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Thread: Not able to prime Polaris Booster Pump - Need Help!

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    Not able to prime Polaris Booster Pump - Need Help!

    I have a PB4 Booster Pump that suddenly doesn't seem to pump water through to the Polaris sweeper. I had opened the Hayward main pump to remove debris from the basket. Afterwards, I let air out of the filter, recapped the Hayward, then started it up again. It finally primed, but then when I went to turn on the booster pump, it just gave a whining sound like it was running but not pushing water. If I unscrew the polaris from the pool wall, some bubbles are visible coming out of the piping, but they just keep coming. My internet searches have been fruitless, and I'm not having any luck getting this pump to prime again so that I can run my Polaris. Any ideas about what I'm doing wrong?
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Pool Size: 25,000 Gallons (IG)
    Type of Filter: Hayward Max-Flo II
    Pool Surface: Plaster
    Pump Size/Flow Rate: (will update)

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    Re: Not able to prime Polaris Booster Pump - Need Help!

    Here are a few more photos of the setup:




    Pool Size: 25,000 Gallons (IG)
    Type of Filter: Hayward Max-Flo II
    Pool Surface: Plaster
    Pump Size/Flow Rate: (will update)

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Not able to prime Polaris Booster Pump - Need Help!

    It can't be an issue of priming in the usual sense. The main pump must be on when running the booster, and it's flow will prime the booster even if the booster is turned off.

    You have something more complex going on, perhaps an air leak, or a blocked pipe, or broken pipe, or broken pump.

    Do bubbles ever come out of the regular pool returns? There shouldn't be any air in the system at all after the first few minutes. An air leak on the suction side of the booster could cause the problem you describe, but it would also tend to leak when the booster is turned off.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Not able to prime Polaris Booster Pump - Need Help!

    Booster pumps are notorious for mechanical seal leaks. If the seal is leaking it will also typically allow air to enter the pump hence the bubbles you are seeing.

    Do you think the flow of water to the boost pump was blocked or obstructed any time recently?
    Josh Ulfers - josh@saltpoolguys.com - 888-725-8766
    SaltPoolGuys.com - AutoPilot Pool Pilot Systems, Parts & Cells - AquaCal Heat Pumps

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    Re: Not able to prime Polaris Booster Pump - Need Help!

    Thanks for the replies.

    //Do bubbles ever come out of the regular pool returns?//

    Only a little initially when the Max-Flo II lost its prime when I cleaned out the leaves from its basket. Once this main pump is primed, there aren't any bubbles coming out of the main returns.

    //Do you think the flow of water to the boost pump was blocked or obstructed any time recently?//

    I'm not sure. We had a huge storm recently, there was a little bit of flooding by the pool equipment, a ton of leaves and debris in the pool, and that seemed to be about the time that it stopped working. It makes a higher-pitched sound when it runs now, so I'm not sure if that means it's still working and is just blocked, or if part of it is broken.

    I need to understand where the booster pump gets its water...does it receive it from the same line that the Max-Flo II does? If so then it's possible leaves or debris from the storm have blocked the pipe...how can you even get at the stuck debris, though?
    Pool Size: 25,000 Gallons (IG)
    Type of Filter: Hayward Max-Flo II
    Pool Surface: Plaster
    Pump Size/Flow Rate: (will update)

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Not able to prime Polaris Booster Pump - Need Help!

    The booster pump should get its water from the pressure side of your main pump. From the look of your plumbing, it would hopefully be tied in after the heater somewhere underground. Having all the concrete is not going to do you any favors in troubleshooting this.
    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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    Re: Not able to prime Polaris Booster Pump - Need Help!

    So the water flows into the main pump and then into the booster pump? And also, could the higher-pitched whining sound be just the pump running without water in it?
    Pool Size: 25,000 Gallons (IG)
    Type of Filter: Hayward Max-Flo II
    Pool Surface: Plaster
    Pump Size/Flow Rate: (will update)

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Not able to prime Polaris Booster Pump - Need Help!

    Yes, the output of the main pump should feed the input of the booster, though we can't confirm that from your photos since that connection appears to be underground.

    That sound is most likely bad bearings, though it could be the air leak.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Not able to prime Polaris Booster Pump - Need Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion View Post
    Yes, the output of the main pump should feed the input of the booster, though we can't confirm that from your photos since that connection appears to be underground.

    That sound is most likely bad bearings, though it could be the air leak.
    Since it could be any number of things, are there a few things I can check on myself before having to call a repairman?
    Pool Size: 25,000 Gallons (IG)
    Type of Filter: Hayward Max-Flo II
    Pool Surface: Plaster
    Pump Size/Flow Rate: (will update)

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Not able to prime Polaris Booster Pump - Need Help!

    Pull the hoses off the booster pump and check for debris.
    Open up the pump and inspect things.
    Pull the hose off the front of the booster and turn on the main pump and see if water shoots out.
    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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    Re: Not able to prime Polaris Booster Pump - Need Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    Pull the hoses off the booster pump and check for debris.
    Open up the pump and inspect things.
    Pull the hose off the front of the booster and turn on the main pump and see if water shoots out.
    Thanks for all the responses. I pulled the hoses off the pump one at a time and ran the main filter...there was water flow, and then I turned on the booster pump and it was definitely still working. After reattaching the hoses, I noticed that the opposite end of the return hose from the booster pump was not snug. I tightened it, clamped it down, and suddenly I had full flow! It must have been causing a major loss in pressure, because the Polaris runs better now than it has for months!
    Pool Size: 25,000 Gallons (IG)
    Type of Filter: Hayward Max-Flo II
    Pool Surface: Plaster
    Pump Size/Flow Rate: (will update)

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Not able to prime Polaris Booster Pump - Need Help!


    The booster was likely pulling in a lot of air at the loose hose. Glad it was an easy fix
    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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    Re: Not able to prime Polaris Booster Pump - Need Help!

    I woke up this morning to find the Polaris once again not moving. I go to the booster pump, turn it off, unhook the return hose (shown with green arrow) and turn the booster pump back on. Water flow shoots out of the hose once again, I turn off the pump, re-clamp the hose, turn on the pump and the Polaris is moving again with water flow. The red arrows show the direction of flow through the pump.

    What is the deal? Why does this flow stop? It's like there is a pocket of air in the return line that the pump will not push out.

    Pool Size: 25,000 Gallons (IG)
    Type of Filter: Hayward Max-Flo II
    Pool Surface: Plaster
    Pump Size/Flow Rate: (will update)

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Not able to prime Polaris Booster Pump - Need Help!

    With the added resistance of the plumbing to the pool and the cleaner, the pump could still be pulling in air on the suction line.

    Are you sure there is not something wrong with the cleaner preventing it from moving? Have you checked if you get good water flow to the cleaner?
    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
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    Re: Not able to prime Polaris Booster Pump - Need Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    With the added resistance of the plumbing to the pool and the cleaner, the pump could still be pulling in air on the suction line.

    Are you sure there is not something wrong with the cleaner preventing it from moving? Have you checked if you get good water flow to the cleaner?
    Yeah, the cleaner appears to work fine. If I unscrew it from the wall when there is no flow, there are only a few bubbles here and there coming from the return. So something is happening between the booster and the cleaner. When you say pulling in air on the suction line, where exactly would that be?
    Pool Size: 25,000 Gallons (IG)
    Type of Filter: Hayward Max-Flo II
    Pool Surface: Plaster
    Pump Size/Flow Rate: (will update)

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Not able to prime Polaris Booster Pump - Need Help!

    Somewhere along the pipe that has the red arrow to the right ... where I though you said it was loose earlier.
    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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    Re: Not able to prime Polaris Booster Pump - Need Help!

    I had mentioned earlier in the thread that it sounds like you may have a bad mechanical seal. The yellow arrow in the photo below is pointing towards an opening or window. Do you see any water building up in this area while the pump is on? SAFETY NOTE: Don't stick anything into that viewing window while the pump is operating as the shaft is spinning.

    boosterpump.jpg
    Josh Ulfers - josh@saltpoolguys.com - 888-725-8766
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    Re: Not able to prime Polaris Booster Pump - Need Help!

    Josh, I'll check that when I get home. This morning I checked, and now the main pump is not priming, so the booster pump isn't getting any water, either. It makes sense that there is a leak somewhere, with air being drawn in to keep it from being able to prime, right? I've also heard that it could be that the filter may need cleaning, and that this could be causing a problem with flow...is that accurate? (I last backwashed it 5 months ago, and bought the house 4 months before that--not sure when previous owner last cleaned the filter). Please excuse my noobness.

    Hopefully this info helps and doesn't confuse the issue.
    Pool Size: 25,000 Gallons (IG)
    Type of Filter: Hayward Max-Flo II
    Pool Surface: Plaster
    Pump Size/Flow Rate: (will update)

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    Re: Not able to prime Polaris Booster Pump - Need Help!

    Josh, I'll check that when I get home. This morning I checked, and now the main pump is not priming, so the booster pump isn't getting any water, either. It makes sense that there is a leak somewhere, with air being drawn in to keep it from being able to prime, right? I've also heard that it could be that the filter may need cleaning, and that this could be causing a problem with flow...is that accurate? (I last backwashed it 5 months ago, and bought the house 4 months before that--not sure when previous owner last cleaned the filter). Please excuse my noobness.
    Any updates on how its coming along?

    If the primary pump wasn't feeding water to the booster pump for a bit of time its a very good possibility that the mechanical seal went bad like I mentioned.

    Remember that air almost only enters the system on the suction side of the primary pump. It is very hard or almost impossible for air to enter the plumbing anywhere on the discharge side of the system because it is under pressure and would push water out and not suck air in. The first place to check for an air leak is at the primary pump. Any water leakage? Maybe start by changing the o-ring for the cover?

    What type of filter do you have?
    Josh Ulfers - josh@saltpoolguys.com - 888-725-8766
    SaltPoolGuys.com - AutoPilot Pool Pilot Systems, Parts & Cells - AquaCal Heat Pumps

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