Paramount PCC Canister filling with air

daytoga

LifeTime Supporter
May 21, 2010
12
This is my first post so I apologize in advance for mistakes. I have a Paramount PCC in-floor cleaning system where the in deck canister fills with air to the point the pump basket gets a significant amount of air and causes the loud clanking noise. The forum has been a great resource and I have applied all of the techniques I could find here to try to isolate the problem. I have had the PB pressure check the piping on several occasions using different crews and have not been able to identify any leaks. Last weekend I used a length of flexible underground sprinkler piping to fish down the suction to both the MD and to the skimmer and it doesn't appear there are any obstructions. It became tough to get the pipe all the way down to the main drain, but I was able to fish up from the main drain past the point I was able to fish down. I have been able to sort of control the amount of air filling the canister by throttling back the amount of spillover from the spa and assume (since there doesn't appear to be a block) that the head pressure might be a cause (the more I spill over the greater amount of air build up and the lower the filter pressure). When I run the spa independent from the filter I only get tiny bubbles at worst. I have read the section on Head Pressure and am having a difficult time trying to figure out where to go with it and how to get all the different readings in general. Does anyone have any idea what I can try in order to get rid of the air? The PB has pretty much walked away from it saying as long as there isn't a leak I should just learn to live with it. Any help would be appreciated.
 

Woodberg

Well-known member
I'm trying to understand the problem. Paramount makes a few different in-floor systems and they don't all work the same. I've got a Paramount PCC-2000 system which sounds like what you may have. The deck canister that you mentioned sounds like the debris canister. It is tied to the main drain and its function is to catch debris that goes down the main drain before it reaches the pump basket. That's the way my pool is plumbed. However there is also an option to have a skimmer tied to the debris canister. The reason I mention this is that on my pool, the PCC-2000 system is on a dedicated pump. Since the debris canister is not tied to the skimmer, but only to the main drain, running the in-floor system doesn't impact the debris canister at all.

However, the in-floor system is tied to the skimmers. I've noticed that when my water gets a little low, and the main pump and in-floor cleaning pump are both running, it will suck most of the water out of the skimmer basket. It typically only does this when the in-floor system is between zones when there is a maximum amount of water flowing through the pipes.

My question for you is whether your debris canister is tied to the skimmer or not? Also, Jim Circlin at Paramount is a great resource and has helped me tweek our in-floor system to work the way it was designed. He would be another person to call to get another opinion.
 

daytoga

LifeTime Supporter
May 21, 2010
12
Thank you for the reply. I do have the PCC-2000 system and mine is plumbed with both the main drain and the skimmer feeding into the debris canister. The debris canister is what is filling with air. My system has two pumps; one for the spa and one for the pool with an option to spill the spa into the pool when the spa isn't operating so only one pump would be running. I will try calling Paramount, but have done so in the past and they said there could be a possibility of the canister leaking where its joined together. I have had a pressure check of the canister done and it held steady pressure overnight so that couldn't be the cause, but maybe the person you mentioned might have a better idea so I can give it a shot.
 

Woodberg

Well-known member
Are you sure that your pumps do what you say? Our pool/spa setup sounds really similar but our pumps are setup differently. I know that Paramount recommends having a dedicated pump for the in-floor system and that it not be plumbed through the filter. On our pool, the main pump runs the pool circulation and also runs the spa. Our other pump is dedicated to the PCC-2000. Our main pool pump returns water to the pool and spa at the same time while in regular circulation mode. Becase of that, the water from the spa is always trickling over the spillway back into the pool. When we turn on the spa, the valves change to direct all return water to the spa only. The cleaning pump runs on its own schedule and is totally independent of the pool pump.

From your description of your pumps, it sounds like one pump is dedicated to the spa and therefore isn't used unless the spa is running. The other pump would then be handling the circulation and running the in-floor system. If that is really true, then is your in-floor system always running when the pool pump is running?

Regardless, I would be willing to bet that the cause of air in the debris canister is caused by the pump sucking too much water into the skimmer and also pulling in air. If the debris canister is truly air tight, then that would be the only way air could be entering the system. Can you see a whirlpool type effect in the skimmer next to the debris canister? Also does the air turbulence ever calm down or is it constant.

When I clean out the debris canister and replace the plastic lid, I usually try to leave a little air in the top so that I can see that water is moving through the canister. When I look at the canister, I can always see the air bubble moving around.

Sorry, I've probably asked too many questions, but I'm just trying to understand the issue. Also, regarding Paramount, they should have done a design plan with specs on all of the in-floor heads complete with orifice sizing. If you talk to them, see if they can send you a copy of your pools design if you don'w have one. It should be a 1 page PDF file.
 

daytoga

LifeTime Supporter
May 21, 2010
12
The pool and setup I described is correct. The spa does have its own pump and when the pool pump is running the in floor cleaning system is alway on. I have checked the skimmer and there definitely isn't air traveling from the skimmer to the canister. I called Jim over at Paramount yesterday (really nice guy) and worked down through most of the things already covered here. The only idea he had was to throttle back the amount of water spilling over the spa. He mentioned if there is more water spilling over than what a garden hose can supply, then its too much and the only thought he had was cavitation, although he felt sort of at a loss. My filter pressure normally runs (when freshly cleaned) at about 28 lbs. I have noticed when the filter gauge reads around 30 or 31 the bubbles subside. I not sure what the correlation is but that seems to be something to consider. Any other thoughts are definitely appreciated.
 

Woodberg

Well-known member
That's interesting about the filter pressure. I'm not the expert but my understanding is that when your filter pressure starts going up, your adding additional backpressure to the pump. Since the air goes away when the pressure rises, that would also make me think of cavitation. I'm not sure I understand the correlation between how much water is spilling over the spa and the amount of air getting into the system. I would think if you throttled that back, it would just return more water to the pool.

The air has got to be coming from somewhere and you said that you can see a lot of air in the debris canister. So either air is coming from the pool to the canister or its coming from the pump backwards to the canister. From the pool the only path to the debris canister is from the skimmer and/or the main drain. On our pool we can adjust a valve to change how much water is coming from the main drain or skimmer. If you have that option, maybe you could adjust it to pull more from the main drain and see if that stops the bubbles. Can you tell when this is happening, if the air is contantly getting into the debris canister or is it only during certain zones of the infloor system or if it is between zones. I can hear a different sound on our pump when the cleaning system is between zones. When I was tweeking our infloor system. I actually mapped out what the pressure was at the in-floor water canister during each zone and between zones. The pump definitely reacted differently during different zones. I'm just thinking that maybe during certain zones, there is so much water going to the different pop up heads that the pump can't keep up. This is probably a stupid question, but I'm assuming the plastic top of the debris canister is underwater. If any air was getting in there, I would think you would see water movement above the debris canister. On our pool, the water above the debris canister is very still when the system is running. I just see one large air bubble moving around in the top of the debris canister.

The other alternative is if air is coming from the pump. I guess if the pump was cavitating somehow, that air could manage to get back to the debris canister. Is the pump higher than the debris canister?

I'm not sure if I'm helping any, but those are the things I could think of now.
 

daytoga

LifeTime Supporter
May 21, 2010
12
Yes, the lid is definitely under water. I am on the east coast and with all of the rain lately I have been dumping water. It's interesting that you say you can see just a few bubbles moving under the lid. On mine, when I am not getting air (like when the spa is isolated) the pump is pulling so hard it literally sucks all of the air out of the canister to the point it is entirely clear so it is hard to discern if there is movement. That thought makes me wonder if the pump is sucking so strong that when the spa is open the pump is trying to suck so much water that cavitation does occur. The pump is lower than the canister. I might be 2 to 3 lower than the canister.
 

Woodberg

Well-known member
I want to make sure I understand what you mean by "when the spa is isolated". What I'm imagining is the valve has been switched so that there is no spa spill over back to the pool. At that point, the spa pump is strictly handling the water in the spa, and the pool pump is strictly handling the water in the pool. Is this correct. Does this only happen when the spa is in spillway mode?

The bubble size in my debris canister doesn't ever seem to change much in size. I have a variable speed pump and typically am running at a lower speed. Tonight, I'll try to speed the pump up and see if it has any effect on the bubble size.
 

daytoga

LifeTime Supporter
May 21, 2010
12
Yes, you have it correct. The valve has been switched so there is no spill over back to the pool and the pool pump is strictly handling the the water in the pool. And yes, the bubbles only seem to occur when the spa is in spillway mode.
 

Woodberg

Well-known member
So the only difference when the spa is in spillway mode is that some water from the pool pump is being returned to the spa in addition to the pool returns and in-floor system. That makes me think its an issue with the pool pump trying to keep up with that many returns. That is just strange.
 

daytoga

LifeTime Supporter
May 21, 2010
12
I agree its strange. Right now I have been running the spa and pool independently and there are no bubbles at all. The problem doing that is i need to keep track of two bodies of water for chemicals and the filter for the pool runs at a higher pressure (around 30 - 32). Paramount didn't know where to go with it either. Wish I had a camera I could push through the pipe to see if it really is clear although I guess I wouldn't have been able to fish the flexpipe through if it wasn't.
 

djsouza9604

New member
May 11, 2011
2
Did you find a solution for this problem? I have basically the same setup and I have air in the debris canister for the first time in three years of running my pool.
 

daytoga

LifeTime Supporter
May 21, 2010
12
My solution was to restrict the amount of flow over through the spa. It seems the greater the pressure on the return side, the less bubbles. I can make them come or go by regulating return pressure. By restricting the flow over the tank pressure goes up and the bubbles go away.
 

franks59

Member
Aug 18, 2016
6
Columbia MD
I just found this post and have some info and maybe a temporary fix.
If you don't want to read to the end, I can tell you believe I have a leak in the fittings between the canister and the main drain which may be able to be sealed from the inside with pool putty.

I too have a debris canister tied to both the main drain and the skimmer. I have had problems with air on and off for 15 years, Sometimes the air is so bad that it will drain the canister in a few minutes, making the pool unusable. Other times it seems ok. I have heard the cavitation theory and the blocked main drain theory. The drain is not blocked and I find it totally incredulous that the pump can continually pull several gallons of air out of the water in a matter of seconds. There's just not that much dissolved air in the volume of water on the suction side.

Some other variables I noticed were:
1) With the skimmer wide open, the problem is less. Gradually closing the skimmer gradually increases the problem.
2) When the pool is filled to the top of the skimmer, the problem is less. The lower the water, the more likely the problem will increase.
3) When it has rained significantly, the problem is less.

The pool builder, now out of business and pool service companies were of no help so I was left on my own to try and trouble shoot it.

I got a leak detection dye kit, opened up the debris canister and noticed a significant flow towards the main drain. I felt around the inside of the opening and could feel that there was a connector pipe between the canister fitting and main drain that had a smaller diameter.
On a hunch I got some pool putty and filled in that area. I again tested for a leak and it looked good. I started the pool back up and the air problem stopped - sorta. The problem is, the pool putty doesn't stick to the pipe that well and there is tremendous water pressure coming from the drain. It pulled the patch part-way off and dragged some putty onto the threaded opening of the canister. I again puttied the area, waiting 24 hours before starting the pump. This time the problem was completely gone. Even with the skimmer fully closed there was ZERO air in the canister. That lasted only a week. I noticed air again in the canister. I opened it up and saw bits of putty in the leaf basket. I felt around the connection and the putty had significantly pulled away from the pipe. So now I need to figure out how to get the putty to stay in place. Maybe wait 48 hours instead of 24. Eventually it will have to be dug up and fixed/replaced, but I can't get pool repair companies to return my calls or emails, even the ones specializing in skimmer replacements.

I believe all the variables I listed above are consistent with the fitting problem. First, with the amount of air coming in, there has to be a source close to the surface. It can't be an endless pocket of air under the bottom of the pool. Second, with the skimmer closed, a lot more pressure is put on the main drain fitting which opens up that fitting even more. Third, the lower water level, the more water is pulled from the main drain so more pressure on that joint again. And lastly, if the ground is saturated from rain, the source of air is likely cut off.

Anyway if anyone else has this problem I hope this helps because the pool companies won't.