Airlock in secondary (cleaner) pump

Flyguppy

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2014
74
The Woodlands, TX
I'm having an issue of getting an airlock every 2 or 3 days in my cleaner pump. I have a full Pentair system built in 2013.

I'm usually able to clear it is to take the inlet hose to the pump off. Water flows instantly, so I think the air is on the other side of the pump as it heads towards the cleaner.

Any suggestions on how to troubleshoot this? Or better yet, a way to fix it?

My pump running dry is going to fail sooner rather than later I'm sure. When I'm gone for 2 or 3 days, it can run dry every day.....until I notice that the cleaner isn't working (like today)....and now I'm headed out to start taking things apart again.....
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
11,308
Bedford, TX
Fly,

I have never heard of an "air lock" so I'm not sure what is causing your cleaner issue.

I'll bet if you can post a couple of pictures of your equipment pad, some here can help you figure this out.

What kind of main pump do you have? I "assume" the cleaner pump is a booster pump for a pressure side cleaner.

Thanks for posting,
'
Jim R.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,375
Pleasanton, CA
Are you using a VS pump for the main pump? If the RPM is high enough, there should be pressure on the suction line of the cleaner pump so any leak would show up as water coming out and not air going in.
 

Flyguppy

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2014
74
The Woodlands, TX
Yes.... Using the VS pump as the main. Maybe try to increase the rpm? Today I fixed it by disconnecting on the outflow side of the pump. Heard air escape when the hose was detached. Filled pipe up with water, started the boost pump and cleaner began working again.

This has been going on for a month or so. Notice cleaner not running... But pump is on. Disconnect cleaner hose and sure enough, no pressure getting through.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
11,308
Bedford, TX
Fly,

Your pressure cleaner needs both the main pump and cleaner pump to be running the same time. And... the main pump has to be running at a pretty fast RPM. If you are running your VS pump at less than about 2500 RPM, then I think that is your problem.

Try increasing your main pump's RPM and I suspect your problem will go away.

This is why I use a Robot...

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Flyguppy

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2014
74
The Woodlands, TX
Obviously they both run when the cleaner is on. It has been set to run at 3000rpm when the cleaner pump is also running.

That hasn't changed since we've lived here, yet the problem started a couple months ago. Set it to 3200, but not sure that's the issue.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
11,308
Bedford, TX
Fly,

Sorry, I've learned not to take anything for granted, even the very obvious... :p

I agree that 3K should be plenty.

Other than that I have no idea what the problem might be..

Maybe the booster pump is bad??? How old is it..

Lets see if someone with a booster can chime in here..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,375
Pleasanton, CA
If you disconnect the booster suction side line, does water come out of the line when the other pump is running?
 

Flyguppy

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2014
74
The Woodlands, TX
Not real familiar with the terminology.... But if you're referring to the "inlet" to the booster pump.... Yes, water comes out of there immediately when I turn on the VS main pump.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,375
Pleasanton, CA
But then when you run the booster, nothing comes out of that side (when disconnected) correct?

I think there is a filter on suction side of that pump (inlet) that can get blocked.
 

Flyguppy

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2014
74
The Woodlands, TX
Sorry... Don't understand the question. With the supply/inlet disconnected, and the main VS pump on, there is constant water flow from the disconnected hose.

Are you asking if the water continues to flow from the disconnected hose if I activate the cleaner pump? Yes, but at a faster rate because the VS has increased rpm as well.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,375
Pleasanton, CA
No what I am asking is if you reconnect the inlet pipe but disconnect the boosters outlet pipe (top of pump), is there any water coming out of the pump?
 

Flyguppy

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2014
74
The Woodlands, TX
Ah..... Well, all has been working normal for the past 2 days (since I last disconnected everything). I will have to wait until the cleaner stops working again to give you an answer to that question.

I just know that I wasn't getting any pressure at the cleaner connection port in the pool. I did not disconnect the hose on top of the pump to see if I was getting any water there.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,375
Pleasanton, CA
If the cleaner is now working, then there is water coming out of the pump. If it is intermittent then it could have been a clog somewhere in the lines.
 

Flyguppy

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2014
74
The Woodlands, TX
Thanks. It seems to work just fine..... Until it doesn't. As I mentioned before, seems to happen every few days. Gets air locked and I have to take apart to get it going again.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,375
Pleasanton, CA
Air cannot get "locked" in a pump because of the pressure's involved so it must some sort of air leak or blockage.
 

Flyguppy

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2014
74
The Woodlands, TX
Air cannot get "locked" in a pump because of the pressure's involved so it must some sort of air leak or blockage.
I'd have to go with air leak then. Because it runs fine, not intermittent at all, until it just quits working all together.

Unhooking the hoses and clearing the air gets it working again. If I'm thinking correctly, that wouldn't be the case with a blockage.

So, possible causes of an air leak?

I do recall this started about the time I had one of my electrical valves replaced. Is there anything in those like a seal or gasket that could have been missed that is allowing air in? It was the valve that determines if I'm in Pool or Spa mode.

Otherwise, where could it be? The cleaner hose itself? That floats on top of the water when not in use....possibly allowing air in that side of the system?
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,375
Pleasanton, CA
Unhooking the hoses and clearing the air gets it working again. If I'm thinking correctly, that wouldn't be the case with a blockage.
It could be if you are loosening the blockage temporarily. Have you checked all lines for any blockage?

Also does your main pump lose prime when you shut it off?

Can you post a picture of the equipment pad setup?
 

Flyguppy

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2014
74
The Woodlands, TX
What's the best way to check for a blockage?

My VS pump never loses pressure. Occasionally takes a couple tries to get it to prime after cleaning the basket, but that's about it.

Will try to get a pic uploaded

- - - Updated - - -

Pic in the dark. Hopefully clear enough
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,375
Pleasanton, CA
I am having a hard time seeing where the booster draws it's water from. It looks like the pipe goes underground? Do you know where it connects?


Gets air locked and I have to take apart to get it going again.
Exactly what are you doing to get it running again?


My VS pump never loses pressure.
But do you ever see air in the pump basket?
 
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