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Thread: Pumping Off the On 5 Seconds then Off Again

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    Pumping Off the On 5 Seconds then Off Again

    New pool owner but have experience using forums elsewhere. If this is a common question (it probably is but I'm new please link me to the standard answer.

    Thanks!!!!

    Ok, my pool is in-ground, vinyl liner, two years old, water is leaking down what I think is too fast (especially since its wintertime) so I gotta leak somewhere. I'll have to find that. But here's the other thing, when I turn on the pump it is no longer working like it did when new. It no longer pumps water consistently. It seems to push air for about 15 minutes, then a bit of water starts trickling through, then it suddenly pushes a good flow for about 4-5 seconds before going dry again. Over and over again. I checked the pump drain **** for a good seal, and I checked the cleanout basket for a good seal. One other thing is that in the old days when everything was working like when I had the pool installed, the pressure on the filter gauge would drop to 0 when I turned off. But now it is pegged at MAX of 60 PSI when off.

    Oooooofffff. I'm an auto mechanic, not a pool guy yet.... What's going on here?

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pumping Off the On 5 Seconds then Off Again

    Welcome to TFP!

    You have a suction side air leak. The most obvious possibilities are: water level too low, allowing a vortex to form in the skimmer that draws in air, or a bad seal around the pump strainer basket lid. There could also be an air leak in the plumbing, but that is less likely than the other two.

    If the pressure gauge on the filter reads 60 psi when the pump is off, the pressure gauge is broken and should be replaced. Those gauges tend to be cheaply made and fail fairly often.
    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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    Re: Pumping Off the On 5 Seconds then Off Again

    Is it also possible that there is debris stuck in the line somewhere?
    14K Freeform Gunite w/60% Blue Quartz plaster, Quad DE filter, Intelliflo VS Pump + Booster for Cleaner, Aquacal Heat Pump

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    Re: Pumping Off the On 5 Seconds then Off Again

    I'm glad to got responses to this question, thanks! I've checked the seals on the pump itself and they look good. The water levels are OK (plenty above the strainer intake). What else?

    What's the right way to check if the pressure shown at the gauge is really what it says? I'm a bit nervous about this part. Do I take off the top of the filter assembly and see if there really is a pressure buildup based off pressure blowing out as the top comes off? Tell me what to do on this and I'll report back.....

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pumping Off the On 5 Seconds then Off Again

    If I understand you correctly, and the gauge is reading 60 psi when the pump is off, then the gauge is broken and there is nothing further to check. The gauges are fairly easy and inexpensive to replace.
    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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    Re: Pumping Off then On 5 Seconds then Off Again

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion View Post
    If I understand you correctly, and the gauge is reading 60 psi when the pump is off, then the gauge is broken and there is nothing further to check. The gauges are fairly easy and inexpensive to replace.
    OK, I'll replace the gauge! Is this also causing my pumping to cycle on / off like I describe?

    Or is there still likely a vacuum leak somewhere? I tried the two obvious things, checked the seal around the basket lid - it did not look damaged but could it also wear out in a couple years and flatten enough to allow a vacuum leak (yes probably so but it looks good). I also checked that the drain **** right under the basket on the pump was tight and that the seal looked good (yes). Is there much else I can look for or do I need someone with equipment to do the rest?

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    Re: Pumping Off the On 5 Seconds then Off Again

    I suspect that the skimmer weirs are sticking. Watch the water in the skimmer with the pump on.

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    Re: Pumping Off the On 5 Seconds then Off Again

    I'll check this! Thanks!

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pumping Off the On 5 Seconds then Off Again

    The gauge problem is almost certainly unrelated to everything else that is happening.
    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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    Re: Pumping Off the On 5 Seconds then Off Again

    That makes sense. I just removed the gauge, unscrewed it, no way that could do anything but give a false reading.

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