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Thread: Very Confused

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    Very Confused

    Hello all,

    Sorry for what will be a long winded post- but I am unsure of what my issue may be, I'm thinking/hoping the pump. I am in Arizona and have been in our house for about a year. The house was built in the early 80's with an in-ground pool. The pool has 1 suction port, about 3 feet below the deck. Above the port, I have a debris basket that sits below a device attached to it which allows simultaneous surface skimming and floor vacuuming. We have a sand filter and the filter & pump is approximately 10' from the pool and 6" above the pool deck. I would estimate the pump sits 5' above the pump supply underground piping. I do not know how old the filter and pump are- but the pump looks be old, possibly original to the pool installation with the house.

    Lately my pool pump/filter hasn't been running well at all- at start up I get no suction from the port and consequently no water return to the pool from the filter. My first thought would be the pump is drawing air from someplace. I tried checking for air leaks in the exposed piping at the pump and filter via a spray bottle with soapy water. I didn't see any bubbles formed which led me to believe no air leaks which could be easily repaired. Also, when we bought the house I had someone check the pool and the found a very small air leak in the underground pipe taking water from the pool to the pump about halfway between the pool and pump and repaired that. So to try and brainstorm possible causes, I tired the following in this order:

    1.) Checked in-ground piping by placing the hose in the suction port at the pool and opening the pump debris basket cover. With the system off, no water came into the pump debris basket area (not surprising as the garden hose doesn't hold great pressure as the water would have to travel uphill).
    2.) Checked the in-ground piping in reverse by placing the hose to the inlet pipe at the pump and with the aid of gravity, the water will come out at the pool suction inlet. Again with the system off.
    The first two led me to believe there is not a drastic puncture in the underground pipe
    3.) Removed the cover of the filter basket at the pump and placed the garden hose directly into the suction inlet of the pump. When I did this the system would recirculate the water leaving the hose, without much pressure. I expected this since the pump would be drawing air with the water form the hose as the cover was removed. The system would recirculate the water at the same pressure with the filter selection lever set to "filter" and bypassing the filter by setting the filter lever to "recirculate".
    4.) If I replace the pump cover and run the pump it will not prime within 10 minutes. I turned the pump off after that so it wouldn't run dry. I can eventually prime the pump by placing the hose at the suction/inlet port of the pool- supplying the underground pipe with a constant flow of water. After a while, the pump will prime I get decent suction and the recirculation aerator to the pump will throw water.
    5.) Once I have the pump primed by the process above it will run with decent suction for about 45 seconds or less, the suction then dissipates and there is a trickle at the aerator. Then after a couple of minutes the system will again repeat the cycle of 45 seconds good, 2 minutes bad. This happens if the filter selection is set to filter, backwash or rinse. If the filter is set to recirculate, this cycle dynamics will change slightly- maybe a full minute to 1 min 30 seconds of prime then nothing and repeat.

    Therefore, my hypothesis is hopefully the pump is just 'going bad'. This very unprofessional opinion would be in tandem with:
    1.) Once the pump is "primed" it loses its suction quicker with the filter set to anything but recirculate since the horsepower needed from the pump would be less due to not needing to cycle the filter ie: water level dropping and rising. and,
    2.) The pump prime/suction works then doesn't work on a repeating cycle- I would find it very hard to believe that any air gaps would be variable- either their is an air gap or there isn't. Nothing that I know of is creating a variable air gap.

    I have some very limited knowledge of pumps, but I have never heard of them diminishing their effectiveness over time. From what I have seen either the work, or they don't.

    I am trying to schedule someone to come out this week to inspect the system. In the meantime, any help/advice/thoughts would be GREATLY appreciated if only to hopefully put my mind at rest. A $500 pump is manageable for us. A more expensive filter or having to dig up the pipe and/or drain the pool and replace piping would be really crappy in comparison. Sorry again for the long winded post! Thanks!

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Very Confused

    Welcome to TFP!
    Sounds to me like you might have a suction side leak.
    Here is a helpful article from pool school.
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/conte...side-air-leaks

    Also, it would be helpful to know more about your pool, What we need to know to answer your questions
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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Very Confused

    Hi, welcome to TFP! I have a few questions for you.
    How high is the water level in the pool? It should be 1/2 to 3/4 the way up the skimmer opening, also check the weir and see if it is floating freely or sticks in the skimmer opening. Low water levels or a weir that sticks and restricts flow water to the pump can cause air to be sucked into the system.

    What kind of filter do you have? When was the last time it was backwashed/cleaned?

    Odds are very low you have a break under the ground. Most suction side leaks are in the joints of above ground plumbing, or where equipment is not getting a good seal, such as the pump pot lid or the pump pot drain plug.
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    Re: Very Confused

    Hi and thanks for the Welcome!

    Thanks for the feedback. As mentioned in the post I tried searching for leaks in the exposed plumping by using a spray bottle with soapy water. I didn't see any evidence of bubbles forming, so that led me to think it may not be a suction issue. Are there any other "home remedies" either of you could give me to help check? Also, I have a sand filter and backwash it every 2 to 3 weeks depending on the pressure jump. Never go longer than 3 weeks thou. Thanks again!

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Very Confused

    Have you checked the drain plugs on the pump, even a very small air leak can cause a pump to loose prime.
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Very Confused

    Suction side leaks do not blow bubbles, they suck air/bubbles in. Other than the tips in the link above the only other thing I have seen is people using shaving cream. I have not had the good fortune of hunting down a suction leak yet.
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