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Thread: Winter Leak

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    Riles_J's Avatar
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    Winter Leak

    Well I'm not sure there is anything that can be done at this point, but I discovered that I had a leak a few days before a big freeze was setting in here in Nashville. My choice were keep filling it up so I could run the pump or try and lower/close. I opted to close it up and the water kept draining to about 2-3 inches in the shallow end (I have an inground gretian with an 8' deep end). Things seem to have stopped. Anything I should be concerned with at this point? Having it that low in the shallow has me a little nervous.

    Thanks,
    Riles
    16x32 IG vinyl, 19,000 gal, 1.0 hp pump, sand filter, 2 returns, 1 skimmer, diving board, slide

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    Re: Winter Leak

    There is likely a seam split where it stopped. Find it, patch it and refill it. Cold vinyl shrinks, especially when exposed to air. If the liner has some years behind it, it may have lost some plasticity.

    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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    Riles_J's Avatar
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    Re: Winter Leak

    OK, well I'm back. I was not able to get into my pool over the winter because I have not idea how I could have done that. I would have had to hire someone with a dry suit. Anyway now I am wondering what my best option is. The pool is still losing water, albeit at a slow rate. There is maybe 2-3 inches of water left in the shallow end (I think before I said it had 2-3 inches, but it must have had several inches more because I would guess it lost 2 inches over the past month). My chances of saving this liner may be slim, but what is my best approach?

    Weather has finally started to warm a bit. 60 degrees yesterday and upper 60's on Thursday. I really think I need to begin putting water back in. My thought was to wait for a sunny day, over 60 degrees and then run a hose from the bathroom sink and run warm water into the pool while spraying the exposed sides with the warm water until my hot water runs out. Then just slowly start filling it back up. The liner is not new, and I have plans to do a remodel (new liner/deck) in a couple years, but I would really rather not move that remodel up to this year if I can help it.

    Once I start filling I think I am just going to have to keep filling it all the way up so that I can get my pump going again. Then I am just stuck filling as needed through the remainder of the spring until it get warm enough that I can get in the water. Am I dreaming here? Is there any hope of saving this liner? Should I wait longer to begin filling to get me a little closer to spring? Any help is greatly appreciated.

    Riles
    16x32 IG vinyl, 19,000 gal, 1.0 hp pump, sand filter, 2 returns, 1 skimmer, diving board, slide

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    Re: Winter Leak

    Hey Riles

    Sorry you've got a leak! The best thing you can do is find and patch the leak ASAP. You may be able to find the leak by visual inspection - walk around the pool and look for slits or dark spots - use your pool brush to gently remove any clumps of debris (leaves, etc. can fill a hole and reduce the loss).

    With 2-3" of water in the shallow end, the liner is still 'set', but, as Scott pointed out, the exposed parts of the walls might shrink

    Other than a MD, are there any faceplates or other places where the liner was cut through?

    How does the liner look now? Are there any wrinkles below the light, returns and skimmer(s)?


    I'll gladly tell you every 'trick' I know to keep this liner viable for a couple more years
    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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    Riles_J's Avatar
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    Re: Winter Leak

    Waste,

    Thanks for your help. The liner currently is ruffley, bacony, I'm not sure how to describe it, in the corners. The cut-outs (light, returns, etc.) look to be in shape. No tears right now, it looks like it will just need some elasticity to get back into shape. Should I wait for warmer weather or start the process now in your opinion?

    Thanks,

    Riles
    16x32 IG vinyl, 19,000 gal, 1.0 hp pump, sand filter, 2 returns, 1 skimmer, diving board, slide

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    Re: Winter Leak

    Go ahead and start the refill. It'd save you $ on water and chems if you could find and patch the leak now However, keeping the liner in good shape is the priority! Using a garden hose to fill the pool will be slow, but - in this case, that's a good thing (You'll be able to see and fix corner wrinkles before they become 'set' from too much water pressure - what you want to look for are wrinkles that are ~2" below the water surface and not stretching out)

    I'll be here if you run into trouble
    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: Winter Leak

    Add about 6" to a foot more. Check the seams on the wall for small holes and patch as needed. Don't add too much when the weather is cold. You want the vinyl to be able stretch, difficult to do when it's cold and has some years behind it.

    If you can't find the holes, some pool companies have an electronic wand that can find your leak(s). Once they are patched start refilling slowly. In cold weather but above freezing, no more than a foot a day to give the liner a rest.

    If the liner shows signs of stress, stop filling and let it warm. Sometimes a pot of near boiling water in a corner or down a wall can soften things where needed. Try to stay off the printed tile line so it doesn't stretch and form an uneven spot unless you are within a foot or so.

    Some pool companies have an electronic wand that can find and mark your leak(s). Seams and corners are the most frequent locations.

    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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    Riles_J's Avatar
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    Re: Winter Leak

    Well I don't think finding the leak and repairing it before I start filling is going to happen because I have done what I can to visually find the leak and I have not been able to do so. I need to be in the water with a mask to find it. I also don't think I want to go the leak detection route, because the idea of spending $300 or more to find the leak is a tough pill to swallow when I would much rather spend that money on a new liner. This is what I am thinking of doing, please stop me if this sounds crazy.

    1) Tomorrow when it warms up at mid-day (sunny and mid 60's) start filling with a hose. Question: should i bother with trying to run a hose from my inside faucet so that I can run warm water into the pool? I though of spraying the sides with some warm water to heat the liner a bit and then just letting it fill for a few hours.
    2) Repeat filling for a few hours each warm day. Question: Any thoughts on what temps are warm enough? I know the warmer the better, but do you think anything over 50-degrees . . . 60-degrees ?
    3) Hopefully I can stay ahead of the leak and get it filled up completely so that I can get my pump running to be able to clean the pool so that when I get into it, I can see
    4) Once I get it clean then it is diving time. I have a shorty wetsuit and if worst came to worst I could get a friend to loan some scuba gear. Find the leak, fix it, and then thaw my body out. This part does not sound like fun to me.

    Any advice?

    Riles
    16x32 IG vinyl, 19,000 gal, 1.0 hp pump, sand filter, 2 returns, 1 skimmer, diving board, slide

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    Re: Winter Leak

    If you have decided to get a new liner, then why worry about filling the pool and fooling around trying to stretch the liner? Sounds like you are still on the fence about fixing the leak or a new liner. a new liner will likely run north of $3500. A leak detection company and repair likely $500 or so.
    Those eletronic wands like Scott talked about are really cool toys. They can find a leak in the liner you may never even see.
    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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    Riles_J's Avatar
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    Re: Winter Leak

    No, I am not on the fence about trying to get the pool filled and repairing the existing liner. That is the plan. Hopefully it all works out OK. I do have plans for a new liner in the future, but I am in the middle of an outdoor kitchen build and really don't want to shift funds over the pool before I can finish that up

    Riles
    16x32 IG vinyl, 19,000 gal, 1.0 hp pump, sand filter, 2 returns, 1 skimmer, diving board, slide

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    Riles_J's Avatar
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    Re: Winter Leak

    Well, so far so good. Weather has been in mid/upper 60's and I now have about 8 inches of water in the shallow end. The liner seems to be holding up pretty good. There is a small tear above the water line that I'm pretty sure was there before. There is still some stretching that will have to take place in the corners so we shall see. As far as the leak goes, it still seems to be a very small leak. I can't really tell if it is losing water. Maybe the dirt/leaves/algae and providing a temporary seal. My hope is to get it slowly filled back up so that I can get the pump running. Then once clean I have some scuba gear lined up to take a chilly dip to try and see if I can find the leak. Keep your fingers crossed.

    Riles
    16x32 IG vinyl, 19,000 gal, 1.0 hp pump, sand filter, 2 returns, 1 skimmer, diving board, slide

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