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Thread: Can't get primed

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    Can't get primed

    Hi guys & gals,
    I am a second season owner of a 25'x50' vinyl lined pool. Last (first) season I had a local pool company open the pool and then I took care of it from there with the help of this site. Water was great all season long and I saved a ton of money - thank you!
    I closed it myself last year and filled the lines as full as possible with pool antifreeze. I left the pump and filter open (they are in a shed) so that if there was any freezing there could be expansion. The pool is dirty but way better than what it looked like last year which was like an algae sludge.

    I took the plugs out of the three returns, took the gizmos out of the two skimmers, put everything back together, opened the valves to the skimmer and main drain lines, set the filter switch to recirculate and filled up the pump with water. I have not been able to get the pump primed. I have read that this is most likely an air leak (on the intake side?) but have not been able to determine a source. I feel like there is air escaping around the pump seal plate because the brass fittings are pulling out of the plastic pump housing. However when I turn off the pump and unscrew the strainer cover there seems to be a fair amount of pressure remaining in the system.

    One other thing that I tried was jamming a garden hose into one of the skimmers, only opening its intake valve, and running the water to try to fill the line. The pressure built up until the hose popped off (15ft high stream of water) but the water did not make it to the pump, which was left open. I thought that this was a very bad sign but I can't get any prime from the main drain or other skimmer either.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated, I am not sure where to start and I don't want to call the repair man (or breed mosquitoes).

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Can't get primed

    Quote Originally Posted by crimedog
    One other thing that I tried was jamming a garden hose into one of the skimmers, only opening its intake valve, and running the water to try to fill the line. The pressure built up until the hose popped off (15ft high stream of water) but the water did not make it to the pump, which was left open. I thought that this was a very bad sign but I can't get any prime from the main drain or other skimmer either.
    With the strainer basket lid off and the valves open, if you stuff a hose into a skimmer, you ought to see something coming up out of the strainer. Period. This sounds like a blocked pipe. You didn't leave a plug in the plumbing at the pump end did you?

    Double check the valves are open - it's easy to get confused if they're three-ways - and the next step is a drain king from the strainer end. Or maybe a plumber's snake.
    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: Can't get primed

    Thanks for the response. I picked up a drain bladder but it wouldn't fit down my skimmer, need to try the small one. If not I'll snake. I actually tried on the pump end (pulled hose off the filter and jammed down there, and my pump housing popped off the pump!

    So, I guess the question now is whether I should just replace in the pump housing ($160ish) or replace the whole thing with a multi speed pump? Any recommendations?

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    Location
    San Dimas, CA (LA County)
    Posts
    18,768

    Re: Can't get primed

    Quote Originally Posted by crimedog
    Thanks for the response. I picked up a drain bladder but it wouldn't fit down my skimmer, need to try the small one. If not I'll snake. I actually tried on the pump end (pulled hose off the filter and jammed down there, and my pump housing popped off the pump!

    So, I guess the question now is whether I should just replace in the pump housing ($160ish) or replace the whole thing with a multi speed pump? Any recommendations?
    Sorry, no. Pumps are not my field.

    On the other hand, if you were able to build up that much pressure in the pump, it's a good bet you do have a blockage somewhere down the line.
    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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