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Thread: Pool will not stop leaking please help!

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    Pool will not stop leaking please help!

    I am basically at my wit ends with my inground pool. I just can't seem to find out what all is causing the leaking in my pool. I posted a previous thread about my skimmer basket leaking, well I plugged the skimmer basket that I though was leaking and that did not help. My pool pump had air in it from the suction side as well so I thought that was it. I have always lost prime since my pool pump is to far up hill. So, I ended up having a pool company come out and replace the plumbing around my back flow valve. This fixed the air pocket and priming issue and now the pool will stay primed.

    By the way my pool has fiberglass walls and a concrete bottom and was built in like 1980. It has been painted over with epoxy and the seams have started showing again. My next thought is I could see some of the seams in my fiberglass walls and could kind of see dirt in the cracks so my thought is it was leaking from these. I jb welded all the cracks but 2 of them so far because I ran out of jb weld. I would have thought this would have at least slowed the leak down.

    Last night the water drained almost 1 inch out of the pool in just 1 night. I was just losing like 2 inches in a week which is still quite a bit.

    How is it possible that If i plugged almost all the seams in my fiberglass and by the way I jb welded around all the seams in my skimmer basket as well that the leak is now worse than it was?

    Does anyone else know what is going? Any help would be greatly appreciated. If I can't figure it out soon I guess I will have to call a leak company.

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Pool will not stop leaking please help!

    Often times leak detection can be tricky. We typically advise members to start here Pool School - Leak Detection. Once you have checked/eliminated those immediate possibilities, it may boil- down to the underground plumbing or the pool shell itself. You may benefit from using a bit of food coloring and checking from within the water any seals, joints, water returns, etc. Anywhere that water could possibly be sucked-out from the pool. If the water coloring gets pulled into a crack or seam, you know you have something. Not sure of your pool equipment or intakes (skimmer, drain, etc), but if you do have a main drain and can close it off, that may give you an indication if a leak is from that area or its plumbing. Same applies to the skimmer plumbing as well. It's a process of elimination, and you just have to look at every possible angle. As a last resort, there are companies that specialize in pool leak detection ... at a cost of course. I wish you luck.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
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    Re: Pool will not stop leaking please help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Texas Splash View Post
    Often times leak detection can be tricky. We typically advise members to start here Pool School - Leak Detection. Once you have checked/eliminated those immediate possibilities, it may boil- down to the underground plumbing or the pool shell itself. You may benefit from using a bit of food coloring and checking from within the water any seals, joints, water returns, etc. Anywhere that water could possibly be sucked-out from the pool. If the water coloring gets pulled into a crack or seam, you know you have something. Not sure of your pool equipment or intakes (skimmer, drain, etc), but if you do have a main drain and can close it off, that may give you an indication if a leak is from that area or its plumbing. Same applies to the skimmer plumbing as well. It's a process of elimination, and you just have to look at every possible angle. As a last resort, there are companies that specialize in pool leak detection ... at a cost of course. I wish you luck.
    Thanks for the response.
    I just had an idea one thing I did not consider is I have two very old pool lights in the wall which appear to be caulked and painted over with epoxy. They are not working so I don't really care about them. I think I may just get some A & B epoxy putty and just seal over all the possible cracks around the lights. I am going to just putty around every crack that I see or possible crack and see if this helps. If this doesn't work at least I will have eliminated all those possible places as a leak.

    Thanks for the advice on the food coloring as well. After sealing all the visible cracks I will go back around with the food coloring and see if it is leaking.

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    Re: Pool will not stop leaking please help!

    I just cannot figure out this leak and it is gotten really bad lately. I left to work today and got back and the pool had dropped 2 inches below almost to the bottom of the skimmer basket and the water totally drained out of the lines to where the pump would not prime as all because the water had gotten so low.

    I have one of my skimmer baskets plugged already. Should I plug my other skimmer basket?

    I also have no main drain in pool although there may have been one at one point but it appears to have been concreted over and painted over with epoxy. One thing I have noticed though is there always appears to be dirt around the deep end of the pool where it appears the main drain used to be. Could it be this has sprung a leak there?

    Also, I took some food coloring with a syringe around my return jet at the deep end of the pool when the pump was off and I may be mistaking but it appeared that the food coloring very slowly went back into the return jet and it did not do this in my return jet in my shallow end. Also, the pool still leaks in when the pump is running as well but appears to not leak quite as fast.

    Should I try plugging the return jet at deep end with the pump off and see if this works?

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    Re: Pool will not stop leaking please help!

    If dirt is settling in a different area of the pool then it usually does that would be a very good place to check for a leak because as the water is leaking out it is pulling more water, dirt etc. toward that area.

    That's actually how I located one of my many leaks too. I was vacuuming to waste, and not seeing much come out, and then all of the sudden I retrieve a large pile of yuck in an area of the pool it previously never collected at. When I got in, and investigated, the leak was in that same area.
    I hope this helps, and have a wonderful night.
    24' Round x 4.5 ft deep AGP (15,200 Gallons), Vinyl Liner, Hayward Vari Flo XL Sand Filter- (model SP0714T1),
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, SLAM & the Chlorine/CYA CHART. Support this Site! TFP Totally Rocks.

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    Re: Pool will not stop leaking please help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Crackerjack4u View Post
    If dirt is settling in a different area of the pool then it usually does that would be a very good place to check for a leak because as the water is leaking out it is pulling more water, dirt etc. toward that area.

    That's actually how I located one of my many leaks too. I was vacuuming to waste, and not seeing much come out, and then all of the sudden I retrieve a large pile of yuck in an area of the pool it previously never collected at. When I got in, and investigated, the leak was in that same area.
    I hope this helps, and have a wonderful night.
    Thanks for the response. It is very difficult to determine because we bought this house about 1 year ago. At that time the dirt still gathered in the same area so it is not really a new area that is getting dirt now. We have always had a very slow leak since we purchased the house. I would have to fill the pool up almost every week to 1.5 weeks, but now it has gotten to the point I am filling it up every other day or more.

    The pool return I mentioned above as well the threads are stripped out so I cannot even get the screw plugs I have into the return because the hole has been stretched out over time.

    I am basically thinking it might be the return jets because last year I think I recall draining the pool down below the skimmer baskets and I think the pool continued to drain until it was both below both returns.

    I am beginning to think I am going to just shell out the $400 and call a leak detection company. With the pool being built in like 1980 even though it is in pretty good shape it could honestly be leaking in multiple locations because the pool is a hybrid type pool with fiber glass walls and a concrete floor.

    One additional thing I would like to mention is it has been getting cooler here at night and every since that has happened the leaking has gradually been getting worse.

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    Re: Pool will not stop leaking please help!

    That might be the best choice as some of the leaks are very tough to find. I wish you the best of luck. Please keep us posted on what you find out. Have a wonderful night.
    24' Round x 4.5 ft deep AGP (15,200 Gallons), Vinyl Liner, Hayward Vari Flo XL Sand Filter- (model SP0714T1),
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, SLAM & the Chlorine/CYA CHART. Support this Site! TFP Totally Rocks.

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    Re: Pool will not stop leaking please help!

    Step back take a deep breathe and relax, is what my first jman told me years ago, actually he worded it a bit different but...it stilll works today.
    Ok first off you have 3 systems, and any of them may or may not be leaking.
    System 1: the vessel or pool itself.
    System 2: the piping to and from the vessel.
    System 3: the pump/filter.

    The good thing is that it is loosing 2" of water in 8-10 hours, big leaks are easier to find then tiny ones.
    Step 1:

    So if you can, bump your FC up a bit in the pool/vessel and plug all exit/entry points to it, as outlined in the link Texas Splash posted above. The reason to bump up FC is you cannot run your pumps or any automatic chlorine device while the pool is plugged off. Once all entry/exit points are plugged off mark water level, relax go to work or sleep depending on time of day.

    If your water level doesn't go down when all entry/exit points are blocked off, or it only goes down a bit due to evaporation, leak detection tells you how to tell the amount of evap you are loosing, then your pool/vessel probably isn't leaking.

    Step 2:
    Since your inlets and outlets are plugged, prime your pump. Will the pump hold a prime or does the water go down? If it goes down you have a piping leak, if it stays the same move to step 3.

    Step 3:
    Isolate pump and filter and pad equipment, fill equipment with water. Wait for reaction if water goes down and pad gets wet you have found your leak.

    My best guess is you have a leaking return line which you have already found using food colouring, from what I have read. Leaking return line would cause most of what you are describing, food colouring going into jet, loss of prime, and also a previous loss of prime due to another leaking return.
    Lou - 13.5K Gal pool, AG Intex 24 X 52"
    19" Sand Filter/1 hp pump, Aqua Trol SWG
    90 sq ft Homemade Solar panels + 80 sq ft Fafco panels, coupled with a SS heat exchanger/Hot Water Tank, Pentair SolarTouch, Taylor k-2006

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    Re: Pool will not stop leaking please help!

    Quote Originally Posted by LFrankow View Post
    Step back take a deep breathe and relax, is what my first jman told me years ago, actually he worded it a bit different but...it stilll works today.
    Ok first off you have 3 systems, and any of them may or may not be leaking.
    System 1: the vessel or pool itself.
    System 2: the piping to and from the vessel.
    System 3: the pump/filter.

    The good thing is that it is loosing 2" of water in 8-10 hours, big leaks are easier to find then tiny ones.
    Step 1:

    So if you can, bump your FC up a bit in the pool/vessel and plug all exit/entry points to it, as outlined in the link Texas Splash posted above. The reason to bump up FC is you cannot run your pumps or any automatic chlorine device while the pool is plugged off. Once all entry/exit points are plugged off mark water level, relax go to work or sleep depending on time of day.



    My best guess is you have a leaking return line which you have already found using food colouring, from what I have read. Leaking return line would cause most of what you are describing, food colouring going into jet, loss of prime, and also a previous loss of prime due to another leaking return.
    Thanks for the advice I think what you mentioned is a great idea. I am going to get 1 additional rubber plug that I need to plug the return line since the hole is stretched out and I cannot use the threads. I have another additional freeze plug that I can put into the other skimmer basket.

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    Re: Pool will not stop leaking please help!

    Stop adding water and let the pool leak down until it stops. The leak will be at that level.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Pool will not stop leaking please help!

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    Stop adding water and let the pool leak down until it stops. The leak will be at that level.
    Thanks for help. I will try this next if what I am currently doing does not work.

    First let me say that I plugged both skimmer baskets with freeze plugs and pool still leaked down over 1 inch in 1 day. So, I am pretty sure I can factor out the skimmer lines being where the leak is. I guess there could still be a leak in or around the skimmer itself somewhere but I don't believe it is.

    I plugged both of the return lines. One of the return lines is very hard to plug because the threads are stripped. So, I had to wrap one of my freeze plugs with a a lot of the white pvc tape and I plugged it and it seems to be in pretty snug.

    I have put a bucket in the pool on the steps and filled it with water and marked where the water line is and marked where the water line is on the outside of the bucket.

    Everything is totally plugged in my pool no should there should not be a way for water to escape unless the pool itself is leaking or I did not get the freeze plug tight enough in the stripped hole.

    If I wake up tomorrow and there is no real different between the inside and outside of the pool waterline in the bucket then I guess there is a pretty high chance the water is leaking from one of the returns.

    A question though if I figure out the returns are the problem how will I know which return it is leaking from? Unfortunately my returns have a y joint somewhere underground so I fear it will be very difficult to determine where the leak is without having a leak detection company come out.
    Last edited by jewilki1; 09-16-2015 at 10:47 PM. Reason: mispelling

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    Re: Pool will not stop leaking please help!

    Sometimes you can plug all the returns at once (except for one) to see if it's the culprit. If more than one return share a line underground, that simply adds to the challenge.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
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    Re: Pool will not stop leaking please help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Texas Splash View Post
    Sometimes you can plug all the returns at once (except for one) to see if it's the culprit. If more than one return share a line underground, that simply adds to the challenge.
    Well I plugged every hole in my entire pool with freeze plugs and it still leaking at the same rate. I lost an entire inch of water over night. I would guess this means I have a structural leak in the pool somewhere. It has pretty almost leaked entirely below the skimmer baskets so I am about to be able to rule out the skimmer baskets entirely if it keeps leaking at the same rate.

    Also, I purposely left dirt in the deep in and raked it away from the old main drain that used to be there and none of the dirt around the old main drain got sucked back on top of it. I know that doesn't mean it still isn't leaking for sure but it seems less likely now.

    I much as I don't want to shell out $400 I really think it may be time to have the leak detection company come out.

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    Re: Pool will not stop leaking please help!

    You could have a leak around one of the returns. With them all plugged, you would need to perform a dye test around each return. You'll need to get in the pool to properly do the testing. Be slow and thorough.
    Paul
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    Re: Pool will not stop leaking please help!

    Quote Originally Posted by ps0303 View Post
    You could have a leak around one of the returns. With them all plugged, you would need to perform a dye test around each return. You'll need to get in the pool to properly do the testing. Be slow and thorough.
    I think I may have possibly found the problem. My skimmer baskets had been plugged with freeze plugs, but I think one or both of my skimmer baskets must be leaking at a joint somewhere where they are put together. I am thinking this because they water appears to have stopped draining.

    The reason I say this is because the water has drained to the bottom of both skimmer baskets and appears to have stopped draining. The remaining water in both skimmer baskets seems to stay in the basket and not drain out I cannot be 100% sure though until I check tomorrow morning. I am doing a bucket test again. I am crossing my fingers and hoping that is what it is.

    I also have a leak detection company coming out tomorrow as well. Even if this is where the leak is I have looked and looked and I don't really see a visible crack or leak etc. I figure it is better to just have them come out and check everywhere to make sure there are not multiple leaks because there are multiple questionable areas in the pool.

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    Re: Pool will not stop leaking please help!

    The good news is I have no leak in the plumbing. I had a leak company come out and test the lines.

    My worst fear has come true though the pool has structural cracks in the bottom. It is also leaking from the seams where the fiberglass walls meet the bottom of the pool in multiple locations.

    With the size of this pool we are talking near a $10,000 fix or more to resurface the pool. The pool contractor I have been talking along with the leak detection company said I just need to resurface the pool otherwise I may not find all the leaks and continually have leaking issues.

    Pools are so expensive! The frustrating part about this is I could probably put a brand new fiberglass pool in of the same size as what I am paying to put a gelcoating on in the pool. That is just crazy!

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    Re: Pool will not stop leaking please help!

    That is some gut-wrenching news. Bummer. Well, I suppose you have new options now. Like you said, repair, seal, gelcoat the original pool. A completely new FB pool might be anywhere from $15K to $40K or more depending on the size and features. I wonder, based on the shape of your pool, if simply having a liner installed on top would be a viable option for you? Just thinking $$-wise. Well, let us know how things turn-out. Post a few pics later perhaps. Good luck.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
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    Re: Pool will not stop leaking please help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Texas Splash View Post
    That is some gut-wrenching news. Bummer. Well, I suppose you have new options now. Like you said, repair, seal, gelcoat the original pool. A completely new FB pool might be anywhere from $15K to $40K or more depending on the size and features. I wonder, based on the shape of your pool, if simply having a liner installed on top would be a viable option for you? Just thinking $$-wise. Well, let us know how things turn-out. Post a few pics later perhaps. Good luck.
    Thanks for the response. The pool contractor I am using which has a very good reputation in the area where I am said yes I could install a vinyl liner but it would cost more than just gelcoating it and he did not recommend it. My thinking is though that it might be higher initially, but would it not be cheaper in the long run because is a vinyl liner is a whole lot cheaper to replace?

    I have a lazy L pool and it is 20ft by 40ft. I have 2 skimmer baskets and he said they would both have to replaced along with all the other fittings around all the pipe returns because they were not made for the liner. He said a track would have to be installed for the liner and my coping would likely have to be removed.

    He said it more likely that you would have problems with the vinyl liner than just repairing the cracks and gelcoating.

    On the other hand I called another pool company and they said they could put a liner in for $5000. I told my contractor that as well and he said there is no way anyone could liner this pool for $5000. The other people that have quoted me the price have not come out and saw the pool I just told them the size. This guy has actually measured for a pool cover and replaced some plumbing.

    I had another company in the same area quote me $10000 for the vinyl liner so I really have no idea.

    I feel like if the guy came out and saw the actual pool shape and the depth that quoted the $5000 the number would end of doubling.

  19. Back To Top    #19
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    Re: Pool will not stop leaking please help!

    Many times you actually do get what you pay for in quality. At least your current contractor seems to be addressing all the major issues and not just sugar-coating it to rope you in with an attractive (lower) cost.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
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    Re: Pool will not stop leaking please help!

    Is it possible to reduce the cost by doing some of the manual labor such as digging around the skimmer baskets?
    25,000 gallon in ground white plaster- 1 1/2 HP Pentair SuperFlo pump - 60 sqft FNS DE filter (with FiberClear), 1999 Sundance Optima 850 hot tub.
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