Plumbing, Heating and Pool Repair Guides

Your Pool Pump Will Suck Air!


When opening your pool for the first time or even during mid pool season, your swimming pool pump will suck air at some point and start to give you trouble. The good news is that usually the air leak can be fixed with a few easy steps or a simple replacement part. Most people think when they have air in their pool lines that it will actually be a reason to stress out, but in fact most air leaks are really simple to fix.Your Pool Pump Will Suck Air!

The most common places a swimming pool pump will suck air from is the drain fittings, suction union on pump, suction valve that controls main drain and skimmer, pump cover lid gasket and the pump seal. Some of these repairs you will be able to do yourself if you are comfortable with your swimming pool filter system but when it comes to replacing things like the pump seal you may want to bring your pump into a swimming pool pump dealer or pump & motor repair shop. Sometimes is cheaper and smarter to let the pros do the work. If you have a swimming pool guy or gal that takes care of your swimming pool each week or month you can also ask them if they offer pump repair services as many do.

How can I find out if my pool pump cover lid gasket is bad?

Most often the pool pump will suck air from a few common places. The first thing you can do is run your pump for a few minutes and then shut it off. If you have a bad cover gasket on the pump that will cause the system to pull air as well, and if this gasket is bad you will see water spit out from the pool pump lid when you shut the pump. If water does not spit out from the cover gasket it means the seal is not so bad but you will also still want manually check the o-ring or gasket for cracks and possible flat spots that will allow the pump to suck air in.

How do I replace my pool pump cover gasket?
Pentair IntelliFlo High Performance Pump
Replacing your swimming pool pump cover gasket can be easy and simple if you are used to opening the lid of your swimming pool pump. If this is something that you normally have your pool guy do, then you can just ask him to do a service call and change the gasket for you. If you do take care of the swimming pool yourself then you can just simply remove the pool pump cover and then remove the gasket. There however is two different types of cover pump gaskets. Pumps like Hayward super pumps can have the traditional gasket that inserts in to the volute or “wet end” of the pump. You also can have the round o-ring type of pump cover gasket like on the Hayward power-flo pump and that simply just sits in place rather then the flat type that will have to be pushed into place.

There is also two different shapes of swimming pool pump cover lids as well. The Hayward super pump line is the only swimming pool pump with a square lid. Most swimming pool pumps will have a round lid that will either screw on or push in and twist lock. The square style swimming pool pump lid will use the Hayward pump cover gasket like we explained above and off course the round style of the cover pump lid will use the o-ring. Please note that not all o-rings are the same size. You will need to buy the right size o-ring that fits your swimming pool cover pump lid.

How do I stop and seal the air leaks in my drain plugs?

Most swimming pool pumps will have either one or two drain plugs that will eventually start to leak a bit and suck some air. This is often caused when they are removed by the swimming pool company that closed your pool or just due to age of the pump. To make sure that your swimming pool pump drain plugs are air tight, you will want to shut your pump off and remove them. If your pump is a Hayward super pump then depending on how old it is will depend on what type of plugs you have, this can also be true for older styles of Petair Pool Pumps, as well as Sta-right.
Hayward Super Pump
The difference between the two types of drain plugs is that one style will have a rubber washer that seals the air and the other type will be a tapered plug. To seal the style with the washer, simply replace the washer with a new one and screw the plug tight. To seal the tapered type you will want to wrap it with a few wraps of Teflon tape and then thread it back in tight.

How do I stop air leaks in my suction union or valve?

In front of almost every swimming pool pump will be a union fitting and if you have a main drain in your swimming pool you probably will have something called a 3-way diverter valve that will control where your pump sucks its water source from. This could be either the main pool drain or the skimmers.
Pentair WhisperFlo Pool Pump
The most common thing that will give you trouble and allow your pump to suck air is the o-rings that are in the union and the o-rings that seal the lid of the 3-way valve. It is always best to replace these o-rings at least twice a year due to the change in weather. The o-rings are not that expensive compared to replacing a brand new pool pump because you let it suck air for two long. Once you have replaced your o-rings inside of the suction union and any o-rings that may be on your valve, you can now go ahead and tighten the unions back up making sure you don’t over tighten them. Most unions these days used on swimming pool systems are made from PVC Plastic and break easily if tighten to much. However there are still a few swimming pool from the old days that are still using steel and brass unions.

How do I know if my pump seal is bad and leaking air?

When your pump seal goes bad you can start to suck air into the pump. Usually when a pump seal goes bad you will see that the pump will start to have water dripping from the motor shaft. The pump seal is not something you will want to do yourself. You will want to bring your swimming pool pump to a repair shop so that they can replace the seal for you.


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