New pool owner - Pump loses prime and <1 psi

crusemm

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Sep 1, 2011
342
North Texas
Yes, that would be my guess. When I had a similar issue, I alternated, pushing backwards from the pump, pushing forwards from the skimmer, back and forth. I eventually just lined up my closest skimmer, turned the pump on, shoved ahose in the bottom of the skemmer and pudhed with the hose/pulled with the pump until it cleared. If you have access to a boroscope, you could try to scope backwards down one of the pipes. Based on the fact you said it was swamp, I'm betting something got sucked into your suction line and it is blocking it. How long did you run the hose for? and how well were you able to seal behind it? I would think the 20-50 psi most municipal water systems run at should have been enough pressure to push anything backwards.
 

Scrumhalf01

Active member
Apr 24, 2020
35
San Antonio
So I got a perfect seal on the skimmer line but it also connects to the main drain lines at the bottom of the pool. I know this because when I emptied the pool and put water into the skimmer a ton of Crud came out of the 2 drains at the bottom. I’m assuming the water is blowing out of those. Weird thing is when I put my hand down in the skimmer line I felt some warmer water (this mean anything?). I’m in Texas btw. I couldn’t get a seal on the pump end. I’m even using one of those bladders that should create a seal but there’s too much pressure pushing it out. Tried with towels and hose to keep pressure going into the pipe but it pushes back too much. I cut the pvc pipe to try and get a better deal on it lol. Didn’t help any. image.jpg
 

crusemm

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Sep 1, 2011
342
North Texas
If you cut that pipe and still cant get any flow, it is well and truly blocked by something. You can call a pro if you want, but I would assume it will take them a few days to get to you. I would just keep working the lines. Skimmer, skimmer, pump. Over and over. If you washed stuff from the skimmer to the pool, that's proof something solid is in your lines. If it got in, it should be able to get out. Try using the shop vac to blow in one and use the ***hose*** in another. I bet eventually something will break free.
 

Scrumhalf01

Active member
Apr 24, 2020
35
San Antonio
I can’t actually tell if it’s going into the pool....I’m just assuming since it’s not coming out the other end and the only other place is the floor drains. I’m fearful of a break in the underground line but I guess I just fear the worst. I’ll keep at it! Thanks a ton for your input.
 

Scrumhalf01

Active member
Apr 24, 2020
35
San Antonio
Bringing this back from the dead now...I flushed the pipes best I could. Still can’t tell if it’s clear or not. I had water coming out on the pump side when adding water to the skimmer line. I reinstalled everything and the pump was working the best it had ever worked at 5-10psi which I still think is too low but it was an improvement! However in just 2 days it’s kinda back to the way it was. My pump loses prime when turned off. I also have a small leak on the pipe going into the heater. I’ve read this wouldn’t cause pump issues though. I’ll continue to search for air leaks on the intake. Is the best method using soap bubbles to find air suction? When should I throw in the towel and call a pool company? Thanks!!!!!
 

crusemm

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Sep 1, 2011
342
North Texas
  1. Pump Losing Prime when Off: if you have a leak on the discharge side of the pump, when the pump is off, air will enter the piping (breaking the vaccum) and allow water to siphon back through the pump to the pool, causing the piping to fill with air and your pump to lose prime.
  2. Not sure if I posted this before or not Suction Side Air Leaks
  3. When to throw in the towel: That's up to you. Only you know how much your time is worth and how much you can afford for repairs.
 

PoolNewb2020

Well-known member
May 7, 2020
297
Lathrop, CA
Bringing this back from the dead now...I flushed the pipes best I could. Still can’t tell if it’s clear or not. I had water coming out on the pump side when adding water to the skimmer line. I reinstalled everything and the pump was working the best it had ever worked at 5-10psi which I still think is too low but it was an improvement! However in just 2 days it’s kinda back to the way it was. My pump loses prime when turned off. I also have a small leak on the pipe going into the heater. I’ve read this wouldn’t cause pump issues though. I’ll continue to search for air leaks on the intake. Is the best method using soap bubbles to find air suction? When should I throw in the towel and call a pool company? Thanks!!!!!
Any leak, doesn't matter if it is at the suction side or pressure side will cause loss of prime when the system is turned off because it becomes an entry for air with the system off.
When the pump was running, how did the pump basket look like thought the cover? Was it filled up with water with little to no air bubbles, or was it full of air with water turbulently turning inside?
 

Scrumhalf01

Active member
Apr 24, 2020
35
San Antonio
It looks nothing like the other pumps I’ve seen in videos. I guess you could say it’s about half air.....I’ll fill the pump up with water until it’s completely full (fills pipe too) and put cover on. It will look like a normal pump should for a few seconds and hit 10 psi then It slows down and I can see the water being sucked in and through to the filter. Yes I let the air out of the filter. At any time i can loosen the release valve and some air will come out. I’ll post a video as I imagine my explanation is poor.
 

Scrumhalf01

Active member
Apr 24, 2020
35
San Antonio
So I also installed new pvc pipe since i made some cuts to help clear the pipe. Now I didn’t use pvc cement on part of it so I assume it would be leaking there....I used the larger pvc coupler but plan on sealing it in a few days....I wanted to test it all before i did something semi-permanent.
 

Scrumhalf01

Active member
Apr 24, 2020
35
San Antonio
So there’s a pic of the bottom drains. To me they look dirty and possibly clogged. I never see any suction out of them. Would that cause issues with the pump suction and or losing prime? Posting a vid of my pump in action now too.
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
12,629
Houston, Texas
The floor drains are anti-entrapment drains, which are required on all newer pool builds. They are designed not to have strong suction so that people do not get stuck to them and drown.
What type of filter do you have and when was the last time it was cleaned?
 

Scrumhalf01

Active member
Apr 24, 2020
35
San Antonio
its a cartridge filter. I’ve cleaned it twice in the past 2 months. It was pretty dirty when I bought the house so I cleaned it with a pressure washer. I bought some spray and cleaned it again a month ago and didn’t see any change. Could the filter be causing issues with the amount of water the pump is pulling in? When I fill the bucket to prime it the pump runs for 5 seconds perfectly with a psi of 15-20 then it drops to 0-3 psi. Filter issue, still a clog in the suction line, clogged floor drains? Which as you said minimal suction so maybe strike that out?
 

Scrumhalf01

Active member
Apr 24, 2020
35
San Antonio
Now it also runs through a heater after the filter which the heater has a very small drip which could be the sole reason I’m losing prime but as I understand it wouldn’t affect the poor pump suction...correct? I’ve thought about re-touting the lone to bypass the heater until I want to replace it as part of the connection on the heater has corroded and don’t think I can fix the leak....already replaced all the pvc pipe and lathered sealant on the threads and on the exterior with sealant lol.
 

Scrumhalf01

Active member
Apr 24, 2020
35
San Antonio
It’s a Hayward cartridge filter. I’ve cleaned it multiple times....I’ve done more testing and it appears I still have a clog in the skimmer line. Trying to flush it with a bladder and turning pump on and off to no avail ?
 

Scrumhalf01

Active member
Apr 24, 2020
35
San Antonio
sure did. Cleaned it again too. I’m pretty sure there is a clog in my skimmer line. When I put my hand into the hole I felt nothing. After some attempts trying to clear I felt some suction but not nearly enough. I tried covering the line with a ball and I killed the suction so I think whatever i dislodged was sucked back into a clog. I need something more heavy duty to unclog I reckon.....I’ve been using a bladder on a hose in both sides of the line....
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
12,629
Houston, Texas
How long is the pipe run from pump to skimmer? Maybe rent a camera and run it through and see if you can find the clog?