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Thread: Pool Leaking, rapidly, please help!!!

  1. Back To Top    #1

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    Pool Leaking, rapidly, please help!!!

    Friends, it seems I have a leak in my pool.

    Before I get into the nitty gritty I will give you some background: The pool dates back over 35 yrs and I inherited it a year ago. The pool has a fiberglass lining, added who knows when. When I purchased the house with the pool, the lining was warped and buckled on one side. My pool “repair” guy ended up bolting the fiberglass in about 10 spots to the foundation, patched up a few tears and painted over. I added new pump, filter, cleaner, etc.
    Now, I knew to expect the possibility of a leak given the circumstances, and my “repair” guy was certainly not the most reputable, I would be happy if I made it through the summer. My pool was equipped with popups, long since unusable, so “repair” guy ripped the guts out of the thingy that controls them aboveground and plumbed it so that popups were just a way to return water. Turns out he was not such a great plumber and the thingy aboveground leaked like crazy. I shut the valve to it off and did not have any problems from there (I will be posting pictures eventually). Besides the regular return water I also have 2 “jets” at far end of pool that return water (which are active once popups are turned off).

    At the end of the summer it seemed I was loosing more than a normal amount of water, especially when I ran the pump. I researched here and beyond and decided it was just evaporation. Now the loss is without a doubt a leak. I started a little backwards but have now come full circle and would like some input from you all.

    Dec 2nd : Tired of adding water to pool every day I let the water level fall to about 7” below skimmer level in hopes of finding an easy solution. That is the mark where the aforementioned bolts begin. I tried a simple dye test (using food coloring) in about 5 spots including light housing, bolts, patches. Nothing obvious. Filled pool to skimmer line, vacuumed pool of most sand and grit. In the course of doing this I primed the pump 3x. After about 1 hour I noted pool level dropped 1/2”. Did not note any leaks from pump, platform not wet. Need to follow up on ground surrounding pool, but because of all my priming and filling ground is already pretty wet, no hot sun to dry it up fast.

    Dec 3rd : Pool level dropped another 1-1/2” more within 12 hours. Dye checked remaining bolts ( which are all between 7” and 15” deep), and the 2 return “jets”, also the skimmer itself but not really confident I did this correctly. Over the next 9 hours pool level dropped another 1” for a total of 2.5” in one day. Refilled pool again, initiated bucket test.

    Dec 4th: Pool level dropped another 2”. Bucket test seems to confirm pool is leaking.

    Dec 7th: Pool level is now 8” below skimmer level. I was hoping it was a leak from the 2 “jets” but I can see that is unlikely. There are more obvious areas where I can do dye checks, just not easy to get to without a wetsuit or lots of whiskey. Ground is still too wet to determine if there are plumbing leaks. There is one small hole-like area of concern in bottom of pool that I suspect because it appears to have brown sediment or oxidation around it, and also the main drain seems to have a circle of sediment collecting around it. What does this mean?

    Should I continue to let it drain?
    Do I continue to try to balance my pool chemistry during this period?
    My filter is due for backflushing, should I do it or wait?
    I would like to learn and do this myself, but is it worth calling in an expert? I won't be using my pool for another5 or 6 months, can I let water level remain low in colder weather (remember Phoenix: we're talking 32 degrees max cold and normal 60's and 70's), or should I keep refilling (water very expensive, I'm currently spending $200/mo on water, at least half of that for pool).

    There have been no obvious traumas to my pool that would cause any underground plumbing issues, but that appears to be the problem. Any advice would be very much appreciated.

    Thank You!
    10k fiberglass lined IG (over ???), pool dates to 1973, Pentair 1hp superflo pump, Hayward 36SqFt DE filter, Hayward 2025 Ultra Vac, BBB disciple

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Leaking, rapidly, please help!!!

    Sorry to hear about your problems.

    Is your waste line plumbed or do you just have a hose? A common cause of mysterious water loss is a bad multiport gasket allowing water to run through the waste line during normal filter operation. That would be the first thing to check.
    TFP Moderator
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  3. Back To Top    #3

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    Re: Pool Leaking, rapidly, please help!!!

    If you have determined it's not losing it out the waste port, the next step is a pressure test.

    Do you turn your pump off at all or run continuously?

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    Re: Pool Leaking, rapidly, please help!!!

    Thanks for your replies.

    Not exactly sure what a waste port is. Is that where the water comes out when I backflush? If so, I don't think that's the issue. For now, I am only running my pump manually (i.e., when I am present), so I don't think that's the issue.
    As far as pressure test, I've read a little bit about it here, but not sure how to proceed. I do have some kind of pressure tester that came with my Hayward UltraVac that tests suction for cleaner. Can I use that? Last time I checked it several months ago it was good. Is this an adequate test?

    Thanks again for all help!
    10k fiberglass lined IG (over ???), pool dates to 1973, Pentair 1hp superflo pump, Hayward 36SqFt DE filter, Hayward 2025 Ultra Vac, BBB disciple

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    Re: Pool Leaking, rapidly, please help!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by BelLa's Pond
    As far as pressure test, I've read a little bit about it here, but not sure how to proceed. I do have some kind of pressure tester that came with my Hayward UltraVac that tests suction for cleaner. Can I use that?
    No, that won't work for this purpose. Pressure testing involves pressurizing the entire system using special equipment in order to determine where a closed system has lost it's patency. Leak detection services and plumbers are the one's who do this.

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    Re: Pool Leaking, rapidly, please help!!!

    Ok, thanks for that info 257, I appreciate it. I've read some posts about building your own pressure tester, not really my speed but I have a friend that might be able to swing it. I also have a plumber who has done work in my house and on my gas lines, never mentioned anything about pools, but maybe he could help?
    The bottom line is that I don't have very much $$$ to spend on this right now, am eager to learn how to do it myself. Don't want to mess up my pool any worse, but also do not have a budget to fix it professionally. Please advise. And thanks again to all.
    10k fiberglass lined IG (over ???), pool dates to 1973, Pentair 1hp superflo pump, Hayward 36SqFt DE filter, Hayward 2025 Ultra Vac, BBB disciple

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Leaking, rapidly, please help!!!

    Testing it yourself isn't hard and if you have a plumber friend it'll be a piece of cake for them.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    Re: Pool Leaking, rapidly, please help!!!

    So, testing the pressure of plumbing on pool is similar to testing pressure of gas line? Makes sense. I've seen it done, pretty simple, is this something my local pool store might rent to me?

    And when I find pressure is not good, then what?

    Anybody care to comment on how important it is to keep chemicals in balance during this period, mine is miles away from going green, but should I keep up with the chlorine?

    Thanks!
    10k fiberglass lined IG (over ???), pool dates to 1973, Pentair 1hp superflo pump, Hayward 36SqFt DE filter, Hayward 2025 Ultra Vac, BBB disciple

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Leaking, rapidly, please help!!!

    If your water temp is above 60º and your pool isn't covered then you need to keep the FC up. A submersible pump will circulate it for you.
    I went back and read the entire scenario and here's my suggestions.
    I would continue to let the drain until it stops. That way you know where to begin looking for the leak(s).
    I would get a submersible pump to circulate the water and keep the FC & pH checked.

    Post back when the level stops dropping and we can give you hints about where to look for leaks.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    Re: Pool Leaking, rapidly, please help!!!

    OK, thanks you answered a lot of questions for me.
    I'm marking the level every night, it looks like it has slowed, but not stopped and with no obvious culprits. It's a common practice to be able to rent a submersible pump? Also, how important is the pressure check at this point and is that pressure checker rentable? Sorry for my ignorance, been living in the big city the last 25 years, new to owning a home and a pool.

    Thanks again!
    10k fiberglass lined IG (over ???), pool dates to 1973, Pentair 1hp superflo pump, Hayward 36SqFt DE filter, Hayward 2025 Ultra Vac, BBB disciple

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Leaking, rapidly, please help!!!

    Don't worry about pressure checking it yet.

    Your best bet is to just buy a submersible pump or a cover pump and use it to circulate. Renting isn't feasible as the rental cost would out cost the purchase price.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

  12. Back To Top    #12

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    Re: Pool Leaking, rapidly, please help!!!

    If it doesn't stop after the returns, then it's a hole in the liner or light niche (if you have a light that is and it's very unlikely that that is the cause) or the main drain line let go.

    I really discourage letting the water go lower than the returns. Walls can collapse. If a line is leaking or has been leaking for an extended period, chances are good the soil behind the wall is saturated and heavier. This can and does create pressure that the water in the pool would normally counter.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

  13. Back To Top    #13

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    Re: Pool Leaking, rapidly, please help!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    If it doesn't stop after the returns, then it's a hole in the liner or light niche (if you have a light that is and it's very unlikely that that is the cause)
    I kinda disagree with this. If he does have light niche, it's even money thats the cause. I wouldnt just assume main drain and discount a light niche.
    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.

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    Re: Pool Leaking, rapidly, please help!!!

    BelLa, I'm still not clear on what type of pool you have - fiberglass or gunite with a fiberglass shell. This info could make a huge difference in what can be recommended. Your original post seems to indicate a fiberglass shell, which was patched with a bunch of holes drilled in it for bolting the shell to the "foundation" - not sure what foundation you're referring to. If you have a fiberglass shell, then I agree with NJ that you don't want to let it drain too far or your walls could collapse. In any case, the leak must be at or below the current water level. Once the water stops falling, you have found the elevation of the leak. It seems likely that it is in either the light niche/conduit, main drain or one of the bolt holes/patches in the fiberglass. A leak that substantial should show up pretty easily with the dye test. However, PoolguyNJ's comments are valid & you should use caution on how far you let the water drop.
    APSP CST Certified
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    Re: Pool Leaking, rapidly, please help!!!

    Ok, wow, thanks for all the replies.

    Bama, submersible pool pump is on my shopping list...

    Poolguy, I hear ya on the walls thing, but, when I was in process of buying this house/pool, the pool was without much water for several months and walls caving in was not so much the issue. If that was going to happen, it probably already would have. Worst case, if walls cave in I have to replace entire liner, best case, I can squeeze another year out of current liner without spending lots of $$$ (which I don't have), for now in hopes of rebuilding the pool some day.

    BK, I agree with you that the cause is even money on the light vs main drain, my pool dropped another 2" today but has not reached the light yet. I did dye check the light without any obvious results, maybe I'll relook at that. The moron who installed my light is not trustworthy.

    Ranger,
    My pool has a fiberglass liner, of that I am sure. Beyond that, I do not know much. I know it was a Shasta pool built around 1973. One pool "expert" suggested that it had an old time brick lining. Another suggested it was just an old plaster shell.

    Thank you, thank you all,

    BelLa
    10k fiberglass lined IG (over ???), pool dates to 1973, Pentair 1hp superflo pump, Hayward 36SqFt DE filter, Hayward 2025 Ultra Vac, BBB disciple

  16. Back To Top    #16

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    Re: Pool Leaking, rapidly, please help!!!

    Pool level dropped another 2" today. Nearing the light fixture. I will be doing some dye testing today.
    10k fiberglass lined IG (over ???), pool dates to 1973, Pentair 1hp superflo pump, Hayward 36SqFt DE filter, Hayward 2025 Ultra Vac, BBB disciple

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    Re: Pool Leaking, rapidly, please help!!!

    Remove the fixture from the niche.. It'll make life a little easier when checking the niche.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: Pool Leaking, rapidly, please help!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    Remove the fixture from the niche.. It'll make life a little easier when checking the niche.

    Scott
    Thats a really good suggestion. I did a dye test around my light and found nothing. It was only when I removed the light fixture from the niche that I actaully found it.
    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.

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: Pool Leaking, rapidly, please help!!!

    Great idea, I'll take care of that today and let you know. Water level is just below top of light fixture, so that's an easy one. Thanks for your help guys!
    10k fiberglass lined IG (over ???), pool dates to 1973, Pentair 1hp superflo pump, Hayward 36SqFt DE filter, Hayward 2025 Ultra Vac, BBB disciple

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    Re: Pool Leaking, rapidly, please help!!!

    Any update?

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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