Little Monster and Bubbles Located in Pump Basket

Shrek60

Member
Oct 13, 2019
5
Alabama
My 18 x 36 unground pool was installed last September. As the weather is relatively mild in North Alabama, I decided to leave it open and the pump running, with the SWG off, during the winter months. I placed a "sock" in the skimmer basket to help limit the debris getting back to the pump. Both the skimmer and baskets have been checked and cleaned at least weekly.

Last week my wife was looking into the pump basket window to see if it needed cleaning. She told me there was something in the basket that she was not going to remove. I had to laugh at my squeamish wife, as I strolled over to assess her issue. To my surprise, there was a mole in the pump basket (see attached picture). I also noted there was an air pocket about the size of a golf ball inside the pump basket, plus small b-b size bubbles entering the basket. I had never noted air in the basket area previously.

Removed the mole from the pump basket and verified the basket seal was good. I turned the pump on and it went into prime mode. During the prime cycle there was a virtual tornado of bubbles passing through the basket. Once the prime cycle ceased, and the pump returned to a slower speed, the golf ball air pocket returned with the small bubbles coming back in and exiting toward the impeller.

Now for the question of the moment. Is it obvious I have a leak? There is absolutely no way the mole entered the suction line from the skimmer. Is it possible it was drawn into the line at a leak or even chewed into the line causing a leak? If a hole in the suction line is large enough to pass the mole, would that not cause much larger air bubbles? The mole is not as big as it appears in the picture. I placed a carpenter bee next to it so it is possible to get an idea of the moles true size. As an added note, the pool is not loosing water.

I spoke with the pool installer, who really is as perplexed as I am. With our state under the "shelter at home" mandate due to the CV-19 issue, I am not even sure I can get him out here to look this over.

Any input and thoughts would be appreciated.

Good Bless,

BigT
 

Attachments

PoolGate

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
4,531
Damascus, MD
If you turn up the pump to full speed, do the bubbles go away? Mine collects some bubbles when it is at low speed but they go away when it returns to high. Usually they do not return after that. There are pockets and turns in your plumbing that can act as a hiding place for air that needs the pump on high to totally evacuate.

I don't think I would worry too much about 1 mole making it into your pump basket. I've found salamanders and frogs in mine. It's possible when you removed the skimmer basket the mole was stuck in your skimmer door flapper and got sucked in while you were emptying the basket. Keep an eye on your water level to see if it drops more than usual evaporation. And since you have a cartridge filter, you could take a look at the cartridges to see if any actual dirt is accumulating. I think if a mole chewed through an underground pipe dirt would come in that hole.
 

Shrek60

Member
Oct 13, 2019
5
Alabama
PoolGate, thanks for the reply. Yes there are bubbles in high and low speeds. I turned the pump on and it went into prime mode. During the prime cycle there was a virtual tornado of bubbles passing through the basket. Once the prime cycle ceased, and the pump returned to a slower speed, the golf ball air pocket returned with the small bubbles coming back in and exiting toward the impeller.

I will pay attention to the filter as you noted. I just placed a new filter in two days ago so looking for dirt, or red clay here in the South, will be easy to see. I am almost sure I am not loosing any more water that normal, but again I will pay close attention to it. I guess my concern here is the leak is above the waterline and thus would not necessarily cause the pool to lose water.

As a newbie to this pool game, I see I have a lot to learn.

BigT
 

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
595
Cabool, Mo
Are you sure you are not pulling air in the skimmers?
The leak, if you have one, will not likely be above the water line, at the equipment is the only place those pipes come up above the water line.
A suction leak does not leak water out if the pump is on, so how much does your pump run?
Since they will typically backfill the pipe trench in gravel or sand, and yours is new, you may not see any dirt in your filter.
As for losing water, if the pipe trench is surrounded by clay, as you implied, it could be filling the gravel trench and holding water in it. It will only leak as fast as the trench can drain. In clay, that may be not at all.
I would do a pressure test on the suction side, but that could be problematic at this time thanks to cv19. But I would say you have a suction leak. It is probably not related to the mole. If it is, it will be a first for me.
 

Shrek60

Member
Oct 13, 2019
5
Alabama
Thanks for the input RDspaguy. I keep the water level at the midpoint of the skimmer, per the installers instruction. Were you inferring that the water was to low or is there another way to pull air in the skimmer? I am currently running my pump 24/7. As a troubleshooting tool, should I turn the pump off for a few days and watch the water level? I replaced the filter two days ago, and a check of it just over a hour back, shows no dirt/clay visible. The pool was backfilled with good ole Alabama red dirt. I will attach a picture and you can see the dirt behind the pool. My installer said he would reach out Monday and try to find someone who can run a pressure test for me in this era of CV-19. Can I assume there will be no harm done to my system if I run the pump with the bubbles present until I get the pressure test completed? I have a couple grand girls, we are watching with the schools out, and they are anxious to get in the water. Again, I sincerely appreciate the inputs. BigTIMG_2456.JPG
 

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
595
Cabool, Mo
Thanks for the pic, now I know a mole did not chew through rigid pvc.
As long as you are keeping a prime you should be fine.
If you turn off the pump I am betting you will leak. Suction leaks do not leak out water, but leak in air when the pump is on.
 

Shrek60

Member
Oct 13, 2019
5
Alabama
RDspaguy, the pump is off. I will monitor the pool level and see what happens. The boss has me working from home, so I will have ample time to watch grass grow and water leak.

BigT