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Do you see air bubbles shooting out of the return jets in your swimming pool? It’s a common problem (especially when you open your pool in the spring). Let’s solve this air bubble issue with a few troubleshooting tips.
Air Bubbles in Pool? Why This Happens
Commonly, the air is coming from the suction side of your swimming pool — this means anything before the water enters the filter. There are three places you can check to see if air is getting into your system.
1. The Skimmer(s)
Check the water level. If your pool doesn’t have enough water, your skimmer(s) might be pulling in air. Be sure that the water level is in the middle of your skimmer’s opening. Here’s an illustration depicting where your water level should be:
Check the skimmer basket. Make sure your skimmer baskets are not damaged and seated properly to ensure good water suction.
Check the weir. The weir (or skimmer flap) is the door that “flaps” in front of your skimmer — it’s there to trap large debris from entering back into your pool. And it regulates water flow into your skimmer. Sometimes it can get jammed, so make sure it’s freely moving back and forth. If you don’t have a skimmer weir, I would recommend getting one, although it’s not the end of the world if you don’t have one.
2. The Pump
Check the pump lid. If it’s cracked, that’s the problem. However, the most common issue has to do with the lid’s O-ring.
Check the O-ring. Turn the pump off, remove the lid, and check the O-ring for cracks. Just bend the O-ring between your fingers — around the whole O-ring — to check for any signs of cracking. If it looks like your O-ring is splitting or dry-rotted, you need to replace the O-ring. If there are no signs of cracking, that’s a good thing. However, I would recommend using a Teflon-based O-ring lube to create a better seal.
MSD 631.0 Super Structure Mailers, 6",1/2" x 3" ,1/8" x 1"
Use this on all the rubber O-rings around your swimming pool, including the pump lid, filter, and other equipment.
In the video below (at the 8:28 mark), I demonstrate how to check for cracks and apply lube to your pump lid O-ring. “I always carry lube.”
Check the pump basket. Sometimes if your basket is cracked, it won’t be seated correctly in the housing. Replace broken filter basket and make sure it’s cleaned (frequently) and properly seated so that the lid can be sealed properly.
Check the drain plugs. On the pump housing, you should have a drain plug (maybe two). Make sure the drain plugs are not leaking or loose. You can apply some Teflon tape (plumbers tape) to the drain plug threads for a tighter seal.
3. The Union(s)
If you have an inground pool, you might have some unions in your plumbing. Unions are threaded connectors between piping that will allow you to easily replace your filter equipment without having to cut any pipe.
Inside the union, you should have yet another O-ring to check for damage. If you see cracks in the O-ring, replace it. And if it’s not, make sure the O-ring is properly seated inside the groove it belongs in. If the O-ring is not in its groove, it will not create a proper seal and allow air to get into your system.
Spend Less Time Cleaning and More Time Swimming
We cut out all the fluff and confusion of pool maintenance and stripped it down to the bare bones in this easy-to-read illustrated digital guide.
Last Updated: Thursday, September 19th, 2013