How to Find an Air Leak in Your Pool Pump

The role of a water pool pump is to move water through a filter and back through water inlets in the swimming pool. The water moves through an electric motor that rotates an impeller, which is found in the interior sections of the pump.

For optimal functionality, a pool pump should not contain any air in its system. If you come across bubbles coming from the pump, this would indicate a compromise in its functionality. In this guide, we go in-depth into how to find an air leak in your pool pump. You have to locate the air leak on time to avoid any further damage to the structure of the pump. 

Dou have a pool pump that won't stay primed when in use? One common complication with pool pumps is that it might start to leak over time. That said, a pool pump should be airtight to provide the best suction power. If you have a pump that has a clear lid, you should not notice air in the central section of the pump basket. Issues such as small leaks are common, and you have to be prepared to solve such an issue DIY.

what are looking at with a damaged pool pump

The most common air leak usually occurs where the male adaptor integrates with the front section of the pump. Air leaks are common in this section, usually due to damaged thread sealant. A bad valve stem on a three-way valve is also a common component of pool pumps that gets air leaks. The other common sources of air leaks might include loose or compromised pump lids. Plus, damage in the pump lid O-ring, and the drain plugs can also suffer from wear and tear, thus causing leaks.

How to Find Leaks in Pool Pumps?

Once you determine the source of the air leaks, the next step is to locate a specific cause. An excellent air leak detection method would be to use shaving cream (really!) to find any leaks in the system. More so, spreading shaving cream evenly over the leak points on the pump and plumbing can be a crucial technique to consider. 

At the point of the air leak, you may notice a layer of foam dimple as it sucked into the system, thereby showing the presence of the leak. At such a point, you should have a basic idea of the components that require replacement. Once you identify the source of the air leak, rinse the shaving cream off with some water. If you notice the pump has extreme damage, it will help if you get in touch with a local professional service. That said, we also have some DIY suggestions to get you started.

Do you want to repair your pool leaks also ?

Identifying Leaks in Your pool Pump

Swimming pool pumps are available in different shapes and sizes. The most common pool pumps have a three-horsepower rating or less. Usually, they also have threaded connections at the piping system, where water is sucked in and pushed out through the pump. It’s the common section where pump leaks might occur. Being able to identify such issues in time will ensure you can save on repair bills and replacing equipment.

There are three types of leaks that might occur at the piping and motor connections. The suction side sits under the vacuum. If the leak is on the suction side, or perhaps where the water goes into the pump, then it should be an air leak. Air leaks can get sucked into a closed system when in operation. The discharge side is often under intense pressure. If the leak is on the discharge side, or where the water comes out, then it’s a water leak. 

Water travels out of the closed system when its in operation. More so, a leak can occur where the electric motor connects to the pump. It’s a complication that you might notice with a shaft seal. The seal will prevent water from escaping the system through a shaft the rotates the impeller. 

Here are the common signs of a leak on the suction side of the pump:

  • The pump seems to struggle to move water during the start-up process.

  • The power is on, but you don’t notice anything.

  • The pump needs refilling with water and several restarts than normal to function.

  • The regular flow rate is low because of air infiltration that occurs at the pump.

  • Pressure at the filter tank is low

  • You will notice cloudiness in the pool water

  • Skimmer baskets float unusually

  • You might notice the presence of air the in the strainer

  • The pool pipe wiggles easily or seems frail

  • You may notice air bubbles moving back underwater into the pool 

Here are the common signs of leakages of the discharge side:

  • Water sprays or drips at the pipe connections section to the pump

  • You notice a puddle of water at the floor under the pump or moving down the side of the pump

  • Water loss in the pool

  • Left unchecked, pump discharge fitting can detach from the pump, creating a spray out or perhaps empty through the pool water. As such, this may lead to damage to the surrounding equipment, and even to the pump as well.

  • Water damage to surrounding sections

These are the common signs of leakages at the shaft seal:

  • You may notice a puddle of water at the floor or under the center section of the pump below the motor connection section

  • Water damage to the surrounding sections is also common

  • Excessive or unusual noise coming from the motor, which may indicate a bearing motor complication

  • Left unchecked, a shaft seal can lead to further damage to the pump and could require replacement of motor components

What to Do When I Have an Air Leak In My Pool Pump

If you have a wet floor or other pump complications described above, then you have to fix something. Proper maintenance of your pool motor has to occur. More so, properly maintained pumps can provide years of service, and a unique swimming pool experience.

Ensure your pool professional conducts a thorough inspection of the filter system during startup. If there is no instance of leaks, then ask for information. Information ensures that you can address minor repairs before any further damage occurs to your equipment.

What to Do When Your Pump Produces No Water Movement or Pressure

If you come across an air leak in the system that lets air in through the lines, it can become difficult to operate your system. It will cause the pump to lose prime and compromise the flow of water. If your pump has an air leak, you may notice bubbles in the pump pot and air coming out through the returns to the pool water.

An air leak occurs due to problems in the intake section of the pump. In other words, the pool pump might be having a suction (negative pressure) on the intake section of the pump. The same may also occur in the outlet section of the pump. The pump draws in water in through the front section of the pump and directs it out the top section.

There are several ways through which air can get to your pool system, usually on the suction side. These conventional ways include:

  • Low water level – this is very basic, but if you don’t maintain the water level at the center of the skimmer opening, then these components might suck in air. Usually, there will be a surge of air to the system, and the pump might lose prime. The pump will start regaining prime slowly. Once the pump primes fully, it will suck some more air into the system. Thus, at this point, the solution would be to ensure you have the correct water level. 

  • Stuck skimmer weir – the weir is a small “flapper,” which you find on the skimmer opening section. If this component sticks in the weir, it can cause it to sit in the vertical position, which in turn, causes it to act as a dam. As such, it may serve as a barrier that keeps water from getting through to the skimmer. You may notice the same effects as a low water level, whereby the pool regularly gains or loses prime. The best suggestion, in this case, is to evaluate the functionality of the skimmer weir each time you clean the skimmer baskets.

  • Pump lid o-ring – you should tighten the pump lid enough such that it seals tightly, and you should also have a clean and frail o-ring. Over time, the o-rings might harden and become fragile, thus failing to seal as required. In some cases, a pool owner might remove the pump lid, and fail to realize the o-ring detaching and falling to the ground. In some cases, they might put the lid back on the pump, and a leaf or debris might stick in it. If the pump fails to prime, detach the cover and inspect the o-ring. Ensure it's well lubed, and the sealing surfaces are free from debris

  • Pump lid – in some cases, the pump lid can become frail and crack. You have to evaluate this component closely since a pump lid might draw in lots of air through a hairline crack.

  • Intake and manifold valves – the fittings and valves that you will notice on the intake section of the pump can also be prone to air leaks. If you suspect that this is an issue, then switch off the pump and check to determine if it produces spurts of water afterward. You may have to repair any sign of a leak at the valves by getting new o-rings. That said, if it's not possible, then only replace the valves. Also, consider using pool putty and silicone sealant for professional repair. 

  • Underground air leak – usually, this is not the case and might occur on an occasional basis. If there are no signs of leakages above ground or in the pump, then it's probably an underground leakage. Before you call a contractor, try performing the DIY techniques recommended above.

Overall

Air leaks can be challenging to find. In most cases, by the time you notice the air leak, you may have more than one source of air getting to the system. If the pool has an air leak, consult with a professional pool service as soon as possible. That said, there are many DIY techniques you can consider to ensure the best pool care results.

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