Air in the pool pump lines

pcm2a

Well-known member
Aug 25, 2017
159
Mt Juliet, Tn
I went out today to do a quick skimmer and robot leaf clean and I noticed that the jets had some air bubbling out. I went around to the pump and sure enough it has air in there. When I stop the pump all that air is released and the water goes down in the pump basket. Under normal operation that doesn't happen. The PSI at the filter is pretty normal ~18-20 psi. Any tips on what I should look for to figure out why air is getting into the lines will be appreciated.

Tried:
1. All skimmer and pump baskets are clean
2. Backwashing
3. Removing the lid to the pump, filling it up with water
4. Tightening the lid up real good
3. Tried putting it into spa mode. In spa mode there didn't appear to be any air in the lines (video of it below)

Since it seems to work as normal in spa mode that tells me that it must be sucking the air in from the input or output of the pool lines?

Video of the pool pump with air in the line:


Video stopping the pool pump:


Video of pool pump in spa mode (only pulls from the spa):
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
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LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,646
Bedford, TX
pcm,

You are either missing the O-ring under the pump lid or it is damaged..

If not, you have a massive suction side air leak..

I just can't see that much water coming out of the pump basket if the lid was actually tight.. Maybe the locking ring is cracked or ???

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

pcm2a

Well-known member
Aug 25, 2017
159
Mt Juliet, Tn
Under normal operation water does squirt out of the lid when the pump is turned off, just not with that much violence. I was told by a pool repair place and I believe on here that my brand of pump "just works that way". Below is a picture of the basket and the lid. There is only the one seal and it looks ok but I guess it could need replacing. If it was the lid then shouldn't it have had the same problem when in spa mode? What a puzzle!

Also, is it doing any irreparable damage when I'm running it in this state? I'm sure it will be days before I can get a shop to come out and take a look. It's in the 50s right now so I can go periods of time with it off if needed.

IMG_20191102_194149.jpg

IMG_20191102_194159.jpg
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
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Jul 7, 2014
14,646
Bedford, TX
PCM,

The air coming into your pump is building up in the filter and when you shut the pump off the pressurized air blows the water back into your pump.. I have just never seen it that bad.. Since it does not do it in the spa mode, maybe the Intake valve that switches between the pool and the spa has an air leak???

Let's see if we can get a little help from @JamesW ..

I don't buy the "that's how it works..." answer from your pool guy..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
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Sebring, Florida
I don't buy the "that's how it works..." answer from your pool guy.
I agree with Jim. ANY brand of pump must be able to seal airtight for the system to work correctly.

Why is the pump basket lid on upside down in the pic? It looks like the pump is running in that pic?? Optical illusion?
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
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Jul 7, 2014
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Bedford, TX
PCM,

Good point about the spa mode not sucking air... I reread your initial post and it is a puzzle..

How about posting a couple of posts of your entire equipment pad showing all the valves..

When you are in the pool mode, with all the bubble in the pump basket, what does the flow back to the pool feel like? Is it still strong or is it weak?

Is this a new pool or has it been working just fine and all of a sudden you now have this issue?

In the Spa mode, what does the main pump do and what does the Spa pump do? I assume the Spa pump runs the jets, but when this is happening, where does the water from the main pump go?? Pics will show us how the two pumps are interconnected..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
16,598
The NorthStar pump lid does not seal very well. It's a design defect.

I suspect that the lid is causing the issue.

I'm not sure why it's not happening in Spa mode.

If the spa is higher than the pump, the suction could be less especially if the lines are bigger.

Or, the suction could be higher and the lid is getting pulled down tight.

You can try a new gasket and some lube but due to the design of the pump lid, you might not be able to solve the problem completely.

The pool is probably pretty old. Definitely more than 10 years. It might be time to consider replacing the pump.
 
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Jimrahbe

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Jul 7, 2014
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Bedford, TX

pcm2a

Well-known member
Aug 25, 2017
159
Mt Juliet, Tn
When you are in the pool mode, with all the bubble in the pump basket, what does the flow back to the pool feel like? Is it still strong or is it weak?
Same as always, plus some gurgling as air comes out with it.

Is this a new pool or has it been working just fine and all of a sudden you now have this issue?
12-13 years old, I've lived here 3.5. No problems with this issue until now.

In the Spa mode, what does the main pump do and what does the Spa pump do?
Sorry, I should have posted a pic, it will be below. The pool pump runs all the time feeding into the spa and pool. Spa spills over into the pool. In spa mode the pool pump only feeds into the spa. The spa pump you can turn on for more flow into the spa and a blower for bubbles (currently broken).

If the spa is higher than the pump, the suction could be less especially if the lines are bigger.
Spa is a few feet higher than the pool and it spills over down a waterfall type thing.

It might be time to consider replacing the pump.
Had the pump motor replaced about 1.5 years ago, so it's practically new. The housing is obviously old and also a real pain to take apart.

How can I figure out what exact Northstar pump housing I have? Any labels that used to be on it are long gone. Worth a try for a whole lid and seal. From that amazon link: "Includes strainer cover, lock ring and o-ring". I only have one seal in mine! There has never been another one since I lived here. That can't be optimal.

Since it does not do it in the spa mode, maybe the Intake valve that switches between the pool and the spa has an air leak???
Today I put it into spa mode and it is worse than yesterday (video below). It's not as bad as when running in pool mode but not normal either. I also took a video when switching between spa and pool mode and the valve is definitely not right. Some water squirts out and you can hear air coming out of it. Maybe it is normal because of the extra air pressure build up? Once it is running there aren't any leaks and I don't hear any air sucking in there.

Photo of the whole pool setup. In pool mode it pulls through 1 spa and 2 pool lines and 1 spa and 2 pool going out. In spa mode it is a separate spa in and shares the same spa out. The pool pump pushes water through the spa pump which is turned off.
in-pool-mode.jpg

Video of the valve changing from spa to pool mode. Some water leaks out and then air is escaping. Maybe this is just because of the amount of pressure. Pressure at the filter is about 25 where normally about 20.


Here is a video of the spa mode today (spa pump is not running)
 

pcm2a

Well-known member
Aug 25, 2017
159
Mt Juliet, Tn
One small update, it looks like I can get just the o-ring for $7 (assuming it's the right size) and it could be here tomorrow. Might be worth trying that + lube before getting the $70 lid?
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
16,598
The lid is definitely leaking. It has a cam and ramp design that doesn't really seal very well. You can get a new gasket. That might help.

They stopped making the pump years ago due to the poor performance.

The suction valve is also leaking. You can get a new set of gaskets.
 

pcm2a

Well-known member
Aug 25, 2017
159
Mt Juliet, Tn
I will order the new o-ring and lube, since mine is missing. I assume the failing gaskets are inside the 2 way valve? Looks like a Jandy 4717 valve, gaskets are cheap on amazon.

The GVA-24 has two seals which should be lubricated every year. These O-ring seals are located at the top and bottom of the actuator, where the shaft exits the actuator housing. The top O-ring requires the removal of the handle, and the bottom requires that the gear train is disengaged.
I couldn't find any replacement o-rings for the GVA-24 with a google search. Maybe they are not the problem.
 
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pcm2a

Well-known member
Aug 25, 2017
159
Mt Juliet, Tn
I ordered what amazon said was a filter basket and pump lid o-ring that is 7 inches in diameter. I measured the top of the basket and it was 7 inches. What I got in the mail was two o-rings about 3 inches in diameter. Maybe they would fit for the line in and out. Guess I'll run down to the pool shop to see what they have.
 

pcm2a

Well-known member
Aug 25, 2017
159
Mt Juliet, Tn
When it rains it pours. I took apart the jandy valve and replaced the o-rings. My spa is higher than ground level, so it started emptying out onto the ground. There is no manual valve there to close it off. I quickly replaced the o-rings, the old ones looked fabulous. In a hurry to get the valve assembly back in place I guess I did not get it seated perfectly. When I tried to operate the valve the bottom broke off. The only negative thing happening now is in spa mode some water is coming from the pool too. I have a replacement coming tomorrow, it was $17. I'll drain the spa tomorrow before replacing the valve.

What's worse, replacing these o-rings changed nothing at all. There is so much pressure built up from the air in the lines that water/air still squirts out. I'm not convinced that anything needed to change with the valve.

I took the lid down to the pool store and they wanted so much for any o-rings and gaskets that they recommended just getting the whole lid assembly from amazon. It will be here Thursday.

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pcm2a

Well-known member
Aug 25, 2017
159
Mt Juliet, Tn
The lid came in today and it DID THE TRICK! What this tells me is for 3 years my pump has been not running as good as it could have. There has always been water squirting out and now there is NO water when turning it off. I can also see down into the basket with the nice clear lid. The lid was really hard to get it to turn with the new gasket. I had to use a hammer to get it to close all the way. Not sure what else could be done.

The part breakdown says lid + gasket + o-ring. There was no o-ring. So I guess the pool guy was right that there is not supposed to be an o-ring regardless of what the documentation says.

 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
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Jul 7, 2014
14,646
Bedford, TX
pcm,

As long as it works that is great, but I can't envision how any pump lid connection could work without some type of gasket or O-Ring... ???

Glad you got it working.. :goodjob:

Jim R.
 

pcm2a

Well-known member
Aug 25, 2017
159
Mt Juliet, Tn
It does have a nice new gasket. Looks way better than the old one. It just doesn't have an o-ring also. The pump breakdown of the part lists both but the package only lists lid and lock ring. It is an official Hayward package too.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,646
Bedford, TX
pcm,

I am not familiar with your pump (obviously..) but I just want to understand in case this comes up again..

You have a new clear lid and a locking ring.. I assume the gasket goes between the lid and the top surface of the pump. Is that correct? Where did the new gasket come from?

It makes sense that you would have either a gasket or an O-Ring, but not both.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

pcm2a

Well-known member
Aug 25, 2017
159
Mt Juliet, Tn
The lid came with 2 parts, one lid and one lock-ring/gasket. The lock-ring pushes into a little groove in the lid. When you put the lid onto the pump you have push down and twist to lock it in place. The lock-ring is pushing on an edge of the pump housing. It was super hard to get the new lid to twist on with that nice thick lock-ring. I had to use a mallet to help out.

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Looks like I have now developed a leak at the union. Will pick up a new union gasket and see if that does anything.
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