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Thread: Blasted leaks

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    TimS's Avatar
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    Blasted leaks

    Last year I had a leak that I was never able to find, and I finally resorted to replacing the liner.

    Yesterday, I looked out the window, and saw a tremendous amount of bubbles coming out of the return. I went out to investigate, and found that my water level had dropped 3/4" from 6:00am to 4:30pm, and the level was low enough that the pump was sucking air through the skimmer. I had noticed that the level was low that morning, but since I'd had the fountain on overnight, and saw evidence that the wind had been blowing the water out of the pool, I didn't get too concerned. Since we're expecting rain today/tomorrow, I had decided not to top off the pool yesterday morning.

    When I saw how far the water had dropped, I knew I had a leak and was pretty certain where it would be. Sure enough, there was a 1/2" tear right above the return. The return is an Aqualuminator, so instead of an eyeball, the whole outer ring turns. I had noticed earlier in the season that the ring would sometimes bind while turning it, but since fixing it requires taking the plumbing off the wall I was putting it off until fall when I'm ready to winterize.

    I've told the kids repeatedly to leave the return alone, but they still play with it.

    I had to make a quick run to the pool store to grab a patch kit, and slapped a patch on it last night. In the process, I discovered that the liner all the way around the return is pretty worn (the pattern is worn off, and the liner is rough in a couple of spots,) so I put a couple more patches over those areas, just in case. This on a one year-old liner. I'm not too happy right now.

    This fall, I'm going to fix the binding issue. In the process, since I'll have all the pluming off anyway, I'm planning to put a large patch over the whole area as reinforcement to protect the liner. I may even do two layers. I'll try to remove these patches first, but if they don't come off easily, I'll just put the reinforcing patch(es) over them.

    Aside from the aesthetics, does anyone have a reason to think that this is not a good idea?

    Thanks,
    Tim.
    24' AG Round (vinyl replaced 0909) - 13500 gal - Sand Dollar Filter (150lb) - Dynamo DYNII-N1-1 1HP - Hayward HP380 Heat Pump - TF-100.
    Central Missouri

    Before I speak, I have something important to say.

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    Re: Blasted leaks

    How did all this wear occur on a 1 yo liner? Are you sure the company that provided the liner gave you a new one? That seems like it wouldnt happen, but I really cant see how a new liner could look like that.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

  3. Back To Top    #3
    TimS's Avatar
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    Re: Blasted leaks

    The wear seems to be due to the way the Aqualuminator is designed. Instead of having an eyeball to direct water flow, the outer ring (part 4 in the exploded diagram) turns, allowing the return flow to be somewhat directed. Since the plumbing doesn't sit quite flush against the wall of the pool, it tends to bind on one side. Although it is designed to rotate 360 degrees, it often will bind tightly enough that it will only rotate 180 degrees. The plumbing is slightly out of alignment, so that it flexes the wall of the pool a bit, causing one edge of the ring to rub. If the plumbing were aligned properly, the ring would not actually touch the liner. This fall, when I lower the water level, I'll redo that section of plumbing so that it fits properly.

    The wear certainly appears to be completely caused by this binding and by forcing the ring to turn. Oddly, it doesn't bind all the time, and sometimes will turn freely. I've never quite figured that one out. It should either bind all the time or never, but... It's a really simple set up - a simple ring that fits around the outside of the light. It's not threaded or anything, and there doesn't appear to be anything that would make it get tighter or looser simply by turning that ring (The whole thing is held together by a retaining ring (part 7 on the exploded view) on the back side of the light. Since the light is keyed, and will not turn, there shouldn't be any way for that retaining ring to get tighter or looser on it's own.)

    Yes, it was a new liner. I unpacked it and hung it myself, and only had the PB come out to actually cut the holes for the skimmer and the return. There were no holes in the liner initially. Before I replaced the liner, I talked to the PB about it, and he recommended doing it this way. It would save me the expense of paying them to remove the old liner and hang the new one, which turned out to be a really simple project. Then, if they messed up the cuts, they would be on the hook for replacing the liner, where if I had messed up the cuts, it would have been my problem.
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    24' AG Round (vinyl replaced 0909) - 13500 gal - Sand Dollar Filter (150lb) - Dynamo DYNII-N1-1 1HP - Hayward HP380 Heat Pump - TF-100.
    Central Missouri

    Before I speak, I have something important to say.

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    Re: Blasted leaks

    when you grab the A/L and try to turn it, you put pressure on it to grip it - the wall flexes and allows one portion of it to touch the wall (normally the top), if you move it when the wall is flexed you will get the rip/cut.

    Found that out the hard way too....

    Always fixed mine by popping out the bulb and stuffing a terry cloth towel through the hole while applying the patch, you lose nearly no water.

    I have a fountain attachment, once you clip that on it's much easier to turn it without it torquing/flexing the wall.

    Your repair sounds quite feasible, but yes - you will need to leave it til when you close the pool since you will have to remove the entire aqualuminator assembly before applying the full patch.

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    TimS's Avatar
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    Re: Blasted leaks

    Actually, in my particular case, the fountain makes matters worse, because it gives the kids more leverage to force it to turn. The plumbing isn't flush against the wall, so the wall is always flexed at bit, causing one side of the ring to always touch the wall. At some times, the bind becomes so tight that it's almost impossible to turn the ring past a certain point. I'm sure that this is what caused the tear - someone tried to force it to turn beyond that point and put too much pressure on the liner. Interestingly, the rip is not where the ring touches the wall, but, as you've experienced, at the top.
    24' AG Round (vinyl replaced 0909) - 13500 gal - Sand Dollar Filter (150lb) - Dynamo DYNII-N1-1 1HP - Hayward HP380 Heat Pump - TF-100.
    Central Missouri

    Before I speak, I have something important to say.

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    Re: Blasted leaks

    Ahh - well, my kid isn't allowed near it - even more so once the fountain is connected, so it's really just for me to use for moving the return. If he disobeys, he loses the pool for a bit - not something he likes to happen. Easy as that - damage the pool - lose the pool. Do that a couple of times and they will stop playing with it.
    As for the plumbing, mine is rigid and my equipment sits on a concrete pad below it so the pipe is supported by the pad, which allowed me to take any weight off the connection at the wall - making the return sit without wall flex, however, there is still enough play that if you try and turn it without the proper method, you could flex the wall and cut the liner.

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    TimS's Avatar
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    Re: Blasted leaks

    Mine flexes sideways. The pipe is supported at the bottom by the pad and the ground, but the pipe doesn't quite line up straight with the heat pump. My best guess is that when the PB installed it before I bought the house, they didn't line things up properly before they glued it all together. It might be possible to move the entire setup (pump, filter, and heat pump) as a unit to make it line up, but then I may have an issue with the skimmer line. I'm hoping that putting a union in the vertical section of the return line will allow it to twist enough to un-flex the wall, but still line back up with the existing pipe. I'd rather not re-plumb the whole thing, but I will if I have to.
    24' AG Round (vinyl replaced 0909) - 13500 gal - Sand Dollar Filter (150lb) - Dynamo DYNII-N1-1 1HP - Hayward HP380 Heat Pump - TF-100.
    Central Missouri

    Before I speak, I have something important to say.

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