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Air Constantly Blowing Into Pool Through Return Jets


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#1 simonjturner

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 10:24 AM

Hi All... I hope someone can help with my problem. I have a conventional in ground pool, the pump and filter are about 1 to 2 feet above water level and I have a non retrun valve fitted. The pool has no leaks and no water is lost. There is however a fairly constant stream of small air bubbles coming out of the inlet jets making a popping sound. The amount of bubble varies and gets worse after a bottom vacuum operation. I have changed the filter seal and also the pump top seal. All the pipe joints seem to be tight. I was worried that the spider valve might be letting in air but this is on the pressure side of the pump and not the suck side where I believe most air problems originate. I have isolated the skimmers and the bottom drain separately using the valves to see if one of these might have some pipe work problem but it seems not to make any difference, I even used teh vac port only and again no differnce. To me this indicates that there is no problem in the pipework from the pool and the problem is above ground in the pool room, but I just can't seem to find it. Any ideas? Look forward to your thoughts.

#2 Mark

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 12:21 PM

A few possible causes:

Air in the pump basket will usually indicate a suction side air leak.

Solar with a dirty filter or clogged impeller can draw in air from the vacuum release valve.

A SWG will generate small bubbles when it is running.
Mark (aka mas985)

18'x36' 20k gallon plaster/gunite pool, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge Filter, 450 sq-ft EPDM Solar Panel, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater
Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump Modeling Tools; FSEC Solar Panel Information; Solar Heat Gain and Loss

#3 Spa_Guru

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 10:23 AM

Try running a bead of silicon around the inlet fitting where it enters the outside of the pump, with the pump running, if there is a leak there, the suction will draw the sealant into the leak and stop it.

"Men nearly always believe what they wish to be true"

Julius Caesar

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#4 simonjturner

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 06:09 AM

Hi Folks... thanks for your comments.... I need to clarify a few points tho

Mark... I do not have a Solar however what do you mean by a vacuum release valve? Is this on the filter or the pump? Also what is an SWG?

Guru... When you say the inlet fitting do you mean where the the fitting that connects the pipe to the pump on the suction side? I guess also it it worth checking the pipe fitting of the stop valves (skimmer, drain and vac) as these are on the suction side and could be drawing air.

Thx again for your help

#5 Pool Clown

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 06:36 AM

You mention air returning to the pool. Do you also see air though the pump lid as well? What kind of pump do you have (manufacturer)? If it is a Sta-Rite, check the plug that screws into the bottom of the pump basket housing. That plug has an o-ring that fails all the time (that I've seen anyway). You wouldn't necessarily see that air entering through the lid.

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#6 simonjturner

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 02:23 PM

Yep.... there is always an air gap at the top by the pump lid it is never completely full of water.

It is an Astral and does have a drain screw at the bottom, is this worth checking and replacing the o ring seal?

#7 Pool Clown

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 03:09 PM

Sure, I would at least take a look at the lid oring, to check for cracks in the oring itself, and to lightly lube the oring so it tightens down smoothly.

Factory Warranty/Service for:
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and Paramount pool cleaning systems.


#8 simonjturner

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 12:29 AM

Has anyone heard of air getting into the system due to an old / faulty spider control? I know this is on the return side of the pump so is unlikely, but just wanted to rule it out of the investigation

#9 Carl.F

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 02:16 AM

Do you have an automatic chlorinator? The lid and "o" ring on that might not be making a good seal.

#10 Mark

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 07:31 AM

Mark... I do not have a Solar however what do you mean by a vacuum release valve? Is this on the filter or the pump? Also what is an SWG?


The vacuum release is usually installed in the return pipe near the panels or the supply pipe near the panels. Some VRVs are plugs installed in the panel header itself so are difficult to see.

A SWG is a salt water chlorine generator.

Also, a spider gasket air leak would only draw in air when the pump is off so it tends to show up as air in the returns but only for a short period of time. After the air is purged from the filter, you would not see air coming out of the returns anymore.

But with solar, the symptoms are basically the same so you wouldn't normally be able to tell the difference. The VRV lets air into the panels and plumbing so they will drain. This will also introduce air into the return plumbing so that when the pump is first turned on, the air will be purged out of the plumbing even with the panels shut off. If the panels are on, then you will see even more air come out the returns. But all of this is normal and they way it is suppose to work.

However, if you have air in the pump basket and air is continuously coming out of the returns even after the pump has been running a while, the problem is most likely a suction side air leak.
Mark (aka mas985)

18'x36' 20k gallon plaster/gunite pool, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge Filter, 450 sq-ft EPDM Solar Panel, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater
Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump Modeling Tools; FSEC Solar Panel Information; Solar Heat Gain and Loss

#11 simonjturner

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 10:35 AM

Hi All.... I do not have a chlorinator nor a solar.

Some great tips regarding the spider... and given the air is pretty much constant (although sometimes is does stop) I think the answer is in the suction side... I will check all the seals (pre pump) etc in the pump room and see if this helps.

Given that I have turned off each source(skimmer, drain & vac) in turn and air still comes though to the pool I really think the issue is post shut off valves; does this make sense?

Thx

#12 Pool Clown

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 09:17 PM

Yes, if you get air in the pump no matter where you have the valves, there's a good chance that it is between them and the pump.

Factory Warranty/Service for:
Jandy, Pentair, Sta-Rite, Raypak, Polaris,
and Paramount pool cleaning systems.


#13 footie

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 11:18 PM

The only time I get this is when one of my skimmer gates stick closed and the pump drains the water from that one, just continuing to sucking in air only from that one. Check how high up your skimmers your water level is, if too close to the bottom of the skimmer it/they might not be working properly and you may need to increase your water level, I found this to be true for mine, I now run my pool level only 3" from the top of the skimmers.

#14 simonjturner

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 04:58 AM

No the skimmers are always full and there is no sign of water getting into the skimmer baskets as you described. I am going to undo all of the joints pre pump in the pool cupboard and silicone grease them all up and reassemble, also do the same to the pump top and pump drain plug. Let's hope that this solves the issue. If not I was thinking of connecting a flexi pipe from the pool directly into the pump to isolate all of the suction side pipe work and connections etc to see if the air is still pumped back into the pool. I will post again once I have done all of this!! Thx

#15 footie

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 07:34 AM

No the skimmers are always full and there is no sign of water getting into the skimmer baskets as you described. I am going to undo all of the joints pre pump in the pool cupboard and silicone grease them all up and reassemble, also do the same to the pump top and pump drain plug. Let's hope that this solves the issue. If not I was thinking of connecting a flexi pipe from the pool directly into the pump to isolate all of the suction side pipe work and connections etc to see if the air is still pumped back into the pool. I will post again once I have done all of this!! Thx


OK, have you a sand filter? If so is it completely full of water, if not then which to see if the water is surging into the glass dome and then disappearing. I had a small leak at the seal of my circulating pump which meant when it turned off for the 12 hours (i.e on 12 and off 12 per day) the sand filter lost some water and I need to open the bleeder value on the top of the glass dome releasing the air and filling the filter with water which stopped the bubbles coming from the inlets in the pool.

#16 simonjturner

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 09:28 AM

Yes I have a sand filter however I cannot tell if it is completely full of water as I don't have a glass dome at the top as you do. I suspect that there could be air in the filter as there are some gurgling noises. The only bleeder valve at the top of the filter is on the pressure gauge, I will try and see if this releases air after it has been standing without the pump running for a time.

If it is a problem with a seal on the pump, this will be resolved shortly as my pump has just seized up (motor has burnt out!) and I need to replace it.

#17 footie

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 12:25 AM

Yes I have a sand filter however I cannot tell if it is completely full of water as I don't have a glass dome at the top as you do. I suspect that there could be air in the filter as there are some gurgling noises. The only bleeder valve at the top of the filter is on the pressure gauge, I will try and see if this releases air after it has been standing without the pump running for a time.

If it is a problem with a seal on the pump, this will be resolved shortly as my pump has just seized up (motor has burnt out!) and I need to replace it.


Mine too has a pressure guage at the top where the release valve is, on mine I was told to turn on the valve to release the water when the pump was going and to close it when it shoots a bit of water. My guess is that if you do this and it takes a good 30 plus seconds before you get any water coming out that this might have been your problem.

Seized up pump, why replace it, the guys that look after and service my pool recondition ours when this happens, generally it's about a thied of the price of a replacement pump.

P.S.
Depending on how often your pool is used you should replace the sand every 8-10years. Also do a backwash every fortnight for about 2 minutes and replace the water it dumps, that way you are always renewing the water over time. Oh and run a filter cycle of 30 seconds at the same time. ;)

#18 simonjturner

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 01:28 AM

My pool is in my spain holiday home and I am in the uk at the mo and I rely on local help with pool, so getting the pump rewound is problamatic... My son rewinds motors so I will bring it back and get him to do it, then I get a spare pump in case of future problems!

I will try all of the air solution suggestions next time I am out and will post the results. Fingers crossed I will get a result.

#19 simonjturner

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 04:26 AM

I have replaced the seized pump with a new one and the air problem seems to have gone away.... looks like the old pump seals or the pump drain plug seal were the problem




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