First time posting, long time lurking. Y'all don't know it, but you have helped me with a whole lot of pool issues over the past few years. Search search search as I may, however, I can't find anything that seems to apply to my two latest headaches.
Brief history: I bought my house, with pool, in 2009 and, because I had other priorities, I promptly drained the pool (in-ground, pebbletec and.... travertine... waterline tile I know, not the best choice for the application, but it's what I've got) and let it sit for a few years. In 2014, I cleaned out 5 years of accumulated dust storms & debris and filled it up. A little work on the pump and (DE) filter and, amazingly, everything worked perfectly. In 2014 and 2015, leak-wise, everything was fine. This year, I drained it to clean it out (I'm a bad pool mom & let a significant growth of pink algae accumulate. Ew.) and then refilled it.
After refilling, within 24 hours, the water level dropped from mid-waterline tile to just below the tile - about 2.5". The next few days, I lost maybe 1/16th or 18/th of an inch per day (read: what I'd expect from evaporation in Arizona in Feb/March). Refilled the pool, with the same results. Refilled the pool and went around the entire perimeter (and also the skimmer box) with leak-detecting dye, expecting to see the water flowing somewhere. Absolutely nada. The dye just dissipated, even in the skimmer box. Again, it dropped rapidly to just below the tile line and then began dropping commiserate with evaporation. To my (inexperienced) mind, this says that there isn't a leak below the waterline tile, otherwise I'd see the level continue to drop. The fact I didn't see water flowing in the skimmer box - being pulled into that line - suggests the plumbing there is sound, too. And the fact I didn't see it flowing out along the perimeter makes me think I don't have any actual holes. (In addition, I don't have any wet - or green - spots around the pool.)
So, my 1st question (and apologize for the long note): is it possible that sealing on the travertine tile has failed and needs to be re-sealed and, water is wicking its way through the tile? I know I need to re-seal the travertine (and grout) in my showers periodically; I assume the same is true for a pool? Any other thoughts on what might be the source of my losing a LOT of water very quickly without visible evidence of a leak?
2nd question. My auto-filler. Sometimes it works and water flows into the pool, sometimes it doesn't. I'll fill the cistern up and can visually confirm that the level in the cistern is higher than the pool. It should flow into the pool until equilibrium is reached, but it doesn't. If I take an air-hose and blow it through the outlet, often that'll start the water flowing. There isn't a physical blockage (debris), it's like air gets in there & I have a water-behind-air plumbing situation blocking the tube. But both the outlet & the inlet are submerged, so how is the air getting in there? Thoughts? Ideas? Most importantly - is there a way to put a sort of air-bleeder on pipe between the inlet and the outlet to make it work correctly?
Thanks in advance to the brave souls who have read this far, and to anyone who can offer any help. On the leak issue, I've talked with pool maintenance people, pool construction people, tile people... they're all stymied. I don't want to call out a leak detection company (yet) just for them to not find anything. So... help!!! And thank you!!
P.S. Hopefully i've correctly attached 2 pics of my pool that may give you an idea of what the waterline tile is, as well as the general construction.