Hello, this is my first post on this forum as I've spent a lot of time trying to fix an issue that wasn't really an issue (leak). So I'm looking for some advice from others as I have a lot to learn. Hoping this is the right place.
I recently bought a new house with a pool/spa combo (spa overflows into pool). Pool was in decent condition but I had to replace the pump right off because it was fried. I stayed with the same manufacturer but went from a 1.0HP to a 1.5HP pump. Before and after the replacement it appeared like I was getting air in the system because the basket would never completely fill with water. At some points it would fluctuate like it pulls in a blob of air before trying to fill up again. I replaced all of the o-rings on the valves thinking they were pulling in air. That didn't quite work so I continued to try various things. One thing I learned was that if I isolated the spa input and jets it cleared up and ran perfectly. So I felt like I had a leak inbound on the pool side. I have a main drain, skimmer, and a wall port for a vacuum. No combination of closing valves on this time seemed to make a difference in the air in the line. Furthermore when the system was off the water would take big gulps like the pressure wasn't holding.
So I threw a hail mary and replaced the 3 valves on the pool side hoping one or more of those connections were the cause. One issue I ran into was that I had multiple pine roots growing through the area, so I thought for sure one of them was causing an issue. After getting them all clear it was obvious they just went around the pipes and didn't appear to cause any problems. After replacing the valves the problem continued. I initially took a step back because even the spa wasn't acting the same now. I redid the connecting from the valves to the pump and lubed it up well and that got me back to where I started.
At this point I suspected I had a leak somewhere on the pipes coming from the pool because my levels were dropping more than I figured they would. Since this is a new pool I have no way to judge. So I filled it up on Saturday and noted where the level was. 2 days later I easily lost an inch of water. I did some research and then made a mark in the skimmer bucket. Overnight I lost about a 1/4 inch of water. So today I marked it again and ran the pump all day. My hope was that with the pump running and constant suction that I wouldn't see much water loss if a pipe was leaking. Came home and turned off the pump and let it settle and still noticed a little bit of loss.
I also have been digging up the pipes before the valves working my way back hoping to find an issue as I clear more roots. Before calling it a night I wanted to check and see if the wall port along with the spa opened up would clear up. In my attempts at checking different scenarios I discovered having all suctions open (main drain,s kimmer, wall, and spa) along with sending the output to the spa only; ran completely clean. This pretty much tells me that there isn't a leak on any of the pipes coming in. I did discover the valve for the output to the jets of the pool or spa was dripping a little but nothing major.
After working through a few different things it almost seemed like in some cases I was not getting enough water in to pump out even though having multiple drains open. So now after all of this work I'm starting to confuse myself a little. An example of this is with the spa jets open (splits out to 4 jets) everything seems to run great. However with just the pool jets (2) open it runs like its pulling in air. The water loss is still baffling because it seems to be more than evaporation accounts for. Its possible its leaking through the surface which needs to be re-done but have no way to determine that without calling a pro in. I was thinking it could be from the constant bubbling of the jets with air in the system but thats just theory.
Any help or advice you all can provide would be greatly appreciated.