ZERO filter pressure, weak return flow, pump won't prime

Sleary123

Member
Aug 14, 2019
12
Massachusetts
First time poster and first time pool owner!

So as I stated above my pool reads zero pressure in the filter, the return jets have barely any force and have air bubbles coming out of them and my pool pump won't prime fully. So after some research on this FANTASTIC forum I created a list of problems it might be. I was just wondering if anyone could think of anything i'm missing.

1.) Sunction side air leak
-I plan on taking some soapy water and placing the bubbles on all sunction side fittings and gaskets to be able to find leaks. I'll replace gaskets and reseal fittings if any are found.

2.) Clog in pipe that goes from my skimmer to filter
-I keep my skimmers clear so it leads me to think there might be a clog in the line that feeds the pump. I'll use a plumbers bladder to force water into pipe at the skimmer and hope it blasts any clogs into the filter basket.

3.) Debris in impeller
-I'll use a coat hanger to pull out any debris.

The worst part about all this is I HAVE A POOL GUY!! I addressed my concerns about pressure with him and he said he would backwash my system!?! Won't back washing a system just relieve debris build up in my sand filter?? Also, wouldn't a high pressure reading be found at the filter if it was clogged?? I'm pretty sure my pool guy is useless but maybe i'm wrong... Let me know what you guys think. Thanks!!

I have a Sta-Rite 3/4 HP Phase 1 (I assume that is 1 speed) SF = 1.27
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
13,950
Bedford, TX
123,

Most of the time, if the filter is dirty, the pressure would be very high compared to normal (clean) pressure.

You did not tell us what type of pump you have? VS, 2-speed, or single speed..

That can make a huge difference.. My filter pressure is only about 2 lbs, but I have a VS pump running at a low RPM, so that is normal for me.

Edit.. I doubt that your skimmer line is clogged unless you use the skimmer to vacuum things like leaves, etc.. But running a Drain King from the pump back to the skimmer can't hurt anything.

When you look through the pump lid, what do you see when the pump is running?

The first thing I would do is lube the pump lid O-Ring..

If you put your filter into "recirculate" mode, it will bypass the filter. If your flow returns to normal, you know the problem is the filter.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
Last edited:

Lskul60

Well-known member
May 29, 2019
100
Long Island
123,

Most of the time, if the filter is dirty, the pressure would be very high compared to normal (clean) pressure.

You did not tell us what type of pump you have? VS, 2-speed, or single speed..

That can make a huge difference.. My filter pressure is only about 2 lbs, but I have a VS pump running at a low RPM, so that is normal for me.

Edit.. I doubt that your skimmer line is clogged unless you use the skimmer to vacuum things like leaves, etc.. But running a Drain King from the pump back to the skimmer can't hurt anything.

When you look through the pump lid, what do you see when the pump is running?

The first thing I would do is lube the pump lid O-Ring..

If you put your filter into "recirculate" mode, it will bypass the filter. If your flow returns to normal, you know the problem is the filter.

Thanks,

Jim R.
what he said.
"If you put your filter into "recirculate" mode, it will bypass the filter. If your flow returns to normal, you know the problem is the filter."

also, what was going on when the problem started?

Did you all of a sudden notice the low pressure, low flow and air in the returns?

Did you backwash or open the pump basket to remove debris and then the problem started when you powered up again?

Something else occurred? Was there a "moment" when the problem started?
 

Sleary123

Member
Aug 14, 2019
12
Massachusetts
123,

Most of the time, if the filter is dirty, the pressure would be very high compared to normal (clean) pressure.

You did not tell us what type of pump you have? VS, 2-speed, or single speed..

That can make a huge difference.. My filter pressure is only about 2 lbs, but I have a VS pump running at a low RPM, so that is normal for me.

Edit.. I doubt that your skimmer line is clogged unless you use the skimmer to vacuum things like leaves, etc.. But running a Drain King from the pump back to the skimmer can't hurt anything.

When you look through the pump lid, what do you see when the pump is running?

The first thing I would do is lube the pump lid O-Ring..

If you put your filter into "recirculate" mode, it will bypass the filter. If your flow returns to normal, you know the problem is the filter.

Thanks,

Jim R.
I see a half full container with agitated water in it. I do have to empty the pump basket daily as I find pine needles in it frequently.
 

Sleary123

Member
Aug 14, 2019
12
Massachusetts
what he said.
"If you put your filter into "recirculate" mode, it will bypass the filter. If your flow returns to normal, you know the problem is the filter."

also, what was going on when the problem started?

Did you all of a sudden notice the low pressure, low flow and air in the returns?

Did you backwash or open the pump basket to remove debris and then the problem started when you powered up again?

Something else occurred? Was there a "moment" when the problem started?
I have only owned this house/pool since July, but the pressure and bubbles from the returns have always been weak/present. After researching on this forum is when I found out to check for pressure on the filter. This is when I noticed it was always on 0... Also I have a pool guy so I figured everything was fine.
 

Lskul60

Well-known member
May 29, 2019
100
Long Island
Not sure how to do this...
there is usually a bleeder valve on the filter, adjacent to the pressure gauge. perhaps it looks something like this. With the filer running, you open it letting out air. Keep it open until you get strong stream of water. Then close.

1566574154411.png
 

Lskul60

Well-known member
May 29, 2019
100
Long Island
I have only owned this house/pool since July, but the pressure and bubbles from the returns have always been weak/present. After researching on this forum is when I found out to check for pressure on the filter. This is when I noticed it was always on 0... Also I have a pool guy so I figured everything was fine.
let us know what happens when you switch your multiport valve to re-circulate, rather than filter. NOTE* - only change the setting on the multiport, while the pump is turned off. Never move the lever with water running.
 

Lskul60

Well-known member
May 29, 2019
100
Long Island
let us know what happens when you switch your multiport valve to re-circulate, rather than filter. NOTE* - only change the setting on the multiport, while the pump is turned off. Never move the lever with water running.
Thank you so much! I will do it when I get home and let you know what happens.
When you get home?
Priorities man.

I think you should take the rest of the day off and see what's going on.

but that's just me ;)
 

Sleary123

Member
Aug 14, 2019
12
Massachusetts
So got home and tried switching pump to recirculate. No change in the pool occurred. I want to try the air release on my filter, but I can’t find it. Here are some pics, do you see it?55A2A305-2191-4650-912B-4068D06A409D.jpeg7C651428-113F-470D-B1A3-F6DD6E51CB5A.jpeg
 

Sleary123

Member
Aug 14, 2019
12
Massachusetts
So it looks like the problem is solved. I cleaned the impeller with a coat hanger and tons of pine needles came out. I then turned the pump on and the return jets pressure increased 10 fold and shot out debris and nasty yellow water for like 5 minutes straight!!! I’m glad the problem is fixed, but I’m mad the pool guy hasn’t been doing his job! Thanks for all your help all!! If you have any follow questions I’d be happy to answer them!
 

Lskul60

Well-known member
May 29, 2019
100
Long Island
So it looks like the problem is solved. I cleaned the impeller with a coat hanger and tons of pine needles came out. I then turned the pump on and the return jets pressure increased 10 fold and shot out debris and nasty yellow water for like 5 minutes straight!!! I’m glad the problem is fixed, but I’m mad the pool guy hasn’t been doing his job! Thanks for all your help all!! If you have any follow questions I’d be happy to answer them!
wow! That’s great about cleaning the impeller. I actually see the note your pool guy left , saying that’s what you needed or do. It’s in the photo.

Now you have to learn about hair nets. Yes, hair nets. You can buy 100 of them for like $7 on amazon. You put them in your skimmer baskets, and change every few days, as needed. Think coffee filter for insertion. There’s lots of posts about it on here. Easy to find.

But the way, I do not see your relief valve, but it should be adjacent to your pressure gauge.

Glad you’re doing ok
 

mguzzy

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2015
630
OV, CA
Yeah.. I had the same issue.. my impeller was clogged with oak flowers from my trees. I was vacuuming them up while opening the pool one year and they are small enough to go through the pump basket grid and clogged the impeller.
 

Sleary123

Member
Aug 14, 2019
12
Massachusetts
wow! That’s great about cleaning the impeller. I actually see the note your pool guy left , saying that’s what you needed or do. It’s in the photo.

Now you have to learn about hair nets. Yes, hair nets. You can buy 100 of them for like $7 on amazon. You put them in your skimmer baskets, and change every few days, as needed. Think coffee filter for insertion. There’s lots of posts about it on here. Easy to find.

But the way, I do not see your relief valve, but it should be adjacent to your pressure gauge.

Glad you’re doing ok
Awsome idea about the hair nets! I’ll definitely be buying some. Thank you for all your help.

The hunt shall continue for the relief valve!
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
13,950
Bedford, TX
123,

If you get so many pine needles that you have to clean out the impeller once a week, you need to rent a chain saw... :mrgreen:

I love hair nets, but with the amount of "stuff" you seem to have falling out of the sky, you will have to replace them once a day...

I don't have that problem, but I have an extra set of skimmer baskets.. I keep the spare set with hair nets already installed. When it is time to clean the skimmers, I just remove the dirty basket and replace it with the spare basket. Takes a couple of seconds per skimmer. Then I throw away the dirty hair nets and install clean ones. They become the spare baskets sitting on the shelf.. waiting their turn in the pool...

Thanks,

Jim R.