Air Leak near Equipment

IkeRay

Well-known member
May 20, 2007
154
Houston, Tx
I need some help here. I have bubbles coming through my return jets, as well as bubbles forming in the pump basket area. I believe its from the main drain side, but i also think there might be an air leak around the filter pipes since when i have it on recirculate, the amount of bubbles into the pool are slightly decreased. its really causing my pH to sky rocket, it was at 8.0 yesterday since i didnt think it had done much, but had indeed raised the pH .5 in less than a week.

just threw a gallon of acid in, per my tests kit, and when i tested it again today it was at 7.3.

is there an easy way to detect air leaks in pvc piping? also, is there a way to repair the air leak w/o replacing the entire piping?
 

waste

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
4,160
Coastalish 'down easter'
Ike, the bubbles in the pump are indicative of a suction leak. However, the filter side of the unit will leak water when the system is running (no chance of drawing air into the system) - but it could draw air into it when the system is off. Are you using the 'air relief valve' when you start up the system (to purge any air in the system)? 'Recirc' would only lessen the problem if there was air in the filter to start with. Does the pool have enough water in it so that the skimmer(s) aren't sucking air?

There are a number of things that can cause the bubbles in the pump housing -- #1 is the gasket on the lid of the pump. Others include a loose fitting going into the pump, a valve or any place that the pipe attaches to a fitting (not to mention a broken suction line :shock: ) There are a few other things, but check these out first -- I don't have to work tomorrow :party: , so I'll have a little more time to get into more detail on all this :)
 

Caeleas

Member
Apr 3, 2008
5
East TN
This happened to me about two years ago. Ended up finding that the pvc pipe had a crack in it. The real kicker is that it was under ground near the skimmer :cry: . It was a complete nightmare to fix it. I hope your problem is just an O-ring.
 

IkeRay

Well-known member
May 20, 2007
154
Houston, Tx
skimmer is always full of water, and has good circulation in there, and i always purge the filter of water when i start it up. also, the bubbles are always there, so its not like its just purging the small amount that might be in the filter. someone told me that a squirt bottle with soapy water is a good way to find the leak, but i need help to figure out what im looking for.
 

duraleigh

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
32,863
Sebring, Florida
As Ted said, if you have air entering your system with the pump running, it is coming from the suction side of your system.....somewhere between the pump impellor and the skimmers/main drain.

So, your main drain is underwater (no air there) and I assume the water level is high enough to prevent the skimmers from pulling in air.

What that leaves is the piping underground and above ground that go TO your pump and the pump basket.

The leaks are almost always found at the pipes and joints above ground or the pump basket lid. An underground crack in the pipe is possible but its pretty remote. I would eliminate all other sources first.
 

waste

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
4,160
Coastalish 'down easter'
Ike, Dave did a much better job of describing where to look than I did (thanks Dude :!: ).

You don't need soapy water to check for the leak(s) (soapy water will identify a pressurized gas leak by bubbling at the source of the leak - I use it after I hook up the gas to all the d*mned heaters we have to take in for the winter - it would not be copacetic to empty a homeowners propane tank like that)

What I do is dribble water on any suspect area and look to see if the bubbles lessen or stop in the pump stainer, if the bubbles stop - wherever you were dribbling the water is the source of the leak. To make it more effective, I'll cup a hand under the area so that the water puddles so I can be sure that the entire fitting, plug, etc has the water all around it. It's always possible that there is more than 1 leak, in which case you want to see if the bubbles lessen when the water is applied.

I've also heard, but never tried it, that you can spray some shaving cream on all the suspect connections and watch to see where the cream gets sucked into the leak.

Good luck with the leak detection, if you need any more help or need some advice when you identify the leak - just ask and we'll answer!
 

kirbinster

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2007
293
NJ
You've gotten good advice on the air, but I am very puzzled why you think your pH problem has anything to do with air bubbles - they are almost definitely different issues.

One thing that has not been mentioned - you can get suction air leaks in the threaded connections if you use teflon tape rather than pipe dope.
 

IkeRay

Well-known member
May 20, 2007
154
Houston, Tx
thank you all, i havent had a chance to really diagnose it seeing as its been raining almost all day...:(. and whats worse is that the rain is like 65-70* and the pool water is 75-80, so when i went out there, i was more inclined to be in the pool than out.

had the pump on recirculate just now and there are still bubbles present, i also lubricated up the pump basket lid really well with
. i had made the mistake last year or lubing it up with petroleum jelly and found out quickly that it doesnt help to form the seal and thus does very little to nothing.

ill look more into it tomorrow when its not raining. i also have a problem of when i first turn on the pump on filter, DE spurts back into the pool via the return jet. i know this means there is a tear in the filter grid, but i cant seem to find any faulty grids, is there a method to finding a tear in the material on the grids? i think this is also causing my pool to be not sparkling blue, but have a green/gray hue since all the algae isnt being filtered out. the algae is dead, FC was 12 last night, and this morning read 12, so this rain will help to bring that down faster.

ill post pics as soon as i can get it to blue up.
 

muss08

In The Industry
Mar 22, 2008
56
Maryland
The bubbles aerate the pool releasing carbon dioxide which will cause the pH to rise but I doubt what she is describing is enough to do this. I would suggest getting a pressure test done on your equipment. That will definitely find the leak and show you which line is leaking if you can isolate the skimmers, main drain, and returns. What kind of DE filter do you have? If you absolutely cannot find a tear it could be a faulty o-ring or gasket.
 

IkeRay

Well-known member
May 20, 2007
154
Houston, Tx
well, after doing a break down and thorough cleaning, per waste's suggestion of electric dishwasher detergent and acid rise (10:1 dillution), i reassembled and added DE, non-made its way back into the pool. my guess is that the grids were slightly clogged and the breather valve on the top of the manifold was allowing the de to pass through. i replaced the breather valve as well, even though the previous looked to be in good condition, but apparently my problem is solved.

also, since the rain today (probably a good 1-2") there arent any bubbles through the jets. i will check again when it dries tomorrow.

ill post pictures of my pool and maybe you guys can tell me why my FC is maintaining and yet my pool still isnt blue.
 

kirbinster

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2007
293
NJ
muss08 said:
The bubbles aerate the pool releasing carbon dioxide which will cause the pH to rise but I doubt what she is describing is enough to do this. I would suggest getting a pressure test done on your equipment. That will definitely find the leak and show you which line is leaking if you can isolate the skimmers, main drain, and returns. What kind of DE filter do you have? If you absolutely cannot find a tear it could be a faulty o-ring or gasket.
How does air (Oxygen and Nitrogen mostly) cause Carbon Dioxide? And doesn't carbon dioxide typically lower pH not raise it?
 

kirbinster

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2007
293
NJ
muss08 said:
I'm sorry once again. Aeration does cause your pH to rise because the CO2 in the water is being released.
How does CO2 cause high pH? I always thought CO2 causes low pH like in soda.
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,879
Silver Spring, MD
Yes, adding CO2 lowers PH, so when CO2 outgases (goes away) the PH goes up. Aeration effectively increases the surface area of the pool, since the surface of each air bubble acts as a surface through which CO2 can outgas. More surface area means faster outgassing. Swimming pools, like soda, are run with more CO2 dissolved in the water than equilibrium. Given enough time and opportunity the CO2 will outgas. You prevent soda from outgassing by keeping it in pressurized containers. Swimming pools are outgassing all the time, but the rate is normally slow enough that you don't really notice it.