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Why do I have air bubbles in my Pool? A Troubleshooting Guide


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Good morning, 
We have just had a concrete pool installed. We have been using the pool for around 3 weeks now. On Saturday our pool was loosing water but stopped at the bottom of the skimmer box. We topped the pool up and again the next day the same thing happened. We got our pool man back and he has dug up all our newly planted back garden around the pool trying to find the leak. There is no apparent place where over 30,000 litres of water has gone. The pipes aren't leaking the actual skimmer box is not leaking and we are all at a loss as to where all this water has gone. Last night we again topped the pool up and this morning the water level hasn't moved an inch. We have come to the decision that we have a gremlin in our pool. How can a pool leak so much water and you can't find where from and then overnight stop leaking. Please help me with anysuggestions you may have as we are all at a loss and don't want to fill in the garden to have to dig it up again.  
Thank you 
Posted @ Wednesday, September 16, 2009 8:07 PM by Charmaine Collins
Yeah, I've encountered several pool gremlins myself:)  
Question: Was the pool pump running both when you lost water and when you did not? If the pump was running when you lost water but not running when you didn't it sounds like you could have a leak on the pressure (discharge) side of your plumbing. Water is sucked in through the front of the pump and discharged out of the top. If you have a leak on the discharge side you will loose water quickly when the pump is running as a result of the pressure on the line, but loose little or no water when the pump is off. The reason the water level may have stabilized at the bottom of the skimmer may be because the pump began to draw air when the water level became too low and lost prime. 
Conversely, if the pump was not running when you lost water and running when the water level remained stable then the leak could be in the skimmer line. This is the case because when the pump is running a suction line leak will not loose as much water (typically) because the suction from the pump draws air into the line, but when the pump is off the line if free to leak. If the leak is in the skimmer line the water level would have naturally held at the bottom of the skimmer. In this case, if the pump was running when your pool guy was searching for the leak he would not have seen it because it does not leak with the pump running. If you do indeed have air bubbles returning into your pool then there's a 99% chance it's in the skimmer line. 
Question: Do you have any water features or other plumbed features of the pool that were running at the time of water loss, but not running when the water stabilized? If so that's an indicator that there may be a problem there. 
Here's what needs to happen Charmaine: Someone needs to pressure test your entire plumbing system if they have not done so already. If no leak turns up there the pool needs to be checked for a structural leak (dye test). Between these two tests the leak should turn up. If the leak is structural (probably not the case) then the repair is straight forward. If the leak is in your plumbing, the pressure test will indicate which line is leaking, but not necessarily where it's leaking. Your pool guy can try to find it the hard way or there are companies that can pinpoint the leak within 6" even under ground or under concrete (hopefully not) with precision equipment. Try to be patient with you pool guy though; unfortunately these things happen to the best of us. Let me know if there's anything else I can do to help. 
Take care and good luck, Jason  
Posted @ Monday, September 21, 2009 7:07 AM by Jason Hughes
Thanks! You solved my air bubble problem. It was the junction connecting the intake to the pump.
Posted @ Monday, September 06, 2010 4:28 PM by Michael
we installed our inground pool about 4 weeks ago. over the weekend i found our liner has a big bubble looking section about 12 inches long x 8 inches wide at the water level. please help.
Posted @ Monday, September 20, 2010 8:10 PM by bernardo
Re the pool leak stoping at the Skimmer my guess is that the water is leaking around the Skimmer, you see when the pool is sprayed with gunite there is often a void under the skimmer then along comes a tiler (who dosent know much about pools)he covers this void with lovely tiles the result a leak slowley but surely this leak will become bigger as the matric is taken out of the cement. 
In all my years of fixing leaks this is quite common and to prevent this in New Zealand most pool builders place Epoxy around all the through wall fitings. 
Ther is another problem that also happens leakage via the light cable conduit it can cause the water to siphon and the it stops at whatever level breaks the siphon. 
Along comes the exspert he checks this and that fill the pool and it has stoped the leak or untill the water level rises in the next heavy rain and it happens again. 
Leaks are simple to find when you now what to encounter but more than often it waws the result of poor workmanship on day one.
Posted @ Saturday, January 15, 2011 9:04 PM by Norman
I have a vinyl in ground pool. I cannot get my pool pump to run without bubbles and I am losing about an inch a day in water. I have plumbing that leads out to my street for waste water and I am noticing that there is a lot of water at the street. Any ideas for troubleshooting?
Posted @ Monday, October 24, 2011 11:40 AM by Kate
I have an Hayward 50 pound sand filter with a 
hayward 710 vari flow valve. two days ago I began 
seeing air bubbles on the surface of the pool. checked 
and found that the valve had water on top of the 
plate tat screws to the body ot valve. Tightened all screws and small bolts at last check, still had bubbles. 
Can you please advise via air mail if valve the problem, or something else. TUVM AL ROSS
Posted @ Saturday, May 05, 2012 12:21 PM by al ross
There are bubbles coming out of the one suction outlet, and i have a serious loss of water...  
How do i fix my problem.. the bubbles are not from the sides where it is attached to the wall of the pool... its in the middle... if i keep my finger where the bubbles are, they just pop out on another spot, also not where the skrews are.. everywhere... Do the also have a gasket???? 
Plzzzzz help....
Posted @ Thursday, August 23, 2012 3:55 PM by Nanet
I need help! Just bought a house. It has a huge 30,000 gallon pool and it is leaking. I for the life of me can't find the leak. It has two skimmers but one is shut off. We think the reason for this is that skimmer line had an electronic chlorinator that quit working so they just cut it out. We have done the dye test. We had three cracks in the pool wall, all now patched with perma patch. When doing the dye nothing pools water except one return jet in the spa. There was a small leak in the plumbing right before the pool pump and we replaced all the plumbing for that. (Minus the 3 lines that were cut). We lose 2-4 inches per day which is a lot when you are talking about such a big pool. No major wet spots around the pool in the yard. I can't figure it out!
Posted @ Wednesday, September 26, 2012 8:03 PM by Kim
Sorry you're having these problems...sounds like you have a lot going on there. The best bet is for you to call a leak detection service company out to look at these issues. American Leak Detection is a franchise that services many areas throughout the US...I'd start there. 
Good luck!
Posted @ Thursday, September 27, 2012 8:25 AM by Jason
I closed my pool and blew out all the lines my water level is below the lowest return,so my level is low . I put antifreeze in my skimmer and over the last week I have noticed my skimmer filling with water and it is pink so I know their is antifreeze in the water ,it has not rained so how is the water getting into the skimmer,also the pool water level is 6 inches below the skimmer. Any one have this problem 
Thanks Robert r
Posted @ Tuesday, February 05, 2013 6:08 PM by Robert ranoia
Thanks. Excellent instruction! My issue was the pump connection and problem was solved. Thanks again
Posted @ Wednesday, March 06, 2013 11:42 AM by Bob
I started up my pool and ran it overnight to filter through the winter water and clean it up a bit. I noticed it had been sucking air mostly from the Skimmer line (the skimmer line and the main drain line each have their own valve before they T and come into the pump housing) I have a Hayward system with a 1 year old replacement A.O.Smith 1 hp motor. I thought I had fixed the problem or at least gotten it under control as the system has leaked some air for all 13 years I have been at this house. This morning the pump motor was silent and I checked the basket chamber in front of the motor and it was dry. 
I cannot get the motor to go on and the circuit breaker is on. Did I burn out my pump motor or does it have an auto shot off and I need to follow a procedure to restart it? 
I can get another motor for about $170 but I did not realize until seeing this video that air bubbles are not normal. I have owned this hose for 14 years and the it was built in 1988 so to replace a motor after 24 years last summer did not seem to be a big deal, but I expected it to last longer than 1 year! Time to check for leaks.
Posted @ Sunday, April 14, 2013 7:15 AM by Jonathan Holljes
Sucking Air is as a rule caused by air being sucked into the pump, this can be from the pipe to the pump or the Hair and Lint Pot not sealing as well as the Union from the pie to the pump. One cause of water loss from a pool is from the Multi Port Valve on the Filter which causes the water loss to go down the backwash line, always check to see this is not dripping when the pump is filtering. 
Pump has run dry: Bad news when this happens the impellor that pumps the water has without water has overheated and melted. ANSWER= NEW PUMP and fix the pipe from the skimmer to the pump before you do any thing.
Posted @ Sunday, April 14, 2013 2:40 PM by Kiwi Norman
We have an inground pool and the pump basket runs fine when the main inlet valve is open but as soon as I open the skimmer inlet valve air comes pouring in causing the outlet to start shooting air out also. We have ran a fish tape thru the skimmer pipe and doesn't seem to be any clogs. Any help would be appreciated
Posted @ Thursday, May 23, 2013 8:08 AM by Cathy
From what you say you seam to have a bottom drain (If it is one it is very dangerous) however when you go to the skimmer you start to suck air that comes out the return jets. 
This air is most likely caused by air being sucked into the system in the pipe from the skimmer to the pump. I can also happen if you have a pool cleaner hose that allows air into the system. A pump can suck up to 7 tons, if the pool is not losing water it would indicate that there may be a unglued pipe fitting somewhere and even a pressure test will not reveal the problem try this first if nothing do a vacuum test and be prepared to replace the pipework. 
Kiwi Norman
Posted @ Thursday, May 23, 2013 2:45 PM by Norman
Bubbles occur when you turn the pump on without releasing the air you should have small release screw st the top of you pool pump...loosen it a small bit the turn on the pump... Water will spurt out then u have even flow wNo air...tighten release screw backup and u r good yo go. If u don't release air ur t pump will be working very hard.
Posted @ Tuesday, June 18, 2013 5:48 AM by toni
when the solar heat too the pool automaticly comes on, bubbles continually flow. can you tell me the problem .thank you
Posted @ Saturday, June 22, 2013 6:13 PM by Bob Valente
Most solar systems have a Check Valve at the top high point in the system to allow the water staying in the system(it drains down to prevent scalding with boiling water) 
So the air bubbles are common until the system fills up and displaces all the air. 
Posted @ Sunday, June 23, 2013 2:07 AM by Norman
Hello, We have a 16X32 inground vinyl pool when we turn the pool on there is not any air bubbles coming from the return after about 10 min we do get bubbles coming from one return. We are not losing water when the pool is off or on. My husband has tightened all the hoses on the filter(the filter is a Sta-Rite) can you suggest anything. Many Thanks for you help.
Posted @ Monday, June 24, 2013 11:50 AM by anne gillooly
As demonstrated by the Video Bubbles are caused by suction. A swimming pool pump can pull up to 7 ton so any join in the pipework that is faulty can let in air and of course the pool will not leak. Even the method of pressure testing will not show sings of a leak. Then ther is the Vacuum Cleaner Hose they can be a cause. Solving the problem can be difficult one case i had was caused by there being porosity in the moulded plastic in the Skimmer box, this only happened when the vacuum hose was fitted in this case the pool had 2 skimmers so the other was used and the pool never leaked. 
Kiwi Norman
Posted @ Monday, June 24, 2013 2:05 PM by NORMAN TYREE
I have a concrete/tiled swimming pool about 12 years old. For a few hours each day a series of bubbles rise from between 2 tiles on the floor about 1/2 meter from the pool wall. This usually happens after cleaning but more recently it can occur at any time. Its been occurring for about a month now. There may be a small leak but regular rain recently has made it difficult to confirm. Can you advise the best process for repair please. 
Regards Ralph Walker
Posted @ Wednesday, June 26, 2013 12:22 AM by Ralph
I have bubbles of air around the skimmer cover outside on top of and inside the skimmer. I have replaced gaskets, screws, and tried all sorts of methods to no avail. I am loosing water any suggestions/
Posted @ Friday, June 28, 2013 12:07 PM by Howard
Ralph and Howard, 
From what you are explaining it is impossible to answer correctly. Howard what type of Skimmer is it a Aquagenie because the return on them is located as part of the skimmer face plate and it may be the problem. 
Ralph, after cleaning maybe it is a small hole in the vacuum hose or a small leak in the pipes from the skimmer. Read my other comment it will explain what happens. but the air coming from under the tiles has me puzzled it must have a source. 
Good luck. 
Kiwi Norman
Posted @ Friday, June 28, 2013 2:31 PM by Norman
Hey- Love the video, but unfortunately my problem is that I have bubbles coming from the jets, but the basket before the pump has no bubbles! I feel like the suction for the vacuum is not at all what it was last year. Dealt with Super Storm Sandy so had to have the filter motor replaced and it seems to be working OK. No water leaks anywhere that I can see and the water level has been fine. Any other ideas where the air could be pulling from? The dial that switches from filter, recirc, waste etc was new last year, but don't think it was under water like the filter motor was. Thanks so much!
Posted @ Monday, July 15, 2013 8:35 PM by sarajane
I searched the web to find out why my jets were blowing bubbles like crazy but didn't find a solution to my problem. I discovered the o-ring on my chlorinator cover was shot. I replaced the o-ring and had no more bubbles!
Posted @ Tuesday, August 06, 2013 1:19 PM by GailB
I read every word in this article. I think (maybe) not having enough pressure or suction is solved. My neighbor tried to help me, but.... Thanks to you & your staff, hope I can now vac. the pool with some results. Thanks, Pat 
Posted @ Monday, September 02, 2013 8:41 PM by Pat Piotrowski
my swimming have dimension 14m*6m*1.4m, what size of pool pump i have to use and size of filter?
Posted @ Wednesday, October 16, 2013 8:58 PM by sor chhaya
I recently drained my vinyl pool to convert to fiberglass, ever night I shut off the sump pump and every morning I have about 3-4 ft. of water back in the pool, I noticed last night there were bubbles coming up I took a pole and there is a hole about 3" in diameter but not very deep maybe 4" could this be a natural spring (I live in FL)if so how do I plug it so that they can lay the concrete bottom?
Posted @ Sunday, October 27, 2013 10:37 AM by donna
Stop work right away, you have a water table. 
This if not looked at by someone who knows what they are doing will become a nightmare to you. 
Is the replacement a factory made Fiber Glass pool or one that someone (as a rule a cowboy)builds on site? Take my advice of 30 odd years if it is the later don`t waste your money, get some one in who knows what they are doing. Or is it DIY attempt to save some money. There is every possibility your pool could float. 
Kiwi Norman
Posted @ Sunday, October 27, 2013 2:10 PM by Kiwi Norman
Thank you for your video which was very well done. My problem is air bubble coming from the jacuzzi when we are trying to heat it. It used to be calm and serene as it heated, but now two valves are sending out lots of bubbles--this causes a slow down in the heating time as well. I don't know where to begin checking. Can anyone advise me? Thanks again.
Posted @ Wednesday, January 15, 2014 6:31 PM by Lita
I have a vinyl in ground pool.Thanks! You solved my air bubble problem. It was the junction connecting the intake to the pump.
Posted @ Saturday, February 08, 2014 12:08 AM by Alene199@Process Alarm
Hi, I have an 18x36 inground pool, that when recently summerized is leaking water only when the pump is on, although no water is to be seen outside the pool. Please advise what you believe to be the issue and how I would go about fixing this problem. Thanks
Posted @ Tuesday, May 20, 2014 8:26 PM by Craig
Opened my inground pool couple weeks ago. It does not look to me like the pressure coming out of the jets is as strong as last summer?? After I vacuum the pool I have to prime again with water to get it going again ?? Any clue what I should look for? My wife keeps saying" it's been a year maybe you are forgetting to do the right steps" lol
Posted @ Friday, May 23, 2014 6:44 PM by sandi
My pool has 2 jets. One puts out only bubbles. There is really no water shooting out from this one jet. The other works fine so it can't be a suction leak.  
Otherwise both jets would be putting out bubbles, correct? What's my problem?
Posted @ Sunday, May 25, 2014 5:11 PM by David
I have a 15ft x 8ft out of ground canine hydrotherapy pool. I have recently had to empty the pool due to a leak. The leak as been fixed and too long a story to tell! I was instructed by the plumber to backwash the filter first to prevent lots of dirt going into the clean pool water. This I did but once I put the pool to filtration I am getting lots of bubbles coming out of the top skimmer box and there is a dripping pipe joint at the point of the water having left the filter and is returning to the pool. Cant understand why air is being blown out of skimmer box as it should be sucking? Please any suggestions??
Posted @ Thursday, May 29, 2014 3:06 PM by Jane Pordon
I have a 16x36 lined pool with air coming from my jets but not losing any water. When I turn my pump off to backwash or any other reason I have to fill it with water to re prime it. My dial valve had a small crack where the presser valve screws in could this cause air into the lines?
Posted @ Tuesday, June 03, 2014 10:18 AM by Kevin
I have 18x36 lined pool and after backwashing my jets work for a few minutes then they have lots of bubbles, where would I start to look for air coming in?
Posted @ Monday, June 09, 2014 10:03 AM by Kim
I had major air bubbles from one return, hardly any flow from the other and water hardly filling the pump basket, ie. weak flow. 
All hose conncetions seemed tight, no leaks, so I unscrewed the pump basket lid, took out the basket and squeezed my fingers into the port that goes to the impeller then up to the filter. I felt pine needles and other gunk along the edge at the impeller.  
Difficult to remove by hand (my fingers and thumb barely reach) so I tried to vac it with the shopvac. Little avail. I even removed the hose from the pump outlet to the filter, to vac there, nada. 
In the end, I stuck a screwdriver in there and scraped it around the edge loosening clumps of debris. I removed 2-3 clumps, restarted and presto! Good flow on both returns, and major splashage in the pump basket, good as new. 
Next time, I might try using the blower function from the pump outlet. The screwdriver worked fine as might a needle nose to remove gunk from the impeller.
Posted @ Tuesday, June 10, 2014 1:22 PM by Nick
Yes you found a very common reason for bubbles and poor water flow in the pump. 
If you have pine trees of other types around the pool fit a sock over the skimmer basket it can prevent the impeller from clogging up. 
It sometimes pays to have a spare Pump Seal on hand and dismantle the pump to clean the impeller completely. Its not difficult. 
Kiwi Norman.
Posted @ Tuesday, June 10, 2014 2:36 PM by Norman
Hey plz tell me if my pool was switched from filter to rinse without turning off the power first it only happend once will it damage my pool how will i be able to check
Posted @ Sunday, June 15, 2014 4:24 AM by Garth
What can happen if you don`t switch the pump off when you rotate the Valve on the filter the water and movement can dislocate the Spider Gasket inside the valve causing it to leak to waste. 
To check this undo the union connecting the waste to pipe to see if water is dripping out of the hole, or check the end of the pipe with the pump running of course. Simple to repair undo the top screws on the top of the valve and check that the Spider Gasket is sitting in its right position and is not damaged if it is replace the gasket cleaning the surface of the slot if it is glued in use super glue. 
Kiwi Norman.
Posted @ Sunday, June 15, 2014 2:14 PM by Norman
Thanks, Norman. I have a pine in my backyard, so lots of needles sometimes, and now I'm getting the seeds and pollen, so it keeps me busy. Would a regular sock do? I always suspected it would impede flow. Perhaps it would be better at the skimmer? And I suppose a woman's stocking would be best, given its meshy quality, and reduced inhibiting of flow. Cheers,  
Posted @ Monday, June 16, 2014 10:22 AM by Nick
There are special socks available,try a pool shop, yes ladies nylons can do but both types have to be watched because they can block up. it fits inside the basket. 
I have found that the problems in the USA is the Skimmers quite small and as a rule only one installed to me every pool should have 2. 
The best answer to the problem is a Chainsaw. 
Kiwi Norman.
Posted @ Monday, June 16, 2014 2:12 PM by Norman
Thanks very much, Norman, I'll go to the pool shop for the basket sock. I need to get a plastic ring for where my ladder goes into the hole in the concrete and a return nozzle from them anyway. Yeah, my birch's and the neighbour's maple leaves are a hassle but this pine with the needles, seeds, pollen, acid, huge roots...I'm really starting to hate this tree!
Posted @ Wednesday, June 18, 2014 2:18 PM by Nick
We filled our spa today for the first time this year. After it was filled we turned the pump on and to our amazement stuff started coming out through the jets. The stuff looked like sawdust. Do you have an explanation for this. 
Regards Nancy
Posted @ Sunday, June 22, 2014 6:42 PM by Nancy
I had a leak next to my main drain at the bottom of my pool. I suspected I had a leak after the ground outside my pool was found soggy.once the leak was repaired the area around has gotten hard that was once soggie but I still have water coming out of the ground. the pool leaked for about 2 months. Any insight on when I should expect the water to stop coming up. 
pool is gunite. 20'x12'x6.5'deep.
Posted @ Tuesday, June 24, 2014 8:42 PM by ed
I have a vinyl liner in ground pool. The liner seems to be bubbling up when the auto-fill valve is turned on. Some people have told me it could be from a high water table. How can I personally check to find out which is the problem causing our liner to bubble, and what is the probably solution?. 
Thanks in advance! 
Posted @ Friday, June 27, 2014 10:32 AM by Laura
From what you telling me is that the seal between the fitting into the pool on the Auto Fill is not sealing properly and the water is going down between the liner and the pools shell. This can also happen if the Return Jets are not sealed as well. Which means you are possibly pumping water between the pool wall and liner. 
Kiwi Norman email;
Posted @ Friday, June 27, 2014 1:50 PM by Nornma
35 year old pool with sand blowing into pool below one jet. Replaced Hayward filter and multiport switch. Still get sand in pool and may haave an air leak because we lose prime when we shut the pump off. Please help
Posted @ Thursday, July 03, 2014 8:09 AM by john
First of all identify what type of sand it is this will fell you if it is from the Filter or from a broken Pipe, 
I suspect its a from a Pipe. Recommend replacing the entire pipe work. The old PVC pipe has a life of around 25 years, )debatable) Who said it was the Filter in the first place ? 
Kiwi Norman
Posted @ Thursday, July 03, 2014 10:06 AM by Norman
We have a Hayward sand pump system for our vinyl in-ground pool. We have replaced stripped parts ans sealed leaks but the pump continues to run dry after a build up of pressure and this morning the black screw knobs were blown off the box and the unit was hot and dry. We have replaced the parts again but the air pressure is still building up - help!
Posted @ Thursday, July 03, 2014 3:02 PM by Tracy
Once a pump has run dry the Plastic heats up and you have to throw it away. 
Why did it run dry? answer No water. Reason poor connection, broken pipe. 
Solution it is not a DIY job get a person who knows what to do. 
You may be lucky and salvage the Pump Motor but not the Pump Parts. 
Kiwi Norman.
Posted @ Thursday, July 03, 2014 4:08 PM by Norman
I wild like some suggestion and i do t know what to do about it and would appreciate if someone could guide me the step on what to do. The things is that when ever i vacuum mu pool it suck all the chorine in from the ground then after few min on the other size it all coming back i. The pool and make is so cloudy that i cant see anything on the ground so i would like to know why is the chorine return back to the pool it's there something i did wrote who need help pls. Andrew
Posted @ Sunday, July 06, 2014 6:05 AM by Andrew
Hello - I am looking for advice on a pool that is losing alot of water. I have about a 15,000 gallon pool that loses enough water each night to drop the level from the middle of the wall tile to below the skimmer. The pump runs for about 6 hours and the water drops so much that there is very little left in the skimmer. This has happened for 2 days in a row. This morning I stopped the pump after 4 hours and there was water in skimmer, so it wasn't sucking air, but there was not too much water left in the skimmer after 4 hours. There is absolutely no water around the equipment and pump and I do not see a leak in any of the above ground pipes. I have begun digging between the pump and the skimmer. So far I have uncovered about 6 inches of pipe, no water or damp dirt. I back washed the pool about a week before the pool started losing water and added the usual amount of DE powder. Can the back wash valve be stuck or damaged and can water be getting sucked through the back wash valve, even though it is not open? I thought about uncovering the entire section of pipe between the skimmer and the pump to see if I can find a leak in either the return or suction pipe. Am I wasting my time and should I just call a professional? It just seems strange that there is no water anywhere around the pool. When I back wash, I never see water when I backwash because the backwash pipe is tied into either the street drain or the house drain out in the front of the house. Thanks so much, Sam.
Posted @ Thursday, July 10, 2014 7:57 PM by Sam
Whenever the pool pump switches off after a cycle I get a strong back wash and the skimmers contents is forced back into the pool. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated. 
B.T.W. - I recently replaced the sand in the sand filter to try and resolve this issue but it did not. 
Posted @ Sunday, September 14, 2014 3:37 AM by Dennis
(1) Is the Filter positioned higher than the pools water level. 
(2) Is the pressure on the filter high maybe you did not use the right sand try glass. 
(3)Does the Skimmer have a Weir Door. 
Check these and and fit a Non Return Valve(Jandy have a good one) just before the pump or if there is no room fit it between the pump and the filter and this may solve your problem. 
Kiwi Norman
Posted @ Sunday, September 14, 2014 10:27 AM by Norman
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