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Thread: Houston, we have a problem... First time pool opening...

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    Houston, we have a problem... First time pool opening...

    Hey All,

    After many months away, I recently began flipping through the pages of TFP getting ready for spring. Glad to see you all again.

    To recap, my family celebrated our one year anniversary in our new home this past February. The home came with an inground pool with a vinyl liner that was built by the previous owner. The backyard was designed with a kidney shaped pool to be kind of a garden oasis. One side of the pool is flanked by a garden, and the pool itself is coped in River rock held in with mortar.

    I spent most of the winter deliberating as to whether or not we should replace the vinyl liner this season. But being in the new house means that there are a lot of projects the cost a lot of money, and I was hoping to squeeze one more season out of this liner rather than spend the estimated $5,000 for a new liner installation.

    I decided that this year I would open the pool myself, with the help of my TFP brothers and sisters, of course. I did the Lord Smykowski deep cleaning of the sand filter which went brilliantly. Then, I reinstalled the pump, pulled the plugs, etc. and, with the cover still on, refilled the pool. I hadn't really lost any water over the winter. But even with the cover still on I could see that the water was black, like a pond. Algae was in full bloom. I purposely overfilled the pool, knowing that one of my first tasks would be a vacuum to waste to get rid of the heavy leaves and other debris that I knew were in the bottom of the pool.

    Running the garden hose for a couple of hours was enough to get the water levels within a few inches of the top of the pool. I did a full five minute backwash of my freshly cleaned filter followed by a 2 minute rinse. Now I was ready for the vacuuming. It was time to take the cover off the pool, which I managed to do relatively easily by myself. I folded the pool cover onto itself the longways and laid it along the side of the pool.

    While I was pulling out the last edges of the pool cover I inadvertently loosened one of the river rocks along the edge of the pool causing it to fall in to the pool right near where the shallow end starts to become the deep end. The rock disappeared into the blackness of the bottom but I figured once the pool water was clear, I'd be able to get the rock off the bottom and mortar it back into place.

    Before starting the vacuuming of the pool, I decided it might be a good idea to try to scoop some of the leaves off the bottom with my net. Sure enough I easily filled the net several times and while doing so realized that there would be enough vacuuming to waste to warrant refilling the pool again to the tippy top. I put the garden hose back in and continued to work on the leaves manually and brush the sides of the pool. After an hour so I realized that the water level didn't seem to be rising. Another hour went by and it was apparent that the level of the water in the pool was not going up. I turned off the garden hose set my timer for an hour and an hour later the level of the pool of water in the pool was an inch lower. I'm now losing about 1 inch of water every hour.

    So, seeing as how the pool had no problem holding water before I dropped the rock into it, I'm assuming that the rock did some kind of damage to the liner and that is the source of the leak. I can't adequately assess the damage because I can't see into the bottom of the pool.

    The question is, do you think it's possible to get the pool water clear enough to allow me to get into the pool and repair/patch the damage? I'd have to continually fill the pool while trying to get the water balanced and vacuumed, etc.

    I did do a full test before I started this whole thing. Here are my results:

    Temp.- 55*
    FC - 0.0
    CC - 0.0
    Ph - >8.0 Acid demand test required 1 drop of reagent to lower Ph test level to 7.5
    TA - 40
    CH - 20
    CYA - 30

    Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

    Ripper70
    In Ground 17,500 Gallon Freeform Vinyl Liner - Hayward S220T Sand Filter - Hayward Super II Pump - Kreepy Krawly Kruiser Cleaner
    If I had a dollar for every time I told my wife that there's no way we're buying a house with a pool, I'd have enough money to install the pool that came with the house we bought!

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Houston, we have a problem... First time pool opening...

    Well, that stinks huh? I guess this rock was sharp? Well, you are in a situation where you certainly can't make a repair or get in the water until it's clear. You need an adequate water level to SLAM, and that will take several days. All the while it appears you will need to have the hose on to maintain that water level. That is a difficult situation. Remember that with all that water loss, you may lose CYA which will need to be monitored a little more carefully now to ensure you don't go below 30 and while also maintaining your SLAM FC of 12. Boy, when Murphy's Law kicks-in, it really kicks-in huh? If you start your SLAM now, do it soon to check for (or prevent) an ammonia breakout. With no FC at all and low CYA, you don't want that to happen. If you find you have any problems with the SLAM, please let us know.

    And say ... just in case it was an astonishing weird coincidence, did you try isolating your suction and pressure side plumbing just to see if perhaps you actually developed a leak about the same time you dropped the rock? Maybe something broke loose shortly after the opening from winter, but just a little while to develop? Might be worth checking. The odds may not be that great, but you never know. I sure 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
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
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    Re: Houston, we have a problem... First time pool opening...

    Hey Pat,

    Well, it appears that my situation has gone from bad to really bad. Last night before I retired at around 3:00 a.m. I checked the water level which was only a fraction of an inch higher after several hours of garden hose filling. This morning when I woke up (about 5 hours later) the water level was a fraction of an inch lower. So, it seems as if the leak is picking up steam and I can't even manage to replace the water as quickly as I'm losing it. It's already threatening to drop below the skimmer line.

    I'm guessing that I'll need to stop trying to refill the pool and just wait to see how much water I lose as it finds it's own level and then deal with whatever leak issue I have.

    Is that about right?

    Please advise.
    In Ground 17,500 Gallon Freeform Vinyl Liner - Hayward S220T Sand Filter - Hayward Super II Pump - Kreepy Krawly Kruiser Cleaner
    If I had a dollar for every time I told my wife that there's no way we're buying a house with a pool, I'd have enough money to install the pool that came with the house we bought!

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Houston, we have a problem... First time pool opening...

    Unfortunately that would appear so. It would probably be futile to try and keep-up with that kind of water loss. Still, it will be interesting to see if it does indeed drain all the way down to the suspected rock site, or if anything else failed about that same time. Did you close-off all plumbing valves just in case?
    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
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
    If you enjoyed your TFP experience, please consider donating to Support TFP!

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    Re: Houston, we have a problem... First time pool opening...

    I didn't close off any of the plumbing lines. My main drain has been shut off since I moved in and had the pool opened last season. The pool guys told me that there was a leak in the line but that having a functioning main drain was not a necessity and was an expensive repair that required scuba gear. That sounded like a costly repair that I'd just as soon skip and make do without the convenience of a main drain.

    Is there anything I need to consider if I allow the water level to get so low? I have always assumed that the weight of the water is what kept the pool walls from collapsing. Do I need to do anything before I shut the water off and play this waiting game?
    In Ground 17,500 Gallon Freeform Vinyl Liner - Hayward S220T Sand Filter - Hayward Super II Pump - Kreepy Krawly Kruiser Cleaner
    If I had a dollar for every time I told my wife that there's no way we're buying a house with a pool, I'd have enough money to install the pool that came with the house we bought!

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Houston, we have a problem... First time pool opening...

    If your main drain was previously closed, then I'm at a loss as well. Normally we don't advise to lower water for structural reasons, but I am at a loss as to what your options may be from here if you indeed have a tear at the bottom. Maybe someone else will have a suggestion. At the very least, have a patch repair kit ready so that when the water gets to waist level, maybe you can find it and repair it without having to place your head under water. Sorry I don't have more tricks up my sleeve for you.
    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
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
    If you enjoyed your TFP experience, please consider donating to Support TFP!

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    Re: Houston, we have a problem... First time pool opening...

    Quote Originally Posted by Texas Splash View Post
    Maybe someone else will have a suggestion.
    I'm all ears!

    Thanks, Pat.
    In Ground 17,500 Gallon Freeform Vinyl Liner - Hayward S220T Sand Filter - Hayward Super II Pump - Kreepy Krawly Kruiser Cleaner
    If I had a dollar for every time I told my wife that there's no way we're buying a house with a pool, I'd have enough money to install the pool that came with the house we bought!

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    Re: Houston, we have a problem... First time pool opening...

    It does seem strange that a rock sinking would hit the bottom hard enough to produce a hole that can out pace a garden hose.
    DONE, 20 x 40, inground gunite, 30" raised bond beam with 3 12" sheer descents, 8' diving board, pentair 420 cartridge filter, vs-3050 pump, intellechlor ic-40, auto cvr, Tahoe blue pebble tech, 6ea 4' x 12.5' & 2ea 1' x 12.5' helicol solar panels, legend robotic cleaner.

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Houston, we have a problem... First time pool opening...

    You are in a sticky situation. I think you and Pat have it right so far. NOT a fun place to be in for you.

    My question to you is.........is there ANY way you can swing a new liner? You might even be able to put it in with some friends. There are many videos that talk about how.

    I am very worried about the size of the hole or holes. Do you have a scuba mask you can wear for when the does does go down to where the rock is so you can hope to look at the liner?

    Kim (wish I had better ideas )
    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: Houston, we have a problem... First time pool opening...

    Quote Originally Posted by bobby1017 View Post
    It does seem strange that a rock sinking would hit the bottom hard enough to produce a hole that can out pace a garden hose.
    About 5 inches thick. Pretty big rock...

    IMG_3287.jpg
    In Ground 17,500 Gallon Freeform Vinyl Liner - Hayward S220T Sand Filter - Hayward Super II Pump - Kreepy Krawly Kruiser Cleaner
    If I had a dollar for every time I told my wife that there's no way we're buying a house with a pool, I'd have enough money to install the pool that came with the house we bought!

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    Re: Houston, we have a problem... First time pool opening...

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    My question to you is.........is there ANY way you can swing a new liner? You might even be able to put it in with some friends. There are many videos that talk about how.
    Hey Kim,

    It may just come down to having a new liner installed, though I'd like to avoid spending that money right now as explained in my post above. Also, it's a custom shaped pool so I don't think I'll be able to just buy a liner off the shelf. As for the install, I've watched those videos on YouTube. Probably more than I can handle.

    Also, it gets more complicated than that. I'm very near the water here on the south shore of Long Island. A liner replacement requires "dewaterization" which entails keeping the water table low enough to prevent flooding of the hole while replacing the liner. That process alone adds well over $1,000 bucks to the job. Maybe even considerably more, since there's no way to know how bad the situation might be until the old liner is removed. However, my proximity to the water table assures that dewaterization is a necessary part of the job.

    pool.jpg
    In Ground 17,500 Gallon Freeform Vinyl Liner - Hayward S220T Sand Filter - Hayward Super II Pump - Kreepy Krawly Kruiser Cleaner
    If I had a dollar for every time I told my wife that there's no way we're buying a house with a pool, I'd have enough money to install the pool that came with the house we bought!

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    Re: Houston, we have a problem... First time pool opening...

    They look smooth although there may be motor stuck to it which could produce a sharp point. Where would all the water be going? seems like you would notice a flooded area.
    DONE, 20 x 40, inground gunite, 30" raised bond beam with 3 12" sheer descents, 8' diving board, pentair 420 cartridge filter, vs-3050 pump, intellechlor ic-40, auto cvr, Tahoe blue pebble tech, 6ea 4' x 12.5' & 2ea 1' x 12.5' helicol solar panels, legend robotic cleaner.

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    Re: Houston, we have a problem... First time pool opening...

    Quote Originally Posted by bobby1017 View Post
    Where would all the water be going? seems like you would notice a flooded area.
    The answer to that question is one that I don't know but I can't find any evidence or signs of flooding or wet spots. The house is on a concrete slab and there's no basement. Everything is dry, at least at the moment.

    Now that I have cut off the water from the garden hose, the pool is emptying pretty quickly. Level is just below the return jets.
    In Ground 17,500 Gallon Freeform Vinyl Liner - Hayward S220T Sand Filter - Hayward Super II Pump - Kreepy Krawly Kruiser Cleaner
    If I had a dollar for every time I told my wife that there's no way we're buying a house with a pool, I'd have enough money to install the pool that came with the house we bought!

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Houston, we have a problem... First time pool opening...

    My hope for you at this point is that when the water gets a bit lower, you will see the damaged area and be able to patch it before the water table tries to influence the form of your pool. There are some pretty neat patch kits out there than can do a heck of a job. Might not be picture-perfect, but at least will stop the flow. Good look!
    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
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
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    Re: Houston, we have a problem... First time pool opening...

    I hear you and feel your pain. One thing I would do is start looking for a liner company and get a mock up of an order.......See in my world if I plan something like replacing the liner and do all of the work up to but not ordering I will NOT need it! LOL

    Fingers, toes, eyes, LOL all crossed in hopes your can see it and fix it!

    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: Houston, we have a problem... First time pool opening...

    Quote Originally Posted by Texas Splash View Post
    My hope for you at this point is that when the water gets a bit lower, you will see the damaged area and be able to patch it before the water table tries to influence the form of your pool. There are some pretty neat patch kits out there than can do a heck of a job. Might not be picture-perfect, but at least will stop the flow. Good look!
    I hope so too, although it's pretty hard to see much below the surface of the water line at the moment. I had the opportunity to use a patch kit last season when my son put a gaping hole in the liner with a remote controlled boat he was playing with. I still have a very large piece of a liner sample that the guy at the pool store gave me when I bought the patch kit as the vinyl patches that were included in the kit were insufficient for the job. It's about 12" x 36" so it should be plenty big enough. I'm going to get some more glue; enough for a worst-case-scenario type patch and hope I can get this fixed.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    One thing I would do is start looking for a liner company and get a mock up of an order......
    Kim
    I actually had a guy come to my house last October and he provided me with a detailed quote. I've had several other quotes over the phone as well. The only concern I had/have is this "dewaterization" requirement that has no real, definitive cost quote. I've been told anywhere from $750 to as much as $2,000 for this part of the process. It's hard to wrap my brain around that.
    In Ground 17,500 Gallon Freeform Vinyl Liner - Hayward S220T Sand Filter - Hayward Super II Pump - Kreepy Krawly Kruiser Cleaner
    If I had a dollar for every time I told my wife that there's no way we're buying a house with a pool, I'd have enough money to install the pool that came with the house we bought!

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Houston, we have a problem... First time pool opening...

    SCARY! I bet it involves digging and pumps and lots of adult words!

    LOL just read you siggy! You poor thing

    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: Houston, we have a problem... First time pool opening...

    That sounds like a big hole. I had a hole in the shallow end and it took 2 days to drop 2 inches. The hole was about the size of a pencil. I think the only thing you can do is wait until it's done draining, find the hole and see if you can patch it.

    My water is still very cold and I'm sure yours is also. You don't even want to think about getting in unless you have a wet suit.
    19,000 gal - Vinyl IG - Sand filter -1.5hp. - Taylor k 2006 - Loop Loc cover

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: Houston, we have a problem... First time pool opening...

    Quote Originally Posted by samt View Post
    That sounds like a big hole. I had a hole in the shallow end and it took 2 days to drop 2 inches. The hole was about the size of a pencil. I think the only thing you can do is wait until it's done draining, find the hole and see if you can patch it.

    My water is still very cold and I'm sure yours is also. You don't even want to think about getting in unless you have a wet suit.
    Agreed. Just got back from the pool store where I purchased a 4 oz. can of underwater glue. I'm thinking I'll need that much at least for the large patch I'm anticipating having to install.

    Don't have a wet suit. Gonna have to go it on grit alone. Heck, the Atlantic Ocean is pretty darn cold up until mid-July and I've done that plenty of times. Expecting temps around 70* tomorrow. I'll be ready.
    In Ground 17,500 Gallon Freeform Vinyl Liner - Hayward S220T Sand Filter - Hayward Super II Pump - Kreepy Krawly Kruiser Cleaner
    If I had a dollar for every time I told my wife that there's no way we're buying a house with a pool, I'd have enough money to install the pool that came with the house we bought!

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Houston, we have a problem... First time pool opening...

    Good luck. Don't forget to post a pic of your plunge.

    Cold.jpg
    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
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
    If you enjoyed your TFP experience, please consider donating to Support TFP!

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