Diagnosing Pool Pump Air Leaks

Air in pool pump basket

Are you dealing with a pool pump that will not stay primed? One common problem with swimming pool pumps is that they can begin to leak over time, even though pumps are supposed to be airtight. If you are working on a pump that has a clear pump lid, you should not see any air inside the pump basket. Small air leaks are common and rarely do you come across a pump with no air in the pump housing. As the air leak develops and becomes larger, this can cause issues with keeping the pump at full prime, as well as circulation issues with the pool itself.

How to Remove Air from Pool Pump

  1. Turn off power to the pool pump.

  2. Release air pressure from the top of the pool filter.

  3. Remove the pool filter cover and ensure your pool pump strainer box is filled with water. Use a hose if needed.

  4. Inspect for cracks in the pool filter gasket.

  5. Lubricate the pool filter gasket and reassemble the pool filter cover.

  6. Return power to the pool pump with the air release valve open.

  7. Once the water begins to flow from the valve, the air has been removed from the pool filter. You can now close the air release valve.

  8. If you’re still experiencing issues with the pool filter, contact your local pool service professional!

The most common air leak is typically found where the male adapter meets the front of the pump. Air leaks in this area are typically due to bad thread sealant. A bad valve stem on a three-way valve is also a common area for air leaks. Other sources for air leaks include a loose or old pump lid, a fault in the pump lid O-ring, and even the drain plugs on the pump. Regardless of where the leak is coming from, all air leaks will originate prior to the pump impeller.

Now that we know where the possible air leaks can be found, how do we locate the exact source? One air leak detection method, as odd as it sounds, is to use shaving cream (foam, not gel) to locate the air leaks. Evenly spread shaving cream over the possible leak points on the pump, as well as the plumbing. At the air leak, you will start to see the layer of foam dimple as it gets pulled into the system, revealing the location of the air leak. At this point, you know which parts need to be fixed or replaced. Once the area of the leak is identified, simply rinse off the shaving cream with a water hose.

Once you have identified where the pump may be leaking, we recommend that you consult with your local pool professional as they will be able to provide you with additional insight that may help you determine the next steps to repair the leaks in your swimming pool pump. To find your local ASP - America's Swimming Pool Company professional, visit our locations page and make the call today!