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Thread: Spa does not pump air

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    Granpere's Avatar
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    Spa does not pump air

    After a number of years of not turning on the spa, I tried it and found that it does not pump the bubbles. The water flow through the nozzles is fine. Here is what I have tried. 1. New filter. 2. drained spa to a level just below jet. Turned on spa to fill and it started normal bubbly operation. Runs fine until turned off and then on and again no bubbles. 3. Cut off the double ell on top of air pipe and can see water down at spa level. Put leaf blower over the 1 1/2 inch air pipe and sealed around leaf blower tube. Turned on leaf blower and spa, nothing happens. It never had a regular blower mounted. So probably didn't need one. 4. There is a 1/2 inch pipe flush with the deck right beside the Spa. It has water in it but attempts to flush it out and snake it to no avail. I have no idea what this is hooked to if anything. The last time the spa worked normally was probably 4 or five years ago prior to removing the old gas heater and before I installed the new equipment.
    I think I saw on some pool jet diagrams for spa nozzles something that looks like a double pipe with one being the air and the other water going into the nozzle. Could it be that the air pipe has cracked, leaked water and that is why the jet and the blower will not clear it enough for the air to do its job? The spa has four nozzles and it appears that they are connected in pairs. When I put the pool vacuum hose over one nozzle the adjacent one has a strong water intake.
    Is there any other reason the spa will not work properly?

    Regarding water chemistry, I usually have no problem. Only when I turn the pump off and leave for a couple of weeks. In the Florida winter I only run the pump one hour a day. During the summer a couple of hours depending on how much rain we get. I get the water tested at the pool store about once a month and buy a jug of chlorine. The tablets usually do a pretty good job. I use a couple of ounces of algaecide once in a while but generally have no problem.
    10,000 gal, IG ,Pebble with Spa & waterfall into pool; built 2000. Gas heater removed 2006, not replaced. New Hayward equipment installed 11/6/2012: MaxFlo XL 1 1/2 HP pump; CL 100/200 Chlorine feeder; 90 CF cartridge filter. Taylor K1001 test kit. two Waterway 600-7300B Back flow preventers; two Jandy 2440 Valve Activators; Aqualink RS4 Control Panel

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Spa does not pump air

    I would try to flush out the lines. To do this, you must remove the jet nozzles that are deep within the spa wall. This requires a long 9/16" socket wrench. They are easier to remove if the spa is empty. Once removed, try running the pump and see if anything gets flushed out.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Granpere's Avatar
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    Re: Spa does not pump air

    I drained the spa to below the jets, removed the eyeball outlets, and put together enough 1/2 and 3/8th socket extensions and adapters to reach 12 to 13 inches back into the pipe to get the jet nozzles. No foreign substances came out during flushing.
    Put back together and adjusted valves to Fill Spa. Water and bubbles discharged into pool until filled as it always does when I drain the water below the nozzles. I then adjusted valves to Spa and the water and bubbles continued as they should. Then I left the valves on Spa, and shut off the pump. in just a couple of minutes I turned on the pump again and only got water pumped through just no bubbles. Back to square one. Could it be that my 1 1/2 HP pump is not enough to start the bubbles if the pipes have not been drained first? I checked the 3/4 inch pipe which is flush to the deck right beside the spa and there is no action in the water it contains about six inches down. I had tried to flush this with a small high pressure hose to no avail. The water just comes back out the top. I also tried snaking it but could only get down about 12 inches. I am wondering if this was a conduit placed when they though a spa side control was going to be installed. I also listened to the outside 1 1/2 inch air pipe gurgling as the spa was operating properly. No sound when the Spa is just pumping water. The Air intake pipe fills with water up to about the Spa water level when it is not operating. Please don't tell me there is a broken air pipe under the concrete somewhere!
    10,000 gal, IG ,Pebble with Spa & waterfall into pool; built 2000. Gas heater removed 2006, not replaced. New Hayward equipment installed 11/6/2012: MaxFlo XL 1 1/2 HP pump; CL 100/200 Chlorine feeder; 90 CF cartridge filter. Taylor K1001 test kit. two Waterway 600-7300B Back flow preventers; two Jandy 2440 Valve Activators; Aqualink RS4 Control Panel

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Spa does not pump air

    Could it be that my 1 1/2 HP pump is not enough to start the bubbles if the pipes have not been drained first?
    Did the spa ever work properly? A little history might help.


    When you tried blowing air into the air vent with the shop vac, was the pump on? If not, try that.


    The Air intake pipe fills with water up to about the Spa water level when it is not operating.
    That is suppose to happen.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Spa does not pump air

    The Spa did operate properly prior to the heater being removed. I don't recall running it again after that. After replacing the pump, filter housing and tablet feeder, I didn't try the spa again. until recently.
    When I tried blowing air into the air vent with the leaf blower the spa was in the run mode and the pump on. No luck in starting air bubbles.
    One other thing. I did replace the backflow valves about 6 months ago so the spa wouldn't drain back to the pool. There is a manual control valve for the water feature fountain and waterfall from the spa. This is the control which fills the spa from the bottom. I removed the fountain pipe from the center of the spa and have the valve turned full on. This is what keeps the spa full and overflowing the water fall. Now , when the spa is drained and I put it in fill mode the water comes in at the four spa jets with the air. I don't think any water is coming in from the normal spa intake at the bottom when it is in fill mode.
    A final thing I didn't mention. I will update my signature equipment list to include two Jandy 2440 Valve Actuators and the AquaLink RS4 control. I had the valves apart last year and cleaned and lubricated them. They operate normally when the control calls for a change.
    10,000 gal, IG ,Pebble with Spa & waterfall into pool; built 2000. Gas heater removed 2006, not replaced. New Hayward equipment installed 11/6/2012: MaxFlo XL 1 1/2 HP pump; CL 100/200 Chlorine feeder; 90 CF cartridge filter. Taylor K1001 test kit. two Waterway 600-7300B Back flow preventers; two Jandy 2440 Valve Activators; Aqualink RS4 Control Panel

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Spa does not pump air

    If you think it might be the spa MD, then try this. Drain the spa and remove the MD covers. Then put a hose in the line that comes from the MD, (in the pump basket) and flush backwards out the MD and see if anything comes out. You will need to set the valves appropriately and wrap the hose with a rag so that it can develop some pressure.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Spa does not pump air

    I drained the spa, took off the two drain covers in the bottom of the spa and put the hose in with a rag to seal around it. Only thing that happened was the water came out the other drain. The water in the pool came up in the spa through the 1 1/2 inch fill in the bottom of the spa between the two drains. I then moved the controls to spa fill and the water with bubbles came in through the spa jets until it was filled. No pressurized water came in through the spa fill at the bottom of the spa. Just the normal pressure of trying to equalize the level of the pool and spa. Spa filled and I turned the control to spa run. Again no bubbles, just pressured water through jets, and since the spa water level is now above the pool nothing coming in the spa fill. Now turned on to pool run and water circulated in pool and into the spa and over the water fall. Now I am coming to the conclusion that the automatic valves are in the wrong position for the spa to operate or the one of the two back flow preventer valves are in the wrong way. Is there a plumbing diagram which would show the proper orientation of the valves for each function? Or should I be looking for a different cause? At some point I want to install a heater and will want the spa to operate properly. Thanks for all the suggestions. I did take pictures of the setup but cannot attach to this. I could attach to an email if that is acceptable.
    10,000 gal, IG ,Pebble with Spa & waterfall into pool; built 2000. Gas heater removed 2006, not replaced. New Hayward equipment installed 11/6/2012: MaxFlo XL 1 1/2 HP pump; CL 100/200 Chlorine feeder; 90 CF cartridge filter. Taylor K1001 test kit. two Waterway 600-7300B Back flow preventers; two Jandy 2440 Valve Activators; Aqualink RS4 Control Panel

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    Re: Spa does not pump air

    I meant put the hose in at the pump side and flush toward the MD.

    But how about a picture of the pad plumbing? It might help to understand what you are talking about. Use Flickr or some other photo service and just post the link or embed the image.

    If you have check valves on the suction side of the pump that could be blocking some of the flow if they are not operating properly.

    Here are a couple of schematics depending on your setu

    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Spa does not pump air

    There are usually air nozzles inlets which can be un-screwed to let more air into the jets (If you have them you will hear them). They are usually somewhere on top of the spa if they were put in.
    Inground 22k gallon gunite 15x31 main pool, 15x7 wading pool/sunning deck, hot tub/with overflow (9' octagon with limestone top) & slide NSWG, Aqua Blue Pebble Sheen
    Filter dual cartridge Sta-rite 450sq/ft, TF-100 Test Kit
    Heater Raypak 2100 400k btu cupro-nickel exchanger
    Auto pool cover, Polaris 280 auto pool cleaner, Jandy AqualinkRS8 Remote Control System

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    Re: Spa does not pump air

    I really appreciate the help and suggestions from you experts. I'll try almost anything once. Anyway I did finally figure out the picture posting bit and have two shots of the valves. Spa fill has the two actuators pointing in opposite directions one to the right and one to the left. This is where the spa jets fill and bubble. Spa drain is where both point to each other. Pool is when both point to the left. All as you are facing the wall. The back flow preventers are in the two vertical pipes on the extreme right. Both the spring actuated flappers seal the pipes on the top side. I hope I have explained this properly. None of the pipes have any labels on them. I can guess on a few of them. Oh, and the toggle switches are both in the up position.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    10,000 gal, IG ,Pebble with Spa & waterfall into pool; built 2000. Gas heater removed 2006, not replaced. New Hayward equipment installed 11/6/2012: MaxFlo XL 1 1/2 HP pump; CL 100/200 Chlorine feeder; 90 CF cartridge filter. Taylor K1001 test kit. two Waterway 600-7300B Back flow preventers; two Jandy 2440 Valve Activators; Aqualink RS4 Control Panel

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    Re: Spa does not pump air

    Where is the air vent for the spa?

    What is the filter pressure in pool mode vs spa mode?
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Spa does not pump air

    The air vent for the spa is about four feet from the spa. This equipment is about 35 feet from the spa. I don't have a filter pressure gauge but will get one and report back later.
    Thanks.
    10,000 gal, IG ,Pebble with Spa & waterfall into pool; built 2000. Gas heater removed 2006, not replaced. New Hayward equipment installed 11/6/2012: MaxFlo XL 1 1/2 HP pump; CL 100/200 Chlorine feeder; 90 CF cartridge filter. Taylor K1001 test kit. two Waterway 600-7300B Back flow preventers; two Jandy 2440 Valve Activators; Aqualink RS4 Control Panel

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    Re: Spa does not pump air

    I installed the pressure gauge on the filter and cleaned the filter which is only a few months old. The pressure on pool mode is 18 and goes to 30 in spa mode. Still no bubbles in the spa. This really stumps me. Are the valves in the wrong position? Thanks.
    10,000 gal, IG ,Pebble with Spa & waterfall into pool; built 2000. Gas heater removed 2006, not replaced. New Hayward equipment installed 11/6/2012: MaxFlo XL 1 1/2 HP pump; CL 100/200 Chlorine feeder; 90 CF cartridge filter. Taylor K1001 test kit. two Waterway 600-7300B Back flow preventers; two Jandy 2440 Valve Activators; Aqualink RS4 Control Panel

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    Re: Spa does not pump air

    30 PSI means you are probably getting a lot of flow rate to the jets so I think the water lines are clear. The only thing it could be is the air vent. While the spa is running, remove the air vent cap. It does have a vent cap with filter correct? There should be pretty good air flow into the vent much like a vacuum cleaner and it should be pretty loud too. If you are not getting a lot of suction through the air vent, the line is probably blocked with something. However, clearing it is very challenging because it won't clear from the vent to the jets because the air line to the jets is so small. Back washing/clearing is also difficult because you have to close off/plug all water lines (except one).
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Spa does not pump air

    The air vent does not have a filter, but it does have a Plastic U top made up of two 90 degree fittings and a short pipe connector. I sawed off the vertical pipe below the 90's and reconnected with a coupling when finished. When I drain the spa below the inlet nozzles and then restart to fill there is a definite gurgle from the air inlet and the bubbles flow freely until I shut the pool off and re start . Then back to square one, no bubbles. I did try pressurizing with a leaf blower, no success. I will now try to vacuum the air vent out with a shop vac after sealing off the tub nozzles with some heavy tape ie: duct tape. I am still not sure about the valve positioning being correct.
    10,000 gal, IG ,Pebble with Spa & waterfall into pool; built 2000. Gas heater removed 2006, not replaced. New Hayward equipment installed 11/6/2012: MaxFlo XL 1 1/2 HP pump; CL 100/200 Chlorine feeder; 90 CF cartridge filter. Taylor K1001 test kit. two Waterway 600-7300B Back flow preventers; two Jandy 2440 Valve Activators; Aqualink RS4 Control Panel

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    Re: Spa does not pump air

    I drained the spa to just below the jets, covered them with tape and sucked the water out of the air inlet with a shop vac. Then having my nice wife pull the tape off one jet at a time and I started the pump each time. Good suction at each jet. All I got out of the air inlet was a couple of gallons of pool water in the shop vac. Now I turn on the pool to Spa mode. Lots of bubbles and water. The water level stays the same in the spa. I turn the valves to spa fill and again lots of bubbles and water as the spa fills. It runs properly at this point until I turn it off and go back to pool mode. Then some water, not bubbles comes out of jets and normal water fills from spa water inlet in the bottom to fill for the waterfall. Its too hot and humid to go out and try anything more today.
    10,000 gal, IG ,Pebble with Spa & waterfall into pool; built 2000. Gas heater removed 2006, not replaced. New Hayward equipment installed 11/6/2012: MaxFlo XL 1 1/2 HP pump; CL 100/200 Chlorine feeder; 90 CF cartridge filter. Taylor K1001 test kit. two Waterway 600-7300B Back flow preventers; two Jandy 2440 Valve Activators; Aqualink RS4 Control Panel

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    Re: Spa does not pump air

    Do you have a heater bypass so you can bypass flow around the heater?

    I have a theory that the heater added just enough head loss so that the air vent pipe will not clear the water on it's own. So if you can bypass the heater just to check, that would confirm. If you don't then the only solution might be to add a blower to the vent line.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Spa does not pump air

    No heater anymore, it was removed about 8 years ago. I don't think we tried the spa after that. Then in 2012 the pump, filter and chlorine feeder were installed. Still no heater. You might be on to something with the blower idea. I didn't get anywhere with the leaf blower I stuck in the air vent. I would assume a blower would have more pressure. Are blowers 120 V or 12V. I have a 12 V pool light box right beside the air vent. If I need to run a new 120V line that would be a problem. Would a new heater do the same thing?
    Thanks
    10,000 gal, IG ,Pebble with Spa & waterfall into pool; built 2000. Gas heater removed 2006, not replaced. New Hayward equipment installed 11/6/2012: MaxFlo XL 1 1/2 HP pump; CL 100/200 Chlorine feeder; 90 CF cartridge filter. Taylor K1001 test kit. two Waterway 600-7300B Back flow preventers; two Jandy 2440 Valve Activators; Aqualink RS4 Control Panel

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Spa does not pump air

    Somehow I missed that that you have a new pump. What pump did you have before when the spa was working (model # and/or size)?

    A MaxFlo XL is a low head pump and not usually suitable for spa jets. So a possible explanation is that the pump you had before was more powerful than the pump you have now. Looking at the MaxFlo XL head curve, 30 PSI is over 70' of head which means the pump is nearly dead headed so I doubt you have much flow rate at all so it is no wonder that you the jets aren't working. Do you feel anything out of the spa jets?

    I think all blowers are 120v. 12V would not be able to provide enough power.

    Also, when in spa mode, are both handles pointed to the left?
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Spa does not pump air

    Lucky me, my old pump is still in my recycle pile. It is an AO Smith 1 1/2 HP model c48L2N134CI. If you look at my pictures in the earlier post here are the valve handle positions as you look toward the wall with the Left handle on the side of the Pump. Pool Mode: Both to the Left. Spa mode: Both to the Right. Spa Drain: Both point to each other. Spa fill: Both point away from each other. The Top picture shows the Spa Drain mode. The Bottom Picture shows the Spa Fill mode. Hope this is clear as it makes my head swim.
    10,000 gal, IG ,Pebble with Spa & waterfall into pool; built 2000. Gas heater removed 2006, not replaced. New Hayward equipment installed 11/6/2012: MaxFlo XL 1 1/2 HP pump; CL 100/200 Chlorine feeder; 90 CF cartridge filter. Taylor K1001 test kit. two Waterway 600-7300B Back flow preventers; two Jandy 2440 Valve Activators; Aqualink RS4 Control Panel

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