Possible suction side leak.....maybe

gunny0628

Active member
Apr 4, 2015
26
High Springs, FL
SETUP:
14,000 gallon saltwater pool
Pentair VS Pump
1 Skimmer
5 returns

When I have my vacuum hooked up through my skimmer I am getting air bubbles in my pump basket window. I have checked many of the other posts and tried every possible solution where there was one. I have ordered a new Jandy-type valve (mine is a Pentair) rebuild kit, this is the only thing I haven't fixed, tried or replaced.

Here's when the bubbles occur;

At any pump speed.
Only when Jandy valve is set to SKIMMER ONLY.
When the vacuum is hooked up through the skimmer.

I get no bubbles;
When the Jandy valve is in the middle (both drain and skimmer) and the vacuum is hooked up.
When the Jandy valve is set to drain only - no bubbles, vacuum hooked up but not working (because it's hooked through the skimmer).

I have removed the vacuum from the skimmer with the Jandy valve turned to skimmer only - bubbles
No bubbles when removed and placed in the middle or drain-only position and no vacuum hooked up.

Whether the vacuum is hooked up or not, when I move the Jandy valve to the skimmer-only position I get bubbles in the pump strainer. When the Jandy valve is turned to either both the drain and skimmer or just the drain - no bubbles.

Pretty much at a loss.
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2014
33,613
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
Pool Size
17888
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
Seems like the valve might be the culprit. Certainly worth checking. Maybe remover the top of the valve and inspect? You might see a small O-ring on the handle shaft and perhaps a larger O-ring where the top handle sits on the base. Inspect (and lube) all of those and the valve itself to ensure nothing got jammed in there (the gate).
 

gunny0628

Active member
Apr 4, 2015
26
High Springs, FL
So I took the valve apart and it had an O-ring at the bottom and a harder sleeve type ring only a few millimeters in height. That harder sleeve type ring was cracked. I replaced both the sleeve and o-ring with new o-rings. I didn't have a larger one for the top. I cleaned and lubed everything - waiting on the rebuild kit to come tomorrow.

I put it all back together and still getting air. I'm wondering if it's the paddle/facing of the valve - not sure of the correct terminology.

And thanks for the speedy response. I noticed you answer quit a bit of the questions pretty quickly - it's appreciated.

Also, I tried putting o-ring lubricant at the top of the handle with it running to see if it would draw it in - no luck.
 
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mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
44,321
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Take the handle off the valve and wrap the valve tightly with plastic wrap. See if that changes the air suction.
 

gunny0628

Active member
Apr 4, 2015
26
High Springs, FL
I've ordered the Pentair replacement diverter valve, o-rings and replacement spacer. They should be here tomorrow and I will install them and check again.

As I turn the handle toward running the skimmer only/drain side off, you can hear it pick up air in the valve - just not sure where that would be coming from.

Let me know if you think of anything else.
 
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Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2014
33,613
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
Pool Size
17888
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
I think you've done all you can for now until the parts come in. Very thorough. Hopefully the parts will resolve your issue. Certainly let us know though.
 

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Rancho Cost-a-Lotta

Silver Supporter
Apr 10, 2018
2,434
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Pool Size
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Surface
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Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45
How does the water look inside of the skimmer when suction is set to full skimmer? Are you seeing a lot of turbulence, like a toilet flushing?
 

Rancho Cost-a-Lotta

Silver Supporter
Apr 10, 2018
2,434
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Pool Size
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Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45
Make sure your water level is halfway between the top and bottom of the skimmer mouth. You may be sucking air in through the skimmer suction line.
 

gunny0628

Active member
Apr 4, 2015
26
High Springs, FL
Make sure your water level is halfway between the top and bottom of the skimmer mouth. You may be sucking air in through the skimmer suction line.
the water level is good. when the vacuum isn't connected - via the skimmer suction - everything runs great. When the vacuum is connected is when the bubbles/cavitation appears.

If the vacuum is connected and the diverter valve is turned to skimmer only - bubbles. diverter turned to skimmer/drains - no bubbles. diverter turned to drains only - no bubbles.
 

gunny0628

Active member
Apr 4, 2015
26
High Springs, FL
Do you have a pic of the skimmer and vacuum line? Could it be that you have a pin hole in the vacuum line where it's sucking in air?
I can get a picture - but I just replaced the entire vacuum line - I thought originally this was the problem. it still produces bubbles when the vacuum line isn't attached and I switch the diverter to the skimmer only.
 

Rancho Cost-a-Lotta

Silver Supporter
Apr 10, 2018
2,434
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Pool Size
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Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
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I have removed the vacuum from the skimmer with the Jandy valve turned to skimmer only - bubbles
the water level is good. when the vacuum isn't connected - via the skimmer suction - everything runs great.
In your first post, you said you were getting bubbles with the vacuum disconnected. If so, this may a result of the leaky diverter valve.

How are you connecting the vacuum line to the skimmer? Is this a sectioned or one-piece hose?

Vacuum hoses are not really designed to be air tight. Any connections above the water line will allow air to get sucked in, especially at higher speeds.
 

gunny0628

Active member
Apr 4, 2015
26
High Springs, FL
In your first post, you said you were getting bubbles with the vacuum disconnected. If so, this may a result of the leaky diverter valve.

How are you connecting the vacuum line to the skimmer? Is this a sectioned or one-piece hose?

Vacuum hoses are not really designed to be air tight. Any connections above the water line will allow air to get sucked in, especially at higher speeds.
Ahhhh. It is a sectional hose that stay above the water. My only question here is that when I originally purchased the vacuum and hose it never caused cavitation/bubbles in the skimmer, such as the way it is now. It's possible however that it could be the hose.
 

Rancho Cost-a-Lotta

Silver Supporter
Apr 10, 2018
2,434
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Pool Size
18735
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45
You could probably reduce pump speed to decrease bubbles. Or, as you have been doing, move the valve towards the drain till the bubbles go away.
 

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