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Thread: New pump, suction problem

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    New pump, suction problem

    Hi all,

    I posted last week looking for suggestions on a replacement pump for my pool. I went with the Pentair Superflo VS.

    Hubby (who installed old Purex Whisperflo) installed this one as well. It's getting power, all OK there, but the pump is not priming. There is no water filling basket. We put the hose in the basket to fill and left it on for about 5 minutes, although the level came up to about 3/4 full, as soon as we removed the hose, water level dropped to about half. Turned on pump, still nothing coming up from the pool.

    Anyhow, nothing else has changed. He literally took off the old pump and replaced the new pump in the same day so I'm not sure how the line could get clogged and I would think if the line was clogged, the pump basket would eventually fill up when we use the hose. You think?

    I called Pentair because I was thinking something was set incorrectly but the written instructions said hit Start and it will prime for 3 minutes at 3400RPM if it was off from power completely (we had the breaker off so I would assume that was off). He told me that I need someone to come out and setup the panel on the pump (I thought I'd ask you all first) but when questioned some more, he said it should start priming if I hit Start and Increase the RPM. That didn't help either.

    So there you have it. Is there something I can do to test air leaks or some way I can fill the returns to the pool to make sure it's not plumbing? There was no activity pool side, no suction at skimmer basket at all. Pump has a nice hum but that's it.

    Help!!
    Temecula, CA
    16X32 (approx) 20k gal, DE filter, IG, plaster/pebble with diving board & slide
    Whisperflo pump; Pentair SMBW 4000 Series filter... that's all I know! Still learning....

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Re: New pump, suction problem

    Possibly a stuck skimmer weir or a suction side air leak or maybe a closed valve?

    You can try using a garden hose to run water on the suction side to see if that makes a difference.

  3. Back To Top    #3

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    Re: New pump, suction problem

    Thanks James, you mean I could put the garden hose in my skimmer and run water into it? I only have the one skimmer and the main drain. I don't have a weir (that's the door on the skimmer) so I can only think it's a suction side airleak. There is air coming out on the motor side of the pump but I thought maybe that was a fan to keep it from running too hot. (Too much time with computers, my mind goes to that).
    Temecula, CA
    16X32 (approx) 20k gal, DE filter, IG, plaster/pebble with diving board & slide
    Whisperflo pump; Pentair SMBW 4000 Series filter... that's all I know! Still learning....

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New pump, suction problem

    You will never be able to fill the pump basket if the pump is above the pool water level. You can only fill it up to the bottom of the suction port.

    Verify that the drain plugs and pump basket lid are lubed and sealed.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: New pump, suction problem

    I see two things. One: you tried filling the strainer basket, and the water went down. Did it overflow? Or did it just get so high and stop, and then drain down? What should have been happening is the water just flowed backwards out the plumbing to the skimmer, and when you shut the hose off, it drained to the level of the inlet and that was the end of that. If that is the case, then you can probably rule out plumbing problems or air leaks.

    Two: the pump just hums. Not good. You should definitely know that motor is spinning. No chance the wiring was connected incorrectly?

    Rule of thumb for mechanics (and others): the last thing you worked on is the first thing that breaks. You didn't work on the plumbing. You didn't work on the wet end of the pump. You did work on the motor and the wiring. I'd start looking there.
    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.
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    Re: New pump, suction problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    You didn't work on the plumbing. You didn't work on the wet end of the pump. You did work on the motor and the wiring. I'd start looking there.
    Note that the entire pump was replaced, which means that some of the suction side plumbing had to be redone.

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    Re: New pump, suction problem

    Quote Originally Posted by grrltraveler View Post
    There is air coming out on the motor side of the pump but I thought maybe that was a fan to keep it from running too hot.
    The pump does have a totally enclosed fan cooled (TEFC) motor. It has a fan on the back to keep it cool. So, the airflow is normal.

    I would suggest using a hose to run some water over the pump lid, where the plumbing goes into the pump, and over the suction valves (skimmer and main drain valves) while the pump is on to see if that makes a difference.

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    Re: New pump, suction problem

    Thanks for all your responses.

    Hubby did some reading on this site and mentioned that he did not "lube the O rings" on the two connections. Would this be enough to cause an issue due to not fitting properly? If so, he is going to remove tomorrow and lube. Do you think he should replace the o-rings, would they get damaged from not lubing them?

    Thanks James for clarifying about the fan and we will try the hose suggestion.
    Temecula, CA
    16X32 (approx) 20k gal, DE filter, IG, plaster/pebble with diving board & slide
    Whisperflo pump; Pentair SMBW 4000 Series filter... that's all I know! Still learning....

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New pump, suction problem

    If you are talking about o rings in the union fittings connecting the pipe to the pump, those do not need any lubrication.

    But verify they are seated properly.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
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  10. Back To Top    #10

    Re: New pump, suction problem

    A note about the sound: A variable speed pump will sound different from your old pump. Therefore, you can't necessarily tell much from that unless you have heard a variable speed pump run. However, it probably wouldn't hurt to double check the voltage supply, as suggested by Richard320, to rule that out as a possible cause.

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    bobodaclown's Avatar
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    Re: New pump, suction problem

    Another thing to use to find a suction leak is shaving cream.
    17K Kidney Shaped Pool Concrete (Diamond Bright) Pool, 3/4 hp 2 speed 115V Sta-rite Duraglas PEA5D-180L/P2R5D-181L (Impeller C105-92PS Diffuser C1-216P), 1.5 piping, Pentair CC100 Filter , Heat Siphon 100K BTU Heat Pump Pool Heater, Flow meter Blue White Flowmeter Model No. F-30150P, Hayward Astrolight SP0581N, SWCG CalimarTitanium Edition TE45 , Dolphin Nautilus Plus with CleverClean, Lakeland Florida

  12. Back To Top    #12

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    Re: New pump, suction problem

    Hi all,

    We got some life and some suction, hubby tightened things a lot more.

    Here's what it looks like. I think there's still air - do you? I've added a link to a youtube video so you can see. Plenty of water in the pool, but still air bubbles going into pools from returns.

    http://youtu.be/fcK82lEYh8c

    I've highlighted the panel too - it keeps flashing between that stuff but I don't actually think it's changing per se... just running one speed. Sound about right?

    Thanks
    Anne
    Temecula, CA
    16X32 (approx) 20k gal, DE filter, IG, plaster/pebble with diving board & slide
    Whisperflo pump; Pentair SMBW 4000 Series filter... that's all I know! Still learning....

  13. Back To Top    #13
    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New pump, suction problem

    Yup you are still getting air pulled into the system. How long was it running like this? All that should be gone in a matter of minutes.
    Do you have any pictures not so close tot he pump? I could not see how your plumbing was done attaching to the pump. If it used union fittings and the pipe is not well aligned with the pump face, the oring may not be able to seal properly ... you should not need very much force on those union fittings if things are aligned.

    Try running a water hose over the where the pipe attaches to the front of the pump and see if the air is reduced while running.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: New pump, suction problem

    If the bubbles don't eventually stop coming out of the returns, then you probably still have a small suction side air leak.

  15. Back To Top    #15

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    Re: New pump, suction problem

    Yeah my experience is that it goes in a matter of minutes too. I'll upload another video and it could be alignment. i'll see what I can do with the hose. thanks
    Temecula, CA
    16X32 (approx) 20k gal, DE filter, IG, plaster/pebble with diving board & slide
    Whisperflo pump; Pentair SMBW 4000 Series filter... that's all I know! Still learning....

  16. Back To Top    #16

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    Re: New pump, suction problem

    Ok, 15th time is a charm, maybe I can download some files now. Here are some photos I took, not sure if this is what you are looking for:

    319.jpg
    320.jpg

    For some reason I can only upload the two although they are fairly small. Let me know if you can't see what you need.

    I tried running water over the pipe where it attaches to the pump but it did not reduce the air.

    wow, those photos are HUGE, I obviously did something wrong there. lol
    Temecula, CA
    16X32 (approx) 20k gal, DE filter, IG, plaster/pebble with diving board & slide
    Whisperflo pump; Pentair SMBW 4000 Series filter... that's all I know! Still learning....

  17. Back To Top    #17
    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New pump, suction problem

    So those are the tan screw-on union fittings I expected to see. I would try unscrewing from the front of the pump and see how well it is aligned with the face of the pump ... if it is at too much of an angle, it may not seal.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

  18. Back To Top    #18

    Re: New pump, suction problem

    Also, double check that all of the fittings are glued. Some look like they might have been missed. Although, it might just be that clear glue was used.

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: New pump, suction problem

    Thanks for all your help. We reseated the pump and union fittings and it was still happening although we did not notice the *leak* until after we turned off the pump. In the top photo, where the PVC is coming out of the ground, the second fitting (has light purple glue on it - looks like two fittings together) was hissing after we turned off the pump. Hubby put his hand over it and it definitely was air... He is in the process of replacing that section again. I'll keep you posted but I think this will do it. I truly appreciate all your help and quick responses with suggestions on what to try.
    Temecula, CA
    16X32 (approx) 20k gal, DE filter, IG, plaster/pebble with diving board & slide
    Whisperflo pump; Pentair SMBW 4000 Series filter... that's all I know! Still learning....

  20. Back To Top    #20
    bobodaclown's Avatar
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    Re: New pump, suction problem

    Tell husband not to be stingy on the primer and glue. LOL
    17K Kidney Shaped Pool Concrete (Diamond Bright) Pool, 3/4 hp 2 speed 115V Sta-rite Duraglas PEA5D-180L/P2R5D-181L (Impeller C105-92PS Diffuser C1-216P), 1.5 piping, Pentair CC100 Filter , Heat Siphon 100K BTU Heat Pump Pool Heater, Flow meter Blue White Flowmeter Model No. F-30150P, Hayward Astrolight SP0581N, SWCG CalimarTitanium Edition TE45 , Dolphin Nautilus Plus with CleverClean, Lakeland Florida

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