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Thread: Suction Side Leak Advice - Leak Detection

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Phoenix, AZ

    Suction Side Leak Advice - Leak Detection

    This post is more for informative purposes, as maybe it will help someone in the future with a suction side leak.

    I had a big suction side air leak a month ago and did practically everything that the regulars on this site recommend, including:

    -Check water levels, weir door
    -Lube pump lid O-ring
    -Replace pump lid O-ring
    -Replacement pump lid cover
    -Lube 3-way valve O-rings
    -Replace 3-way valve O-rings
    -Replace pump gasket (per my pool guy)
    -Plastic wrapped - shaving cream the above-ground plumbing (the plumbing before the 3-way valve)
    -Replace above ground plumbing and 3 way valve
    -Blow CO2 through the lines in hopes of clearing any possible blockage

    Nothing I tried fixed the problem. My pump was an ancient single speed, and I was debating on replacing it with a new variable speed pump anyways, so my pool guy and I decided this could potentially fix the problem. When we swapped it out, it did help the pump stay primed, but there was still major air coming in.

    It was at this point we decided to call out the leak detection squad (minimum charge of $195). Low and behold, they found an underground leak on one of the skimmers, about 5 feet away from the skimmer beneath the concrete. It took them about 15 minutes to find. I moved some of the surrounding pavers to create a path to the leak, and had my pool guy come in with a concrete saw to cut out an 18"x18" section of concrete. He found the culprit, a hairline crack in a 45 degree elbow. He made his repair, fired up the pump, and no more air! Poured new concrete, added texture, came back and painted the next day and put the pavers back in place. Cost was $450. A month after discovering the initial problem, my pump is finally working great. Unfortunately, I spent over $2,000 trying to fix the problem.

    In doing all of my research on this website, I read many times that underground leaks were extremely rare and 99/100 the problem lies above the surface. This is probably true, but when I read this I was convinced it was impossible for me to have an underground leak.

    My moral of the story on fixing suction side leaks: do all of the free/cheap repair possibilities first, like checking water levels, O-rings, shaving cream, etc. If the cheap fixes don't help, call out a Leak Detection company to test your lines. I should have done this before I went and replaced the 3-way valve, above ground plumbing, and a brand new pump!

    Thank you to all contributors on this site, as I would not have known the potential fixes for this problem otherwise. I hope this post helps someone who is pulling their hair out over a suction side air leak.
    Phoenix, AZ | 30,000 Gallon Pebble-tec pool + attached spa | Hayward cartridge filter | Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump | In-ground pop-outs | Taylor K-2006 Test Kit

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Mod Squad Texas Splash's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    South-Central Texas, Marion/San Antonio

    Re: Suction Side Leak Advice - Leak Detection

    We always hope it doesn't end-up being something underground. You were one of those rare exceptions. Thanks for the update and detailed feedback. Glad to hear you finally got that leak resolved so you can focus on more important things ...... Have a great swimming season.
    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
    If you enjoyed your TFP experience, please consider donating to Support TFP!

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2016

    Re: Suction Side Leak Advice - Leak Detection

    I've got a new pool and a suction side leak. Hopefully it doesn't come to this.
    Gunite Pool/Spa, CLI Caribbean blue crystal stone smooth, Pentair 3hp Intellifo VS, Pentair Quad DE Filter, Pentair 400k BTU Heater, KK Prowler 820, Pentair PSL4 controler with Screenlogic wifi, Inline Chlorinator, Pentair 1.5hp Spa Blower, TF-100 Test Kit w/ Speed Stir. My 2016 Pool Build

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    TFP Guide

    cowboycasey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Fletcher, OK

    Re: Suction Side Leak Advice - Leak Detection

    You are one of the few persons I have read that the leak was under the concrete, I am very glad you got it fixed Excellent troubleshooting and recommendations...
    Pool: Intex 16x32 15000 gal, 2 speed 340042, Pentair CC320 Filter, CircuPool SJ45 Salt System, Intermatic PE653RC; Hot Tub: 650 Gal SWG Megachlor
    links: pool school * Recommended-Levels * SLAM * CYA chart * Test kits * How To Post Pictures * Poolmath * OCLT ** Support your website if we helped you :) **

  5. Back To Top    #5
    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    DFW, TX

    Re: Suction Side Leak Advice - Leak Detection

    Thanks for giving us that information!
    TFP Moderator
    If TFP helped you or saved you money - Become a TFP Supporter! <--Click here
    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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