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Thread: Ready to close AGP and I have a serious leak and am looking for advice -- Long read

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    Join Date
    May 2013
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    Mickleton, NJ
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    28

    Ready to close AGP and I have a serious leak and am looking for advice -- Long read

    Hi all,

    I am getting ready to close my AGP and was just keeping it balanced and clean and waiting for the water temp to be < 60 deg-F and I discover that I have a big leak. Well, a bigger leak than I thought anyway. The pool details are in my sig.

    Of course, my water is beautiful and crystal clear right now except for this leak mess!

    I probably have one last shot at trying to find the leak this weekend as the weather will warm up a bit. The water was 70 last weekend but is now 68. Not terrible but a little cold to be snorkeling for any length of time. Fortunately, I do have a hot tub to warm up in after the plunge!

    I'm looking for some advice. I have been successful in finding leaks in the past but so far no luck with this one.

    Basically, if I can't find the leak and just went ahead and winterized and covered the pool, what are the risks?

    Thanks for the read,
    Bill Robertson

    The backstory:
    For most of the summer, I knew that I had a leak from the skimmer that got worse over time. I would just add water and I assumed that it was the skimmer gasket and that I would fix it after the last pool party on Labor Day weekend. My plan was to wait for the water to lower below the bottom of the skimmer by leaking and then replace the gasket. Well the water level lowered past the bottom of the skimmer and just kept going. I have lost about 10 inches since Sep 10. In my pool, 1 inch is about 250 gallons by my calculations. Level was about 46 inches on 9/10 and was 35.25 inches on 9/21. I use a stick rule and measure carefully in the same place when I do.

    Yes, there is a saturated area of ground which I assumed was from the skimmer leak but now must be from the liner leak. I now presume that I have a leak in the liner which is disappointing because it was just replaced in May 2014. Last weekend I got in the pool with goggles and tried to locate leak with no luck. The water level is now just below the return as well as the skimmer. I also considered that the leak was from the return but it is on the opposite side of the pool from the saturated area and I don't see any near the return on the outside of the pool. I am measuring the water level each day with a stick rule and I am getting about 1 inch. Yesterday was just at the bottom of the return. If I am super lucky, today it will still be at the bottom of the return and that would be the source of the leak. My luck is usually not that good though.

    Two years ago in the winter of 2013-2014 prior to replacing the liner, the water drained down to about 8 inches left. The liner was 8 years old at that point and in mediocre shape anyway. It was dried and brittle when they replaced it. Since my current liner is only 16 months old I am worried that not having water in it will be a problem and cause me to have to replace the liner again next spring. Liner replacement is about $1,100 so it's not chicken feed and I think a liner should last more that two seasons.

    The pool is an old Mardi Gras with a good self supporting structure. It has a 6 ft wide deck at one end and then about a 15 inch wide deck all around with double structure uprights. The vertical uprights are 1 in or 1-1/4 in square aluminum tubes. One upright supports the pool wall and the other is 15 inches outside of that. The deck is supported on both. It is a pretty solid structure so I am not really worried about the pool except that I realize that wind might be a problem with little or no water in the pool.

    In theory, a leak that is losing 250 gals per day should be pretty easy to find. That's a lot of water and the saturated area is about 8 feet wide by 3 feet across and very very soft. My thoughts were that the leak must be near the center of the 8 feet area on the inside of the pool, give or take so that's where I have been looking. There is one dimple (8 inches by 2 inches x 1/4 inch deep) in the floor of the pool so I started looking there and didn't find anything. I was trying to use swim goggles and didn't have a lot of luck -- trouble staying down and no snorkel. I will use my diving mask and snorkel this weekend for one last try.
    11,300 gal, AG vinyl, 15 x 30 x 3.75 ft Oval, Hayward SL166T, 100 lbs sand, 1 HP Power-Flo pump, single speed, Hayward CL-200 chlorinator (no longer used)
    Pool: Mardi Gras at least 25 y.o., Liner: New in 2014, Filter/Pump: New in 2008, Media: Replaced 5/2013. TF-100 Test Kit w/Speed Stir.
    Mickleton, NJ (South Jersey Philadelphia area)

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Feb 2014
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    Re: Ready to close AGP and I have a serious leak and am looking for advice -- Long re

    When you go snorkeling, do yourself a favor and find a plastic syringe (without the needle). You can find them at most farm, country or feed store if there is anything like that near you. You can usually also get one from a pharmacy counter that they give out with child prescription medications. Draw some food dye into the syringe, I like red, and squirt very small amounts in suspicious areas where you suspect the leak. Watch the flow of the dye. It will be sucked into leaks with the water flow. There are several videos on youtube detailing this process. Many show specialized pool dyes but food coloring is a reasonable, available home test.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Mickleton, NJ
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    28

    Re: Ready to close AGP and I have a serious leak and am looking for advice -- Long re

    Thanks JVTrain.

    I did come across some of those videos and I watched them. I got some heavy duty food dye from my wife who works at a bakery. Bright Orange. I put some in a left over reagent dropper bottle from the TF test kit. I think understand the difference between the reagent dropper bottle and the syringe -- water gets sucked into the dropper bottle and not into the syringe. I will try and get a syringe. I'm thinking that the water might be low enough by the weekend that I could snorkel on the top and my hands with the syringe would reach the bottom so it might not be such a chore after all. I could just float and systematically test the suspect area. There are two sort of divits in the bottom and then about 12 ft of seam between the wall and the bottom. I could probably check all of that in about 1/2 hour with the right tools.

    Thanks for the suggestions.
    11,300 gal, AG vinyl, 15 x 30 x 3.75 ft Oval, Hayward SL166T, 100 lbs sand, 1 HP Power-Flo pump, single speed, Hayward CL-200 chlorinator (no longer used)
    Pool: Mardi Gras at least 25 y.o., Liner: New in 2014, Filter/Pump: New in 2008, Media: Replaced 5/2013. TF-100 Test Kit w/Speed Stir.
    Mickleton, NJ (South Jersey Philadelphia area)

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