🦠 Click here to learn about Coronavirus (Covid-19) pool & hot tub safety »

How to Fix Air Bubbles in Your Pool

by Matt Giovanisci | Last Updated: September 19, 2013

By entering your email address you agree to get a weekly email newsletter from Swim University. We'll respect your privacy and unsubscribe at any time.

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:

Proper Water Level In Your Pool

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 If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. , I would recommend getting one, although it’s not the end of the world if you don’t have one.

Replacement Pool Skimmer Weir – 8-3/8 in. Price: $7.78 Buy Now from Amazon Replacement Pool Skimmer Weir – 8-3/8 in. If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: March 28, 2020

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 lubricant If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. to create a better seal.

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 pipe thread sealant tape If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. (plumber’s tape) to the drain plug threads for a tighter seal.

Mill-Rose Blue Monster PTFE Pipe Thread Sealant Tape – 1/2 in. x 119 ft. Price: $4.28 ($4.28 / C Buy Now from Amazon Mill-Rose Blue Monster PTFE Pipe Thread Sealant Tape – 1/2 in. x 119 ft. If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: March 28, 2020

3. The Union(s)

If you have an inground pool, you might have some unions in the plumbing If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. . 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.

Happy Swimming!

Matt Giovanisci, the founder of Swim University®, started in the pool and spa industry at age 13 and moved to bigger companies along the way, helping thousands of pool and hot tub owners every year. He wanted to share his knowledge and unique teaching style on a larger scale, so he launched Swim University® in 2007. Since then, he's worked to make pool and hot tub care easy for over 10 million homeowners. And each year, he continues to help more people with water chemistry, cleaning, and troubleshooting.

Frustrated by adding chemicals and trying to keep your pool clear all the time?

We cut out all the confusion of pool maintenance in this easy-to-read illustrated ebook and video course. It'll help you save $100 right away on pool care!

Click here to learn more
The Pool Care Handbook

Subscribe To Our FREE Pool Owner Newsletter

By entering your email address you agree to get a weekly email newsletter from Swim University. We'll respect your privacy and unsubscribe at any time.