Pool pump stopped priming

Airproblems

New member
Apr 30, 2021
4
Abq
About a week after opening my pool, the pump stopped priming when it turns on. I've tried a bunch of things trying to find an air leak on the suction side above ground. There is very little piping above ground before the pump. I have 1 main drain and 1 skimmer, changing to block either has zero effect, not even a slight sound change. Tried looking for air leaks in the pipes leading into the pump by hosing it down while running, but no change. Checked the pump filter cap and oring, lubricated the oring, checked for cracks in the cap and pump filter area, nothing. Re teflon taped the pump drain plugs and checked/lubricated their orings, ensured they were screwed in tight, no change.

If I run the pump for a minute then turn it off and open the cap, I see occasional bubbles coming from the impeller side, is that normal or does it indicate something?

The piping out of the pump and into the sand filter now has a couple small water leaks that I don't think it did a week ago. My understanding is that an air leak can't come from that side though, or is it possible?

Any thoughts???
 

dropshadow

New member
Apr 30, 2021
2
Frisco, TX
I am having pretty much the same problem. Following this thread.

Pump turns on, but water inside basket stays still, no suction, no prime. I pulled my pump apart thinking my impeller was stuck. Took the diffuser off, and turned on motor, and impeller turned fine - so I did NOT replace my impeller. I did visually inspect it without taking it off the shaft, but I assumed since it would spin normal when the motor turned on, that I don't have an issue? I really don't want to have to pull it apart again. My plumbing is a pain in the butt to get around.

Diffuser looked okay, all o-rings looked okay, re-lubed and put it all back together, but it still won't prime. I checked the usual suspects as well - skimmer basket, jandy valve blockage, basket cover o-ring, suction side plumbing leaks. Stumped.
 
Last edited:

kevinskii

Gold Supporter
Aug 6, 2019
171
Los Angeles, CA
Pool Size
1
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
It sounds like the pump may be slowly losing prime overnight after its shut off because of the small water leaks you mentioned. If you open your filter's air bleed valve to allow water to flow back into the pump, and then shut the valve again, will the pump then be able to finish priming?
 

Airproblems

New member
Apr 30, 2021
4
Abq
It sounds like the pump may be slowly losing prime overnight after its shut off because of the small water leaks you mentioned. If you open your filter's air bleed valve to allow water to flow back into the pump, and then shut the valve again, will the pump then be able to finish priming?
I don't think my filter has an air bleed valve, though I did try unscrewing the pressure gauge, should that have the same effect? I'm getting just a small air release when I do that, or nothing at all
 

kevinskii

Gold Supporter
Aug 6, 2019
171
Los Angeles, CA
Pool Size
1
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I was hoping that the water in the filter would flow back into the pump and fill it when you opened the valve. It could be that the water in the filter has also drained out overnight, or maybe I just don't know enough about sand filters. You may need to fill the pump with a bucket before you start it. Trying to prime a completely dry pump is probably going to be hit and miss.
 

Airproblems

New member
Apr 30, 2021
4
Abq
I was hoping that the water in the filter would flow back into the pump and fill it when you opened the valve. It could be that the water in the filter has also drained out overnight, or maybe I just don't know enough about sand filters. You may need to fill the pump with a bucket before you start it. Trying to prime a completely dry pump is probably going to be hit and miss.
I think it generally is flowing some water back into the pump when I turn it off, a little any way. I've filled the pump with a hose several times to try to start, but no luck. Ran the pump today with the cap open with a water hose full blast sitting in it. It pumped a lot better, but hiccups periodically as it runs dry from pumping faster than the hose. Lately when I fill the basket, close it, then power up the pump, it really never starts to catch at all. I think this means the pump and everything beyond is probably good. Maybe the impeller side bubbles after shutting off are from all the air being pumped that way. Starting to think that there may be an air leak underground. Unfortunately, service in my area is craptastic, had an appointment today for pool repair to come check it out but they no showed, no called, no answered my call, and haven't returned my voicemail. I'll probably take the pump apart tomorrow to see if I can find anything in the impeller or seal, but I'm thinking it's probably unlikely. Wouldn't mind buying a new pump if I saw something that indicated the current one was dieing, but it seems to be running and I think correctly, so don't think a pump change would matter right now.
Thanks for the ideas Kevin, I appreciate any more thoughts you might have. Starting to think I might have to dig up the yard. The pool water doesn't seem to be leaking out, so I think that means I won't have to dig further than the surface water height
 

dropshadow

New member
Apr 30, 2021
2
Frisco, TX
there are leak detection companies that can perform a pressure test, instead of digging up the yard. it's pretty expensive in my area, but does save you the trouble of exposing the entire plumbing trying to find a leak. a pressure test would validate whether there is a leak in your system somewhere, and they usually can isolate it to a specific area with their listening tools. if you had a leak anywhere, you should see run off unless it was really small. you could also perform a bucket test on water level to see whether you are losing water.
 

Airproblems

New member
Apr 30, 2021
4
Abq
Figured it out finally after making a hose adapter so I could plug it into the drain plug and fill the system with water. Small leak at the seal of the exit of the jandy selector valve started squirting water. Sealed it up and the pump is running normal again. Not sure why running water over that spot previously didn't help, but definitely fixed the issue.
Thanks all for the help troubleshooting!