Air in skimmer basket


Old 09-07-04, 03:57 PM
Johnny Canuck
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Question Air in skimmer basket

Hello All

I have a similar problem as the Grouperman on my inground, vinyl liner pool.
Like him, I had water oozing out the lid on the strainer at the pump when I shut the pump down. You could see about 1/2 " of air pocket in the strainer when running in the filter mode. Switching to backwash eliminates this air in short time and the strainer is 100% water.

Very basic system - 1 skimmer, an obsolete, 1HP pump I can't recall the name of (but it works well, just hard to get parts - Wycroft or some such) feeding Swimquip sand filter, off to Raypac heater then two return jets. All about 20 years old.

Here is some history:

I had to change my filter sand this year (long story) and all seemed to go ok.
Then one day, while filtering, there was a sound on my concrete deck that sound like someone hammering with a ten pound sledge. Heater had been on at the time, and I ran into my pumphouse and shut down the pump.

The previous owner of the house had a couple of pieces of reinforced flex hose in line on the pressure side to cheat on some plumbing irregularities and the combination of some freak pressure event and the heat sucked the hoses in to 1/2 of their width, so I knew these had to go.

After a bit of a wait I fired it up again and all worked ok (phew) but I knew those flex lines had to go as they were restricitng the flow. The heater now refused to ignite - pilot was ok, etc.

Then, about two weeks later somehow the pump just ran dry. Pool level, everything was fine. I don't know for how long, but the pump got quite hot. Shut all down and let cool naturally for a couple of hours, crossed the digits and fired it back up again. It worked fine !

After this was when I noticed the flow back of air pushing the lid of the skimmer on shutdown, and a small water leak where another flex hose ran from the top of the pump to the filter inlet. This was soaking the concrete floor while in operation so I replaced the joint and hose. Now it is ok.
It may have occured before this but I hadn't noticed.

However the heater still wouldn't fire. Plus, the heater pressure switch was spraying a small stream of water out of a pin sized hole it its tip (?!?!?) So I called in a plumber to replace the reduced flex. All have been replaced with ABS to match the rest of the system. Cleaned the lid and threads (male and female) for the strainer and the "o" ring.

Started all back up, and after a couple of back washes the air disappeared and the heater kicked back on - in Canada and we NEED the heater this summer! No water leaking from the pressure switch either.

About 2 weeks later, heater refused to ignite again and noticed air pocket back in the strainer. Again I could remove it by backwashing, but filter cycle brings it back. So off came the lid, cleaned threads, lubed "o" ring, and used a bit of plumbers tape on the threads. No blow back now, and concrete is dry but the air pocket remains. Plus, the pressure switch is spraying again (very small but constant stream). I tried looking at other points on the suction side, but found no evidence of blowback at any joints etc. when pump switched off.

My pressure is rock steady at 13.
Heater pressure switch may be its own issue, so I replaced it with one called The Little General? Still nothing. Pilot is lit, I feel a click when I turn the thermostat up to a temp warmer than the water temp, but the burners just won't fire. I hear the air gurgeling in my heater and a bit at the jets.

Oddly enough, my pool has never looked better ! but bbbbrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr !

Anyone have any ideas?

Johnny C.
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Old 01-12-05, 06:57 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: So. Calif.
Posts: 540
Hi Johnny, check your ph sounds like your water is acedic, eating up the psi switch [ metal ] and probably has attacked the pump seal, there by causing an air leak,

let us know what you find. what part of Canada ? sure is pretty up there.

Old 01-12-05, 07:58 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 164
Johnny Canuck…. Another thing to look for that was mentioned in your post, you mentioned that your pump ran dry and got very hot. I call this a pump melt-down (not as bad as it sounds) The PVC on the suction and discharge side of the pump get hot, this causes the PVC pipe to shrink or loosen at the threads. This causes air leak on the suction side & a water leak on the discharge side of the pump. Cleaning the threads and applying Teflon tape will not fix it. It is best that you replace the threaded nipples on the suction and discharge sides of the pump. Avoid schedule 40 PVC, go with CPVC Schedule 80 nipples. These can handle more heat if your pump happens to run dry again….

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