Skimmer suction valve leak underground? Pool pump not priming (update: fixed)

lobes

Well-known member
Sep 28, 2016
48
West suburbs of Chicago, IL
I'm attempting to open my winterized pool. When starting the pump it doesn't stay primed. When I shut off the pump I hear a gurgling sound and see water coming up from underground underneath the skimmer suction valve. It kind of shows in the picture.
Do u think the skimmer suction pipe underground is cracked? When I put my hand in the skimmer itself there is a strong suction so I know the pump is doing its job.
Skimmer suction valve leak underground? Pool pump not priming.

 

lobes

Well-known member
Sep 28, 2016
48
West suburbs of Chicago, IL
I closed the valve on the left skimmer and just tried using the right skimmer as seen on the picture. Water still suctions but it doesn't hold prime. In previous years upon opening pool; when I use the floor drain, the pump never primes. I was having success using only the skimmer suctions for priming upon initial startup.

I'm worried that there is a crack underneath in skimmer piping.
 

Pool_Medic

In The Industry
Apr 1, 2018
745
Bangor Maine
If you are positive all the o rings, lid, ball valves are working properly you could have a broken line yes. I would recheck everything before suspecting that. Did you close it yourself? We’re the lines blown free of all water? Antifreeze used. Is the impeller on pump jammed up with leaves? Has the water level dropped at all?
 

lobes

Well-known member
Sep 28, 2016
48
West suburbs of Chicago, IL
If you are positive all the o rings, lid, ball valves are working properly you could have a broken line yes. I would recheck everything before suspecting that. Did you close it yourself? We’re the lines blown free of all water? Antifreeze used. Is the impeller on pump jammed up with leaves? Has the water level dropped at all?

I did close the pool myself this year. Prior years I had different pool companies winterize. I used a shopvac for returns and skimmers. For the main drain i used an air compressor. I'm pretty sure all the lines were blown free as I visually saw all the water come out each exit and I added antifreeze (1-2 gallons each line) and blew again until I saw a little antifreeze exit out of each line.

I haven't checked the impeller yet. The o-rings (non-lubed) look good. The top of the lid is dirty but is secure. The ball valves I believe have no leaks. The water level has not dropped at all which was surprising for me.

I'm just wondering why when I shut off the pump I hear a gurgling sound and see water coming up from underground underneath the skimmer suction valve?
 

Pool_Medic

In The Industry
Apr 1, 2018
745
Bangor Maine
Lube all o rings, lube the lid on pump. Tighten all unions and ball valves. You could coat all suspect area with shaving cream to see if any air is being pulled in and stopping the prime. Failing all that, I might suspect it’s a break underground yes.
 

lobes

Well-known member
Sep 28, 2016
48
West suburbs of Chicago, IL
Lube all o rings, lube the lid on pump. Tighten all unions and ball valves. You could coat all suspect area with shaving cream to see if any air is being pulled in and stopping the prime. Failing all that, I might suspect it’s a break underground yes.
Thank you again for your pointers! Update as I am now able to hold prime and am circulating with main drain and deep skimmer suctioning. Bad news is immediately when I turn on the shallow skimmer valve I lose prime and the water in the dirt that's pooled up next to the pipe gets sucked into the ground further. When I turn off the valve, the water pools back up in that spot again. I can only assume there is a hole/leak in the shallow skimmer pipe near there. I will dig down further tomorrow.

Here is a pic of what I am describing.

 

lobes

Well-known member
Sep 28, 2016
48
West suburbs of Chicago, IL
Could be freeze damage. If so it should be close to the surface. Dig it, find it, patch it, be merry.
Yeah that's what I'm unfortunately thinking it what is too.

I've cut PVC pipe and glued couplings and unions for above ground pool piping. I've never patched a pvc pipe however. What type of product do I use to patch pvc piping holes/cracks/leaks?
 

PoolGate

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
3,173
Damascus, MD
The hardest thing will be making a clean cut on the existing pipe. A sawsall works well. Clean up the cut with sandpaper.
 

lobes

Well-known member
Sep 28, 2016
48
West suburbs of Chicago, IL
The hardest thing will be making a clean cut on the existing pipe. A sawsall works well. Clean up the cut with sandpaper.
I found the leak at the skimmer suction elbow. I see and feel the crack when touching it. Now my concern is how to change the elbow? I know to buy a new 90 elbow but once i cut the elbow then the pipes will be short. Which fittings/adapters work best in this situation?

TIA

 

PoolGate

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
3,173
Damascus, MD
You'll need 1 elbow, 2 couplers, and a length of straight pipe. You'll need to go a little farther than the elbow in each direction.
 

lobes

Well-known member
Sep 28, 2016
48
West suburbs of Chicago, IL
Merged threads. TFP Mod.

Upon opening my pool, I was unable to use the shallow skimmer and found out I have a leak in the skimmer suction piping. I dug down and found the leak at the skimmer suction elbow underground. I'd rather not cut and replace elbow/piping but will if there is no other way. Someone recommended I can try and use a repair putty to patch it first. It's rated for up to 180 PSI. What are the pros thoughts?


Here is a pic of my leak:
 

blazer58

Silver Supporter
May 29, 2018
192
Chicago, IL
I would not use it.
The fittings and a short piece of pvc will cost less.
You will have to do some more digging around and below your pipping, so you have more room to work.
Try to get one of the couplings without a stop inside it, if they have them.
Will make putting that last one (coupler) on easier
 

lobes

Well-known member
Sep 28, 2016
48
West suburbs of Chicago, IL
I would not use it.
The fittings and a short piece of pvc will cost less.
You will have to do some more digging around and below your pipping, so you have more room to work.
Try to get one of the couplings without a stop inside it, if they have them.
Will make putting that last one (coupler) on easier
Thanks for the reply. It's just a pain to dig further in those areas but at least I'm already there. I'm also in Chicago area and its about to rain so I'm going to have to postpone until it stops raining. Do you think I should cover all that for with a tarp or just leave everything out in the open?
 

blazer58

Silver Supporter
May 29, 2018
192
Chicago, IL
Covering might help, depends on your water table, and pitch of your ground around the pad.
Been raining all night, and more rain in the forecast, I am going to have to drain my pool 3 inches this am
 

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