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Thread: One port sucking air and blowing bubbles

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    One port sucking air and blowing bubbles

    Hello all,
    I have been lurking for a while on TFP and this is my first post, hoping you can help me solve a riddle. One of my returns has recently started loudly sucking air and blowing bubbles. The air is coming from a small pipe located about a foot back from the return and points straight up out of the pool surround (but flush with the concrete). If you plug this pipe with your finger, bubbles stop. Also if you pour a bucket of water over this pipe, the bubbles stop. I have looked and looked online at pool plumbing setup and can't find any reference to this pipe. Can someone tell me what it's for? Will plugging it (which seems to stop the bubbles) do any harm?

    Also to note: I am a new homeowner and new to pool care. After researching air bubbles in pool, I have primed the pump by pouring a bucket of water into the strainer by the pump and this did not resolve the problem. Pool water levels are ok and it doesn't seem to be losing water.

    **Please bear with me, I'll try to get pool stats posted soon. It is a rectangle, around 11000 gal according to pool math.

    Thanks in advance.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: One port sucking air and blowing bubbles

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    This is likely over a bench right? The pipe in the deck is supposed to suck in air and make the return like a spa jet. I have a bench with 3 of them that are controlled by a separate valve ... I usually leave them almost completely closed so there is a little flow, but not enough to suck air.

    There would be no problem plugging the deck hole ... you just would no longer get the spa-jet-like action.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: One port sucking air and blowing bubbles

    My brother has a fairly old pool in the Florida panhandle that has about a 3/4"-1" pipe just like that, cut flush with the deck, on all 2 or 3 of his returns. There are no benches in his pool. We could never figure out what they are for. His don't suck any air, at least not while I was there. This must be some kind of gulf coast pool "feature".
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    Re: One port sucking air and blowing bubbles

    Thanks for the quick reply and sorry about the signature, I added what I know (I'm at work and don't know model numbers to the filter/pump off the top of my head). The return is right over the stairs and I guess you could call it a bench-ish thing. I'm wondering why it suddenly started doing this? It never made noise before and definitely never blew bubbles before. It makes a horrible sound. Also are there special plugs for the hole or do I just find an old wine cork that fits? :P

    Also want to add, it is entirely possible I have been backwashing my pool all wrong. Please let me know if this needs to be a new thread and I will move it. I googled how to backwash your filter and as I've been SLAMing my pool, I've backwashed periodically. One thing I noticed is the sight glass never looked any differently. All instructions said to run until the sight glass looked clear. Well..it always looked clear so I just ran for the recommended amount of time. I'm kinda scared of all of the plumbing and valves because as I said I'm a novice and the valves are mostly unmarked. The other day I checked the pool after backwashing and rinsing and gross rust colored water was blowing in the pool. I put two and two together and realized, I think I'm an idiot. What I'm assuming is the "waste" pipe that leaves the filter has a valve on it (not the multiport valve on the filter, a separate valve just controlling that pipe). I believe this has been closed the entire time (weeks) that I have been tending to the pool and backwashing/rinsing the filter. None of the instructions online mentioned this valve so I never touched it.
    The other day I turned it (with pump off) to the opposite position (which I assume is 'open') and heard a release of water/suction. I then performed the steps to backwash/rinse with this valve open. Oh wow. The sight glass was so gross with dirty water and debris. I backwashed/rinsed for a couple minutes each until the sight glass was clear. Once I was done I closed the valve on the PVC pipe I believe is leading to waste. Since I did this, the pressure gauge on my filter never moves from 20 psi even when off. Have I broken it? And am I now backwashing correctly? Should this valve remain closed when not backwashing? Sorry for the wall of text.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: One port sucking air and blowing bubbles

    The little pipes that I have are right by your head and make a horrible noise when sucking air. Not sure why they would have done that by the steps or why they were done like pooldv mentioned.

    Likely the extra valve was added on the waste pipe because there was leakage to waste when there should not have been (spider gasket leak maybe?). So all the times you tried to backwash without opening that valve you were basically spinning the pump but not moving any water. Sounds like you have it figured out now though. If the gauge is not going to zero, it is dead. I highly recommend the glycerin ones like tftestkits.net sells ... much more accurate. Do you have one of the Recommended Test Kits? If not, order a new gauge and test kit (or refills which are on sale right now ).
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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