Pump sucking air

rstandi

Member
Apr 28, 2013
19
Good Morning.

Trying to help my neighbor out. His pump is sucking air from someplace. I would assume leak in skimmer line. The pool is not losing water. The company that opened the pool said they pressure tested the line and it passed. I would assume you would see a little spray of water if it were the lid/gasket. That appears to be dry.

I would assume a problem with the sand filter vari-flo valve would not cause air in the pump strainer.

Thought about running some pvc back to the pump and connecting it to see if the problem is resolved, but it will be a pain in the ***. Suction side has no unions and goes pvc to poly.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. I'm sure there's more details I can give.

Rstandi
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
23,932
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
Good Morning.

Trying to help my neighbor out. His pump is sucking air from someplace. I would assume leak in skimmer line. The pool is not losing water. The company that opened the pool said they pressure tested the line and it passed. I would assume you would see a little spray of water if it were the lid/gasket. That appears to be dry.
Not so. The pump strainer is on the suction side. It will draw air in but won't shoot water out. Maybe not even when the pump is off.
I would assume a problem with the sand filter vari-flo valve would not cause air in the pump strainer.

Thought about running some pvc back to the pump and connecting it to see if the problem is resolved, but it will be a pain in the ***. Suction side has no unions and goes pvc to poly.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. I'm sure there's more details I can give.

Rstandi
Pool School - Suction Side Air Leaks

attachment.php
 

ship of fools

Well-known member
Nov 9, 2011
642
Albany, NY
Good Morning.

Trying to help my neighbor out. His pump is sucking air from someplace. I would assume leak in skimmer line. The pool is not losing water. The company that opened the pool said they pressure tested the line and it passed. I would assume you would see a little spray of water if it were the lid/gasket. That appears to be dry.

I would assume a problem with the sand filter vari-flo valve would not cause air in the pump strainer.

Thought about running some pvc back to the pump and connecting it to see if the problem is resolved, but it will be a pain in the ***. Suction side has no unions and goes pvc to poly.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. I'm sure there's more details I can give.

Rstandi

You won't see water dripping out of a suction leak. The pump is sucking air in through the hole.

You can try shaving cream near suspect areas and see if it gets sucked in. Another method is to spray water from a hose over it and see if the air bubbles disappear or lessen.
 

rstandi

Member
Apr 28, 2013
19
Would you all agree, that if water is not leaking from the pool, the skimmer line is probably intact?
 

duraleigh

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
34,517
Sebring, Florida
Would you all agree, that if water is not leaking from the pool, the skimmer line is probably intact?

If you mean the underground part of the skimmer line back to the pump I would tend to agree with that. Most all suction side leaks are found above ground.
 

Pool Tool

Well-known member
May 15, 2014
761
Western Chicago Area, IL
A leak in the below grade skimmer piping would probably not leak with the pump running, but would leak with the pump off. How often is the pump running? If his pump is running a lot the leakage may be not be noticeable. Can you isolate the skimmer line? If so, I would plug it at the skimmer and valve it off at the pump, wait 24 hours then remove the plug in the skimmer. If air bubbles out of the skimmer as the line refills, you have a leak. If no air comes out, your line did not drain and held water thus no leak (or the leak is at a high spot of the buried line).

Good luck.
 

Isaac-1

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 10, 2010
6,711
SW Louisiana
Pool Tool, I had one last winter where the leak was in the elbow fitting below the skimmer, symptoms started out with the pump loosing prime when using manual vacuum hose, then started to show as loss of water from the pool, eventually getting bad enough that the pump would just suck air and not prime.
 

Pool Tool

Well-known member
May 15, 2014
761
Western Chicago Area, IL
Isaac - I am very aware of your's. I believe it was a dwv fitting that eventually blew out right? I mimicked your fix-a-leak procedure on my skimmer line this spring and so far so good. I read your history intently and learned immensely from your trials - thanks for posting! My lines transition from pvc above grade to black poly below grade. At the pump, I excavated and inspected that transition and it was leak free. I assume my leak is at the transition on the skimmer itself. Obviously it could be in the pipe but I would suspect the transition would be more likely. The builder used a barb fitting, silicone and band clamps for the transition(s). Like you, I noticed an increase in 'bubbles' while vacuuming and water loss after that. Both got increasingly worse last year as the season wore on to the point where vacuuming via the skimmer was futile.

I figured the Marliq product was a last attempt before breaking up concrete for a permanent repair. It has been about a month now and no leaks. I have yet to vacuum manually through the skimmer. I have an extra suction inlet at the pump inlet where I hook up the vac hose. It works, but its inconvenient to stop the pump, hook up hose then reprime. Ultimately I will use the skimmer again, but I am hesitant to stress the repair.

Again thank you for posting your original adventure and to this so I can show my appreciation to you for the information/help you provided.
 

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OldPoolMan

In The Industry
Jun 2, 2015
423
Wildomar, California
Just my 2 cents. Have you checked the male fitting going into the pump pot? Here in SoCal it's really common. Simple to diagnose. Temporarily put plumbers putty around the inlet, add water, and start up. It will be obvious if that's the problem.
 

rstandi

Member
Apr 28, 2013
19
Working on it right now. Just sent him to get a new lid and o-ring. (That would be to easy, right...) The basket drain plug is gone and has been filled with some type of putty. don't see air coming up from the bottem of the basket. The top 2 inches of the basket won't fill. The front inlet is somewhat suspect. that will be the next place to check. then the pvc to black poly about a foot below ground

Thanks for all the help

Rstandi

- - - Updated - - -

Should I put the putty around the outside of the pump where it threads?

rstandi
 

rstandi

Member
Apr 28, 2013
19
My findings thus far, are a little unbelievable. My neighbor payed a local pool company to open his pool. $750 later, Still was sucking air. The threaded inlet was covered with pipe putty. So much it was amazing. No Teflon tape... The pool guy found a piece of black poly split and replaced it with pvc. The problem is that he cut the black poly at a crazy angle. He then smeared it with pipe dope of some king and put it together. I did not even need to heat it to pull it apart. I'm hoping 1 of these 2 is the problem. He has a broken drain bolt in the basket, but it has been filled with some product. don't see bubbles coming from the bottom. Here are some pictures...IMG_2652.jpgIMG_2651.jpg
 

rstandi

Member
Apr 28, 2013
19
Well, after replacing this mess, things are running at 85%. His pump is a Leslies Hydramax II. The basket lid is circular and curved like a dome. We got a new lid which did not change anything. I see air circulating in the dome. Pretty sure this is still not right. My superpump has no air up against the lid. You can also hear air in the filter and air bubble come out the returns. The pump is holding suction, though. Like I said, operation is dramatically better, just still not right. The only piece we have not addressed is the Drain plug on the basket. It has some type of putty covering the opening and I am just afraid of sealing the basket back if the threads are screwed up.

Thanks
rstandi
 

Isaac-1

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 10, 2010
6,711
SW Louisiana
I just want to wish you good luck, and I am always amazed at what some of these so called professionals will do.
 
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