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Thread: 2 questions re: a "leak" and auto-fill

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    3

    2 questions re: a "leak" and auto-fill

    Hi everyone,

    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!!

    -Shauna

    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.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    3

    Re: 2 questions re: a "leak" and auto-fill

    Ha! After months of banging my head on this, I finally figured it out... due, in part, to having posted my two (seemingly) separate questions on this board.

    How does one lose a lot of water without clear evidence of a leak AND manage to get air into a closed auto-fill system preventing it from working?

    If the leak is IN the auto-fill system. Had a eureka moment a little while ago and dug out the the plumbing for the auto-filler. (It's in a dirt area, covered with mulch - the speed of the leak, combined with dry dry AZ air, kept the surface looking dry but once I dug it out, it was nice and damp. Explains why the passion fruit vines I have planted along the fence haven't died even though it hasn't rained, and I haven't watered them, since early March.) Once I got the dirt out, it was pretty clear the is a leak where the PVC connects the outflow of the cistern to the pool. So, in theory, water has been flowing out through the auto-filler until it hit equilibrium with the leak which is, coincidentally, at about the same level as the waterline tile. I'll play with it this weekend and see if that doesn't solve all my problems (until the next set).

    Thanks for being a sounding board while I noodled this out.

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    2,769

    Re: 2 questions re: a "leak" and auto-fill

    You realize of course we will take full credit for your epiphany. Any by the way does the zoo know you have the Hippo?
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    3

    Re: 2 questions re: a "leak" and auto-fill

    Oh, of course! And when I tell people about how I finally got the pool fixed, it was all due to the TFP forum.

    Ssshhhh, don't tell the zoo about zee leetle 'ippo. I snuck him out one night to keep the temperature-gater and chlorine-ducky company (and so I wouldn't be the only hippo floating in the pool! )

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