Your pool pump system if working properly should not have any air coming out of the pool returns. If air is being sucked in, is visible in the pump basket area or is coming out of the returns, then you have a problem somewhere in the line that is allowing air to enter the system.
Pool pumps are designed to pump water and can handle a small amount of air in the system. If too much air enters the system, the pump most likely will loose its prime and no water will move through the system, causing the pump to run dry and eventually cause the motor to fail.
Air can enter the system in many ways. It is important to determine why the pump lost it’s prime in the first place before you try to get it circulating again to avoid having the pump overheat and eventually need replacing. Potentially costing much more then having the air issue resolved in the first place.
Let’s examine some of the main reasons you may be getting air in your pool system:
Start by checking the pool water level:
If the pool water level is too low, it will cause air to be sucked in through the skimmer and go directly into the pool pump, which ultimately will end up through the system and to the pool returns. If the water level is low enough it will cause the pool pump to run dry.
The Skimmer Basket is Full of Leaves:
It the skimmer gets filled up with leaves or other debris, it will restrict flow and cause a funnel effect that will draw air in the skimmer line.
The Pump Lid O-Ring is Dry, Flat or Cracked.
The pool pump lid O-ring should be checked about once a month to ensure that it is not too dry, in which case it would simply need to be lubricated with some silicone lube.
If the O-ring is too flat or cracked, it is necessary to replace with a new one.
The Pump Suction or Intake Side Plumbing has an Air Leak:
The best way to know if your suction side intake plumbing has a leak is to check the pump basket container through the clear lid on top to see if the water level is full to the top or partial water and air.
Another way is to test for air leaks is to shut off the pump. If water gets spit out from any portion of the suction side pluming, lid or pump then you most likely have the source of the leak.
Other Possible Sources for Leaks may be:
- Jandy Valves, Gate Valves or Ball Valves
- The pool pump’s drain plug O-ring may need to be lubed or replaced
- The pump seal or gasket may need replacing
- The pool filter may have a leak
- You may have an under ground plumbing leak
- Chlorinator may be leaking or need it’s O-rings replaced
If the Pump Won’t Prime, Check for the following:
1. Empty pump/strainer housing
Solution: Make sure pump/strainer housing is filled with water and cover o-ring is clean. Ensure o-ring is properly seated in
the cover o-ring groove. Ensure o-ring is lubricated with “Jack’s 327” and that strainer cover is locked firmly in position.
Lubricant will help to create a tighter seal.
2. Loose connections on suction side.
Solution: Tighten pipe/union connections.
NOTE – Any self-priming pump will not prime if there are suction air leaks. Leaks will result in bubbles emanating from
return fittings on pool wall.
3. Leaking O-ring or packing glands on valves.
Solution: Tighten, repair, or replace valves.
4. Strainer basket or skimmer basket loaded with debris.
Solution: Remove strainer housing cover or skimmer cover, clean basket, and refill strainer housing with water. Tighten
5. Suction side clogged.
Solution: Contact a qualified repair professional.
Block off to determine if pump will develop a vacuum. You should have 5”-6” of vacuum at the strainer cover (Only your
pool dealer can confirm this with a vacuum gauge). You may be able to check by removing the skimmer basket and
holding your hand over the bottom port with skimmer full and pump running. If no suction is felt, check for line blockage.
a. If pump develops a vacuum, check for blocked suction line or dirty strainer basket. An air leak in the suction
piping may be the cause.
b. If pump does not develop a vacuum and pump has sufficient “priming water”:
i. Re-check strainer housing cover and all threaded connections for suction leaks. Check if all system
hose clamps are tight.
ii. Check voltage to ensure that the motor is rotating at full RPM’s.
iii. Open housing cover and check for clogging or obstruction in suction. Check impeller for debris.
iv. Remove and replace shaft seal only if it is leaking.
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