last time I needed grids I found a good price on either ebay or amazon or you can get at local pool store. They come in different sizes so be sure to note the brand and size on the side of the filter tub.

    You have one main drain and one skimmer is that correct? If so there should be two separate pipe lines (one from each) that come together at the pump with a valve (maybe a ball valve) in each so you can open or close each independently. If this sounds like what you have then you could close the main drain valve and use your garden hose to reverse flush the lines. remove the pump strainer basket and put hose into the hole where the inlet pipe is located. Then with the skimmer valve open look for signs at the skimmer that the water is flowing freely. You may need to wrap a dish towel around the hose to help hold it in place and keep the water going into the pipe. Then reverse (close skimmer valve, open main drain valve) repeat process. It might be hard to tell if water is flowing backwards from main drain unless a cloud of yuck pops out.

    fingers crossed...
    going to go look at your older post to see if you tested skimmer isolated from main or not for cavitation.
    Gunite/plaster pool w/spa built 1983, 17,000 gal. (depth 3' x 6' x 3') (37' X 16' +spa, stairs & large in-pool bench seat). Arneson (now Hayward) pool vac (rebuilt 3 or 4 times over 30 years), 350k BTU (nat gas) XE heater (in need of a serious herbal cleansing lol), 2HP Marathon pump & filter basket, DE filter NSS-48, air pump for spa bubbles, one skimmer plus in-line filter Hayward CANISTER W560 to the pool vac. Re-plastered May 2013 reinforced quartz (Marbletite) Diamond Bright. Test kit: Taylor K-2006; Bleach

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