How To Troubleshoot Pool Pump Vacuum Leaks

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Swimming pools are undoubtedly one of the greatest luxuries of twenty-first century life. Yet pool pumps and filtration systems are notoriously finicky. If you would like to learn more about performing simple maintenance on your pool, read on. This article will teach you how to troubleshoot one common problem--pool pump vacuum leaks:

The Two Main Causes of Vacuum Leaks

A vacuum leak prevents water from circulating effectively through the filter system. This can happen in two different ways: air leaking into the system, or water leaking out. Air leaks generally occur during the suction phase, whereas water leaks tend to occur post-pump, when the water is being returned to the pool.

Eliminate Simple Problems First

Vacuum leaks are most commonly caused by one of two simple things:

  • low water level in the pool
  • full or clogged strainer baskets

Make sure that there is enough water in the pool to completely submerge your skimmer inlets. Then check and empty all strainer baskets. In many cases, attending to these two steps is all it will take to get your pump running smoothly again.

Check the Strainer Lid

If you're still experiencing a problem, it's time to take a look at your strainer lid. This clear plastic cover allows you to see into the strainer. Ideally, with the pump running, you should see water flowing through the strainer. Pay attention for any bubbles, as these are a sign that you've got an air leak on your hands.

Lubricate the Strainer Lid

Sometimes air leaks occur because of an insufficiently sealed strainer lid. Turn off your pump and unscrew the lid from its housing. You should see a rubber O-ring inside. Check to see if this O-ring is broken or degraded; this is a common problem. If necessary, replace it. Otherwise, lubricate the ring using petroleum jelly and then tightly reattach the lid.

Inspect the Suction Line

Now you're going to check for air leaks caused by another O-ring. This one is located in the input line that leads to the strainer. You can access it by unscrewing the removable joint that connects the strainer to the input line. Replace the O-ring, if needed. Then coat it will petroleum jelly and reattach the joint.

Look for Water Leaks on the Outlet Side

Now turn the pump on again and allow it to run for several minutes. Then have somebody turn it off again while you inspect the pipes on the pump's outlet side. If you notice any water leaks, you may need to either reassemble or replace the portion of pipe where the leak is occurring.

If you still find yourself having troubles, try contacting a company such as Aquatic Builders with any questions or concerns you have.