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Thread: Under concrete pipe repair: DIY? Plumber?

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    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    Under concrete pipe repair: DIY? Plumber?

    So I posted a while ago about tracking down a suction side leak, and unfortunately it ended up being a leak in one of the pipes under the concrete. I had American Leak Detection find the spot, but I'm having a horrible time getting a pool repair company to help me. I've had a couple people decline the work or recommend I talk to somebody else, and several others just not return my repeated calls / emails. The only quote I've gotten was $4500 which was a lot more than I expected and they can't do the work until September! I'm guessing everybody's busy with easier / more profitable work during the pool season and doesn't want this job? Not sure. I'm in the Seattle area if anybody happens to have a recommendation, but I've contacted the 7-8 pool repair / contractors I know of in the area.

    So I'm wondering a few things:
    1. $4500 seems crazy expensive. Others agree? I don't think there's anything particularly difficult / tricky about my situation.

    2. Should I be looking outside of "pool companies" and see if a normal plumber would be able to take the job and do it properly (for less than $4500 and sooner)?

    3. How hard would it be to just do it myself? I don't have any concrete experience and only minor PVC experience, but it really doesn't seem like it should be that hard. I can rent a concrete saw for ~$50. Not sure if I'd need a jackhammer too or just a sledge hammer to break up the square to be removed. Then I imagine it's just a matter of excavating the dirt / sand / whatever down to the pipe. Is repairing underground PVC particularly tricky? I imagine I'll essentially just cut out a section and replace it, but the couplings may be tricky due to lack of space / maneuverability... And then I don't have experience laying concrete (once the repair is done), but worst case I imagine I could find somebody to do just that part.

    4. If I tackle it myself (or hire a plumber that doesn't typically do pool repair), it *would* be nice if I could pressure test the repair before closing it up. Anybody have experience with this? I guess I'd need something like this and a closed plug and open-stem plug to isolate the line (plus an air compressor of course)? Is that all there is to it?

    Anyway, thanks for any and all comments / suggestions!
    18,000 IG fiberglass pool, 1 main drain, 1 skimmer, 1 return; 1HP VS pump, sand filter.
    300 gallon "spa" on same plumbing system. Solar panels on roof.
    Pool built in 1980. Pump, poolhouse plumbing, and solar replaced in 2015.

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    bobodaclown's Avatar
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    Re: Under concrete pipe repair: DIY? Plumber?

    Go with a regular plumber. Basically you cut out the concrete 12-18 wide trench (depending on how much pipe you need to remove-space to work in) replace the pipe, patch it back up. A friend just had a similar job done in his house to replace a clogged drain pipe. Turned out to be a giant section, pipe eaten away earlier owners used way too much Draino. His job set him back $2600. (In Florida-on slab house.)
    17K Kidney Shaped Pool Concrete (Diamond Bright) Pool, 3/4 hp 2 speed 115V Sta-rite Duraglas PEA5D-180L/P2R5D-181L (Impeller C105-92PS Diffuser C1-216P), 1.5 piping, Pentair CC100 Filter , Heat Siphon 100K BTU Heat Pump Pool Heater, Flow meter Blue White Flowmeter Model No. F-30150P, Hayward Astrolight SP0581N, SWCG CalimarTitanium Edition TE45 , Dolphin Nautilus Plus with CleverClean, Lakeland Florida

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Under concrete pipe repair: DIY? Plumber?

    I know labor rates in Seattle are insanely high, but that is nuts. Yes it does amount to what you describe in post number 3, although if you can post a picture of your decking and the area in question it would help. Expect to need to remove about a 24x24 inch section of concrete, maybe a bit larger either using a concrete saw or you can rent an electric jack hammer. Having a large enough hole makes working with the PVC much easier, there is also the alternative of digging in from the side and not disturbing the concrete, but that too depends on the exact leak location. The hardest part is likely going to be getting the patch to match the rest of your decking.

    Ike

    p.s. I have dealt with 3 such underground leaks on my pool thanks to the PB using DWV drain rated fittings not pressure fittings when the pool was build in 1980. The most I paid was about $250 for the concrete removal and $350 for plumber for one I could not do myself, it was while I was recovering from breaking my back (L2 compression fracture) and was the elbow fitting under the skimmer so particularly hard to reach.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: Under concrete pipe repair: DIY? Plumber?

    I suspect the $4,500 is for the whole job. We haven't seen pictures so none of us can actually answer your question. Additionally we don't know labor rates in your area.

    Is that $4500 in writing describing the included work.

    I would call some plumbers. and see what they would charge for the same work.

    Be careful the pool guy may have included more work than the plumber.

    In California a pool contractor could do this whole job where a plumber could only demo and fix the plumbing. The concrete work you would have to get from someone else.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

  5. Back To Top    #5

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    Sep 2014
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    Kenmore, WA
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    Re: Under concrete pipe repair: DIY? Plumber?

    Thanks for the advice guys! I'll try a few plumbers and see if I have better luck.
    18,000 IG fiberglass pool, 1 main drain, 1 skimmer, 1 return; 1HP VS pump, sand filter.
    300 gallon "spa" on same plumbing system. Solar panels on roof.
    Pool built in 1980. Pump, poolhouse plumbing, and solar replaced in 2015.

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