Large air bubbles in return line. New build

ezchief

New member
Nov 15, 2019
4
Frisco, TX
New here and learning a bunch. Thanks.
I'm hoping you can help. I'm getting what I call big bubbles from one return. With the cover on, they appear from behind the cover but when I took it off, the big bubbles are coming from the return pipe.

They start big like you see and consistent like a bottle submerged under water fire a few minutes. Then trickle up like 3 every 5 seconds. These continue for 10 minutes.

Other important items I've noticed.

1. I'm in Dallas. Did a water leak test with tape by the skimmer. Lost 1.125 inches in 5 days. Temps in the 50 to 60s. Thought that was excessive. I have a spa spillover that steps down like a small step down. 5 steps that are about 2 inches thick leuders slabs. Pool company says that this aeration is the cause of the water loss. I run the pump 4 hours overnight.

This is what got me nervous for sure.

2. Builder asked me to do a bucket test but his warranty guy confirmed I can't just run the pool. Has to overflow the jacuzzi. So we can't rule out aeration I guess.

3. I put some blue dye by the return with the pool off and it slowly ever so slowly seemed to creep up the return. Tried two others and the dye just fell past the return.

4. Based on the skimmer water line and the overflow, I can't get this skimmer past 1/3 full or it will be at the overflow level on the other side of the pool. I was told to keep water level at the base of the overflow plate to one inch below. At one inch below, the water barely trickles into the skimmer.

The pic attached is the water at the base of the overflow.

Any ideas on all of this mess. Water leak, air bubbles, skimmer built to low?

Jim
 

Attachments

Rancho Cost-a-Lotta

Silver Supporter
Apr 10, 2018
896
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Welcome Chief.

I'm not an expert, but my first thought is the water level being too low in the skimmer which is causing air to be sucked in through the skimmer line. Have you tried to raise the water level up to the overflow port to achieve more flow into the skimmer? Do you still get air exiting the returns when the suction is set to spa (and returns set to pool)? Are you able to isolate the suction from the main drain? If the weir door at the skimmer is easily removable, maybe you can give that a shot to see if more water flow helps. If you find the low water level at the skimmer is the problem, you can convert to a floating weir style skimmer basket which is is less susceptible to running dry with lower water levels.

Best of luck!
 
Last edited:

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,323
Bedford, TX
Jim,

I am not sure I totally understand what problem(s) you are having, but I suggest that we look at them one at a time... In normal operation, your water level should be right at the middle of the skimmers.. Is this what you have or not? You should have about 3 to 3.5" of water going into your skimmers..

What does the water in the skimmers look like when the pump is running? Does it look like a toilet bowl flushing? Does the water leave the skimmer and then the skimmer fills back up again, over and over? (It should not...)

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

ezchief

New member
Nov 15, 2019
4
Frisco, TX
Jim,

My skimmer is 6 inches tall. At normal fill level, I can have 2.5 inches of water spilling over into the skimmer. That's max level.

The reason it's max level is I have a pool over flow on the other side of the pool for ,well, over flow. If I raise the pool to the bottom of that overflow cover, as instructed by the pool builder, that leaves me only the 2.5 inches of water into the skimmer stated above. A half inch higher, and the water will be in the overflow being wasted down the alley.

The skimmer water does not flush like you wrote. It kind of ripples or looks like simmering water on a stove pan with hot water.

I just went and looked at the pump and the clear cover had air pockets in it at the top. It's been like that since I got the pool on Halloween.

I removed the lid, and after a minute, all the water left the pump basket. It's gurgling and I can hear air gurgling into the filter housing.

The water level in the skimmer was constant when i did the above.

I always thought the skimmer level was to low to function effectively.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,323
Bedford, TX
Jim,

I don't think your main problem is the skimmer or the overflow, although they may make things look worse than they are...

It does sound like your overflow is set a little to low.. I have that same basic problem although I get about 3.5" of water at the skimmer before the overflow starts.. What I did was take out the little grate covering the overflow tube, and glued a piece of plastic about an inch high behind the grate. This basically means the water has to come up an additional inch before the pool water is high enough to go into the overflow pipe. So, now when I fill my pool I get about 4.5" of water at the skimmer.

I don't like the water to get below 1" at my skimmers.. I tend to refill at 1.25".

Assuming you don't let your water below 1"at the skimmer, I doubt that your bubble problem is related to the water level at the skimmer.

The water is held in the pump by the fact that it is a closed system.. Just like putting your finger over a straw and taking the straw out of a glass.. Taking your thumb off, releases the water.. In your case, removing the lid is like taking your thumb off the straw.. When you take the lid off, gravity will just force the water in the pump to drain down hill into the pool..

The fact that your skimmer does not look like a toilet bowl flushing means that your Weir door seems to be working OK.. If the weir door is stuck up, the pump can suck all the water out of the skimmer before enough water can flow around the door.. So, you don't have that problem...

You say "the big bubbles are coming from the return pipe"... I want to make sure we are both talking apples to apples...

Is this the pipe in your picture?
I assume you have three or four of these pipes and they all have what we call "eyeballs" for controlling the direction of the water... Is this true???
I also assume that this one return has bubbles, and the others do not... Is that true?
In your pic I see what I would call a couple of small bubbles... Are these the "big" bubbles you have been getting or when you first turn on the pump do you get bigger bubble that actually make noise when they erupt through the water surface??
I assume the bubbles are coming from the return that is closest to the equipment pad.. Is this true?

Do the bubbles occur when you start the pump or right after you stop the pump?

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
  • Like
Reactions: wireform

ezchief

New member
Nov 15, 2019
4
Frisco, TX
Jim,

Thanks for the reply. I'll check on the overflow so i can get more water into the skimmer. My thoughts were similar to yours. Trim the overflow cover to be more realistic is one option.

To the return issue and bubbles. I'll post a pic.

When the eyeball is on, the bubbles came out slowly about the size of an eraser head or bigger. About 8 bubbles per 5 seconds. First glance, they appeared to come out between the eyeball and the plaster. Constant for 10 plus minutes. These aren't micro bubbles from the return. More like a glurbing of bubbles constantly rolling up from the return i pictured.

When i stopped the pump, waited 20 minutes yesterday, removed the eyeball, and then started the pump, it was a woosh of bubbles, large, like a Jacuzzi starting. I liken it to being in the the hot tub and your trunks fill and you push them out and a woosh of air comes out and everyone has to think did he just......

It's one of 5 returns from the equipment into the pool that push water into the pool. I have 6 Jets in the hot tub.

Weir door is flapping as it should and i have suction down the skimmer checked with my hand today.



Not sure it's the first return but would make sense if they wrapped around the perimeter they would hit that and go counter clockwise back to the equipment..

The picture with the 3 sheers, the return is in the left corner. Pool equipment is the the right along the 20191217_171832.jpgfence.20191217_171756.jpg

These first two pics show bubbles when first started, second one and 10 minutes later.

The last picture is the spa overflow they say it's the cause of water loss with aeration. I run that 4 hours a night now. Temps in the 50s.
20191217_171556.jpg20191217_171533.jpg
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,323
Bedford, TX
Jim,

Do you have the ability to shut off the sheers with a Jandy valve..?

I am not sure what is causing the bubbles, but one thought is that when your sheers shut off the water in the pipes will flow backwards into the pump? It would be good to eliminate as much stuff as possible.

I think that because when you take off the eyeball, you see a large burst of bubbles, that the bubbles are coming from the inside the pipe and not from around the outside/plaster area..

Let's see a couple of pics of your equipment pad..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

ezchief

New member
Nov 15, 2019
4
Frisco, TX
The sheers haven't been on since October. They say it's the Jacuzzi overflow waterfall i pictured that's aerating the water and that runs when the pump is on with electronic valve settings. Never mind that, the sheers don't run right now.

Pics of equipment.
 

Attachments