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Thread: Leak troubleshooting and repair

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    Leak troubleshooting and repair

    My pool has a leak, it is only leaking when the pump is running. If I let it run over night it will loose about an inch of water, vise 1/8 inch without the pump running.

    I replaced the valve gasket and tension spring hoping I was loosing water into the waste line, unfortunately I am still loosing water when the pump is running.

    I do not have any air bubbles in the suction window at the pump.

    I cannot find any wet areas around the pool at all, so it must be soaking into the ground quickly.

    While doing a perimeter inspection of the liner I noticed a gurgling sound coming from what sounded like the back side of the pool wall, adjacent to one of the return jets. If I block the jet with my hand the gurgling sound changes. If I turn the pump off the liner will wrinkle just below the jet. When I turn the pump back on the wrinkle smoothes out and goes away.

    I’m pretty sure I have a leaky line on the other side of this jet, but I don’t want to cut the concrete, and dig up the line until I am sure this is the best way to fix it.

    Anyone have any ways to confirm this is my leak?
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    18x36, IG, Vinyl, 25,000 gal, S-200, 3/4 Super Pump, BBB or bust!
    I have a new bottom, new plumbing, and everything is working good!

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    Re: Leak troubleshooting and repair

    In Pool School, there is an article on Leak Detection, which may help.

    What you really want to do is pressure test the line to see if it's leaking!

    I can help with this and the repair, if needed
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: Leak troubleshooting and repair

    I read pool school.

    It does not leak without the pump running, this tells me its leaking from a line, not the liner.

    The gurgling noise seems like a smoking gun to me.

    The wrinkle develops at the same place the gurgling is heard, more smoke.

    How do I do a presure check of this suspected line?
    18x36, IG, Vinyl, 25,000 gal, S-200, 3/4 Super Pump, BBB or bust!
    I have a new bottom, new plumbing, and everything is working good!

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    Re: Leak troubleshooting and repair

    It certainly sounds like you already have a good idea of where the leak is. You can pull out the directional eyeball and dye test the return fitting itself from the inside (a mask and snorkel would be handy for this) - it sounds like the problem is right at the fitting.

    Anyway, the idea behind pressure testing a line is simple - isolate that line from the other plumbing by plugging the ends (sometimes 2 - or more- lines are plumbed into a trunk line if so, just test the entire line) and forcing water or air into it.You need to have a pressure gauge hooked into that line and a way to stop the air or water without it getting out the same port it came in by and watch the gauge for a couple of minutes to see if it goes down.

    Since you already have a good idea where the leak is, I'd find and fix that before bothering with pressure testing 8)

    I realize this answer isn't crystal clear, but it's a decent start

    Good luck with finding and fixing the leak! I, and others, are here to provide more info as needed.
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: Leak troubleshooting and repair

    OK, tomorrow I'll remove the directional ball fitting. Turn the pump off and insert some die into the fitting to see if the die dissappears into the leak.

    I was thinking about drilling a hole through the concrete just above this fitting. If water comes out or the dirt is real wet (muddy), than its comformed to be a leak?

    Thanks!

    Has anyone ever tried http://www.fixaleak.com/main.html, it sound too good to be true...
    18x36, IG, Vinyl, 25,000 gal, S-200, 3/4 Super Pump, BBB or bust!
    I have a new bottom, new plumbing, and everything is working good!

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    Re: Leak troubleshooting and repair

    Hey, Ax,

    Welcome to the forum.! That's pretty good detective work and, like waste, I think you've got the smoking gun.

    Do you have any other returns? If so, you could isolate this one from the system and see what happens.

    Barring that, it may be easier to run a temp PVC pipe from your filter (or you pump if it's easier....whatever it takes to remove the return from the system,) directly across the ground into the pool bypassing that return. If you're decent with PVC, that seems a quicker and a more confirming check than drilling the concrete
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Leak troubleshooting and repair

    OK, the dye test confirms water is exiting the pool, into this return line(with pump off), I'm cutting concrete...
    18x36, IG, Vinyl, 25,000 gal, S-200, 3/4 Super Pump, BBB or bust!
    I have a new bottom, new plumbing, and everything is working good!

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    Re: Leak troubleshooting and repair

    I know you done your homework but this is confusing....
    My pool has a leak, it is only leaking when the pump is running.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Leak troubleshooting and repair

    It leaks worse when the pump is running, If I turn the pump off, it leaks slower, but it still leaks, the dye test proved it to me today.
    18x36, IG, Vinyl, 25,000 gal, S-200, 3/4 Super Pump, BBB or bust!
    I have a new bottom, new plumbing, and everything is working good!

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    Re: Leak troubleshooting and repair

    make sure you cut a large enough hole to allow room to dig, put a tarp near the pool where you are working to catch bits of concrete that may go flying. You may wan to replace the entire line if there isn't much more concrete that needs to be cut just to exclude any other breaks in the line.
    -Kevin
    X-Pert Pool Service
    x-pertpool.com
    X-Pert Pool on Facebook and @XPertPoolServic on Twitter
    22,000 gal / 16' x 32' / Vinyl / Hayward s244t /Pentair SuperFlo 1 hp

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    Re: Leak troubleshooting and repair

    Okay, let me back up far enough to summarize what’s going on with my pool. Back in May I started bringing this pool out of a 2+ year inactive period. I bought the house in Feb and the pool had been covered for the previous 2 years because the house was vacant. In May with help from this site, I learned how to remove frogs, snapping turtles and leaf’s, on order to operate the pool, and then tend to the waters chemical requirements. I bought a test kit and started out using the BBB method to treat the water. For the last two months I have been adding water to keep it full, then adding chlorine “sold as shock“ to treat the water. I have been chasing the leak, so to speak. The pool has been a great source of enjoyment and entertainment, we love it! I have known for a while now that I would eventually have to find the leak and fix it. I thought it was the vari-flow valve at first, but after changing the gasket, the tension spring, it seems to be operating OK. So I started looking elsewhere for the leak. Then I found the gurgling sound near the ball jet, and the wrinkled liner associated. The dye test has proven the water is going backwards into the jet opening when the pump is off, and the gurgling sound continues.

    When the pool was inactive for 2+ years the level was about 12-18 inches below the full mark, so the liner holds water when below the skimmer and light. I dye tested the light, it seem to be holding water.

    In the last three days I have lost 4.5 inches of water, with about .25 inches being attributed to evaporation (using the bucket method). The leak used to be worse with the pump running, however now it seems to leak both while static and when the pump is running. I know I have a problem at this ball jet return line.

    Thanks for all the input, I’ll keep everyone posted!
    18x36, IG, Vinyl, 25,000 gal, S-200, 3/4 Super Pump, BBB or bust!
    I have a new bottom, new plumbing, and everything is working good!

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    Re: Leak troubleshooting and repair

    Has anyone ever tried http://www.fixaleak.com/main.html, it sound too good to be true...
    18x36, IG, Vinyl, 25,000 gal, S-200, 3/4 Super Pump, BBB or bust!
    I have a new bottom, new plumbing, and everything is working good!

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    Re: Leak troubleshooting and repair

    I would just dig it up and fix it. Like you said, time to cut concrete. If you plan on jack hammering, we came up with a trick to keep the mess down. Get a mop, a stringy kind, old school, get it wet, and jack hammer through it. The wetness keeps the dust down, and also keeps the rocks from flying all over the place (into your pool). We used to do alot of sewer repairs and water repairs in school hallways and basements, not to mention hospitals, and dust and debris was a big issue.
    If you don't want to over cut, and have access to one, use a hole saw on each corner of your cut, then cut into the hole and stop. Try to line it up so that you have rounded corners and it won't look so bad.
    steve

    Above Ground / 18' Round / Vinyl Liner / Sand Filter / 100K Gas Heater / Salt Added / No Nature2

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    Re: Leak troubleshooting and repair

    Quote Originally Posted by Axhammer
    Has anyone ever tried http://www.fixaleak.com/main.html, it sound too good to be true...
    I've read a lot of good reviews on that. I've also read a lot of people that say don't bother who believe it to be snake oil. I've never actually read a bad review for it from someone that used it though. It's concept is simple and definitely works in other situations it is used in (cars, spas...). I'm a little skeptical myself in a big application with large pools though.

    Having said that...I don't think fix-a-leak will fix your problem. It sounds like your problem isn't from a cracked pipe...which is what fix-a-leak will fix. It sounds like your problem is the connection by the fitting isn't secured and is leaking. However...I'm certainly no expert and just another pool owner like you with a leak they are researching to fix. Fix-a-leak won't fix problems due to loose/leaking connections though (as far as I'm aware).

    As someone else here mentioned, if you have more than one return line, you can just turn the leaking one off. This is what I did. Now granted, I probably don't get as good circulation, and not as fast cleaning, however my water looks 95% as good as it did before. The only downside is that the pressure on my filter is about double now. Still works but it may not be good for the equipment. I've been running for about a month this way...8 hours a day as is normal for me. I wouldn't do this too long term though, and I plan to fix mine this summer or next.

    The other thing you can do temporarily, as again someone else mentioned, is just plumb a PVC line above ground and use that instead of your leaking return, until you get a chance to fix it.

    Just two temporary fixes to buy you some time.

    Good Luck!
    18 X 36 In-Ground Vinyl Pool, Hayward 1 HP SuperPump, Hayward SP270T 350lb Sand Filter, CompuPool CPSC48 Salt Chlorine Generator, Hayward H400FDN 400 BTU Natural Gas Heater, 2 returns, 1 skimmer, No Main Drain

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    Re: Leak troubleshooting and repair

    LATEST UPDATE...From inside the pool with a swim mask on, using food dye, I can see the dye escaping between the gasket and the pool liner at the 6 oclock position, of the return jet pictured. The pool surface near this fitting is not real flat and consistant. It looks like the fitting is cocked and sunken slightly. The fitting flange has 4 screws. Do these thread to the other half of the fitting on the backside of the pool? Can anyone confirm this.

    How do I replace this gasket? If I take the four screws out, what good will that do? I am guessing they thread into the back side of this fitting (other side of pool wall) that is either threaded or glued to the PVC piping. Do I need to have access to the back of the pool wall to change this gasket?

    My return has one pipe going onto the gound at the filter/pump/valve station. It branches into two pipes underground. I am guessing it branches near the first nozzle (where my leak is) under ground nearby.

    I lowered the water level to a couple inches below the two return lines, in anticipation of removing this fitting to replace the gasket.

    If I can find my wifes camera I'll post some pics...
    18x36, IG, Vinyl, 25,000 gal, S-200, 3/4 Super Pump, BBB or bust!
    I have a new bottom, new plumbing, and everything is working good!

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    Re: Leak troubleshooting and repair

    It is very likely you have a leak where the liner was cut out to allow for the return line to come thru. Although, leaking more when the pump is running would seem to suggest that's not the case.

    On my pool, the return piping has a permanent flange flush to the pool wall surface and the pool liner, gasket, etc are all compressioned into that flange creating a water proof seal.

    It is quite possible you only need to patch your liner where it goes behind the collar.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Leak troubleshooting and repair

    If I remove the four screws, will the fitting come off, so I can replace the gasket, without having access to the back side of the pool wall?

    What kind of sealant should I use to seal this gasket to the liner?

    What is the composition of the pool wall on a liner type pool like mine? It looks like concrete, but has a hollow sound.

    I believe the leak has damaged the wall structure sumwhat, where the wrinkle is. Its not really a wrinkle, it feels like a ridge, like the material got water logged and then sagged.

    I think what was happening was when the pump was running, the leak was going between the pool wall and the liner, lifting the liner away from the pool wall in that area. Then the water damaged the pool wall in that area, creating the ridge that can be seen in the picture. Then if I turn the pump off, the water pressure pushes the liner back agianst the pool wall, making the ridge visable.

    Thanks for the input!
    18x36, IG, Vinyl, 25,000 gal, S-200, 3/4 Super Pump, BBB or bust!
    I have a new bottom, new plumbing, and everything is working good!

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    Re: Leak troubleshooting and repair

    If I remove the four screws, will the fitting come off, so I can replace the gasket, without having access to the back side of the pool wall?
    Yes. (at least on mine it is. Mine is a concrete wall.....it's beginning to sound like your wall is steel.....that may be different.)

    The more info you are discovering, I don't think I would attempt this repair without draining the water below the return line. You may have some patching and fixing to do that is not a simple as an underwater vinyl patch. On my pool, it was a compression fitting and no sealant was used. YOurs may be different but I think your best bet is to drain down, unscrew it and take a look and do the repair based on what you see.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Leak troubleshooting and repair

    I drained it down 2" below returns yesterday, I'll take the fitting off today, and go from there.

    Good thing is I have zero leakage at the lower level, so know I know the light and bottom drain system is not leaking.

    Thanks!
    18x36, IG, Vinyl, 25,000 gal, S-200, 3/4 Super Pump, BBB or bust!
    I have a new bottom, new plumbing, and everything is working good!

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    Re: Leak troubleshooting and repair

    those 4 screws are just to replace the plastic return faceplate, removing the screws won't disconnect they return fitting from the wall that is affixed with a large nut that sandwiches together when tightened.
    -Kevin
    X-Pert Pool Service
    x-pertpool.com
    X-Pert Pool on Facebook and @XPertPoolServic on Twitter
    22,000 gal / 16' x 32' / Vinyl / Hayward s244t /Pentair SuperFlo 1 hp

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