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Thread: Can't get the pump to fully prime

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    Can't get the pump to fully prime

    I just tried to open our pool for the year, and the pump simply will not fully prime. It pulls water, and air and water spits out of the returns, but no prime. If anything, the pool is overfull, so that is not the issue. I have checked the pump basket seal, and it appears to be seated correctly. I am imagining that I have a leak on the suction side, but I cannot think of what it would be. There are no valves on that side. One union and that's it. Any help is greatly appreciated.

    Regards,

    Chris

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Can't get the pump to fully prime

    What's happening in the skimmer while the pump is having conniptions? No whirlpool? The weir (flapper) isn't stuck from being up so high? Are the pump drain plugs installed tight? How long did you run it, and did you open the air bleed on the filter? After I do a cleaning on my DE filter, it spits water out the bleed pretty quick, but it still takes a couple minutes to settle down, and then I can bleed off even more.
    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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    Charlie_R's Avatar
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    Re: Can't get the pump to fully prime

    Check the union, making sure there is an O-ring in it. Check your skimmer for any cracks etc. Look over all exposed plumbing, and wiggle it all while looking at it. Sometime a hairline crack will allow air in, and no water out.
    15'x48" 4500 gallon Intex pool, buried 1.5 ft. Pac-Fab Dynamo 3/4 hp pump. Hayward S180T sand filter, bought used. Taylor K-2006 test kit. Rocket mass heater based wood fired pool heater.

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Can't get the pump to fully prime

    Lube any O rings you can get to.
    16x32x52" Steel Cornelius Miramar AGP Vinyl liner 13,100 gal. Buried 2 ft.
    2 Speed Hayward Power-Flo Matrix 85 g.p.m. 22" 250lb. sand filter hard plumbed
    Pool Rover Jr., Pool Blaster Max, Diver Dave TF100 Test Kit/Speed Stir
    Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker, Liqour Chiller, & Drink Mixer & Party Tub----Collect 'um all!

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    Re: Can't get the pump to fully prime

    Hi Richard - good question on the skimmers. In one skimmer I have a pretty reasonable whirlpool ... the other is much less (but it is further away and that has been fairly typical). The water pull appears to be consistent, but relatively weak. The water level is high and it does not appear that the skimmers are being starved for water. All the gaskets appear to be in place.

    I tried both in recirculate mode and through the filter, and the result has been the same. It took a long time to get the filter to fill with water ... and then the water spits out the valve, but weakly. If I close the valve and reopen it, I get more air. Overall, it just appears that the water pull is too weak. I can check the drain plugs again, but I would think that they would leak water if they were loose. I have a little bit of a leak by the chlorinator, but that is on the return side, and I wouldn't think it would affect this.

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Can't get the pump to fully prime

    If you see a vortex in the skimmer, there's your air source.
    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: Can't get the pump to fully prime

    Sorry - not a vortex ... there but you can see a strong inbound current, if that makes sense. There is no whirlpool down to the bottom.

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    Charlie_R's Avatar
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    Re: Can't get the pump to fully prime

    Hmmmm. Try this:

    Shut the breaker off to your pump. Remove lid and basket. Feel around in the impeller intake. There could be some leftover trash in it, or a mouse made a nest in there over the winter -- assuming you have a winter that requires pump removal and storage.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Could you add your location and equipment to your profile, as outlined here?

    It would help us help you!
    15'x48" 4500 gallon Intex pool, buried 1.5 ft. Pac-Fab Dynamo 3/4 hp pump. Hayward S180T sand filter, bought used. Taylor K-2006 test kit. Rocket mass heater based wood fired pool heater.

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    Re: Can't get the pump to fully prime

    So - tried the impeller intake - nothing in there. I found that, if I poured water over the suction-side exposed plumbing, that the pump seemed to prime up. I tightened everything up on that side as much as I can, and now I have a much better prime, but there is still a lot of froth, and the returns are pushing a ton of air. I am guessing there is still something wrong with those connections (thought I feel I have tightened them as much as I can). Today I am going to try to disassemble the suction side and try to reassemble it. Maybe some teflon tape is needed.
    20x40 IG 40,000 gallons, 1.5HP Hayward SP, 48sqft Hayward DE filter

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Can't get the pump to fully prime

    Quote Originally Posted by thedingo13 View Post
    So - tried the impeller intake - nothing in there. I found that, if I poured water over the suction-side exposed plumbing, that the pump seemed to prime up. I tightened everything up on that side as much as I can, and now I have a much better prime, but there is still a lot of froth, and the returns are pushing a ton of air. I am guessing there is still something wrong with those connections (thought I feel I have tightened them as much as I can). Today I am going to try to disassemble the suction side and try to reassemble it. Maybe some teflon tape is needed.
    Threaded fittings and plastic pipe are a bad combination. If you do some searching using the word Teflon, you'll find people have had to do things like six winds of tape and a hefty coating of teflon pipe dope to get things to seal. Check out the search box and learn from others. You don't have to make every mistake yourself.
    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: Can't get the pump to fully prime

    Ha - making all the mistakes myself is so much FUN though!

    So - just for everyone else who has been following this thread - I disassembled the suction side of the plumbing and added teflon tape and silicon grease. Luckily one layer of each was enough to do the job, and now everything appears to be airtight. Now I just have to crank the filter non-stop to clear up the swamp. Thanks for everyone's help.
    20x40 IG 40,000 gallons, 1.5HP Hayward SP, 48sqft Hayward DE filter

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