What to Do When Your Pool Jets Are Blowing Bubbles
At the start of every pool season, a common question you might come across is, “what to do when your pool jets are blowing bubbles?” It’s a common issue, especially with swimming pool pumps. That said, the answer to such a question might be simple, especially if you have the right resources.
In front of the pump, to be specific is where the air will get into the system. Close the pump impeller is what is referred to as the “suction side,” and a void might leak when you turn on the pump. After the impeller, on the exterior side of the pump is what is referred to as the “pressure side.” In this case, any void that occurs on the pressure side might cause water to leak when you turn on the pump. More so, a vacuum on the suction side might cause the system to suck in air.
Check to determine if air has gotten through to the pool filter. You can do this by opening the air bleeder valve on the filter. It’s a process that will let air in the pool filter and cause it to blow out. You will be aware when all the air comes out because the valve will spray water lightly at you. If that is the case, tighten it up to help close the air bleeder.
Here are some remedies to consider before you call a local pool man or contractor to help address the problem. These are the common ways through which a pump may suck air and compatible solutions:
The water level is too low, and the skimmer sucks air – raise the water level to mid skimmer, or high enough such that the water vortex won't suck air into the pipe.
Skimmer weir is stuck, or some objects are in the skimmer throat – skimmer weirs will start to stick when the skimmer walls move inward. If the weir is stuck in the upright position, which blocks the flow of water, detach it, and try to sand or shave off 1/16 inch on either section. Also, you can get a spring-loaded weir as a replacement and ensure it's slightly wider than the original component. For rafts or toys that are wedged in the skimmer, remind everyone to remove all gear in the pool after each swimming session.
The incoming valves (skimmer, main drain) are blocked – this is an issue that occurs all the time, especially when the valves face the wrong direction. Such a problem can block incoming lines, which causes the pump to overwork. Thus, the system experiences an increased vacuum pressure level, which sucks in the air around the incoming pump or valves. These are sections that won’t usually suck in air, and ensure you check to ensure all incoming valves are fully open.
The pump lid is not tight enough or is damaged – this is also a common issue, and you might have to crank down the pump lids tight, after removing or opening the lid. In some cases, it might require an additional 1 inch of turning to seal it thoroughly with the lid o-ring. Also, threaded pumps usually come with a notched top. Such a structure ensures you can use a screwdriver or a long bar to make the tightening or removal process convenient.
The clamp style lids might just require that you fully tighten the clamp until you hear the assembly creaking or producing a sound. Remember to check the o-ring to provide an excellent fit and replace it with dry rot cracks inside. To maintain such a pump, remove the lid o-ring at least once a year and clean it with a rag.
The threaded pipe fitting in the pump sucks air – if the pump operates without water or heats up due to other factors, this can compromise the threads on the fitting. More so, bad angles or excessive vibration can cause the threaded seal to loosen over time, which is also a significant issue. You can prepare a patch with pool putty, which offers longevity. Remember to leave the pump operating for one day, to dry the putty. Alternatively, you can replace the loose or shrunken fitting with a new type.
Incoming valves, unions, and check valves leak air – the incoming valves are the primary drain and skimmer valves. After a few years of use, they begin to loosen and might start to leak air around the lid, or the stem that goes up through the cap. For the landy type valves, they usually feature small o-rings, which you can replace by applying some Teflon lube to solve this issue. In some cases, a new jandy diverter might be required if the stem shaft becomes damaged.
To determine if air leaks are in the suction manifold piping assembly, consider pressurizing the system from the skimmer. You can complete this process by using a Drain King, which you connect with a garden hose. Then, plug it in the front section of the pump. Put the Drain King in the skimmer hole, and detach the lid and plug it into the incoming pipe. The next step is to turn on the hose. The issue that causes leaks under pressure is also the main issue that causes leaks of air under the vacuum.
Threaded fittings on the suction manifold – the suction manifold is every component in the front section of the pump. To be specific, these are the main drain pipes, fittings, valves, skimmer, and more. On some systems, there might be more threaded adapters required, and not the single one that you have to thread to the pump. Plus, some systems come with suction valves that have threaded attachments, which you will find on the suction manifold or suction section. Also, threaded fittings in the front part of the pump are prone to air leaks, and you should observe them for leaks. To test the entire suction manifold, consider covering the threading joints with some shaving cream (really!), Then look for sections where the cream gets sucked into the void.
Loose drain plugs on the pool pump – loose drain plugs on some pumps, can lead to several air complications. If your pump drain features an o ring, ensure it's still in good conditions. They have a life span of 3-4 years. That said, if the pump drain does not have an o-ring, ensure that you use Teflon tape on the threads. Also, use pliers or a wrench to ensure the tapered plug is well tightened. For the ideal results, detach the previous layers of Teflon tape and seal in a clockwise direction, while ensuring the threads face you. Get a new Teflon tape for each spring, or for whenever you want to remove the drain plugs.
Full skimmer baskets or clogged impeller – the solution for this issue is similar to when you have clogged baskets. It also applies when the impeller is compromised by small bits, which cause the pump to work harder to get water. It’s a process that produces a substantial vacuum pressure and might leak air from sections that generally don’t leak air – especially if the pump has clean baskets. Thus, check the impeller and basket for any clogging issues.
Filter was just clean, and the tank still leaks air – when you open the filter tank and clean the filters, or when you open the pump basket, and water runs – it might take a few minutes for filter air to push through the filter, to the pool and back. To avoid such an issue, ensure you open the air bleeder on the top section of the filter tank when you want to restart the pump. Usually, you do this once you clean DE grids, cartridges, or the emptying basket. Remember to let the air bleed out until it produces a steady stream or spray of water. You might expect some air to remain in the filter tank, and don’t be surprised to notice more than normal air in the tank. That said, even after you bleed out the air out from the tank, and it still bubbles into the pool, consult with the steps recommended above.
Factors to Consider If Your Pool Pump Blows Bubbles
You may have noticed that the above reasons do not include any information on underground pipe damage. Thus, you should not worry if the pipes underground might suck air, and it’s a rare occurrence. Also, another excellent test is to run the pump at “full head” to ensure it pumps large amounts of water. The next step is to shut off the pump as you observe the section on the front part of the pump. In some cases, it's only a drip, but it may be large enough to help you find the source air leaks in the system.
If this has not solved the problem, then your pool might have advanced issues, which might be underground. That said, you will always find that any air in your pool pump is a simple issue to fix.
What to Do When Pump Sucks Air, Or the Filter Blows Bubbles
In a conventional swimming pool set up, a pump works to suck water from the pull, and directs it through a filter. Then, it will travel to the pool, or a secondary pump, which might direct it to a pressure cleaner, or in some cases, a solar system.
The pipe that goes from the skimmer box to the main pump is the tool that sucks in water to the pump, from the pool. Any break in this line might cause the pool to lose water when you switch it off. More so, it may also suck in air and blow bubbles, which can cause the pump to stop functioning as required.
Plus, the pipes that travel from the pump to filter and from the filter to the pool have water that moves with high pressure. The water is then pushed back to the pool. Any damage to these pipes might cause a leak, and you might lose water if the filter is functioning. A break in the underground pipes might leak when you turn off the filter.
A significant portion of filters, will self-bleed air out through return jets by producing bubbles. If the air accumulates in the filter, and the draining pump out, you should consider this solution. When you switch off the pump, it will suck air, and you may not have adequate backpressure for bleeding air. Such an issue can occur when you have an overly large filter, such that there is no dirt to accumulate backpressure. The main problem is that your pump might suck air, and rectifying this issue might help you solve any related complications in the system.
Note: Most automatic pool cleaners feature a pressure relief valve or speed control mechanism. The valve is essential, as it ensures the pump gets an adequate flow of water. If you over tighten it or you don’t use it, the pump may struggle to suck sufficient water. Such an issue might cause the system to draw in additional air. With adjustable valves, you can loosen them out, until the cleaner does not function, then tighten them slowly until the cleaner starts working. At this point, consider leaving the valve. You won't have to adjust the valve again. If the cleaner stops functioning, it might mean that you have to clean the filter.
Before testing, ensure you always clean the filter. When using sand or D.E filters, its good to test using the recirculate, because this will provide a consistent flow of water.
If air is the main issue, move from the pool to the pump. Evaluate the cleaner hoses for damage, test with and without a vacuum plate, and this will show a broken skimmer box. Also, remember to evaluate the connections, especially rubber connectors, which you find in the front sections of the pump for any leakages. Then, remove, re-align, and re-tighten any connections that exist on the suction line. Evaluate the hair and lint basket in the pump section, to ensure they are correctly installed, and sealed with the o-ring.
Remember to check any connections in the suction line, including chemical feeders, which can cause serious issues. The simplest method for evaluating the pool hose would be to raise it gradually out of the water, as the cleaner operates. You will come across a hissing noise wherever there is a hole or split in the system.
If the system does not have any improvements in the air complication, you may have a damaged pipe underground. If you have a significant air complication, then an underground break might also cause the pool to lose some water. If you believe this the main issue, you may have to plug the hole in the bottom section of the skimmer box. You can use anything you can find, including a squash or rag ball. Then, remember to leave the filter switched off at this point.
The next step is to measure the height of the water and then repeat the process after a few weeks. If the pool does not lose any water at this point, then the cause could be a broken suction line.
How to Troubleshoot Swimming Pool Vacuum Hose Leak Problems.
A swimming pool vacuum functions off the suction section of the pump. It has the role of collecting dirt and debris from the bottom of the pool. It then directs it to the pump basket or skimmer basket. In this case, the pump works in the same as a conventional vacuum, only that water serves as a medium. When there is a leak in the vacuum hose, the vacuum will have little or zero suction power. You must find and repair the leaks. The steps to consider include:
Prime the vacuum hose by holding it over the return, and force out the air. Then connect vacuum equipment to the skimmer for the vacuuming process. Ensure all of the fittings on the vacuum hose are well installed. Evaluate the head connection and the section where the hose integrates into the skimmer basket. Ensure the water level is high enough. In some cases, you may not come across any leaks, especially if they are on top of the water. Any bubbling from the hose or connections underwater are notable signs of leaks.
The next step is to evaluate the pump basket that sits adjacent to the motor. Usually, the basket will be full of water during regular use. However, if it still bubbles or if the basket is partly full, then this means the pump has a vacuum leak, otherwise referred to as “sucking air.”
You may have to dive into the pool to complete this step. With the vacuum still hooked up, start lifting the hose from the water, and ensure you the head does not submerge. Once you reach a point where it's above the water and leaks, the pump will suck water, which will lead to the formation of bubbles, and compromise the prime.
At such a point, you should expect to see a leak. You can reverse this process by placing the end of the hose in the skimmer over the return section. Once you fill it up completely, start lifting the hose from the water slowly, and ensure you keep the head submerged. If at any point you notice water spraying, you have come across a leak.
Put duct tape on any holes in the vacuum hose to stop any leaks if you want a proper fix, such that you can complete the pool cleaning process. It’s just a temporary solution in this case.
The next step is to get a hose coupler, made for vacuum hoses to help stop any leaking issues. Then, cut the hose in half, where you notice any leakages with a knife. Connect the two hose pieces with a coupler. This process might last a lifetime, and it will also maintain a good appearance.
Being able to keep your pool in top condition should be an essential factor for you to consider. While you can always call a professional contractor, it's also good to be equipped with DIY knowledge for pool care. Yes, that's right, you will not only save time and money with your newly learned skills, but you will also notice problems before they escalate. As such, this guide on what to do when your pool jets are blowing bubbles should be a right place for you to start.