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Thread: Primes with skimmer but not with side port

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    Primes with skimmer but not with side port

    Pool will easily prime with the skimmer but will not with the side (cleaning port). Used a drain cleaning bladder to push water from pool side into open pump basket and water flowed. Used same drain cleaning bladder to push water from pump side to to pool and water flowed. Pool has a manual valve to switch between skimmer and side port. When selecting the side cleaning port the pump will create a slight vacuum for a minute and then taper off to no vacuum at all on line.

    If pool will properly prime off of the skimmer only, but not on the side port... but water flows in both directions when pressurized from either side... what problem models am I looking at.

    The only thing I can think of is that it will not prime because there is a leak in the pipe under the ground so when it tries to fully prime it primes a bit then finds an "easier" route... the hole. Water will flow in either direction because it is pressurized - water probably is leaking out the hole but since it is underground I cannot see it leaking.

    Any ideas/help are welcomed and appreciated.
    NEW POOL: 11k IGP, Pebbletec, Hayward Pro-Grid 3620 D.E. Filter, 1HP Pentair?/Emerson
    OLD POOL: 12.3k IGP, Pebbletec, Pentair 60 D.E. Filter, 1HP Pentair/Emerson + 1HP Pentair waterfall, Pentair IC40, and borated

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Primes with skimmer but not with side port

    More than likely it's just that the pipe on the cleaner port can't supply enough water by itself to keep the pump primed. Just set your valve part way between skimmer and cleaner and adjust as need to make the cleaner work.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Primes with skimmer but not with side port

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT View Post
    More than likely it's just that the pipe on the cleaner port can't supply enough water by itself to keep the pump primed. Just set your valve part way between skimmer and cleaner and adjust as need to make the cleaner work.
    That is how it used to be set up... but recently stopped. Regardless of where the valve is set the cleaner port will start with a mild suction and then fizzle to nothing.

    Also no note, I have a leaf basket hooked up to the cleaner port so I wouldn't think that there is too much in there.
    NEW POOL: 11k IGP, Pebbletec, Hayward Pro-Grid 3620 D.E. Filter, 1HP Pentair?/Emerson
    OLD POOL: 12.3k IGP, Pebbletec, Pentair 60 D.E. Filter, 1HP Pentair/Emerson + 1HP Pentair waterfall, Pentair IC40, and borated

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    Re: Primes with skimmer but not with side port

    I would suspect a leak or a clogged line. A leak could be checked by doing a pressure test. A clogged line could be possibly unclogged by reversing the flow of water to blow out the debris.

    A drain-cleaning bladder does not push much water, and if the line is 90 % clogged, water will still flow. However, with the higher flow rate of the pump, a 90 % clog will prevent the pump from maintaining prime.

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    Re: Primes with skimmer but not with side port

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesW View Post
    I would suspect a leak or a clogged line. A leak could be checked by doing a pressure test. A clogged line could be possibly unclogged by reversing the flow of water to blow out the debris.

    A drain-cleaning bladder does not push much water, and if the line is 90 % clogged, water will still flow. However, with the higher flow rate of the pump, a 90 % clog will prevent the pump from maintaining prime.
    If a drain cleaning bladder does not work, then how would one go about doing a pressure test? I understand the idea but is this something that I can do on the cheap or am I looking at expensive kits or a visit from someone with a kit?
    NEW POOL: 11k IGP, Pebbletec, Hayward Pro-Grid 3620 D.E. Filter, 1HP Pentair?/Emerson
    OLD POOL: 12.3k IGP, Pebbletec, Pentair 60 D.E. Filter, 1HP Pentair/Emerson + 1HP Pentair waterfall, Pentair IC40, and borated

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    Re: Primes with skimmer but not with side port

    I think that a clog is the more likely cause. I would start with trying to clear the line. Doing a pressure test is not difficult or expensive, but it does take a little bit of technique. If the line had a leak, then you would be losing water. If clearing the line does not work, I can give you some ideas about how to pressure test.

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    Re: Primes with skimmer but not with side port

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesW View Post
    I think that a clog is the more likely cause. I would start with trying to clear the line. Doing a pressure test is not difficult or expensive, but it does take a little bit of technique. If the line had a leak, then you would be losing water. If clearing the line does not work, I can give you some ideas about how to pressure test.
    So I tried to unclog the line by cycling the hand valve and I got my vacuum/suction back. so since the side cleaner has been down and the pool was dirty I decided to let the cleaner run. Left, came back, and my yard is flooded because the O-ring on the filter came off somehow. Go figure.
    NEW POOL: 11k IGP, Pebbletec, Hayward Pro-Grid 3620 D.E. Filter, 1HP Pentair?/Emerson
    OLD POOL: 12.3k IGP, Pebbletec, Pentair 60 D.E. Filter, 1HP Pentair/Emerson + 1HP Pentair waterfall, Pentair IC40, and borated

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