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Thread: Pump is not holding a prime

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    Join Date
    May 2014
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    Ojai, CA
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    Pump is not holding a prime

    I made a mistake yesterday and accidentally switched my filter valve from backwash to normal operation while the pump was running. Oops!!
    Ever since then, when I cycle the pool, it will take several seconds to get prime on start up and it will only hold prime for 5-10 seconds. It usually holds prime to clear the majority of the bubbles out of the strainer area and then is will suck all the water out and then go back to sucking air (this cycle just repeats itself until I kill the pump). I am not sure why this is happening.

    I have tried opening the air valve on the DE filter to bleed air out and it will spurt a bit of water when it gets prime then the pressure goes to zero and nothing comes out of the air vent, not even air once prime is lost.

    After a few Youtube videos, I checked the impeller and it seems to be spinning just fine. Tried messing with the skimmer and sidewall vacuum valve and it did nothing.

    I am lost. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!
    Cheers,
    Chad

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    May 2007
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    Silver Spring, MD
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    Re: Pump is not holding a prime

    Welcome to TFP!

    That sounds like a suction side air leak of some kind. The first place to check is to make sure the gasket on the pump strainer basket lid is in good condition, no nicks, cuts, or crumbling, and that the pump strainer basket lid is properly affixed to the pump.
    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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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    Re: Pump is not holding a prime

    and then is will suck all the water out and then go back to sucking air (this cycle just repeats itself until I kill the pump
    A suction side air leak like that (cyclic) is often indicative of your pool water level being too low and you are creating a whirlpool and sucking air in your skimmer(s).

    Turn on the pump and observe your skimmer(s).
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    May 2007
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    Re: Pump is not holding a prime

    All your valves are in the open position? Where is your water level on the skimmer(s) - I think Dave on to something.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
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    San Dimas, CA (LA County)
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    Re: Pump is not holding a prime

    Welcome!

    Say "hi" to Steve Austin if you see him around town. Bill and Ted say hi.

    Been there, done that. The water level is too low or the weir (flapper) in the skimmer is stuck closed. You need to refill what you lost after backwashing and make sure that weir moves free.
    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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