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Thread: Pool leak issues only when pump is on skimmer or liner issue?

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    Pool leak issues only when pump is on skimmer or liner issue?

    I have an inground pool 18 x 32 with steps. I done the Pool bucket test. It stays the same when the pool is off. When I turn it on I lose about 1/2 inch per day. I have patched all visible small tiny holes I can see below the 9 foot deep water.... ranging from 4 ft deep to 9'. Skimmer seems fine... liner is about 7 or 8 yrs old now. We had asked American leak to come before we actually changed the liner. Now the price is about $600+. I do not want to call them in fix it and then about 6months to 1 year I change the liner. It would be a complete waste of money then. Should I just change the liner or ask American leak?? The pump leaks a little... the ball valve on the pump itself when doing the backwash is secured by a valve. The pool filter itself does not seem to be leaking anywhere. It was not leaking for the past 6 years or after I had replaced the liner. I use Fix a Leak on the skimmer. Pictures here show the steps, 2 skimmers (both on opposite sides), the filter itself (filter, chlorine feeder, SWG, etc). I checked backwash it seems not to be leaking on filter and outside. There is also some rust like stain a little on liner.... There was some crack on the skimmer sides before which I had used epoxy to fix about 6 years ago (not relating to liner--- see the skimmer open one with the star sponge). It seems to be ok.. maybe there is still leaking? Anyone knows how to fix stain? When I use Jacks magic purple stuff it comes out after 3-4 days of the pump... iron in water. Pool is balanced chemically using taylor kit.


    IMG_3346 | pectin232 | Flickr
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    IMG_3350 | pectin232 | Flickr
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    IMG_3347 | pectin232 | Flickr
    16 x 32 (3, 5, 11)
    23-24,000 volume
    Liner Pool

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    Mr Bruce's Avatar
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    Re: Pool leak issues only when pump is on skimmer or liner issue?

    Ok, why is there a creepy star sponge in your skimmer

    The only advice I have is that leaks stop at the leak, so I'd stop refilling and see where the water ends up.
    32K gallon Plaster - 1hp Hayward 2 speed Super Pump - Hayward S200 Sand Filter - TF100XL
    Test Kits - Pool Math - Chlorine/CYA/Target/Slam Chart

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    Re: Pool leak issues only when pump is on skimmer or liner issue?

    Let's get focused on your largest problem first. That leak. Please confirm that your pool does not leak (passed the bucket test) when your pump was off.

    However, it loses 1/2" daily when the pump is on. Is that right?
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Pool leak issues only when pump is on skimmer or liner issue?

    Normally running the pump won't accelerate a leak in the skimmer or its plumbing. Running the pump will make a return leak worse.

    You mention a ball valve on the backwash. This was probably installed because of a multiport leak. I'd verify that you have no water coming out the waste/backwash line while the pump is running on filter before your troubleshoot further. If it is bone dry, then I'd try pressure testing your return system. This pressure test can be done fairly easily with a few winterizing plugs, a small compressor, and a little plumbing to connect a Schrader valve and gauge to the pipe leaving your filter.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
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    Re: How to deal with pool leak?

    "It stays the same when the pool is off. When I turn it on I lose about 1/2 inch per day." This is usually an indication of a pressure side leak - the piping between the pump and returns in the pool. There is only enough pressure to cause a leak when the pump is running. Sometimes fine dirt will shoot out of the returns when you first start the pump. You mention that the pump leaks, but I assume it is not enough to account for the 1/2" per day loss?

    Often suspected is the first fitting below grade. I can't speak from experience but I have read that several times. I don't know if that is the result of vibration or what but is often a weak point and might worth a little digging and investigation if you can.

    Btw, none of the pictures opened for me but that could be a work computer issue.
    16' x 32' (21100 gal), vinyl, 1.5 hp Hayward SuperPump,
    Tagelus TA60/60D Sand Filter, Raypak 399K Digital Heater, TF-100

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    Re: How to deal with pool leak?

    Fix photos.. sorry about it. What is meant by Pressure side leak?? Is the water going somewhere or underground?? or how do I fix this problem?
    16 x 32 (3, 5, 11)
    23-24,000 volume
    Liner Pool

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    Re: How to deal with pool leak?

    Pressure side leak is used to described the piping that "pressured" by the pump during normal operation. Basically this includes anything from the pump outlet through your filter, SWG and Chlorinator to the return eye(s) at the pool wall. I only guess this since you only lose water while the pump is running.

    Leaks are normally above grade but are also noticeable so if you are not seeing it at the equipment pad it may be underground. Often times underground leaks are not obvious even with large volumes of water leaking. Since your outlet is in concrete you have limited options. A quick check, although not entirely easy, would be to isolate then pressurize each outlet pipe with air to test for leaks.
    16' x 32' (21100 gal), vinyl, 1.5 hp Hayward SuperPump,
    Tagelus TA60/60D Sand Filter, Raypak 399K Digital Heater, TF-100

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    Re: Pool leak issues only when pump is on skimmer or liner issue?

    It's not the liner, if it were you would show a water loss, with pump on or off, liner leaks are static leaks, there loss rate generally stays the same, whether the pump is on, or off, any patch work you have done is adequate enough at this point to rule out the liner, based on the test results showing no difference in levels from bucket to pool when pump was off.

    The only thing a pressure test of the return lines will show you is, yes there is a leak in one of the pipes that carry water back to the pool, but it is not going to give an exact location where it is, which basically ranges from where the pipes go underground at the equipment, and anywhere between where they end at the pool.

    Because i see unions used everywhere around the equipment, have you ever had an underground leak that you could see, and then after digging around it to expose the leak, use a union, or some gimmicky collapsible repair fitting commonly found at home depot type stores, to repair it? if so, this is a red flag to me, as far as a possible source for a leak.

    And are you absolutely sure that the ball valve on the back wash line does not somehow leak past it, when pump is running in normal filter mode? you have to know for sure.

    Based on your location i would say its a pretty good bet that you will have a talented leak detection specialist involved if you use American leak detection, what you need is for him to be experienced with audio and sound listening techniques and to have the equipment needed to do it, because at this point it might be the only way to isolate the leak down to a one foot or so spot if it is located under the concrete at some point, in order to minimize any unnecessary destructive concrete removal necessary to access the leak, with concrete, you either have to go under it, or through it to find what your looking for, I learned along time ago that if i don't see a leak, or hear a leak on a customers property if they call me with concerns of a leak based on a higher than normal water bill, and i know that it is pool related, i call my leak guy, when i involve him, it's not a matter of if he can find any leaks, only where he has found them, and how many, he even rates them by severity, like this one leaks at a steady one drop per second, or this one drips every 15 seconds, this one is an air leak that flows around this much, etc, i am talking about them all being underground to, he also is associated with American leak detection.

    Okay my opinion is that it's on the pool return side somewhere between the pump, and the lines that end up at the pool, now it will take a leak guy to pinpoint it's location, i wouldn't be concerned about paying them the amount you mentioned, as i don't think it will have anything to do with the liner

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    Re: Pool leak issues only when pump is on skimmer or liner issue?

    Also how much time does the pump run each day in order to lose 1/2'' of water?

    What are you talking about when you say you don't want to pay them $600.00 and what do you mean when you say should i just change the liner, or should i call American leak? what is the $600.00 for?? for them to locate a leak? to change the liner? were you just asking them over the phone thinking your liner was bad, and getting an idea from them what cost is involved to do something with the liner?
    What do you mean when you say you don't want to call them in, fix it, then 6months to one year later i change the liner
    Should i just change the liner, or should i call American leak? what do you mean by that? what were they going to do at this point for $600.00 ?

    There part in this now as far i see it should focus on the return lines underground, I am sure they would draw the same conclusion i did after you explain the bucket test results to them, it basically rules out any issue with the liner, skimmer boxes,etc. because the pool level stayed the same as the bucket level, you did wait 24 hours from the start of the test until you confirmed no difference in water level didn't you?

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    Re: Pool leak issues only when pump is on skimmer or liner issue?

    I was going to make a post about essentially this exact same topic as I am facing this issue right now and trying to find out if there is more cost effective way of finding the source of my leak. Mine started last summer and I had to run the hose into the pool with a steady drip any time the pump was running. This season it is much worse in volume lost during pump operation. I was following through this thread until it stopped after pool&sptech's informative comments. OP, did you ever get this resolved? I'm interested in what the outcome was.
    23,000 gallon IG vinyl pool, Sand Filter Hayward Vari-Flo XL Valve Model

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