Pump failing to prime - clogged suction line?

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Denali
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Pump failing to prime - clogged suction line?

Postby Denali » Wed 08 Jul, 2009 23:32

Henry_R wrote:After I posted the question I found the picture I'd taken of the motor where it clearly states "thermally protected". :oops: You've replied before I did. ;) What it doesn't have is a resetable breaker for the fuse though. Once it trips the motor is a boat anchor. Or am I wrong on this?
Is it possible to fix the motor after the thermal cutout trips?
After it shuts down, it cools off and will come back on again. It shuts itself off before there is any damage to the motor
Thanks for the info about the water melting things. That's interesting.
What you will normally see is a pump basket that has shrunken up and is distorted.
We've had problems in the past with the water level getting too low and
the pump gurgling and the motor screaming. We were told by our then
HOA president that the low water level causes the pump to "suck air" and
lose prime which heats up the bearings. Would it be safe to suspect this
as the beginning of the bearings being damaged and the seal too? (Event zero?)
A low water level could be the starting point. Anything that causes the pump to run dry will do it. The damage to the bearings is usually comes after the seal gives out and starts leaking.
What's interesting is that the motor serial number says O80L which dates
to Dec 2005 as a mfg date. If so then the motor seals are supposed to be
resistant to damage. We don't have records that show the motor water
replaced though which is the enigma.
It is the pump seal that is leaking which is not a part of the motor. Anytime the pump runs dry for a length of time the pump seal is likely to leak. It is a cheap part to replace with most of the cost involved being labor.
I've been only running the pump long enough to cycle the water.
4 hours at most per day so as not to have longer term problems.
I've had to manually add water to the strainer basket each time
I power on too. It won't prime after being off unless I do.
This is why it was dry when set to turn on automatically.

There is a discinct sound of escaping air (a hissing sound) around
the motor even when the pump has been off for a while. Is this
related to the seal being bad? Air in the system bleeding off through
the bad seal?

It sounds to me like there is probably more than one leak at the pump. They sell a kit that includes all the orings and the pump seal and that is probably what the pool man will install. The faster the pump seal and any leaks you have at the pump are fixed the less chance of further damage to the motor.


Henry_R
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Joined: Fri 20 Mar, 2009 21:41
My Pool: HOA Community Swimming pool built approx. 1971.
In-Ground, Plaster 34x18 3.5-6' deep, Sta-rite P2R A5D-120L pump, A.O. Smith centurion 1HP (uprated 1.25HP) motor,Hayward S244S filter(new 2011), Rainbow Lifegard Chlorine/Bomine feeder; new replastered June 2010
Location: Houston, Texas USA

Pump failing to prime - clogged suction line?

Postby Henry_R » Wed 08 Jul, 2009 23:56

So if it overheats at least it doesn't open like a fuse and become unusable.
That's good to know since I would have thought the opposite since there's no reset switch.

We have a bid to replace the o-ring and seals at the pump and valve. We've accepted it even though
it's the only one 'cause it seems reasonable.

Does $143 sound good for replacement of the seals? $85 of that is labor.
The rest is parts and sales tax.

Probably not something that can be determined since I'll bet your area is different that Houston.

With some luck he can do the work before the weekend. I don't won't hold my breath since he had said he had 20 other calls that day and it was 11:30 am when he was here. Obviously he's swamped.
Money talks!? All it ever says to me is "goodbye!".
Denali
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Pump failing to prime - clogged suction line?

Postby Denali » Thu 09 Jul, 2009 05:40

Glad you found someone to get it done. As for the price, I don't know if that is a reasonable price or not. It's not a job that takes very long if you know what you're doing. It doesn't look unreasonable to me though.

If all the leaks are sealed you shouldn't lose prime which is a good thing.
Henry_R
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Posts: 126
Joined: Fri 20 Mar, 2009 21:41
My Pool: HOA Community Swimming pool built approx. 1971.
In-Ground, Plaster 34x18 3.5-6' deep, Sta-rite P2R A5D-120L pump, A.O. Smith centurion 1HP (uprated 1.25HP) motor,Hayward S244S filter(new 2011), Rainbow Lifegard Chlorine/Bomine feeder; new replastered June 2010
Location: Houston, Texas USA

Pump failing to prime - clogged suction line?

Postby Henry_R » Thu 09 Jul, 2009 15:19

We're waiting to hear a price on the bearings before having the seals fixed; the logic is one trip, one job, one price. Hopefully it won't be too long or too much money.
A new pump/motor is only $400 and the motor is half of that cost.
The manager seems to think $100 for the bearings, but I'm skeptical.
Question is are they readily available or some kind of special order that'll take two weeks?
It's a centurion A.O. Smith motor so that should count for something of the parts being
available, I hope.

In the mean time the pump won't prime at all now. I manged to backwash the filter,
but it wouldn't prime enough to filter. The PSI gauge barely register 2psi.
I put water into the strainer and it wouldn't fill to the top. By the time I started the
motor the water was gone. I guess this means we can't circulate any water at all
until it's fixed. So much for keeping up with the algae. It's gonna start growing by
tomorrow night since the chlorine dropped two points since last night 6ppm
down to 4ppm. It's 105 outside(heat index) so I'll expect that chlorine will be
almost nil by tomorrow.

Is there anything we can do in the mean time to keep the algae at bay besides
just shocking the snot out of it every two-three days?
Money talks!? All it ever says to me is "goodbye!".
Denali
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Pump failing to prime - clogged suction line?

Postby Denali » Thu 09 Jul, 2009 19:15

Henry_R wrote:We're waiting to hear a price on the bearings before having the seals fixed; the logic is one trip, one job, one price. Hopefully it won't be too long or too much money.
A new pump/motor is only $400 and the motor is half of that cost.
The manager seems to think $100 for the bearings, but I'm skeptical.
Question is are they readily available or some kind of special order that'll take two weeks?
It's a centurion A.O. Smith motor so that should count for something of the parts being
available, I hope.
The parts will be available, no problem with that.
In the mean time the pump won't prime at all now. I manged to backwash the filter,
but it wouldn't prime enough to filter. The PSI gauge barely register 2psi.
I put water into the strainer and it wouldn't fill to the top. By the time I started the
motor the water was gone. I guess this means we can't circulate any water at all
until it's fixed. So much for keeping up with the algae. It's gonna start growing by
tomorrow night since the chlorine dropped two points since last night 6ppm
down to 4ppm. It's 105 outside(heat index) so I'll expect that chlorine will be
almost nil by tomorrow.
That is tough with that hot weather. Probably the best to do is shock it and brush it to mix up the chemicals. Certainly worth keeping the ppm up after all the work you've done.
Is there anything we can do in the mean time to keep the algae at bay besides
just shocking the snot out of it every two-three days?
Henry_R
Swimming Pool Pro
Swimming Pool Pro
Posts: 126
Joined: Fri 20 Mar, 2009 21:41
My Pool: HOA Community Swimming pool built approx. 1971.
In-Ground, Plaster 34x18 3.5-6' deep, Sta-rite P2R A5D-120L pump, A.O. Smith centurion 1HP (uprated 1.25HP) motor,Hayward S244S filter(new 2011), Rainbow Lifegard Chlorine/Bomine feeder; new replastered June 2010
Location: Houston, Texas USA

Pump failing to prime - clogged suction line?

Postby Henry_R » Thu 09 Jul, 2009 20:50

Ok, I guess it'll be ok. Wish us luck to get a good bid on the bearings. $250-$300 for the seals and bearings is what I'm hoping for. That'd be $100-150 for the bearings+labor. I won't hold my breath.

We're working on getting a bucket of cal-hypo vs buying by the bag. :idea:
We've been spending around $30 per week for shock and that's 6-1lb bags at a time.
So a 50lb bucket will hopefully last 6 weeks and cost $181 making it 1.81 per pound for
$10.86 per week. Which is almost 2/3 less.
Money talks!? All it ever says to me is "goodbye!".
Henry_R
Swimming Pool Pro
Swimming Pool Pro
Posts: 126
Joined: Fri 20 Mar, 2009 21:41
My Pool: HOA Community Swimming pool built approx. 1971.
In-Ground, Plaster 34x18 3.5-6' deep, Sta-rite P2R A5D-120L pump, A.O. Smith centurion 1HP (uprated 1.25HP) motor,Hayward S244S filter(new 2011), Rainbow Lifegard Chlorine/Bomine feeder; new replastered June 2010
Location: Houston, Texas USA

Pump failing to prime - clogged suction line?

Postby Henry_R » Thu 16 Jul, 2009 23:39

Update:

The bid came in $143 for the valve seals and motor seals to be replaced including $85 for labor.
Then we asked about changing the bearings and they told us they don't do that type of work.
They gave us a cost of $228.01 more for the motor for a total of $390.40 and that's just the
motor no additional labor. They underquoted the deal and we're lucking out. It would be $61
more if they quoted correctly, but they're standing by their original quote. Needless to say
they got the deal; they start on Monday.

We also got that 50lb bucket of cal-hypo. $117 is not bad.
I put 10lbs in there on Sunday night. I think I'll use that
much tomorrow since it's getting green again. :sick:


Ok, next question: :?:
Is there such a thing as a portable pump that can be rented so we can vacuum the bottom
of the pool of debris like sticks and leaves? I've not found anything online so I must either
be search for the wrong terms or it doesn't exist. I found reference to using a motor/pump/filter
as a portable unit but nothing rentable. The company that's doing the above work wants to charge
$400 to clean the bottom of the pool. This includes draining it. We don't really want to drain it
until we are going to have it replastered since the water bill is likely to be a lot. And we might
not even be allowed to refill it due to the drought conditions of late.

It's been suggested to rent a portable pump and use that to clean the bottom.
So where do I find such a unit assuming it exists and is available?
Money talks!? All it ever says to me is "goodbye!".
Denali
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Pump failing to prime - clogged suction line?

Postby Denali » Fri 17 Jul, 2009 07:02

Hi Henry,

If you only have sticks and leaves on the bottom you might be able to use a leaf eater. It won't clean dead algae or any kind of dirt. Made just for leaves and debris that can be trapped in it's mesh bag. They attach to a garden hose and your pole. Very good for leaves. Cost about $35 or so.

If that isn't what you have in mind check a local rental place or Home Depot to see if they have anything that would fit the bill for you.

Good luck with it.
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mr_clean
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Location: So Cal

Pump failing to prime - clogged suction line?

Postby mr_clean » Fri 17 Jul, 2009 11:31

Henry,
I think your getting a good deal for the work being done and replacing the motor is your best bet as you normally get a 1yr warranty with it so ask about it and do what's needed for it. Bearing jobs do not normally have any warranty that comes with it unless they want to give you one.

As for debris in the pool, do you guys not have a pool pole & net? you can remove debris this way unless they are giant debris which you can still manipulate to the shallow end and normally grab them. I have pulled out patio-chairs before that have blown in without going in the pool. Know cutting back all the bushes/trees around the pool is going to assure you of a much easier pool to take care of in the future.

good luck glad your getting pool fixed
Henry_R
Swimming Pool Pro
Swimming Pool Pro
Posts: 126
Joined: Fri 20 Mar, 2009 21:41
My Pool: HOA Community Swimming pool built approx. 1971.
In-Ground, Plaster 34x18 3.5-6' deep, Sta-rite P2R A5D-120L pump, A.O. Smith centurion 1HP (uprated 1.25HP) motor,Hayward S244S filter(new 2011), Rainbow Lifegard Chlorine/Bomine feeder; new replastered June 2010
Location: Houston, Texas USA

Pump failing to prime - clogged suction line?

Postby Henry_R » Fri 17 Jul, 2009 11:57

As yet we have limited pool equipment since we were not maintaining the pool before June.
We'll have to get some stuff but storage is a problem we don't have anywhere to put the
supplies when we get the. For example I have to store the trichlor tabs and the powdered shock
in my home for lack of another space near the pool.
Money talks!? All it ever says to me is "goodbye!".

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