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Thread: Pump will not prime

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    Pump will not prime

    Today I installed a new filter and pump on an 33,000 gallon in-ground pool. Unfortunately, after getting everything set up, I filled the pump basket with water and ... nothing. The pump apparently will not prime. I tried pouring more water, but, every time I do, it simply drains out of the basket (it appears to drop to the very bottom of the intake line every time). After several attempts with filling, I ran the pump again, and bubbles came out of one return continuously, and nothing out of the other two returns. I would suspect that there is an air leak somewhere, likely as result of the re-plumbing I had to do to accommodate the new filter, however, the one part of the plumbing I did not touch was the suction side of the pump. That remained exactly the same. I am kind of at a loss, and, if I cannot get it running this weekend, I am likely to just cover it up for the year and forget about it.

    If anyone can offer any assistance, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks,

    Chris
    20x40 IG 40,000 gallons, 1.5HP Hayward SP, 48sqft Hayward DE filter

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    Re: Pump will not prime

    Any chance you can post pic of both your new plumbing on the filter and return side as well as the existing plumbing on the suction side?
    Nathan
    15x30 gunite 18k gallons Hayward star clear plus 120sqft cart

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    Re: Pump will not prime

    I have had this happen many times. It's always been the pump basket assembly for me:

    1) The pump basket assembly wasn't far enough into the skimmer intake line. Same exact symptoms as you
    2) o-rings where pipes connect to each other. One time it was kinked up and sticking out of the pipe. Same symptoms.
    3) the pump basket lid has a rubber gasket type thing. This was kinked like the o-ring and sticking out.

    This year I sprayed down every connection with WD-40 (although you are not supposed to use this, there is a lube you should use). That being said, the pump primed on the first shot for me this year.
    25,000 Gallons Inground, Gunite
    DE, Hayward Filter
    Loud pump
    Hayward navigator cleaner, leaf hose suction

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    Re: Pump will not prime

    What has worked for me:
    Open only one suction side valve at a time. Wait till that line is sucking water nicely. Slowly open the next so as not to loose prime. Repeat. One of my suction lines is really long and over time I've determined that this is the quickest way to open the pool in the spring.
    25,000 Gal 16x32 IG vinyl installed 2003, Pentair 340042 1hp two speed pump (2016), Jandy CL460 cartridge filter (original), Rheem 266 NG heater (2012), Polaris 180 cleaner with PB4-60 booster pump (original- give or take a few misc parts), Spears 2412-015W single union ball valves (2013), TF100 test kit. Green monster in 2010, ditched the pool store in 2011. TroubleFreePool ever since.

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    Re: Pump will not prime

    Family Guy - dark by me right now, but I will try to take a picture early in the morning. mpcgmn - unfortunately I do not have the ability to alternate suction side via a valve. They go off and on with the pump (Hayward SuperPump, btw).
    20x40 IG 40,000 gallons, 1.5HP Hayward SP, 48sqft Hayward DE filter

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    Re: Pump will not prime

    I am contemplating jamming a hose down the return line in the pump and attempting to fill the lines that way.
    20x40 IG 40,000 gallons, 1.5HP Hayward SP, 48sqft Hayward DE filter

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    Re: Pump will not prime

    You might be better off trying to flood the skimmer line while trying to achieve prime. But i would check your suction connection as well.
    Nathan
    15x30 gunite 18k gallons Hayward star clear plus 120sqft cart

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    Re: Pump will not prime

    Any chance you have your pump situated 10 maybe more feet uphill of the pool. I macgyvered a number 10 plus (depending on your skimmer plumbing size) expansion rubber plug with a garden hose fitting. Take out the wing nut and screw/washers, drill the appropriate size hole into the rubber,(always alittle bit smaller), and drive that fitting in.
    Then hook up your hose to the fitting, and push that plug into the skimmer making sure all other line s are closed,(ie main drain , other skimmers, vac). Leave your pump basket open and close it up once the water is pushed up into it. Start pump and simultaneously remove plug/primer hose. I t is a 2 person jobby. lol Check your 2 pump draining plugs and your plumbing to the pump for leaks. Gasket for pump lid as well

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    Re: Pump will not prime

    Update on this (still trying to get some pictures of the setup up). I disconnected the suction side of the pump and reassembled and tightened the union on that side. Additionally, I closed off one of the skimmers (I thought the pool wasn't able to close off one, but it turns out that the cap was broken off - found another one and sealed it). The pump actually pulled a steady stream of water, and the near return bubbled like a volcano. I tried opening the second return, and the water flow got stronger, up until the point that the basket filled up entirely. However, that lasted about 5 seconds before the basket water level fell again (still a stream of water being pulled though). I am at a complete loss. I am going to attempt to tighten the unions all the way around, but all of the other ones are on the return side, and not on the suction side, so I am not sure if they will make a difference. Any additional thoughts?
    20x40 IG 40,000 gallons, 1.5HP Hayward SP, 48sqft Hayward DE filter

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    Re: Pump will not prime

    Also - does it matter that I am attempting to do all this in recirculate mode? I have not been able to coat the DE filter with DE, and I did not want to run a lot of dirty water through it without DE in it. And, I did not want to mix up DE and put it in the pool until I was sure that the suction was going to work.
    20x40 IG 40,000 gallons, 1.5HP Hayward SP, 48sqft Hayward DE filter

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    Re: Pump will not prime

    Air leaks in only on the suction side. Being in recirculate mode is fine.

    Are you saying you got the pump to fully prime with just a skimmer open? Your description is hard to follow.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Pump will not prime

    What type of connection do you have at the pump? Is it a hose clamp on black water line?
    Nathan
    15x30 gunite 18k gallons Hayward star clear plus 120sqft cart

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    Re: Pump will not prime

    Sorry for the confusion.

    I had followed a suggestion to open the skimmers one at a time to encourage the pump to prime. Opening one skimmer had initially started the flow of water, and then opening the second resulted in full prime.






    Unfortunately, once the skimmer basket fills up (to virtually no bubbles at the top), the water level immediately drops and the water flow into the pump slows to a slow stream. Then it speeds up again and the pump basket chamber fills again, only to drop immediately. The cycle repeats.

    The connection at the pump is a short run of PVC into a union, which runs into an elbow, into another union, and then into PVC pipe in the ground. I am still working on a picture (unfortunately a ton of tech issues today).

    I was thinking that there must be a leak on the suction side, but the problem with that is that the previous pump did not have this issue, and it was hooked to the exact same suction setup. Let me know if this clears thins up any. I appreciate all of the help thus far.
    20x40 IG 40,000 gallons, 1.5HP Hayward SP, 48sqft Hayward DE filter

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    Re: Pump will not prime

    Excuse me if this sounds like a stupid question. There is enough water in the pool right?
    Nathan
    15x30 gunite 18k gallons Hayward star clear plus 120sqft cart

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    Re: Pump will not prime

    When you combine me and pools there are no stupid questions. However, I believe there is sufficient water in the pool (though it is currently all green algae muck). It is filled slightly past halfway above the center screw on the skimmers.
    20x40 IG 40,000 gallons, 1.5HP Hayward SP, 48sqft Hayward DE filter

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    Re: Pump will not prime

    I'm with Family Guy. Have someone observe the skimmer next time you prime. It sure sounds like you are sucking air down through the skimmer.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  17. Back To Top    #17

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    Re: Pump will not prime

    Is there a way that would happen, even if there is sufficient water in the pool?
    20x40 IG 40,000 gallons, 1.5HP Hayward SP, 48sqft Hayward DE filter

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    Re: Pump will not prime

    Check it out. You are on site and should be able to tell immediately.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: Pump will not prime

    So - you guys are exactly right. It appears that the near skimmer is indeed sucking air. Here is what I found (though not sure how to fix it):

    1) The pool is filled to beyond halfway above the skimmers.
    2) When the pump is off, both the near and the far skimmer are filled with water, to the level of the pool (easily above the skimmer baskets).
    3) When the pump is turned on, the far skimmer appears to operate normally, (water flow and suction).
    4) The near skimmer, however, rips water in violently, and almost immediately the water level inside the skimmer gets entirely sucked away. Additional water pours in, but there is clearly air being pulled as well.
    5) The level of the pool does not drop in the area, meaning that it appears that the water is being sucked out of the skimmer faster than it is let into it.

    Would this indicate a problem with the skimmer? And if so, how would one fix it? I tried to reach around and underneath, but I cannot feel anything that would be blocking it. I am a little cautious with leaning over the pool, because it is a viscous swamp green, and at night I swear I can see Nessie's head poking out of the water. I am either breeding the next swamp thing, or a new generation of antibiotics.
    20x40 IG 40,000 gallons, 1.5HP Hayward SP, 48sqft Hayward DE filter

  20. Back To Top    #20

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    Re: Pump will not prime

    You said you have valves to the skimmers correct? If so try closeing that skimmer valve a bit to restrict intake
    Nathan
    15x30 gunite 18k gallons Hayward star clear plus 120sqft cart

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