Small bubbles

Frank in FL

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2019
133
Florida
When I turn my 3 way valve from skimmer to main drain I get lots of small bubbles in the pump basket that don't seem to go away. If the handle is 100% on main drain, there are bubbles. If the handle is 100% on skimmer there are bubbles. If the handle is split 50/50 between the main drain and skimmer, there are no bubbles. If the handle is roughly 80/20 on either setting, there are no bubbles. This issue is when the pump is at 3450 rpms.
When the rpms are lower, no matter where the handle is situated, there are no bubbles at all. This is a week old pool/ pump. Do I need to take the valve apart and maybe clean it or lube something up?

Never had this issue before. All I can upload are pics. I do have a video as well, but it won't post.
 

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mknauss

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May 3, 2014
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Laughlin, NV
Why would you ever need to run your VS pump at full rpm?

On the settings that pull bubbles, you need more suction. The pump basket lid gasket may need some lube. That is the typical issue.
 
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mknauss

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I suggest you set the suction valve so you get 80-90% of your flow through the skimmer. The main drain needs just a trickle coming through it.
 

chiefwej

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Jun 12, 2011
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Tucson
The first question I have is why are you running the pump at 3450? At that speed neither the skimmer or the main drain side alone is able to fully supply the pump, and you are creating a vacuum on the suction side. What you are saying is everything works perfect except when I max out the pump speed and limit it’s supply of water. Well, don’t do that. The advantage of a VS pump is the ability to tailor the speed to the task. It’s biggest savings are realized when run at the minimum speed to accomplish the job. Mine never runs above 2800.
Slowing the pump saves money and reduces staring on the system. If you have a car with a 500hp engine, you don’t run it at full throttle, you just use th power you need.
 
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duraleigh

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I believe the cause of the issue is that when you restrict the intake by closing one source or the other, you increase the vacuum in the pump basket and that allows something (probably the pump basket oring) to open up just a bit and let's in air.

With both sources open, the vacuum in the basket is not nearly as great and the source of the air stays sealed.

It is STILL a suction side leak but is created only when you restrict the intake.

PS - I didn't see chiefwej's post before I put this up. We are saying the same thing.
 
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Frank in FL

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2019
133
Florida
@mknauss- I have 2 deck jets and and 2 bubblers on the sun shelf.

Any particular reason to set the skimmer at 80-90% ?

The oring is dry. I’ll get some lube at the pool
Store tomorrow. Even if the valve is splitting the difference between 2 pipes (1” from each pipe) why would it matter that it is fully sucking from one side or another?
 

Frank in FL

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2019
133
Florida
Thanks for the other responses. Makes sense what y’all are saying. Ill def lube up the basket oring tomorrow and see if that helps.
 

Frank in FL

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2019
133
Florida
Just went and got some of this pentair lube. I applied it to the Oring on the pump basket and started the pump up. Bubbles were still present. I then took oring completely out and applied a tad more silicone, but this time I pulled the oring through my fingers to make sure I had 100% coverage. Bubbles were still present. I can see where the small bubbles are forming around the lid. Even though its a new oring, I think it might be a defective one.
Would this be beneficial since its a "waterproof grease?" https://www.lowes.com/pd/Danco-Grease/1075455

Both products are silicone based products. From what Ive read, the "silicone grease" is better for a long term lubricant on things that will be sliding. "Waterproof grease" on the other hand is good as an installation aid, for inserting parts that will be making a seal and not be moving again. I have no issues reapplying the grease once a week or so whenever I clean out my basket.
 

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mknauss

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May 3, 2014
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Main thing on the lube is that it does not have PTFE as that can become sticky.

Does the air come out the returns?

I doubt the oring is defective unless it has a cut in it.
 

Frank in FL

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2019
133
Florida
Which lube you referring to?
Im not seeing any air coming out of the returns.


Main thing on the lube is that it does not have PTFE as that can become sticky.

Does the air come out the returns?

I doubt the oring is defective unless it has a cut in it.
 

Frank in FL

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2019
133
Florida
I know this is probably simple and a mute point, but it errks the heck out of me when something was working fine before and now its not. In the past week, I took off the basket lid a few times to clean the filter and didn't have any bubble issues until yesterday.
 
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mknauss

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If no air is coming out of the returns, then I would not concern myself with it. At low speed, most VS pumps will collect a bit air under the pump basket cover. As long as the pump is running fine, the filter pressure is steady, do not concern yourself with it.
 

Frank in FL

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2019
133
Florida
I am definitely losing flow. With bubbles present, the deck jets or bubblers don’t shoot as far. I’d say it’s around a 30-40% decrease in flow compared to when there are no bubblers.


If no air is coming out of the returns, then I would not concern myself with it. At low speed, most VS pumps will collect a bit air under the pump basket cover. As long as the pump is running fine, the filter pressure is steady, do not concern yourself with it.
 

mknauss

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May 3, 2014
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Laughlin, NV
So your filter pressure has fallen significantly and you have lots of air out of the returns. Otherwise, the most likely reason your flow rate may have dropped is due to a dirty filter.