Intex Pump Slowly Loses Flow

AugustWest

Member
Jun 16, 2020
5
Boston, MA
Hello everyone. Our family took the plunge this summer and set up a 15'x42" Intex Easy Set pool. The pool has been great so far, the filter pump (Intex 637R) not so much. Being a first time pool owner I didn't even notice the odd behavior of the pump until the second week of operation, What started as nice flow with aeration bubbles from the jet slowed to almost a non-existent current. After several attempts to purge air and add hose clamps to connections in an effort to prevent a suction side leak with no improvement, I removed the pump from the pool and tested it in a bucket just to make sure the impeller was doing what it should and it was. I reconnected the pump to the pool and fired it back up and just like that, a nice strong current with bubbles. My celebration was short lived though. A mere 9 hours later we were back very low flow, no bubble, no ripples on the surface. I shut the pump down and released the air lock on the top. A small amount of air came out but there was no improvement when I powered the pump back up. Does anyone know what could cause this behavior? What am I missing? Thanks!
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
12,538
Houston, Texas
Hi, welcome to TFP! Usually when you see a reduction in flow it means the filter is dirty and needs cleaning. You are probably have a nascent algae bloom which means there is a lot of microscopic algae in the water, and it is on the verge of going green. While filtering removes some algae, it can't remove it faster than algae reproduces in a nice warm pool. What are you using to add chlorine to the pool, and what are you using to test the water?
 

AugustWest

Member
Jun 16, 2020
5
Boston, MA
Thank you! I should mentioned that while messing with things, I rinsed the filter. It had some rust like staining but that was all. I since have rinsed it daily in the hopes that may have had something to do with it. I have a floating chlorinator and have (1) 3" tablet. I have been using the the Taylor K-1003 kit. That was a rookie rookie error as I now see the K-1004 also tests for free chlorine so in a pinch I added the HTH strips to it. After years of aquarium fish care, I am not much of a fan of paper strips but desperate times!
 

AugustWest

Member
Jun 16, 2020
5
Boston, MA
My test from yesterday using the Taylor kit was:
TC: 3
pH: 6.8
TA: 50

I should add that when I added my chlorine tab I also added 1 Arm & Hammer Clear Balance tablet.
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
12,538
Houston, Texas
Since you have a very small pool, it may be best to drain, clean and refill. Did you add stabilizer separately? By the way, the Clear Balance tablet is just baking soda in a fancy package. Baking soda will raise the TA and pH. You need a test to measure CYA/stabilizer in the pool. Do you know approximately how many chlorine tablets you have used? Could you add your pool size to your signature? You can use the PoolMath to determine which quantities of chemicals to add according to your test results.
 
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AugustWest

Member
Jun 16, 2020
5
Boston, MA
Since you have a very small pool, it may be best to drain, clean and refill. Did you add stabilizer separately? By the way, the Clear Balance tablet is just baking soda in a fancy package. Baking soda will raise the TA and pH. You need a test to measure CYA/stabilizer in the pool. Do you know approximately how many chlorine tablets you have used? Could you add your pool size to your signature? You can use the PoolMath to determine which quantities of chemicals to add according to your test results.
Why would I need to drain the water? To my knowledge I don’t have a serious water issue YET, but I will if the pump issue isn’t corrected, thus my post. To answer your question, the pool has been up for 2 weeks and I have used 2 tablets so far.
 

ashtonfitzgerald

Well-known member
Sep 27, 2016
259
Oshawa, ON, Canada
Small pools inherently present challenges of balance due to the small water volume. Following an aquarium analogy it’s like keeping 40 tetras in a 20 gallon tank. Can it be done? Sure, but parameters can go bad fast.

The small filters of these pools clog up really fast. My first summer with our 12’ Intex I ran with the standard pump. The filter would clog after two days of filtering with no swimmers. If someone went in the pool I’d be cleaning it twice a day. I was careful to follow ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry and had to babysit the filter. I quickly upgraded to a small sand filter and haven’t regretted it at all.

You’ll need to know your stabilizer level as that affects the target free chlorine level. Keeping adequate sanitizer levels slows algae from getting out of control which can happen fast in warm weather.

The recommendation of draining and starting over is pertinent if the pool turns green. Small pools are often cheaper to drain and refill than to battle back from a swamp with chemicals and SLAM Process.

Keep on top of daily chlorine additions and we recommend a good test kit so you can monitor all the necessary levels namely CYA (stabilizer), FC, CC and PH.