Solar question

Jknelson65

Member
Apr 5, 2021
20
FL
apparently i had suction side leaking in plumbing. During that troubleshooting process we found that 2 of the spa returns (they have a "reducer" in the line) were clogged. One of them was actually pulling water from spa into the line. Got those all corrected, and all suction side leaks have been resolved (all o-rings replaced, all check valves replaced, all cpvc connections checked). Pump defaults to 1750 rpm and when the solar kicks in there are "champagne" bubbles from the pool and spa returns after the initial burst of bubbles when the panels prime. 8 panels on single story roof (lowest point @10', highest point @ 16'. VRV is at lowest point on panel closest to pump. Tried increasing pump speed, but the more I increase it, the more pronounced the bubbles are.
 

Pool_Medic

In The Industry
Apr 1, 2018
1,451
Bangor Maine
Then I can only assumed one of your suction lines is compromised. Higher rpm equals more suction, more suction means more air is pulled into the pump.
 

kevinskii

Gold Supporter
Aug 6, 2019
171
Los Angeles, CA
Pool Size
1
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
When my solar turns on, some of the air in the panels gets trapped in the in-ground spa return and I'll get champagne bubbles and/or reduced flow to the spa for a while. You probably would have noticed earlier if this were your issue, but this might be worth a try:
  1. After solar has been running for a few minutes, turn it off without stopping the pump.
  2. Increase your pump speed to around 2500-3000rpm to get a good flow rate going.
  3. Put your thumb in one of the pool returns for a minute or two. You may see large bubbles coming out of the other returns as any remaining air gets forced through the plumbing.
If the bubbles go away a few minutes after the last step, it's possible that a lower-height return is trapping air from the solar when it first turns on. If the bubbles continue for at least 5-10 minutes then chances are you do still have a leak somewhere.

It may be helpful to have someone else put their thumb in the return while you walk around and check for leaks in the solar panels or around the equipment. Also, if someone gets their thumb stuck because of bad advice on an internet board, at least it won't be you.
 
Last edited:

Jknelson65

Member
Apr 5, 2021
20
FL
Maybe a stupid question, but if I had an underground suction side leak letting air into the system wouldn’t it leak water when the pump is off?.
 

Pool_Medic

In The Industry
Apr 1, 2018
1,451
Bangor Maine
No, if it’s a suction leak you will see the pump lose water when it’s shut off. IE the whole system is no longer primed, the moment you introduce air the whoosh effect takes place.
 

Jknelson65

Member
Apr 5, 2021
20
FL
No, if it’s a suction leak you will see the pump lose water when it’s shut off. IE the whole system is no longer primed, the moment you introduce air the whoosh effect takes place.
Weird issue, pump basket water level drops after an hour or so (no air in filter when I bleed it), spa equalizes after pump off within an hour. Check valves all replaced, Pentair valves all rebuilt, checked piping with suds. Also, when I run solar I get bubbles all day, ramp up pump speed and bubbles get worse. Everything I can find says it’s a suction side leak...
 

Pool_Medic

In The Industry
Apr 1, 2018
1,451
Bangor Maine
Something from the pump to your skimmers or main drain is compromise, no other way air can be introduced. When you shut off a pump on a fully primed system (no leaks on suction or pressure side) nothing happens, water stays.
 

Jknelson65

Member
Apr 5, 2021
20
FL
Tried the suggestion about turning off solar, ramping up pump speed and blocking returns. Seemed to have resolved 99.9% of bubble issue. NOW pump primed, ran for @ 5 hours and all of a sudden flow to returns and spillover to spa reduced noticeably. Checked and filter basket was 1/2 full. Shut down system, primed basket and restarted. Other thing is even with pump running at 2300 rpm the new 320 chlorinator won’t take in water until lid is removed. Let it fill that way, check an hour later and it’s dry...
 

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Jknelson65

Member
Apr 5, 2021
20
FL
If you’ve changed nothing then I guarantee there is a bad o ring, bad cover fitting or spider crack somewhere.

Also check the weir to be sure it’s free floating and not stuck in closed position.
FINALLY! Another set of eyes noticed that the pump wasn’t sitting “flat/level”. Leveled pump, lubed union o-ring and now everything is back to “normal”...
 

Jknelson65

Member
Apr 5, 2021
20
FL
Initial issue - spa equalizing overnight. Tech replaced check valve and chlorinator, spa still equalizes. Add to that, pump basket wouldn’t fill completely AND chlorinator won’t fill unless cap removed. They have now completely rebuilt suction side plumbing (valves and all connections). Spa STILL equalizes, and Issues with pump basket and chlorinator not filling remain…🤬🤬🤷‍♂️