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Thread: leaking pipe from water main to mystery location?!

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    leaking pipe from water main to mystery location?!

    Hi All, I have a leaking pipe, which we have traced to the pool area. The weird thing is, the pipe originates from our water main in the basement shortly after the master shut-off valve. This pipe heads through the side of our house, out of the brick wall to the pool-pump area, then dives down into the cement! I have no idea where it goes. There is a ball-valve near its origination from the water main, and also a ball-valve as it exits the side of our house. Here are a few pics of it back in the corner.

    I don't know much about pools, and the company that built it is out of business. The pool has a separate auto-fill which is connected to a hose which comes out of a hose-outlet. We do have an auto self-cleaning system built into the pool -- do these ever take fresh water from the water main? There are a few water features that dump back into the pool. One thing I have noticed, is that although the auto-filling hose has been shut off the past 4 months, the water level has increased about an inch. Given the relative lack of water over the past 4 months, I would have expected the level to have dropped a little. (well, this could be totally unrelated). But, our water bill has been $300/mo, and with no wet spots or internal leaks... when we shut off the valve to this pipe, the leak-meter stops cold.

    Anyone have any idea what such a pipe might be for??! Anyone have a similar pipe from their water main to their pool system?? I am hoping I can leave it shut off forever, but fear it is somehow integral to our pool's functioning.

    [attachment=1:3h9djkdw]pool pipe 1.jpg[/attachment:3h9djkdw]

    [attachment=0:3h9djkdw]pool pipe 2.jpg[/attachment:3h9djkdw]
    Attached Images Attached Images
    6600 gal Barrier Reef fiberglass IG
    Cartridge/digital pool pilot SWCG/w/heat pump

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    Re: leaking pipe from water main to mystery location?!

    Do you have an auto-fill or irrigation system?

    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: leaking pipe from water main to mystery location?!

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    Do you have an auto-fill or irrigation system?

    Scott
    We do have an irrigation system, which is based off of a different meter, with a back-flow valve which is on the other side of the house... so I think that irrigation piping is unlikely.

    We do have an auto-fill, which is connected to a separate hose. I think it is at least conceivable that there was initially a built-in autofill (this pipe), which developed a leak, wasn't auto-filling properly, and hence the prior owners added an additional separate auto-fill system from a garden-hose. I guess the question is: is it common to have built-in autofill systems? If no one has ever heard of a pipe from the water-main for any other reason, this may be a good possibility.
    6600 gal Barrier Reef fiberglass IG
    Cartridge/digital pool pilot SWCG/w/heat pump

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    Re: leaking pipe from water main to mystery location?!

    Auto-fillers are quite common. Most towns require back flow presenters.

    I suggest you shut the valve.

    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: leaking pipe from water main to mystery location?!

    one more thing-- I don't know a lot about built-in auto-fillers, but I see no other device in the pool to suggest that it is built in (other than the externally connected auto-filler). Do some of the built-in ones have a subtle sensor that I could look for, in the pool, or in the pump equipment, to tell me if a built-in autofiller is present?
    6600 gal Barrier Reef fiberglass IG
    Cartridge/digital pool pilot SWCG/w/heat pump

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    Re: leaking pipe from water main to mystery location?!

    Is your filter still disconnected?
    15,600 Gallon, 16' x 32' In-Ground Vinyl Pool
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    Re: leaking pipe from water main to mystery location?!

    yes, filter disconnected, no pooling of water around the pumps, irrigation system turned off at shutoff valve, still $300/mo water bill
    6600 gal Barrier Reef fiberglass IG
    Cartridge/digital pool pilot SWCG/w/heat pump

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    Re: leaking pipe from water main to mystery location?!

    Many negative edge pools have an electronic sensor and when they trigger, signal a solenoid activated valve.

    Have you closed that valve yet? The picture indicated it was in the open position.

    Does that $300 bill include sewer too? If it does and you can show the utility that the leak didn't enter the sewer, they may deduct some off the bill. Hey you don't ask, you don't get, right? A leaking toilet can drive it up too but the sewer bill would stand in that case.

    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: leaking pipe from water main to mystery location?!

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    Many negative edge pools have an electronic sensor and when they trigger, signal a solenoid activated valve.

    Have you closed that valve yet? The picture indicated it was in the open position.

    Does that $300 bill include sewer too? If it does and you can show the utility that the leak didn't enter the sewer, they may deduct some off the bill. Hey you don't ask, you don't get, right? A leaking toilet can drive it up too but the sewer bill would stand in that case.

    Scott
    Now that is very interesting, because the pool is indeed a negative edge pool. After these discussions, it sounds more and more likely that the pipe is for an autofill?

    I did close the valve... but since we haven't brought our pool back into operation, I have no idea whether closing it affects the pool operation, self-cleaning, etc.

    That $300 bill does include sewer... I didn't know you could ask for refunds like this, sounds like its worth a try! ($300/mo for the past 10 months!)

    Thanks for the ideas and suggestions!
    6600 gal Barrier Reef fiberglass IG
    Cartridge/digital pool pilot SWCG/w/heat pump

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    XsAllOverIt's Avatar
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    Re: leaking pipe from water main to mystery location?!

    Boy I have to tell you ($300/mo for the past 10 months!)
    I would have fixed that leak long ago... Not sure how much your normal bill is, but WHEW...
    18 x 36 Inground Gunnite, White Plaster 21K gallon
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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: leaking pipe from water main to mystery location?!

    Quote Originally Posted by XsAllOverIt
    Boy I have to tell you ($300/mo for the past 10 months!)
    I would have fixed that leak long ago... Not sure how much your normal bill is, but WHEW...
    interesting tidbit...Up by me water/sewer rates vary wildly depending on whether the system is public vs privately owned. I live in an older development and our town(municipal) water/sewer charges are roughly $150-$200 per quarter (3mo's). The development I jog to every so often (so not more than 1 mile away ) has a private water/sewer system and the avg bill is $200-$250 a month. I had asked a friend that lives there if that was his HOA and not just water/sewer...he said no, I cut 3 monthly checks...mtge, HOA, water sewer

    My reply..."Gosh, my crappy old neighborhood suddenly doesn't seem too bad "
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

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    Re: leaking pipe from water main to mystery location?!

    Negative edge pools with electronic water level sensor/fillers usually have a stand pipe with the sensor plumbed in the catch basin. The filler is usually, as I mentioned before, is a solenoid activated valve letting water into the basin.

    When the edge pump runs, it draws water from the basin and sends it to the main pool, raising it's level. When the pool level gets high enough, it spills into the basin. The auto fill makes sure there is enough water in the basin so the pump doesn't draw air. They usually have enough capacity to make up for the added evaporation that occurs with a negative edge, splash out, and a minor leak.

    I suggest you try to determine if you have a leak in the pool system and if you do, locating it. Otherwise, your usage is real or your meter is broken or someone is stealing your water.

    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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    XsAllOverIt's Avatar
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    Re: leaking pipe from water main to mystery location?!

    Never had city water. Always had a well. There are advantages and disadvantages.
    18 x 36 Inground Gunnite, White Plaster 21K gallon
    18" raised spa, 8' Diameter (620 gallon)
    Triton II Sand filter, Intellichlor IC40 SWG
    Pentair Pump, Max-E-Therm 400 BTU
    Lamotte ColorQ PRO 7-Plus test kit
    TFT-100 test kit

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    Re: leaking pipe from water main to mystery location?!

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    Negative edge pools with electronic water level sensor/fillers usually have a stand pipe with the sensor plumbed in the catch basin. The filler is usually, as I mentioned before, is a solenoid activated valve letting water into the basin.

    When the edge pump runs, it draws water from the basin and sends it to the main pool, raising it's level. When the pool level gets high enough, it spills into the basin. The auto fill makes sure there is enough water in the basin so the pump doesn't draw air. They usually have enough capacity to make up for the added evaporation that occurs with a negative edge, splash out, and a minor leak.

    I suggest you try to determine if you have a leak in the pool system and if you do, locating it. Otherwise, your usage is real or your meter is broken or someone is stealing your water.

    Scott
    As usual, my pool situation is excessively complicated: So when the pool was built, it was a negative edge pool. But, the owners felt there wasn't enough privacy, so they had boulders (like, 500-1000 pound boulders) crane'd in, onto the back ledge whether the vanishing edge is. So, it was no longer a vanishing edge pool, but rather a large rock formation with a very wide waterfall off the back wall. We aren't into it. So, using the external auto-filler, the level is set so that the water level never gets high enough to overflow into the collecting basin trough. Therefore, the edge pump is always turned off. Does that help in any way?
    6600 gal Barrier Reef fiberglass IG
    Cartridge/digital pool pilot SWCG/w/heat pump

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