Suction side leak that I can't find

pypeke

Silver Supporter
Jul 31, 2015
265
Southeastern Oklahoma
I have huge bubbles in my pump basket, my filter is gurgling/swishing, and I can actually hear the air bubbles coming out of 3 returns.
Here is what I have done so far to find the leak.
1. My husband checked and lubed all orings on the pump, Jandy valve, MVP, and any connectors with orings.
2. I checked for leaks using smoke and running water: pump drain, pump lid, any elbows/couplings/connectors with orings, skimmer, Jandy valve.
3. I injected dye beside every return and in the skimmer. I did not check the main drain. Water is too cold.

I will soon be redoing the plumbing that the last plumbers built incorrectly. It takes forever to prime the pump because the pipes are above the skimmer and about 28 ft from the pump. I specifically asked the plumbers if they understood pool plumbing. They said they did! I am replacing the plumbing myself this time. Fourth time in 8 years to redo the plumbing.

My pool plumbing is at the same level of the main drain because the pool is built on a slope. 3 sides are behind rock walls. Gravity makes it difficult to pump the water up to the pump, but if I move and I lower the pipes until I must go vertical, I think it will only leave about 7-8 ft to pump up to the pump. Less strain on the pump, and maybe I can keep some water in the pump when I try to prime it. Currently, 28 ft of pipe has zero water in it because the pump sits on the deck with the connections and Jandy valve 7-8 ft below. (The pump used to be lower too, until the lake flooded and put our 2 pumps under 2 ft of water for a month. It flooded again before we had installed a new pump, so we moved the pump to up to the deck.) Not ideal, but it is what it is!
20180511_152749.jpgpool wall (2) (640x335).jpgas of 2018.jpgon the deck.


I just realized that I did not check the steps, but I think the stairs would leak water, not air.

Once I redo the plumbing, I hope that stops the suction side leak. If it doesn't, what is my next step?
Thanks!
 

ekim

Member
May 4, 2013
17
nj
I just wrapped with plastic wrap, and no leaks. This is driving me nuts.
Is that success? Something you wrapped in plastic must be the problem. Now you just need to narrow it down if you wrapped multiple things right?
 

pypeke

Silver Supporter
Jul 31, 2015
265
Southeastern Oklahoma
I said it wrong. I wrapped in plastic and still can't find the leak. The plastic wrap did not suck in towards the pipes.

Yesterday about 9:00 a.m., I put the Dolphin in the pool and everything was fine. At 11:00 a.m., I checked on the Dolphin, and heard what I thought was a boat passing by. Wrong...my pump had lost prime. I went outside, and the pool had lost 12" of water. The water was below the skimmer. Turned the pump off, but I had no idea how long the pump had been running dry. I found the leak. One of the 2" pipes down below the deck had come apart. We installed new 2" suction lines at almost ground level. (The plumbers had put them up high, just under the deck. It took a long time to prime because they were above the surface of the pool or close.) So, we put new plumbing lines in, checked the pump, and it worked. I thought for sure it was a goner.

I still have bubbles in the pump basket, but not as many. I still have bubbles coming out of 2 of the jets. It is intermittent. The weird thing is that sometimes the bubbles come out of the farthest jet and sometimes out of the middle jet, but never the first jet that is closest to the pump.

The only thing we did not replace is the main drain/skimmer diverter valve. We have no way of shutting off the water flow so we can't remove the valve, nor can we lube the o-ring. I have been told to stuff the pipe with bread after cutting it. I doubt that will work because of the gravity. The cut pipe will be level with the bottom of the pool. That is a lot of force with the water coming out. I don't know what to do next. Thanks.
 

pypeke

Silver Supporter
Jul 31, 2015
265
Southeastern Oklahoma
Today, small bubbles were coming out of the closet jet to the pump (the jet no bubbles were coming from when I posted). They were also coming out of the farthest jet, but not the middle jet. Baffles me! The bubbles start and stop. I scrubbed the pump cover and oring, and removed some sticky lube, then relived with Magic Lube II. I read that too much lube was not good, but I did not put it on thick.

We have one union that we can't lube because the plumbers put it on too tight. Maybe they glued it...We will have to order a new union before we try again. We were afraid we would break it. We still have the 3 way valve that we can't lube, and I think that might be the culprit that is sucking air. We had small bubbles in the pump pot last year, but this year it just "boils" in the pump pot.
 
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