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Thread: Everything was going great, 5 inches to go and pump lost prime, wont drain anymore...

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    Aleforge's Avatar
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    Everything was going great, 5 inches to go and pump lost prime, wont drain anymore...

    I am closing my pool for the first time, I am draining it, pulling from the main drain and got about 12 inches out, I am right level with the jets. Then the water stopped coming out the drain hose and I am stuck. I tried re priming with a hose but it just runs dry. Any idea on what I should do now?

    Thanks!
    In ground (installed 2000), fiberglass, cartridge filter, Pentair Super Flo Single speed pump (2014).

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Everything was going great, 5 inches to go and pump lost prime, wont drain anymor

    You will need to use something other than the main pump to complete the draining. A cover pump or sump pump is the simplest solution, if you have one. In many cases it is also possible to setup a syphon with a garden hose.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Aleforge's Avatar
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    Re: Everything was going great, 5 inches to go and pump lost prime, wont drain anymor

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion View Post
    You will need to use something other than the main pump to complete the draining. A cover pump or sump pump is the simplest solution, if you have one. In many cases it is also possible to setup a syphon with a garden hose.
    So it is normal after awhile to lose prime on the main drain and not be able to get it back?
    I was worried there was something wrong with my system?
    Anyone used a wet-vac before?

    Oh and I am 5 feet above main drain, does that make any difference? I am confused on being so submerged how it just stops working?

    Thank you Jason, you have helped me a lot!
    In ground (installed 2000), fiberglass, cartridge filter, Pentair Super Flo Single speed pump (2014).

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    Re: Everything was going great, 5 inches to go and pump lost prime, wont drain anymor

    I am confused on being so submerged how it just stops working?
    It sounds like you lost prime as your return jets uncovered......allowing air to enter the system.
    Dave S.
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    Aleforge's Avatar
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    Re: Everything was going great, 5 inches to go and pump lost prime, wont drain anymor

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    It sounds like you lost prime as your return jets uncovered......allowing air to enter the system.


    Oh really? How does that happen when they are removed from the draining procedure? I was pumping from main drain, through pump and out drain hose?


    Thanks for the help!
    In ground (installed 2000), fiberglass, cartridge filter, Pentair Super Flo Single speed pump (2014).

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Everything was going great, 5 inches to go and pump lost prime, wont drain anymor

    Even the slightest air leak will cause you to lose prime when the water level is lower than normal. I'm not sure it was the return jets, but regardless it doesn't take very much.
    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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    Aleforge's Avatar
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    Re: Everything was going great, 5 inches to go and pump lost prime, wont drain anymor

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion View Post
    Even the slightest air leak will cause you to lose prime when the water level is lower than normal. I'm not sure it was the return jets, but regardless it doesn't take very much.
    OK, so is this something I should be worried about next season, or is it fairly common for a lot of people?

    I did get the water level to about 2" below jets by filling a 16gal shop vac around 50 times... lol. Going to by a sump pump next year for sure!

    Thanks guys!
    In ground (installed 2000), fiberglass, cartridge filter, Pentair Super Flo Single speed pump (2014).

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    Re: Everything was going great, 5 inches to go and pump lost prime, wont drain anymor

    More than likely the pump lid was leaking air due to the higher than normal suction that occurs in the pump basket when pumping from a lower elevation. You don't normally do this so you won't normally see this happen. The higher the pump relative to the water level, the better the pump lid gasket needs to be at sealing out the air.

    So this is typical behavior and nothing to be too concerned about. There are ways to improve the seal but once you have lost prime at that depth it is very difficult to get it back.

    But are you completely draining the pool? If so why?
    Mark
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    Aleforge's Avatar
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    Re: Everything was going great, 5 inches to go and pump lost prime, wont drain anymor

    I have a brand new pump with a new seal? Not sure how tight the lid needs to be locked down, its one of the rotating kinds, but I thought I had it on pretty tight. I am not draining the pool, but lowering the water just below the return jets so I can blow them out. I managed to get them about 2" below with a shop vac though.

    I just hope my system will be OK next year.

    Thanks for the help!
    In ground (installed 2000), fiberglass, cartridge filter, Pentair Super Flo Single speed pump (2014).

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    Re: Everything was going great, 5 inches to go and pump lost prime, wont drain anymor

    I've got 2 suggestions for the next time you need to drain:
    1. A simple siphon with a garden hose can move more water than you might imagine. Might take a day or so, but it's free. Gotta have the right elevations, though, since the outlet end of the hose will have to be lower than the intake end.
    2. You can plug a vac hose directly into the skimmer suction holes & put the vac head down toward the deep end. You'll have more water available for the pump to suck in and that might help it keep its prime.

    Good luck!
    36K gallon 42X22 gunite/plaster kidney-shaped IG;
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    Re: Everything was going great, 5 inches to go and pump lost prime, wont drain anymor

    Hi CU,

    First off thanks for the reply! As far as one ya that would be an issue, the water level is well below the ground levels around it. I have a hill going up on one side, and one flat on the other. As far as the second I was pulling 100% from the main drain at the time and had the skimmer shut down. I am guessing that is not always 100% sealed off, especially with older valves?

    I was able to get my water level 2 inches below the lowest return. (my pool is slightly un-level) But now looking at the shallow in I am a little paranoid that its too low. I think about 2 1/2 foot of water is left on that side. Not sure how high the water table is, but I do know the frost line is on avg between 8-18 inches. So I was trying to go below the worst case scenario.

    Do you guys think once plugged up I should raise the water back up some?


    I started yesterday blowing things out but quickly realized from the side of the house I couldn't see anything and was alone...
    In ground (installed 2000), fiberglass, cartridge filter, Pentair Super Flo Single speed pump (2014).

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    CUTiger78's Avatar
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    Re: Everything was going great, 5 inches to go and pump lost prime, wont drain anymor

    I'm no expert, but every time that I've drained down some at closing, I just let rain & snow fill it back up.
    36K gallon 42X22 gunite/plaster kidney-shaped IG;
    1 hp Hayward Super Pump (new in 2012);
    Hayward S244T sand filter w/ Zeosand (both new in 2009);
    175K BTU LAARS Lite2 LG natural gas heater; Polaris 380;
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    Re: Everything was going great, 5 inches to go and pump lost prime, wont drain anymor

    I just closed my pool today, and I didn't drain more than an inch while I was back washing. It's right in the middle of the skimmers. How low are you trying to drain it? Just below the returns?


    30K gallon IG vinyl. 1.5HP 2-speed Waterway Mustang pump. 600 lb sand filter. Polaris 280. Circupool SI-60+. TF-100

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    Aleforge's Avatar
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    Re: Everything was going great, 5 inches to go and pump lost prime, wont drain anymor

    Quote Originally Posted by n240sxguy View Post
    I just closed my pool today, and I didn't drain more than an inch while I was back washing. It's right in the middle of the skimmers. How low are you trying to drain it? Just below the returns?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I drained it about 2 inches below all the returns, well below skimmer. I had the impression that at the very least it should be a bit below the skimmer to keep that safe from freezing. I did buy a gizzmo to put in it however.

    Anyways my fear is its going to get raised out of the ground via water underneath. I have about 2 1/2 feet in shallow and 5 foot in deep end left.
    In ground (installed 2000), fiberglass, cartridge filter, Pentair Super Flo Single speed pump (2014).

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    Re: Everything was going great, 5 inches to go and pump lost prime, wont drain anymor

    below the skimmer is pretty common, same for below the returns. I have also just used a skimmer plug and sucked the water out of there. Before I had the skimmer plug I duck taped over the mouth and placed a empty antifreeze bottle in the mouth, also had a gizmo and added some cut up pool noodles as well as 1 gallon of antifreeze. Results for all three methods...The tape comes off when water rises, water worked its way in the skimmer even with the skimmer plug. I believe its the antifreeze combined with the empty jug and foam noodles that ensured the skimmer didn't crack when freeze up occurred. I for one will drain a puck pool below the jets as I believe I am doing clients a favour by diluting their CYA with winter snow/rain. Salt water pools, I only drain below the skimmer.

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