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Thread: pump never fully primes

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    pump never fully primes

    Hello everyone,

    I have been learning from tfp for 3 seasons now and thanks to all the great help that has been provided I have not needed to post anything until now.I bought a forclosed house summer before last, came with a pool that looked like the creature from the black lagoon lived there, it was a black nasty mess, we actualy had to empty it, scrub it and refill it. Of course there was no pool equipment, they took it with them when they left. With a tight budget I bought the 3/4 hp pump and a Hayward C500 Star-Clear 50-Square-Foot Cartridge Pool Filter, the flow rates listed calculated them to be adequate, also the plumbing was all 1 1/2 in pipes too. After the fist summer of cleaning the cart every other day, daily if the pool got dirty, and having very little flow from my returns I decided to upgrade to the sand filter in my signature and upgraded all the above ground plumbing to 2 in pipes.

    After doing this, the flow from the returns were better, not great but better (later found out that I needed eyeball fittings on the returns, there where none to begin with). The flow was better now but I could not get the pump to prime fully, it would only prime about 3/4 of the way and I would get tiny air bubbles out of one of the returns, but for some reason only one. I checked all the o rings and connections and could not find any air leaks, I replumbed the above ground plumbing 3 times trying to fix it. Eventually summer ended and I closed the pool.

    Now I have reopened it this year and same issue, I was thinking maybe an under ground pipe leak, but it gets air in the filter no matter if I run the main drain, skimmer, or both. Was even considering building a pressure tester, but today I bought a leaf eater vacuum and decided since my pool does not get much sun and is hard to keep heat I did not want to use the garden hose to use it. So I built anadapter to connect it to a return instead. After I connected it I was not getting enough pressure so I decide to close off my other 2 returns. Turned my pump back on an all of a sudden I am getting near full prime, still a small air bubble at top of lid but no more cavitation like before. The filter pressure however went to 20, usually sit between 0-5, 0 right after backwashing. Any idea what is going on? Is my pump maybe to small, or is it pumping the water faster than it is pulling it in somehow?

    Sorry for the long story but wanted to give a full picture of the issue, let me know if more info is needed.

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    Casey's Avatar
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    Re: pump never fully primes

    Welcome to TFP and coming out of the shadows. Someone will be along soon to help you get this figured out!
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: pump never fully primes

    You have a suction side air leak. Somewhere between the pump and the skimmer(s), air is being sucked into the system. Find that leak and your issues will be solved. There is an article in Pool School that may help you.

    It can be, but it is almost never an underground leak.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: pump never fully primes

    I thought that but could not find anything, probably because I am pretty much clueless lol. Since it happens whether or not I turn the main drain or skimmer on or off, although it is a bit worse with just the skimmer, do you think it is between my y connector and the pump? It my help if I explained my setup, I only have 1 main, and 1 skimmer, each have there own separate pipe coming up through the ground, I have a ball valve on each line then after the valves they connect to a y connector, this is where they go from 1 1/2 in pipes to 2 in as well. Also do you think the closing off 2 of my 3 returns causing it to reach almost full prime was just coincidence, maybe because it couldn't push the water fast enough? I am a complete newby, I have been learning pretty much everything from others post, this will be my 3rd summer with a pool, never had one before.
    Pool - 16 x 32 rectangle inground vinyl lined approx 25,000 gallons
    Pump - Hayward SP2705X7 Max Flo II 3/4-HP Standard Efficiency Single Speed Pump
    Filter - Hayward S244T2 24-Inch Polymeric Pro Series Top Mount Sand Filter with 2-Inch Vari-Flo Valve

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    Re: pump never fully primes

    A pic may help a bit but the detective work has to be done on site. The leak is somewhere between your skimmer and the pump.....that's the only section (called the suction side) where air can get in. These leaks are often hard to find but that's where it is. I'll say again that it CAN be the underground pipe but almost never is.

    If you are at a complete loss, you'll have to get a pool guy out to find it for you.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: pump never fully primes

    I will mess around with the plumbing some more when I get home, I am the one who plumbed all the above ground plumbing and am by no means a plumber so it would not surprise me if I did it all wrong lol, that is why I replumbed it 3 times, I just figured I messed it up. I read somewhere that using shaving cream on the pipes could help find the leak? I will try that when I get home, I tried listening, pouring water over the pump lid and other parts of the pipes, and even turning the pump off and on to see if and water "spits" out like suggested in pool school but could not identify anything. Does anyone have any other trick or methods to finding air leaks? And thanks for all the help so far Duraleigh, I was thinking suction side leak but not having a clue it is nice to hear someone who knows more think the same. I can take a picture of my setup when I get home if needed.
    Pool - 16 x 32 rectangle inground vinyl lined approx 25,000 gallons
    Pump - Hayward SP2705X7 Max Flo II 3/4-HP Standard Efficiency Single Speed Pump
    Filter - Hayward S244T2 24-Inch Polymeric Pro Series Top Mount Sand Filter with 2-Inch Vari-Flo Valve

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    Re: pump never fully primes

    Alright I found my air leak, actually 2 air leaks, one at the y and one at the coupling on the pump connector. I tried the shaving cream suggestion I read, complete waste of time, told me nothing. I found it by sticking a drain king in one end and closing my gate valves, and saw water coming out. I guess I will need to replumb again, sigh. I think if I take my time I can get it plumbed right, I think before I just wanted to get it done and back up and running. Thanks for the help, TFP is awesome.

    Any suggestions on how to replumb? I see most pools have the skimmer and main lines come up and into a jandy 3 way valve, then into the pump, however I don't have enough space between my lines to do this.

    plumbing.jpg
    Pool - 16 x 32 rectangle inground vinyl lined approx 25,000 gallons
    Pump - Hayward SP2705X7 Max Flo II 3/4-HP Standard Efficiency Single Speed Pump
    Filter - Hayward S244T2 24-Inch Polymeric Pro Series Top Mount Sand Filter with 2-Inch Vari-Flo Valve

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    Re: pump never fully primes

    There are really no "tricks" to glueing pvc pipe......it simply has to be done properly. Are you cleaning both sides of each joint with primer before you glue? Are you applying glue to both sides of the joint? Are you seating the two pieces solidly into one another? Those three things usually make for a solid joint that will leak neither air nor water.

    Your VERY good picture shows the main drain pipe being crooked where it goes into the ball valve....that's an indicator of trouble.

    On a different subject, if you are looking for some redesign ideas, show us a pic including what you already have plus the other end where they go into the pump and come from the filter. We may be able to help.

    If you redo completely, we're gonna' suggest you get rid of those red ball valves (they won't last very long) and replace it with a 3-way Jandy......I'll bet we can find room for it if you can post a pic to include your pump and filter.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: pump never fully primes

    I think what I did was put primer on the pipe, and then glue on the joint, so I should do both to both I guess. does getting primer in the glue weaken it at all? Also I plumbed it in a hurry so I probably did not seat them solidly.

    The crooked pipe is where one of the leaks are.

    I was thinking of doing the 3-way jandy but to make it fit I was thinking of using a couple elbows to make room, but since I already messed up my joins a few times wanting to decrease the number of them I used. Also I read the more elbows you have the more it reduces flow? is this something to consider? I made a VERY crudely drawn diagram of how I was thinking.
    whole.jpg
    Attachment 29368
    diagram.jpg

    Pool - 16 x 32 rectangle inground vinyl lined approx 25,000 gallons
    Pump - Hayward SP2705X7 Max Flo II 3/4-HP Standard Efficiency Single Speed Pump
    Filter - Hayward S244T2 24-Inch Polymeric Pro Series Top Mount Sand Filter with 2-Inch Vari-Flo Valve

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    Re: pump never fully primes

    Can you use 45 elbows instead of 90s?
    33' round, 23,000 gal AG vinyl , 1HP 2spd PowerFlo Matrix downsized with 3/4HP impeller (X2), Hayward S180T 150# sand filter (X2), Hayward H250 NG heater Pool Store year 1 - $850 for 2 months; Pool Store year 2 - $440 for 2 months, TFPC year 1 - $170 for 4 months; TFPC year 2 - $95 for 4.5 months
    The most important article on this site - The ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

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    Re: pump never fully primes

    Quote Originally Posted by Smykowski View Post
    Can you use 45 elbows instead of 90s?
    Maybe, I am not opposed, but not sure if I am skilled enough lol
    Pool - 16 x 32 rectangle inground vinyl lined approx 25,000 gallons
    Pump - Hayward SP2705X7 Max Flo II 3/4-HP Standard Efficiency Single Speed Pump
    Filter - Hayward S244T2 24-Inch Polymeric Pro Series Top Mount Sand Filter with 2-Inch Vari-Flo Valve

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: pump never fully primes

    Why not something like this?
    pipelayout.jpg
    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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    Re: pump never fully primes

    That looks like that might work, good photo shopping skills too might I add. I think I can make those connection, just have to be more patient this time.
    Pool - 16 x 32 rectangle inground vinyl lined approx 25,000 gallons
    Pump - Hayward SP2705X7 Max Flo II 3/4-HP Standard Efficiency Single Speed Pump
    Filter - Hayward S244T2 24-Inch Polymeric Pro Series Top Mount Sand Filter with 2-Inch Vari-Flo Valve

  14. Back To Top    #14

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    Re: pump never fully primes

    Should the jandy valve be able to be separated? Does it need to be brought in in the winter?

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    Re: pump never fully primes

    Does it need to be brought in in the winter?
    No, it's "winter-proof".
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: pump never fully primes

    Some of the fittings you used are "drain" fittings (like where the leak is) and not pressure fittings. I would suggest you use all pressure fittings when you repair because the socket is twice as deep and they never leak when properly done.
    17 x 35 fiberglass IG pool, 1.5 hp Pentair Superflo 2 speed pump, 150 ft2 Pentair Clean and Clear cartridge filter, Compupool SWG, Dirt Devil Electric Robotic Cleaner

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    Re: pump never fully primes

    When fixing the screwed adapter at your pump suction be sure to use plenty of Teflon tape on the threads - 6 complete wraps or so.
    17 x 35 fiberglass IG pool, 1.5 hp Pentair Superflo 2 speed pump, 150 ft2 Pentair Clean and Clear cartridge filter, Compupool SWG, Dirt Devil Electric Robotic Cleaner

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    Re: pump never fully primes

    Ok, so I just went to my local pool store, actually went to 2 of them, and was told that Jandy valves are old and now they only carry these 3 way ball valves? (see pic) I was just going to order a Jandy valve off line but wanted a second opinion, they said these valves are better, are they?

    Thanks for the advice Perry, I did not know there was a difference between the pvc connectors, is there an easy way to tell if your using a pressure vs drain? like maybe some markings.

    hayward_sp0735_4-way_ball_valve.jpg
    Pool - 16 x 32 rectangle inground vinyl lined approx 25,000 gallons
    Pump - Hayward SP2705X7 Max Flo II 3/4-HP Standard Efficiency Single Speed Pump
    Filter - Hayward S244T2 24-Inch Polymeric Pro Series Top Mount Sand Filter with 2-Inch Vari-Flo Valve

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: pump never fully primes

    The fittings you want to stay away from on your pool piping are called DWV fittings. That stands for drain, waste and vent. They are sold in the same stores as pressure fittings and I have seen them mixed up in the same box as pressure fittings. The glue sockets are only about half as deep and once you see them side by side you will be able to recognize the difference. The fittings may be marked too - just can't remember. Use primer and plenty of glue on both sides of fitting.
    17 x 35 fiberglass IG pool, 1.5 hp Pentair Superflo 2 speed pump, 150 ft2 Pentair Clean and Clear cartridge filter, Compupool SWG, Dirt Devil Electric Robotic Cleaner

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