Air in System - No Water Leak...

Jul 18, 2013
7
#1
I'm flumoxxed. I have a old gunite inground pool. I have repaired the leak I had last summer and the pool holds water very nicely. It has not lost more than an appropriate 1 1/2 to 2" over the last 5 weeks due to evaporation here in Texas. My biggest issue besides being unemployed is that the stupid pool is getting air into the system. I bleed it off using the air bleed on top of my DE filter. I have done the following : Wrapped all the exposed suction side pipes and the valve with clingwrap and sealed that again with duct tape. I have soaped ALL of the other exposed pipes but found nothing.
I know that the big valve that determines Filter or Recirculate and Backwash does need a new gasket. I have a StaRite MaxFlow pump 1.6 and have replaced the stupid O ring on the glass lid twice in the last month ( The first time the guys gave me the wrong o ring ) the second o-ring seems to fit better but I am still seeing air in the glass ). My skimmers are always full of water.

There isn't a good leak detection company anywhere in my area. I say this because I paid bigtime for the only company to show up several years ago.. they insisted the problem ( big leaking ) was with my skimmer and then they proceeded to break the polaris connector. I had to fight to get them to repair that because they only detect leaks not fix them. The actual leak wasn't the skimmers at all but was with a pipe below the upper skimmer. It was replaced but the biggest leak was the pool light which we removed and filled. We went leak free for several more years until two years ago. We wound up replacing several pipes. This spring I discovered that one of the pipes that handled water coming into the pool had seperated from the side of the pool on the inside. I have now repaired that as of about 2 1/2 months ago.

I'm wondering.. can the glass lid have a leak ? or where else can I check ?
My husband is afraid it's a pressure crack in a line but again... we run the pump even in this less than optimal state bout 7 -8 hours a day.. surely we'd be losing water!

I'm taking ideas and suggestions. Thanks !
 

JohnT

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Apr 4, 2007
9,448
SW Indiana
#2
Welcome to TFP!

Are you lubricating the O-ring with pool lube before installing the lid? Also check the drain fitting and its O-ring on the pump basket.
 
Jul 18, 2013
7
#3
The o-ring is allegedly "self Lubricating" however, I will say that the one that supposedly is the right one.. hasn't stayed in place and pops off when the lid is off.
I can lubricate it anyway ( have a big thing of that stuff ) . I'll have to figure out where the drain fitting is located at.
 

duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
31,271
Sebring, Florida
#4
If the O-ring pops off when you remove the lid, that may be the culprit.

The drain plug(s) are located near the bottom of the pump strainer body.

You can limit your search between the pump and the skimmer(s). That's the only part of the system that will suck air.

With the pump running, have you checked that the water level is high enough in the skimmers so there is no air being sucked in there?

A suction side leak is often difficult to find, but the air will stop once you find it.
 

CUTiger78

Well-known member
May 24, 2009
463
NoVA
#6
You say it's an old, gunite pool. What kind of valves are used on your suction side, valves that would, for instance, control the water coming from each of your skimmers and, maybe, the bottom drain into your pump? Older style metal gates valves can develop leaks at the stem. These valves look like the ones at typical hose bibs for your garden hose - they have a round handle that you use to turn them off & on.

A tiny air leak makes a big impact. Mine made my whole pool look cloudy.

That was my problem. First, I tried to tighten the gland nut around the stem (didn't work), then I repacked the stem w/ "plumber's tape." Worked like a charm!

Plumber's tape looks kind of like string. It's not teflon tape like you wrap around threaded connections.

Good luck!
 
Jul 18, 2013
7
#7
So my update -- I have now installed O ring number 3... tons of pool lube. The lid was kind of dirty so I cleaned it really well where the o-ring meets it. No love.
I can't seem to even begin to budge the little drain thing on the pump strainer. I'm afraid I'll break it off if I get the pliers after it as it seems to be plastic ( Pump is roughly 3 years old) Should I try it anyway ?
Alternatively I can do the goober method and silicone it as well. :)

I replaced the valves except for one about a year ago. There is a red PVC valve that shuts off the water to the pump. It has been there for awhile but I covered it airtight in saran wrap and it didn't seem to make any difference.
I suppose I can dig up the line from the skimmer ( not easy in the clay where I am at ) but other than that I am clueless.

Oh I wanted to ask if my understanding of the flow is correct. The Pressure side is from the Skimmers to the pump yes? The pressure is not affected by the rotating thing that lets you pick from filter, backwash, recirc, closed does it?
I have to replace that little spider gasket on that tomorrow.. the guy that worked on it may not have glued it down but it always leaks water out the run out port if I don't have that valve closed. No matter what position.

THanks for the suggestions so far.
 

JohnT

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Apr 4, 2007
9,448
SW Indiana
#8
tkhula said:
Oh I wanted to ask if my understanding of the flow is correct. The Pressure side is from the Skimmers to the pump yes? The pressure is not affected by the rotating thing that lets you pick from filter, backwash, recirc, closed does it?
I have to replace that little spider gasket on that tomorrow.. the guy that worked on it may not have glued it down but it always leaks water out the run out port if I don't have that valve closed. No matter what position.

THanks for the suggestions so far.
No, the pressure side is from the pump to the return. The suction side is between the skimmers and/or drains and the inlet of the pump. Leaks on the pressure side show up as water leaks. Leaks on the suction side show up as bubbles.
 

linen

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Jul 30, 2010
8,649
Twin Cities, MN
#10
Welcome to tfp, tkhula :wave:

Are you certain your saran wrap approach was air tight? That is a new method to me that seems fraught with the potential to let air still get to the leak. Much easier to wrap a water saturated towel around a joint and see if the air stop going into the basket or another approach is to use shaving cream on the joints and see if it get sucked in.
 
Jul 18, 2013
7
#11
I do special effects on the side so yes it was horribly unconventional but I am confident it was air tight. I have done the soap routine and literally found nothing. Each and every little joint... Shaving Cream is a novel concept.. I might try that as a second go if anyone else thinks that will work.
 

duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
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Sebring, Florida
#12
suction side leaks are often difficult to find. The fact remains that is what you have and, if you can locate that leak, the air in the filter will be there no longer.

It usually is something surprisingly simple once it's found but a bear to actually find.
 
Jul 18, 2013
7
#13
Update: As of today - I have successfully replaced the valve port spider gasket. It didn't fix the problem.it did improve the leakage at the valve port when the port is open. I'm guessing that I need to replace the stupid valve port completely.
However, We noted that : If you keep tightening up the little knob that clamps the diffuser to the impeller on the pump itself... the water level in the pump (trap ) basket gets higher! Is it possible the problem is a leaky o-ring on the pump ?
Thank you for all your suggestions and advice. This year has been a learning experience.