Pump priming issues

pool problems

New member
Sep 18, 2020
2
Atlanta GA
Hello,
My first time here and I sure hope someone can help me. I have an inground pool where the equipment is at a higher level than the spa and the spa is higher than the pool. Spa overflows into the pool.

The issue: Pump won't prime immediatly upon start first thing in the morning after being off all night. Initially, it took several minutes to prime. I've been starting the spa first, leave it on for 5-10 min then switch to pool mode and can get it to prime. I've been dealing with this since May. I have cleaned all the gasket areas and put new gaskets on strainer lid and all the valves. Also changed the check valve cover (not the whole thing, just the cover with the flapper attached). It now takes 30-40 seconds to prime when it used to prime immediately when turning it on. The pool is not losing water so I assume no underground leak. I see no leaks around the equipment when the pool is on and all is dry when I go out in the morning to turn it on.

Question #1 - How long should it take for the pump to prime....the first in the morning prime after it's been off all night. And...what is an acceptable length of time before it starts damaging the motor. Is 30-40 seconds ok?

Question #2 - I do see condensation on the inside of the check valve lid before I turn the pool on in the morning. Does this mean air is in there? Where might it be coming from?

I have had several independent pool services out to fix this issue. They'll do a little something then we have to wait until the next morning to see if it primes right away. When it doesn't, I call them and I get no response. They don't call back. Now I have Leslies's pool company out. This guy didn't do much either. Backwashed one day, added some sealant to a couple connections and to the inside of the check valve and now thinks maybe I need a new pump/motor. My pump motor sounds fine and has been replaced in the last 3-4 years.

I'm so frustrated I now hate my pool :(
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,494
Bedford, TX
pp,

In theory, the water in the pump, should stay in the pump, when the pump is off.. This is kind of like putting your thumb over the end of a straw and taking it out of a a drink. The water will stay in the straw until you take your thumb off the end of the straw..

The number one cause is the O-Ring under the pump basket, but it sounds like you have already replaced that.

It is possible to have a leak on the pressure side of the pump that allows air in, but no let water out. I have seen this with the air relief valve on the filter, as well as at the filter band O-Ring.

If this were my pool, I would be looking at the water in the pump when the pump is off, to see if it drains back into the pool. If it does, then that would indicate an air leak. The best thing to do is find and fix the leak.. The next best thing is to add a check valve on the input to the pump.

If you already have an check valve, right in front of the pump, and the water still drains back into the pool, when the pump is off, then the check valve has to be bad.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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pool problems

New member
Sep 18, 2020
2
Atlanta GA
Thanks, Jim.
I have a check valve in front of the pump and just put a new cover & flapper on it. I cannot see through the pump/strainer to know if there's any water in it before I turn the pool on, I don't know what to do about that. I have changed the gasket (spider gasket) in the multiport valve on the filter and have new filter sand. I do think air is getting in somewhere but I don't know where and don't know how to figure it out. I've done everything I can think of and am capable of doing.....unfortunately, the pool folks that I've tried to use here seem to be useless.

One other note.....once it primes in the morning, I can turn it off & on throughout the day for a few minutes at a time to backwash or check the chlorinator and it will prime right back up with no problem. It's just the first of the day after sitting off all night where it's having a hard time priming.

Does anyone know how long is too long for it to take to prime? Will I damage the motor if I allow it to take 30-40 seconds each time it primes?

Any other thoughts or ideas are welcome.


Thanks.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
33,373
Laughlin, NV
That short of priming time should present no issues.

Can you fill out your signature so we know what type of pool and equipment you have? Really helps us help you.

I would turn the pump off and closely listen for any air being pulled into the system. Doe the filter make any noise? What other devices do you have on the pad that could let air in?
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,494
Bedford, TX
pp,

I don't think that 30 to 40 seconds is all that bad..

Show us a pic of your equipment pad...

If this were my pool, I would replace the clear lid over pump basket, so I could see through it, and depending on the specific pump, I would replace the "cam" ring that tightens the clear lid down.

Thanks,

Jim R.