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Thread: Troubleshooting leaks

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    Troubleshooting leaks

    Hello TFP members.

    I own a house with a pool about 35 years old, vinyl liner, about 16x32 rectangular. It seems to have developed a number of issues over the past year, but the more I dig into it, the more I realize, it's probably had multiple issues for a long time, but they have been growing worse to the point that it makes it obvious even for someone who is not a pool maintenance pro ( like myself ).

    I am the DIY type , and have been working through several issues over the last few months because I was determined to enjoy my pool this year. I replaced all the above ground valves and pvc fittings and connectors this year because the old ones were brittle and breaking. I also dug up the two suction pipes and the one chlorinated return pipe near the pump and replaced them because my troubleshooting led me to believe I had a busted suction pipe. I was correct. Pine tree roots had expanded underneath causing the piple to break in my hand with the slightest pressure. It took many hot sweaty afternoons to dig through all that clay and roots. When I got it done , I felt victorious. After patching some vinyl liner leaks, I refilled the pool and it was soooo much easier to maintain for a while. Then to my dismay, I noticed it was leaking down again. I swam around with my mask and looked and looked for where it could be leaking to no avail. I pulled my patches and repatched them just in case. I have anxiety just thinking about digging up the pipes again. Out of frustration, I turned to google and found your website. After viewing a few threads, it appears the skimmer box is the most likely culprit. I always thought the skimmer box was just a box with suction attached to the pump. It appears there is a float valve underneath it? I've never really knew the skimmer has a line attached to the bottom drain AND to the pump. I've noticed two holes in the bottom before, just never gave much thought.

    So anyhooo, after a whole lot of "figuring it out through trial and error" I'm exhausted, frustrated and "this far" from just filling it in. Would be a shame to think it was just the skimmer box all along and that I've gone this far. Because I don't really know how my particular skimmer works ( they aren't all the same right? ) I'm a little confused at this point on how to proceed to find ALL the problems with the skimmer box.

    There is water in the bottom of it, but it rains here every day.
    The box looks like it has some hairline cracks in it, but I'm not sure if that's an issue or not.
    The deck has a crack in the concrete between the pool and the skimmer box.

    I tried to take some good pics hoping this would help you help me. If you have the time to point me in the right direction I'll be more than happy to follow those instructions explicitly.

    The pictures show the water level at which it seems to have stabilized, except for the rain we have had which probably wouldn't change it much as it would probably just leak out. I measured with the tape measure from the water line to the skimmer bottom for reference. I have more pics but could only attach 5


    Thanks!

    20150802_164536.jpg20150802_164240.jpgAttachment 4109720150802_164300_001.jpg 20150802_164039.jpg

    Deck crack
    20150802_164314.jpg

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    Re: Troubleshooting leaks

    I forgot to mention the skimmer valve is off so that the pool will continue to pump. If I open it, the pump loses prime immediately because of the low level, and here is a pic of the bottom of the skimmer
    824.jpg

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Troubleshooting leaks

    Welcome to TFP!

    Well, I am not a lot of help tracking down leaks because I have never had to do it. Probably jinxed myself there, but there it is.

    First, the work you have done is impressive and by no means a waste of time. All the new stuff will make maintaining your pool easier and better and it will last another 35 years.

    No, all skimmers are not the same and they are not all plumbed the same. It looks to me like one of the holes in the bottom of your skimmer is plugged. If it is plugged then the skimmer and drain are not connected. It is common for them to be plumbed either way. Different PBs do it differently. Mine are not plumbed together either.

    The first thing to check is around water line where it stopped leaking down to. Here is an article from Pool School that should be helpful if you haven't seen it, Pool School - Leak Detection
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    Re: Troubleshooting leaks

    read the article. Thank you. What is the best way to plug the bottom drain ?

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    Re: Troubleshooting leaks

    Update:

    I have not had time to mess with it this week, but it's gone down more, so the leak isn't at the level I thought it was.
    At this point, it's level with the drop off from shallow to deep. It occurs to me that if its in the plumbing, it's not going to matter what level the leak is at when the pump is running.
    Loathe to dig up my pipes AGAIN, I started digging up anyway. I got about 5 feet from the pump when I thought to double check the pool valve.
    I've had problems with it before leaking, and I would end up replacing the valve gasket.

    I have a pipe running to the road about 75 feet away where the waste water exits. Its just under the surface of the ground.
    In the past if the gasket was leaking, I would see moisture at the end of that pipe. So I checked again today, and no moisture.
    Then I thought , well if it's a really slow leak, and if that buried waste pvc pipe has leaks then the moisture would never make it to the road, and I'd never know.
    So I went ahead and took the valve off again and the gasket looked all chewed up and swollen. Definitely not working as it should. I can't imagine this is not at least
    contributing to the problem, if it's not the entire problem.

    Since I've had so many problems with this valve before, I decided to order another valve, but looking at prices it was only about $15
    more to replaced the valve and the plastic housing that mounts on the sand filter. This will give me a chance to examine the sand, since I know it's never
    been changed since I've owned it, and who knows when it has been inspected in the past. My thoughts are that the valve is not maintaining pressure
    against the gasket and water rushing over it is pulling it loose from the plastic housing, allowing water to exit via the waste outlet even when it's on
    filter or recirculate.

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