Should pump be entirely filled with water up to lid?

mstadnik

Active member
Apr 11, 2017
31
Columbus, OH
I have a brand new Hayward Tristar VS pump and what I've noticed is that the water level in the basket housing is not up to the very top when the pump is running. There is about a 1" gap between the water level and the underside of the lid. Is this normal? I seem to recall on my previous single-speed pump that the water level went to the very top of the housing.

Also, after cleaning out the strainer basket and attempting to COMPLETELY fill the housing with water before priming, I am not able to get the water level higher than the suction side inlet port. The only way I can completely fill the housing with water is by closing off both the main drain and skimmer valves (I have two suction side valves: 1 main and 1 skimmer). But as soon as I opened up either one of them before turning on the pump, the water level goes back down.

I also ran a hose for 5 minutes straight into the pump and the water level wouldn't rise above the inlet port when either (or both) valves are open. Is this normal?

I'm now worried I have air in my lines, even though I can't necessarily detect any air bubbles while looking through the pump lid.

I have created a video of how the pump looks when running at 3250 rpm. Does this look normal? You can see the video here: https://youtu.be/F8AWy2n8330

The pool is 30,000 gallon in-ground.

Thanks for any advice.
 

Geebot

Well-known member
Aug 19, 2013
879
I have a brand new Hayward Tristar VS pump and what I've noticed is that the water level in the basket housing is not up to the very top when the pump is running. There is about a 1" gap between the water level and the underside of the lid. Is this normal? I seem to recall on my previous single-speed pump that the water level went to the very top of the housing.

Also, after cleaning out the strainer basket and attempting to COMPLETELY fill the housing with water before priming, I am not able to get the water level higher than the suction side inlet port. The only way I can completely fill the housing with water is by closing off both the main drain and skimmer valves (I have two suction side valves: 1 main and 1 skimmer). But as soon as I opened up either one of them before turning on the pump, the water level goes back down.

I also ran a hose for 5 minutes straight into the pump and the water level wouldn't rise above the inlet port when either (or both) valves are open. Is this normal?

I'm now worried I have air in my lines, even though I can't necessarily detect any air bubbles while looking through the pump lid.

I have created a video of how the pump looks when running at 3250 rpm. Does this look normal? You can see the video here: https://youtu.be/F8AWy2n8330

The pool is 30,000 gallon in-ground.

Thanks for any advice.
I just got a Pentair Intelliflo and my water level doesn't quite hit the plastic viewing dome, but the pressure gauge on the filter has a positive reading and it's clearly pushing out a lot of water, so I'm not concerned.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,222
Tucson, AZ
You can't fill the pump basket with the lid open. The water will flow back into the pool through the suction line. They are designed to be self-priming and purge the air out of the system.

But, we see that the VS pumps (or even 2-speed) often develop air in the pump basket when run on low speeds, this seems to be fairly normal.
When running at high speeds, usually the pump basket will get completely full with no sign of air.
 

awstevens

Bronze Supporter
Aug 18, 2016
105
MA
I have a brand new Hayward Tristar VS pump and what I've noticed is that the water level in the basket housing is not up to the very top when the pump is running. There is about a 1" gap between the water level and the underside of the lid. Is this normal? I seem to recall on my previous single-speed pump that the water level went to the very top of the housing.

Also, after cleaning out the strainer basket and attempting to COMPLETELY fill the housing with water before priming, I am not able to get the water level higher than the suction side inlet port. The only way I can completely fill the housing with water is by closing off both the main drain and skimmer valves (I have two suction side valves: 1 main and 1 skimmer). But as soon as I opened up either one of them before turning on the pump, the water level goes back down.

I also ran a hose for 5 minutes straight into the pump and the water level wouldn't rise above the inlet port when either (or both) valves are open. Is this normal?

I'm now worried I have air in my lines, even though I can't necessarily detect any air bubbles while looking through the pump lid.

I have created a video of how the pump looks when running at 3250 rpm. Does this look normal? You can see the video here: https://youtu.be/F8AWy2n8330

The pool is 30,000 gallon in-ground.

Thanks for any advice.
I have the same pump and that does not look normal to me at that speed. My basket only has air when running on lower speeds (like 1200 RPM). I had the same issue when I first turned on my pool and it turned out the front union was loose and sucking air into the system.
 

Meadow

Well-known member
Jun 10, 2016
477
Temecula, CA
/\...what he said. I normally close the suction diverter valve prior to opening the lid. This method prevent the water in the basket to flow back down into the pool. Make sure to purge the air from your filter when done.

I do get a quarter size bubble after running the pump for 4 hours @ 1400 rpm. Check this out --> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KP0m6yAxEaw
 

George Whitzel

Well-known member
Jul 23, 2017
157
San jose, california
I had the same problem and tried a lot of things on the suction side to fix like O-rings replacment and increasing pump speed with no luck. Out of frustration I decided to clean my cartridge filters even though my filter pressure had increased very little. Low and behold this solved the problem as I now have a pump basket that is full to the top while running at a pump speed of 1400. This may not be your problem but when I saw you video it looked like mine before I fixed it.
 

mstadnik

Active member
Apr 11, 2017
31
Columbus, OH
Everyone - thanks for your comments and suggestions. I did a bit more research and found a comment on a YouTube video (of all places!) that ended up working for me. The suggestion was to run the filter on Recirculate mode for a while, and then turn back to Filter mode. Do not take the lid cover off between.

So I ran on recirculate for about 20 minutes at around 3000 rpm. After turning it back to Filter mode, the large air gap at the top of my basket is nearly all gone (i.e., the basket is nearly entirely filled with water). Also, there is almost zero turbulence within the basket now, whereas before (as shown in the video taken at 3200 rpm in my OP) the water was thrashing about at any rpm about 2000.

If you're having the same issue as I did, try the recirculate fix.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,222
Tucson, AZ
That does not really sound like a fix to me. More like a workaround. The pump should have no problem clearing itself out at high speeds like that.
 

Costas > DownUnder

Bronze Supporter
Dec 17, 2017
610
Adelaide | Australia
Probably just means that the pump's flow rate is restricted somewhat when running through the filter...ie it cannot purge the air at the very top of the lid due to restricted flow rate - is the filter clean?

When running in recirculate mode you simply remove any restriction caused by the filter thereby increasing your flowrate which can help shift that stubborn air bubble.

The fact that the air bubble is not returning after running the filter in recirculate/bypass mode means that you do not have any suction side leak.

In some instances a pump will never be able to displace all the air at the very top as it effectively becomes trapped - really depends on the lid design and how high up it sits from the pump inlet..

My main pump's lid has a very high dome shape to it so it becomes difficult for it to purge all the air out...whereas my solar pump has a flat design which makes it less easy for an air bubble to get stuck in there.

Main thing is that as long as the air bubble is not returning then you do not have an air leak.
 

neverclearone

Well-known member
May 5, 2012
53
West Columbia,SC
Mine is dome shaped and never has any air bubbles in it unless the water level has gotten too low (in the pool) or once when the gasket on the lid was shot and I replaced it.
 

Costas > DownUnder

Bronze Supporter
Dec 17, 2017
610
Adelaide | Australia
Mine is dome shaped
It is not just the shape of the lid but also how high the lid itself sits above the pump's intake.

Take for example if we had a lid that was say for arguments sake 3 or 4 inches above the intake/basket - An air pocket here would never disappear as the pump cannot simply draw the air down unless you flip the pump upside down etc... :mrgreen:

The main thing for the OP is that if he has cleared the air bubble by increasing the flow through the pump (by running in recirculate mode temporarily) and the air bubble does not return when operating normally, then there are no suction side leaks.