need advice from TFP on way ahead air bubbles in return line....new construction

pinstripepat

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2012
57
Dallas, Texas
Hello all,

This thread is more me looking for advice from all of you trusted sources. I just recently had my pool construction completed. Start up was end of June 2019. This is my second pool (we recently moved) so I am not a novice, but not an expert either.
First some facts about current pool. I am in Texas, south of Dallas. It is an in ground, roughly 20,000 gallons, gunite construction shell with pebble finish, lagoon style darker blue color with a spa that spillways into the pool. All Jandy equipment, SWG, variable speed pump, separate pump for water fall, Jandy heater for spa, Polaris cleaner (think it is called black max). this pool also has what the builder called Pari-skim skimmers (not sure if spelling is correct). But they are a bit different than my last pool.
My issue is that one of my return lines spits out bubbles. The pool builder has been great so far, they have researched everything and plumbers were out yesterday to test the lines. They found all to be ok. Problem is still bubbles coming out of return. Some of the things I notice is when the VSP starts up on high there seems to not be bubbles and when it goes to low speed after priming the bubbles start. The pump basket lid starts with a very tiny bubble that will grow throughout the day (of course signifying air building). They left yesterday at a loss and I am not sure what route they are going to go next. This is where I am in need of all of your advice. Has anyone ever seen this ? I did read where a VSP pump can cause air, is that true? Where would you guys go from here. Air in the system is not good and I want to be informed when the builder calls with the next course of action. The pool is brand new and this is not normal correct?

Thanks to all of you very much prior to hearing from you. This forum is always very helpful. I have been on here since my first pool in 2012.
 

pinstripepat

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2012
57
Dallas, Texas
The more I think about it my Ph has been needing adjusted every few days too, I am thinking the air is contributing to that as well. I get it down then it goes back up within a day or two.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
774
NY
The swg will make tiny bubbles come out the returns anytime its running. They are chlorine gas from the process. When you have the bubbles, turn off the swg and see if thry stop. Might be a non problem, or half the problem at least. When my pump first comes on, the swg activates and runs its self check. By the time the pump goes through the prime cycle and returns to low rpms, the chlorinator starts working.

The swg also raises most peoples PH. So does any running features like waterfalls, spas or extended pump times.
 

homegameroom

Bronze Supporter
Sep 23, 2015
112
Sunrise,FL
It is normal for your PH to go up with a new pool and new plaster finish. Be mindful of it and adjust it as needed and as recommended.

The bubbles - could they be from the water "outgassing"? Do you see bubbles on the surfaces somewhere (my thermometer gets bubbles on it after I add water). Can you shut off intake lines and/or do the bubbles disappear when you do that? SWGs can also create bubbles, but they should be downward of the pump basket.... I assume yours is installed well after your pump and not before it.....

Since it is a new pool I would guess that your lines were tested and perfect, though things can go wrong sometimes.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,023
Bedford, TX
Pat,

While SWCG's often returns hydrogen bubbles to the pool, this has nothing to do with the bubble of air under your pump lid getting larger as the day goes on..

As others have said.. turn off the SWCG and see if the bubbles go away...

At slow speeds there will be a few bubbles under the pump lid, but if they increase as the day goes on, I would assume the problem is a very small suction side air leak.. The problem for your pool builder, or anyone else, is finding the leak. Some of the places I would try would be ... Lube the pump lid O-Ring and both drain plug O-rings.. Check out the Input to the pump.. not sure if a union with an O-Ring or if it is just screwed into the pump.. I assume you have Jandy valves in front of the pump, they also can let air leak in..

Personally, I think this is a pump lid seating issue.. I say this because, when the pump is running slowly there is not as much suction holding the lid down..

But, what do I know, I've been wrong about 50 times today already... :mrgreen:

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
  • Haha
Reactions: Msch99

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
774
NY
But, what do I know, I've been wrong about 50 times today already... :mrgreen:

Thanks,

Jim R.
Hey man, sometimes 'being wrong' helps rule out the 20 possible things that it ISNT. Which helps somebody else figure out what it actually is. Which is still a big help. I throw all kinds of ideas out there. Got no ego involved if they dont help. Its still helping.
 

pinstripepat

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2012
57
Dallas, Texas
I sincerely thank all of you that have commented and will try your suggestions. I did have an SWG on last pool that never did this. Of course, all parts are different. I am saying that as more FYI than anything else. I think I should add a few things the builder and or his subcontractors have done.

Changed out the lid on the pump basket.
Came back out and tested the system. I watched, basically they plugged any outlet like all the return jets (pool and spa), the bubbler, the skimmer baskets the cleaner etc.. they plugged them all with pvc pieces with caps then they had a compressor that they used to I am guessing fill the system and test for leaks. They said all looked good, no leaks. Then they took the unions apart and examined the o rings at the pump basket and the filter top.

Also probably need to clarify that the air coming out of the return in the pool sputters and spits as it comes out. Another interesting thing is my last pool pump was not variable speed which makes me think a bit about what Jim is saying in regards to lid. There are also not bubbles at the return when the pump is priming (full speed). I am going to try the lubing this evening. Thank all of you I just don't want the builder to say "it must be all good" etc..., because obviously there should not be air in the system. I don't think he will but you know how people get sometimes when they are perplexed by an issue.

Thank you all very much and keep the thoughts coming I can't tell you how much your expertise is so very helpful.(y)
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
774
NY
Without being there, or at anybody elses house, we are all just firing off guesses. Some will be better than others but like i said sometimes ruling out what isn't lets somebody else run with it and figure out what it is. Everybody here is just happy to play their part. Good luck with the bubble hunt
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,023
Bedford, TX
Pat,

At my house the SWCG's bubbles come out in "puff's" If I hold my finger over the eyeball.. They stop for a few seconds and then come out with a blast.. I "assume" this is because the bubbles build up in the pipe, until there is enough for a puff to come shooting out... (That is all of the technical terms I know... :) )

Before looking further... just shut the SWCG off and see if the bubbles coming out of the returns go away.. (May take a few minutes..)

Jim R.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,023
Bedford, TX
PM,

I believe that would be true if there is significant air under the lid, but I think we are talking about a few bubble at the top right up against the lid, nothing that is getting into the pump.

And there is a lot of difference in large air bubbles vs. the little tiny hydrogen bubbles produced by the SWCG..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
11,714
Houston, Texas
This won't cause your air in the pump pot problem, but also make sure all the air has been bled out of the filter.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,023
Bedford, TX
Jim, the OP mentions that the size of the bubble increases as the day goes on, I’d be curious to see rpms over a 24 hour period?
I believe that the OP was saying that the bubbles under the pump lid get larger as the day goes on.. That is why I think he has a small suction side air leak.. No doubt that if the bubbles under the pump lid get large enough that the pump will eventually push them out to the pool..

The reason that I asked the OP to turn off the SWCG was to see if the problem he is having is SWCG related or an air in the pump problem.

Troubleshooting over the internet is a little like being blind and "thinking" that you know what it is you are touching... :mrgreen:

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Pool_Medic

In The Industry
Apr 1, 2018
968
Bangor Maine
We’ve all seen the tiny bubbles out of a return with swg generating, it’s like the fizz of a glass of soda. I’m not sure he’s talking about them being this small. The reason I’m chiming in is because I have several pools with 2.7hp vs pumps, most I can run at 600 rpm and have enough flow for swg, heat pumps and waterfalls. Even ramping them up to 1500 rpm doesn’t fill the pump. So twice a day, the timers are set to ramp up the speeds to 3000 for 10 minutes. My bubbling return issues were solved.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,023
Bedford, TX
PM,

I think that is a pretty good idea...

Maybe it has to do with the pump.. I have three IntelliFlo pumps that run 24/7 at 1200 RPM and go months without every going over 1800 RPM and the bubbles never get any bigger.

I don't believe that the pump can make air.. For the bubbles to get bigger air has to be getting in somewhere. But, I think your idea of ramping the pump up to 3K is probably much easier than trying to find some very small air leak... I like it!!

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

1Sammy

In The Industry
Jul 20, 2017
185
Windsor, Ontario. Canada
Why would low rpm allow air in . My pump off for 20 hours does not lose prime and never have an air problem. Should not the prime stay when pump is off, why does OP 's pump have to prime each start ? My vote IS a suction leak ?
 

Pool_Medic

In The Industry
Apr 1, 2018
968
Bangor Maine
If the pump basket is never fully primed resulting in pushing that air out of the lines, as a result of lower rpm the basket will gradually fill with more air. If it was a suction leak, the low pull at lower rpm would eventually result in the pump losing prime completely and would run dry. That’s my take on it. Perhaps I’m wet behind the ears lol