How to Get Air Out of Pool Pump

Loss of prime in your pool pump surging noises and bubbles that come out of your return lines into the pool indicate you probably have an air leak in your filtration system. Possible sources of this problem are low pool water levels to damaged gaskets that need replacement. This air can damage your pump and affect the proper circulation of your filter system.  How do you get the air out of your pool pump?

  • Bleed filter using air release on top of the filter
  • Loosen pressure gauge to bleed system-open 1/4 turn until you see H2O
  • Change O-ring in Pool Pump Basket Strainer
  • Correct leaks/tightness of Unions & piping
  • Add H2O to the pool
  • Tighten pump housing’s drain plugs
  • Replace multiport valve gasket
  • Re-prime system


Staying on top of your swimming pool’s operation equates to efficiency and efficiency will equate to time and cost savings from chemicals to electric energy bills. Being the Master of your pool no matter how big can give you an edge in running a trouble-free swimming pool and spotting potential problems before they happen.


Air In Pool Pump


If your pool pump is surging or pulsing is most likely an air leak. The more pressure your pump creates can cause cracks from vibrations and loosen fittings. Making it easier it is for air to get sucked through the smallest leaks in your filtering system.

This is because air poses less resistance than water, it will get sucked by the pump instead of water, causing the pump to surge, pulse, and make a lot of noise that you will recognize as a potential problem.

Air leaks are located before the pool pump, which causes air to be sucked into the pump and causes a surge and gurgling noise. Any leaks after the pool pump will most likely leak out water because of the positive pressure on the other side. This all affects the circulation of the filtering system which will affect the operation of your pool filter.

  • Pool Pump Losing Prime is a sure sign and if the pump runs dry after manually priming the pump, it could be a sign of a more severe air leak.
  • Air Bubbles coming out in the pool are the most common sign you have air in your lines, air bubbles throughout your pool
  •  Air bubbles moving through the strainer pot, you know that the air leak is somewhere on the suction side of the system plumbing before or at the pump.
  • Noisy pool pump-surging and pulsing
  • Large air pockets through the lid of your pool pump-you can visually see a large air bubble at the lid of the strainer
  • Large Surge of Bubbles in the pool when the pump kicks on

If a big rush of bubbles enters the pool every time the pump turns on, then subsides after a couple of minutes, you’re likely running the system with a substantial leak somewhere between the pump and your returns. It could be drawing air into the system while the pump is off.

This might happen as water from the pipes and/or filter drains back into the pool or out of the leak when the pump shuts down. When the pump turns back on, it forces this air out through the returns, causing a rush of bubbles that subsides after a minute or so.

How to Remove Air From Pool Pump


Air Relief valve on Pressure Gauge

Before moving on to bigger air leak problems start small and simply keep the pool pump on and bleed the filter using the air release at the top of the filter. Any type of Sand or Cartridge Filter should have an air release valve on the very top of the pressure gauge.

There are closed sand filter systems that don’t have an air release on the filter vessel. If that is the case then use the pressure gauge to bleed the system. Air will naturally collect at the highest point and in a filter, it would be at the pressure gauge.

If the filter does not have a bleeder valve at the top of the tank then simply loosen the pressure gauge at the very top of the filter vessel. (Don’t remove it) turn to the left-counter-clockwise just breaking the seal about a 1/4 turn on the fitting should do it.

This should move the air out of the system and replace it with pool water. It’s a little messy but air will move to the highest point and in your filtering system that will be at the pressure gauge.  After you release the air you will hear a difference in the pool pump. Once you get the air out of the system you need to find out where it’s coming from.


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How to Find Air Leak in Pool Pump


Check the water level in the pool-The ideal water level should be at least halfway up the skimmer intake. If the water level drops below that level, the skimmer can start to gulp air with the ebb and flow of circulating water.

Pool Pump Strainer Lid O-ring; The pump strainer lid is sealed by a lid gasket which once it loses pliability can start to leak.  Normal signs of wear are cracking in the rubber, warping, or stretching, and the obvious, missing bits are inexpensive and should be changed once a season. Check the rubber gasket for cracks pinching the gasket into a smaller loop.

A vacuum hose has a pinhole leak that will drive you nuts- They are expensive-these hoses should be stored away and taken care of to prevent damage.

Threaded fitting or union -in front of the pool pump (suction side) check for leaks and the tightness of any threaded unions. You may see spray water suddenly, or drip water when you shut the pump off. 



If the airlock persists then you should try chasing air out of the pool discharge lines by:

  • Turn off the pool pump
  • Shut down skimmers with valves or a plug
  • Open the bottom suction line
  • Turn on the pump  and run for 30 seconds
  • Open one skimmer at a time 
  • Then the other
  • Use the air relief valve on the filter to chase air out of the system
  • Return to filter position
  • Prime the whole system using a garden hose to fill the return lines


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JimGalloway Author/Editor



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