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Thread: Losing 2000-3000 gallons of water a day. HELP!!

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    Unhappy Losing 2000-3000 gallons of water a day. HELP!!

    I have a vinyl liner 32,0000 gallon in-ground pool. It is 20' x 40', with an in-wall light and steps. The liner is less than 5 years old. I have a 1 1/2 hp Hayward pump and DE filter. I have 2 skimmers and 3 returns. My skimmer inlet and MD are in the same skimmer. The pool is 8 1/2 feet deep with a main drain.

    I have been losing 2000-3000 gallons of water a day. I can't see where it is wet anywhere around the pool or pump.
    I had a professional leak detector come out. He checked all lines, drains, equipment and liner and could not find a leak. Since we had a leak behind the light a couple of years ago, his only suggestion was for us to have someone pull the light and re-apply silicone around the conduit.

    I finally found a person willing to come out and re-silicone it. He instructed me to drain the water half way down the light. I did so, but by morning, the pool leaked so much that the water level was below the light. The pool repairman told me that it had to be sealed with a special pool silicone, but when the "boy" came to my house, he used a silicone purchased from Ace hardware, which concerned me.

    We live in the country and only have well water, so all water that we put in the pool must be hauled by truck. We ordered 18000 gallons of water which took 3 loads over a two day period because the driver had to drive 3 hours one way to get it here. I was so excited to come home to a full swimming pool yesterday!

    When I got up this morning, my husband informed me that we lost around 5 inches of water over night (approximately 2500 gallons). I haven't been able to determine if we lose more when it is running or not running. I have done all the water tests by marking the water level, dye tests, shutting off skimmers, returns, and plugging the main drain off in the skimmer.
    Before we got the water hauled it leaked down to a few inches below the light, but the weather was really hot and humid during this period and the pool was not running. My husband and I disagree as to whether the pool was still leaking or simply evaporation.
    I now have the pool shut off and the MD plugged in the skimmer. Even though the leak detector said it was not the MD, I think that it might be. (Mainly because he didn't dive to the bottom of the pool and seal the main drain in order to pressure test it. He simply squirted air into it and said he didn't think it was the MD.) I saw on a post that you can purchase a MD cover to block off the MD. I have searched and searched on the internet and cannot find this adapter plate that they referred to.

    If anyone has any ideas as to what the problem is and/or can help me find this adapter plate I would be very appreciative. I can't afford to spend another $1500 for water that will be gone in a few days. The water level is almost below the skimmers again and its only been one day.

    Please help.

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    wjr75's Avatar
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    Re: Losing 2000-3000 gallons of water a day. HELP!!

    They sell a cheap dye kit with red dye that attaches to the skimmer pole with a string to inject the dye in deep area's. I bought one for less than 20 bucks. If you are losing that much water it should be noticable I would think.
    Inground 22k gallon gunite 15x31 main pool, 15x7 wading pool/sunning deck, hot tub/with overflow (9' octagon with limestone top) & slide NSWG, Aqua Blue Pebble Sheen
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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Losing 2000-3000 gallons of water a day. HELP!!

    I would LET it get below the skimmer and return just so you can KNOW for sure it is not one of them.

    Measure your main drain and go look at lowes and home depot for something the can work as a block off with some silicon added to make it seal.

    Do you have valve where you can close the main drain?

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Losing 2000-3000 gallons of water a day. HELP!!

    I should also note that I had a hydrostatic valve leak in one of the main drains and also one of the pipes in the main drain not in use that was plugged also leak.
    Inground 22k gallon gunite 15x31 main pool, 15x7 wading pool/sunning deck, hot tub/with overflow (9' octagon with limestone top) & slide NSWG, Aqua Blue Pebble Sheen
    Filter dual cartridge Sta-rite 450sq/ft, TF-100 Test Kit
    Heater Raypak 2100 400k btu cupro-nickel exchanger
    Auto pool cover, Polaris 280 auto pool cleaner, Jandy AqualinkRS8 Remote Control System

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    Re: Losing 2000-3000 gallons of water a day. HELP!!

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    I would LET it get below the skimmer and return just so you can KNOW for sure it is not one of them.

    Measure your main drain and go look at lowes and home depot for something the can work as a block off with some silicon added to make it seal.

    Do you have valve where you can close the main drain?

    Kim
    I did let it drain below the skimmers and returns. When we finally had water hauled it was approximately 20 inches below the skimmers.
    I do not have a valve to shut off the main drain. I put a plug in the skimmer but that is all that I can do other than seal off the main drain in the bottom of the pool.
    Someone mentioned a main drain cover for the bottom of the pool but I haven't been able to find it on the net.

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    Re: Losing 2000-3000 gallons of water a day. HELP!!

    Quote Originally Posted by wjr75 View Post
    They sell a cheap dye kit with red dye that attaches to the skimmer pole with a string to inject the dye in deep area's. I bought one for less than 20 bucks. If you are losing that much water it should be noticable I would think.
    Thank you. I will try to find the dye kit.
    i agree, I should be able to see where the water is leaking but I haven't found it. We have 5 feet of concrete surrounding the pool with an additional 20 foot deck and 10 foot walkway to the pool house that houses the pump and filter.

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    Re: Losing 2000-3000 gallons of water a day. HELP!!

    Quote Originally Posted by scainchs View Post
    I finally found a person willing to come out and re-silicone it. He instructed me to drain the water half way down the light. I did so, but by morning, the pool leaked so much that the water level was below the light.


    Please help.
    This comment pretty much tells you/us that it is something below the skimmer, return, lights, etc. Anything below the light would be my suspicion. Bottom drain???
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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    Re: Losing 2000-3000 gallons of water a day. HELP!!

    Add to danpik's post, you have eliminated most every penetration to the shell, lights, pipes, fittings, etc. if it is still leaking below the lights, correct?

    Unless I am missing something, the leak is in the main drain (likely) or a crack in the shell (unlikely) I would make plans to get that main drain sealed, perhaps permanently.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Losing 2000-3000 gallons of water a day. HELP!!

    All things point to the main drain

    Good luck finding something to block it. What will you do when the dye test shows it is the main drain?

    Okay I just thought of something.............take the cover off the main drain, find something that will block the hole where the pipe is connected. I know they sell pipe stoppers for when people close their pools for the winter. I bet one of those would work.

    That should stop the water from leaking out of the main drain. I think you should have a valve so you can close the the pipe leading to the main drain from the skimmer. That way it is closed on both ends.

    I am just throwing ideas out there seeing any of them help.

    HUGS!

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Losing 2000-3000 gallons of water a day. HELP!!

    I think KimKats point about blocking the main drain port is right on. To lose that much water over that short of time points to a high hydraulic pressure ... meaning either it is being pumped out or the leak is in the deep end of the pool. Blocking that path would be something to try to eliminate.
    duraleigh pointed out that you have eliminated the leak down to below the lights. This further points that the leaking is below that level.
    Is your vinyl liner "floating" or does it have that waterbed feel in corners. If not that would further point to a leak in the underground main drain pipe. If the the leak was in the liner you would also have to have a leak in the shell under the liner that would allow for 2500 gallon to escape also. Although possible I think unlikely.
    20,000 gal, 18 x 36 IG Vinyl, 1.5 HP Hayward 2610x152S two speed, Sta-Rite S870 sand filter, Raypak 265,000 BTU P-R26A-EP-C, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Losing 2000-3000 gallons of water a day. HELP!!

    Quote Originally Posted by OldPoolBoy2 View Post
    I think KimKats point about blocking the main drain port is right on. To lose that much water over that short of time points to a high hydraulic pressure ... meaning either it is being pumped out or the leak is in the deep end of the pool. Blocking that path would be something to try to eliminate.
    duraleigh pointed out that you have eliminated the leak down to below the lights. This further points that the leaking is below that level.
    Is your vinyl liner "floating" or does it have that waterbed feel in corners. If not that would further point to a leak in the underground main drain pipe. If the the leak was in the liner you would also have to have a leak in the shell under the liner that would allow for 2500 gallon to escape also. Although possible I think unlikely.
    Thanks everyone. I am going to try to find a diver to try and block off the main drain.
    The liner is not floating. The corners feel solid. I am at a loss.

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    Re: Losing 2000-3000 gallons of water a day. HELP!!

    Obviously, the leak-checker didn't even attempt to do his job, with respect to the main drain. How was your pool constructed and when? Do you know what sort of materials were used? Especially with respect to the floor?

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    Re: Losing 2000-3000 gallons of water a day. HELP!!

    Quote Originally Posted by ewkearns View Post
    Obviously, the leak-checker didn't even attempt to do his job, with respect to the main drain. How was your pool constructed and when? Do you know what sort of materials were used? Especially with respect to the floor?
    Our pool has a vinyl liner, steel walls, and a vermiculite floor. It was constructed in 1990.

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    Re: Losing 2000-3000 gallons of water a day. HELP!!

    Then, I suspect water leaking at the bottom of the pool was a way of seeping into the ground.... and I hope, if it is, it keeps going. Otherwise, if you have no hydrostatic well, your liner could float and that could create a host of other issues...

    PS
    Just did a little math and at a pressure near gravity, it would take a hole about 1.25" - 1.5". So, I'd say that a SW_G is that you have a broken main drain pipe of about 1.5" (or at least a corresponding hole). I thought we had the record at 17,500 gals. per month. You beat us!
    Last edited by ewkearns; 08-07-2015 at 08:47 AM. Reason: PS

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    Re: Losing 2000-3000 gallons of water a day. HELP!!

    You can temporarily seal the main drains by positioning a piece of cpvc shower liner (HD or plumbing supply) over the drains and let the force of the water hold it in place. Not a perfect seal, but your rate of loss should decline significantly.

    If you need to plug the drains. Try a plumbers inflatable pipe test plug. They are available in size from 1"-6" and larger. You can temporarily plug the pipe itself or the entire sump.
    Last edited by vermaraj; 08-07-2015 at 09:17 AM. Reason: spelling

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    Re: Losing 2000-3000 gallons of water a day. HELP!!

    Quote Originally Posted by vermaraj View Post
    You can temporarily seal the main drains by positioning a piece of cpvc shower liner (HD or plumbing supply) over the drains and let the force of the water hold it in place. Not a perfect seal, but your rate of loss should decline significantly.

    If you need to plug the drains. Try a plumbers inflatable pipe test plug. They are available in size from 1"-6" and larger. You can temporarily plug the pipe itself or the entire sump.
    Thank you for your advice. I'll see what we have laying around that might plug it off. I put a metal pot over it one time and it made a huge ring in the vermiculite around the pot. We still aren't sure where the leak is, but we are going to try to plug the main drain. I called a diving school and they are going to try to send a diver out to plug the drain in the bottom of the pool. Hopefully that will do it. Otherwise, we are going to have to just fill it in. Paid the leak detector $75 for checking for leaks that he could not find (otherwise it was $275), paid some "kid" $100 to seal the light with Ace hardware silicone, then paid $1500 for 18,000 gallons of water, now I'm going to pay a diver an extra $100 to seal the main drain. In addition, I've already lost at least 6000 gallons of water since Wednesday morning that will cost another $500 to put back in.

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Losing 2000-3000 gallons of water a day. HELP!!

    OUCH! I have a sad for you

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Losing 2000-3000 gallons of water a day. HELP!!

    Quote Originally Posted by scainchs View Post
    Thank you for your advice. .... I put a metal pot over it one time and it made a huge ring in the vermiculite around the pot. We still aren't sure where the leak is, .
    I am pretty sure you have located the source. The pressure differential of the pool water 8' height over the pot and with water draining out under the pot that would put alot of downward pressure on the pot thereby pressing the pot into the vermiculite. I assume that you could feel the suction when you covered it or removed it. If there was no leak below the pot (in the main drain) the pressure would be basically the same under and over the pot and it would not put any downward pressure on the pot.
    20,000 gal, 18 x 36 IG Vinyl, 1.5 HP Hayward 2610x152S two speed, Sta-Rite S870 sand filter, Raypak 265,000 BTU P-R26A-EP-C, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Losing 2000-3000 gallons of water a day. HELP!!

    Quote Originally Posted by OldPoolBoy2 View Post
    I am pretty sure you have located the source. The pressure differential of the pool water 8' height over the pot and with water draining out under the pot that would put alot of downward pressure on the pot thereby pressing the pot into the vermiculite. I assume that you could feel the suction when you covered it or removed it. If there was no leak below the pot (in the main drain) the pressure would be basically the same under and over the pot and it would not put any downward pressure on the pot.
    Master diver coming tomorrow. Keeping fingers crossed.

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    Re: Losing 2000-3000 gallons of water a day. HELP!!

    Quote Originally Posted by ewkearns View Post
    Then, I suspect water leaking at the bottom of the pool was a way of seeping into the ground.... and I hope, if it is, it keeps going. Otherwise, if you have no hydrostatic well, your liner could float and that could create a host of other issues...

    PS
    Just did a little math and at a pressure near gravity, it would take a hole about 1.25" - 1.5". So, I'd say that a SW_G is that you have a broken main drain pipe of about 1.5" (or at least a corresponding hole). I thought we had the record at 17,500 gals. per month. You beat us!
    First time I ever beat anyone at anything and it had to be costly.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by vermaraj View Post
    You can temporarily seal the main drains by positioning a piece of cpvc shower liner (HD or plumbing supply) over the drains and let the force of the water hold it in place. Not a perfect seal, but your rate of loss should decline significantly.

    If you need to plug the drains. Try a plumbers inflatable pipe test plug. They are available in size from 1"-6" and larger. You can temporarily plug the pipe itself or the entire sump.
    We purchased 2 of these plugs today and have a master diver coming tomorrow afternoon to plug off the main drain as well as check the light housing. Fingers and toes crossed.

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