What is priming exactly? And can it be removed? Priming makes my pump draw air when skimming

venexiano

Member
Apr 21, 2020
19
Florida
I own a Hayward variable speed pump. Can you please explain to me how exactly priming works, I mean the technical details of the priming procedure ( I am an engineer, just not this field, you can go very technical). I guess it is somehow removing the air and building up pressure? Could priming be turned off with no risk?
My problem: Due to the leak on the bottom of the tiles (not fixable as American leak detectors said, unless I pay $4000-5000 to redo the upper part of the pool) the level stays at the bottom of the tiles. This way at 1200 rpm or lower the pump is skimming water with no issues. However, with higher speed, due to the small head on the skimmer (like 1 inch and a half) it would draw air like crazy. So when the pump turns on it first primes at 3000 rpm for a few seconds and just draw air and stop. If I could just turn priming off I would solve the problem. As of now, I cannot skim, I need to have a hose attached all the times. Unless I am there myself, I can attach the hose, and when priming is done, I remove it and it skims fine. But its a pain cause I am never home and I am busy. So can I turn off priming?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
33,029
Laughlin, NV
Lower the rate at which it primes. You can eliminate the priming but if your pump drains down when off for whatever reason, it may not prime at all at the lower rpm. Try 2000 rpm or 2500 rpm for priming and see if that solves the inflow issue.
 

venexiano

Member
Apr 21, 2020
19
Florida
I cant prime at those values. Any speed above 1200-1400 draws air. But what is priming exactly? Why does it need to prime? And why it will never prime at low speed, not even for a longer time? What is the physical reason for which a pump running for half an hour or more at 1200 rpm would not achieve priming? Thank you.
 

venexiano

Member
Apr 21, 2020
19
Florida
Of course I can, but I am to busy with work to be there all the times and switch settings, I want it to be automatic. I am paying the maintenance company 180$ per month not to have to deal with the pool. And paying $5000 to fix the invisible leak is way too much, pool is fine the way it is, planty of water for me when water level at the bottom of the tiles (4 inches below the deck surface). And no water splashes out. But you gave me a good suggestion, maybe 24/7 at 1000 rpm. But I would do it only if I know that would not cost me much more of electricity. Now running 17 hours at 1200 rpm, 21,000 gallon pool, please see my post here for optimization of pump running time and speed What is priming exactly? And can it be removed? Priming makes my pump draw air when skimming
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,158
Bedford, TX
V,

In most in-ground pools, the equipment pad is above the water line of the pool. This often means that any water in the pump will drain back into your pool, when the pump is off, leaving the basket almost empty. The pump has to suck the water out of the pool by generating a vacuum. At low RPMs the pump can just not generate enough vacuum to suck the water it needs, so it will go into the priming mode which increases the RPM..

In theory, if your system is working well, the water should not flow back into your pool when the pump is off.. If your system does not drain back, you can just shut off the prime mode.

Personally, if this were my pool, I would run the pump at 1200 RPM 24/7... I do this now, as I have a SWCG that I like to run it all the time.. It costs me less that $20 bucks a month to run 24/7 at 1200 RPM..

I really doubt that your leak is at the tile line.. Could be I guess, but it would be the first I have ever heard of.. 99.9% of leaks are at the skimmer, light or main drains.. If your water stays at the bottom of the skimmer, then it almost has to be a skimmer issue. Maybe they meant that the water is leaking at the skimmer mouth. If so, some Epoxy Pool Putty should fix you right up.. Unfortunately, a lot of pool repair companies, look at you, your house, and your neighborhood, before they determine the repair cost.. :(

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

PoolNewb2020

Well-known member
May 7, 2020
300
Lathrop, CA
Priming is the action of expelling air from the system and filling it with water.
When the system has a slight leak, with the pump is off and the equipment pad being above pool level, water will start draining from the lines back into the pool. Priming at high RPM will pull water back up the lines. Since the pump has to fight gravity to pull the water up, it needs high RPM.

In your case you have no choice but to run the pump 24/7 or be at the pad to prime the system. Cost should not be your concern because if your pump breaks because it cannot prime, it will cost you a lot more than the amount of electricity the pump consumes at 1200 RPM. You can try to run it at 1000 RPM, but if you don't get skimming action, there is no point.
 

venexiano

Member
Apr 21, 2020
19
Florida
Thank you very much guys.
Jimrahbe the leak is at the tile line 100% sure (bottom of tiles, I was right there when American Leak detection guys did the dye test, I saw the dye slowly entering the wall right at the bottom of the tiles). No leak at the skimmer. As I wrote in my first post, if I fill up the pool within 24 hours water falls down the bottom of the tiles, which gives about 1 inch or 1 inch and half of water on top of the skimmer. Fine to skim at 1000-1200 rpm, but from 1500 rpm up it sucks air. See pictures with water level
 

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venexiano

Member
Apr 21, 2020
19
Florida
If you have any better suggestions for dealing with the leak...please let me know. They mentioned epoxy, they can do that for a few hundreds, or they said I can do it myself, but they said the problem might come back in 1-2 years. And that it is esthetically bad, you see this paste between the tiles and the light blue finish of the pool. So I just decided to forget about it. I have an enclosure so its not too bad even when I dont skim...I think skimming at 1000-1200 rpm for 24/7 could be a easy trouble free solution. It could be an issue in february-April when it get hot, a lot of evaporation, no rain and level goes below the skimmer. But that could be an issue even if I could start from a higher level, surely less frequent...