Tightening and sealing eyeball returns

Auburn02

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2019
183
Mobile, AL
As a general rule, how tight should eyeball return fittings be? I have one that due to how close it is to the surface of the pool I can visually see that water is escaping around the edges of the collar, and can confirm that by feeling with my hand that there is a decent amount of water (and air bubbles at pump startup) being forced out sideways and not through the exit orifice itself. But the collar is already so tight that I can't even reposition the eyeball without using a screwdriver or similar to move it, so it seems like it should be sealed. Should return fittings use a sealant (teflon tape or silicone lube) when installed, or is that even an option for a submerged fitting and they just need to be cranked down tighter to seal them up all the way?
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
6,242
NY
Use the silicone lube (Jacks Magic lube or equivalent) liberally on the fitting and it will probably tighten itself much better sealing the leak.
 

Auburn02

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2019
183
Mobile, AL
Thanks, I got my tube of Magic Lube II just the other day and was planning to apply it on the pump basket lid, wasn't sure if it was suitable for "in the pool" usage as well. I'm picking up a strap wrench at lunch so I don't tear things up with channel locks, and will get the return threads lubed as well.
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
6,242
NY
It helps greatly for removing them down the road as well. If you don’t happen to need to remove them, do so anyway twice a year so they don’t seize in place. (y)
 

phonedave

Well-known member
May 30, 2012
757
Montville NJ
Does it really matter. Al long as the water it going into the pool and not outside the pool.

The threads on my return are pretty coarse, likely to make removal easer. I do use pool lube on my though.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
23,256
Sounds like the eyeball is probably too small and too restrictive or the pump speed is too high.
 

Auburn02

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2019
183
Mobile, AL
Does it really matter. Al long as the water it going into the pool and not outside the pool.
It does matter. The return is quite close to the surface (separate issue) so the pressure is breaking the surface frequently. Not enough to spray water outside the pool, but enough to be a nuisance.

And yes James, it's much more noticeable and frequent during pump prime and other times of high run speed, just want to do what I can to minimize it. Thanks for the replies!
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
23,256
Maybe just remove the eyeball or get one that has a larger orifice or run the pump slower.
 

SkimminPools

In The Industry
Oct 7, 2020
5
Phoenix, AZ
If this is an inground concrete pool, overtightening that eyeball retainer ring could force the piece that is threaded into the wall to over tighten and crack the plumbing within the concrete, then you would have a nuisance! I would recommend removing the eyeball retainer, the eyeball, and the threaded connector. Check the threads in the wall for debris, usually plaster or concrete from a sloppy install (even if it was done 15 years ago). Take it in to your local pool store, they may have a flush mount return that will thread into the same threads as well. Get one with a slightly larger opening so there is not as much backpressure at that return. Alternatively, if you increase the orifice size on other return eyelets, it will decrease flow to the problem one as well. They will have more flow, in turn will decrease flow to that return as well. Dont believe me, remove one of the other eyeballs and it will significantly decrease flow to the problem one. Unless of course you are running a 3hp VS pump at max rpm, which would be ridiculous for a wall return pool.
 

Auburn02

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2019
183
Mobile, AL
Thanks - not concrete, this is a polymer wall vinyl liner pool. I was able to apply silicone to the threads and stop the "leak" around the perimeter of the fitting. I've experimented some with difference size fittings, ultimate plan is to ask the builder about digging up that line and put it on its own run back to the pad and add a valve so I can dial down the flow to it or shut that return off completely as needed.
 

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