Pump Basket Won't Fill With Water


Bronze Supporter
Oct 29, 2008
Today I noticed that my jets were low in pressure and pumping out some air. I looked in the pump lid and the water seemed lower than usual with air in it. I turned off the pump and opened the lid (I have a Hayward SuperPump). The basket area was clean so I tried to fill up the basket area with water again so I could seal the lid and restart the pump. Every time I added water into the basket area, the water gets sucked into the skimmer pipe at the right side of the pump. I have dumped a few full buckets full of water and it gets sucked into the skimmer pipe and stops right below it. I'm not sure what the issue could be. Thank you.



Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
Northern NJ
I think you need to look for a suction leak. Maybe the gasket on the lid? Pumping out air with the water is the symptom.

Your pump can't prime because it is sucking in air from the leak and can't pressurize to suck in the water. and get it flowing.


Bronze Supporter
Oct 29, 2008
This is happening without the pump running. A leak in the lid gasket or drain plugs is causing the water to be sucked out of the basket area by the skimmer pipe without the pump running? I can only fill up the water to the skimmer pipe because it sucks all the water out until the water gets below the pipe. Once the water gets below the pipe, it stays there. I have not tried to run the pump since I cannot get the basket area filled up to the top with water.


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
Bedford, TX

The reason your water won't stay in the pump basket is the same reason that you and I don't fly off the earth as it spins.. I believe they call it gravity... :rolleyes:

Your pump is higher than your pool. When you add water to the pump basket, gravity will simply drain it back into the pool.

The fact that you can't fill the basket up with the lid off, has nothing to do with you having air in your pump basket when the pump is running...

The two main reason for air under the pump lid are..

1. A suction side air leak caused by either a bad or not lubed pump lid gasket.

2. A stuck weir door on you skimmer or the water level too low at the skimmer.

Also... What kind of filter do you have and when was the last time it was cleaned??

Thanks for posting,

Jim R.

- - - Updated - - -

You just have to have some water in the basket, it does not need to be full...


Bronze Supporter
Oct 29, 2008
Hayward ProGrid DE-4820 is my filter. Thank you both for the replies. Water is below the halfway point up the skimmer opening in the pool so i'm adding water now. I just backwashed and put new DE a couple of weeks ago per the guide posted on this site. My PSI went back to where it was when I opened. We have had a lot of rain, very hot weather, and increased bathing in pool so maybe I need to backwash again and add new DE. My PSI was over 25% of the "clean" reading so I was going to do that tomorrow anyways. My daughter has a birthday pool party scheduled for later tomorrow, so I'm just a bit stressed out. Thank you both again.