Pool pump loses prime

Apr 28, 2018
13
0
Hoover
#1
Hello,

I'm new to the site, but using tips for over a year. I will give a little history for context... I did not open my pool last year so it started a dark green color with major debris (tadpoles and all). I removed the tadpoles and debris that I could see and started to SLAM the pool. The pump was shutting itself off every hour or so. Found out circuit breaker was bad and no longer shuts off automatically. The pump stayed on for about 2 days and turned a light green color, then the water would stop circulating. No suction in the skimmers and the pump basket was about half full with water. I had the pump replaced after being told by company that the pump motor was going out. After the pool would not continue circulating water after about 2 hours- 1 day being on, I decided to change the sand. I was told the sand could cause the pump to circulate properly with old sand. With the new pump and sand, it was taking about 3 minutes to prime because it lost water in the pump basket after being shut off. After stressing about it, I remembered that the pump basket never really filled completely with water and there was 1 big bubble in the basket. Also just so you know, when put in recirculate, it stayed primed with no bubbles. I have also noticed that when moving the multiport valve would cause the water to drain from the pump basket and lose prime. I thought there may have been some debris stuck in the pipes since the skimmers would not suck water to the pump so I inserted a bladder in the basket and one of the skimmers to blow the debris out. Yesterday was the first time, it was fully primed but only for a day, and when I shut the pump off it remained primed (as much as it was primed at that time). It does not stay fully primed for more than a day. From my reading, it sounds like I have an air leak but can't find it anywhere. Check all the pipes before the pump for suction air leak with no luck. Can someone help me figure out what else I may be missing? Can the multiport valve cause an air leak even though it's on the pressure side? Why are the skimmers not suctioning water after a day or so?
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Expert
#2
Hello and welcome to TFP! :wave: It sounds as though you certainly have one major problem (algae), and perhaps another issue or two as well. The best thing to do right now is focus on killing the living organisms in that swamp and getting the water clean & clear so it can circulate properly. Much of what you are describing sounds like problems from extremely algae-filled water that is clogging-up your filter and restricting water flow. Changing the sand or adding any pool store chemicals won't do the job, it has to be chlorine (bleach) but in the proper amount. So here's what you need:
1- The proper test kit for home. Either a TF-100 or Taylor K-2006C (link below). You need that and we need to see a full set of results from one of those as soon as possible.
2- With the proper test kit, you'll need to "SLAM" (link below). That process can take serval days, but it does indeed work. Now depending on your home test results, we may have other recommendation for you (i.e. partial water exchange), but only the test results will confirm that for us.

So definitely get yourself a TF-100 or Taylor K-2006C test kit and post those results for us and we'll be happy to assist. Thanks for using the forum.
 
Apr 28, 2018
13
0
Hoover
#3
Thanks for responding! The pool is a blue but not clear color. The water test results are:

pH: 7.0
CYA: 0-20, not really sure. The dot never disappeared.
TA: 50
FC: 0
CC: 0

Also, it appears to be holding prime for longer. I turned the main drain off and water in the skimmer began to circulate, but stopped after 1 full day. The returns are still pumping water; however, it has less pressure. I don't understand how the pool will get clear and continue filtering if the skimmers aren't working. I'm also afraid to brush the pool because every time I did, it seemed to cause the returns to stop pumping water about 1-2 hours later. If I SLAM the pool, will it continue filtering even if the skimmers and returns stop circulating water?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
May 3, 2014
11,857
0
Laughlin, NV
#4
Welcome to the forum!

Your filter is clogging up with algae/dead algae. As you have a sand filter, you need to backwash.

If your CC is zero, it is unlikely you have ammonia. But before you add CYA (you want to get to 30 ppm CYA) follow this:

Add LC to get to 10 ppm FC. Circulate the water (be sure you have backwashed recently) for 30 minutes. Test FC. If 5 or below, add LC to get to 10 ppm FC. Repeat until your test after 30 minutes shows above 5 ppm.

Once you confirm you do not have an ammonia issue, add 30 ppm CYA via a sock hung in front of one or more returns and . Assume you have the 30 ppm CYA in the water and thus your SLAM level is 12 ppm FC. Test/dose every couple hours to keep your FC at 12 ppm. Backwash as necessary (target a 25% increase over clean pressure on your filter prior to backwashing).

Lots to take in. Keep asking questions!

Take care.
 
Apr 28, 2018
13
0
Hoover
#5
I have done your steps of adding LC to get to 10ppm FC and it held at 8 ppm FC for over 30 minutes. Then I added the CYA in socks in the skimmers and near the returns and held SLAM level at 12 for the rest of the day. I added a little more LC my last run of the night and backwashed which the reading was FC 19 and CC 0. This morning FC= 16, pH= 7.0, CC= 0, TA= 70, CYA>20.(Note: It is currently raining). Do I need to add borax or washing soda to raise the pH? It was at 7.2 yesterday. Also, I don't see a noticeable difference in the color of the pool overnight. It actually changed from a cloudy blue to light green. I know that was from brushing the algae, but it still should have changed overnight since it was green all day yesterday. I noticed the skimmers had stopped circulating last night, but I backwashed this morning. I backwashed 3x yesterday. Is it ok to backwash more than that in 1 day?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
May 3, 2014
11,857
0
Laughlin, NV
#6
Great that you had no ammonia issue.

I would not test nor adjust pH during the SLAM. FC above 10 ppm causes the pH test to be invalid.

Backwash whenever your filter pressure rises by 25% over the clean pressure. You may have to backwash quite often with algae in your pool.

Stay at FC 12. Test / dose as often as possible. Every couple hours is best. Run your pump 24 hours a day. If you cannot go overnight without the filter plugging off, change it to recirculate over night.

Stay at it -- it took time for the pool to turn green, it will take time to get it back to blue and clear!

Take care.
 
Apr 28, 2018
13
0
Hoover
#8
I have been SLAMMING the pool for about 5 days now and it has not changed at all. It is the exact same green, barely clear since I restarted. I’m worried something is wrong since the forum says you should see slight improvement daily. I’m not sure if it’s the type of sand I used when I changed it but it came from Home Depot. I accidentally got my CYA too high at 60 but adjusted the FC to 35. I’m not sure what to do. Is it normal to see no change at all for this long?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
May 3, 2014
11,857
0
Laughlin, NV
#9
You definitely should have seen improvement by now.

How often are you testing your FC and taking it back up to SLAM level? No need to overshoot SLAM level FC, which is 24 ppm at CYA of 60.

- - - Updated - - -

Do you have iron in your fill water? Had you used any pool store products before coming here to TFP?
 
Apr 28, 2018
13
0
Hoover
#10
I’m not sure if iron is in the city water or not. I’ve never had an issue in the past with the pool at least turning blue. I used a super blue about a week ago and I’ve added DE to help with the algae right before backwashing. Could it be the cheap sand I added? The texture was definitely different from the old. It seemed larger.
 
Apr 28, 2018
13
0
Hoover
#11
I forgot to mention that I also added calcium hypo in hopes to shock since it had not changed. I read that it wouldn’t raise CYA which it didn’t but did not work either.
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Expert
#16
The pics look good, thanks. I don't see any indication of iron at this time, just a cloudy/algae pool. So let's review a few basics:
- Are you sure about the new CYA of 60? Hopefully your testing, along with the previous dosages are spot-on since we know that drives the FC SLAM level.
- The sand. This comment concerns me,
Could it be the cheap sand I added? The texture was definitely different from the old. It seemed larger.
Pool sand should be #20 silica pool sand. If you have doubts about what was used, it may have to be checked or changed. :(
- Sounds like you are brushing well. How about inspecting though? I know you can't see, but is there any chance there are clumps or leaves or something still at the bottom? Do you have a light? If so, has it been pulled out and placed on the deck so the niche can be cleaned (if it's a light with a niche of course). At some point you may need to see if those ladder steps can be opened and checked as well.
- Do you have a main drain? Might need to check that for obstructions if you have one.
- Pump running 24/7? How is the water circulation now? I know you had concerns earlier about pump prime and stuff.

In it's basic concept, when the CYA and FC are balanced properly, chlorine can't survive unless there are hiding places where more algae grows before it can be killed. Accurate testing and inspecting will be key, so hang in there. If anything seems odd about the items I listed above, let us know and we can explore those further.
 
Apr 28, 2018
13
0
Hoover
#17
I have vacuumed the pool twice as well as brush daily even though I can’t see the floor in the deep end. I can see enough in the shallow to know it’s pretty clean. The water flow from the returns and skimmers is good since I’ve been backwashing every 25% increase. I checked into the sand and it is #20 silica. I did not remove light but never have to get the pool initially blue. I decided to replace part of the water because I’m not confident in the CYA being 60. When I checked it, I was squinting trying to see a dot while adding drops until it definitely disappeared lol. I assume the main drain is ok since I used it to remove the water with no problems. I will recheck levels when water comes back up. Then I’ll shock accordingly. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for all your help so far.
 
Apr 28, 2018
13
0
Hoover
#19
It's says it's for crystal clear pool water polisher that won't affect the water balance. I do not see what the active ingredient is since there is no information on the bottle about that.