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Thread: Help! Ugg, totally confused now?? - ed. new liner progress

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    Help! Ugg, totally confused now?? - ed. new liner progress

    At the very end of the season last year I began to notice our pool was losing water pretty quickly. We were adding at least a couple of inches of water every day or two. This was with the pump running 24/7. We went ahead and closed the pool. Over the course of the winter (7 months) we have lost 3 ft of water or more. I read on the net that I needed to maintain at least a foot of water in the shallow end so we have added some to get back to that point a couple of times. I know none of these measurements are completely accurate, but you get the idea that there is major water loss! The pump, obviously, has been off and we have lost practically all of the water out of the shallow end so the leak must be somewhere besides jets or skimmer. Here are the details:
    Inground 18x32 vinyl liner (I think it's about 5-6 yrs old?)
    no lights, no spa, no stairs
    main drain, skimmer, two return jets
    built 1980

    We don't even know where to begin. We haven't uncovered yet, but can at any time (water still very cold though . Our suspicion based on quick net searches is possibly a main drain leak?? Should we fill and turn the pump on and then do tests? Where do we start? Any help is GREATLY appreciated! We are do-it-yourselfers and have been so blessed by this forum! We are ready to tackly any project that we can feasibly do ourselves! (We aren't scuba divers though!)
    18x36 IG concrete w/ vinyl liner - 28,000 gal; 1hp Hayward SP w/ sand filter.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Major Leak??

    Since the pool will have just been closed for a while, when you uncover it the water should have drained down to the depth of the leak. That is a major clue about where the leak is. If the water has not gone down significantly since you closed the pool, the leak might be above the water level in the plumbing. If that seems likely, confirm the problem by leaving the pool overnight with the pump running and then overnight with the pump off and compare the amount of water lost.

    If you have a main drain leak then you will have lost almost all your water over the winter.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Need help w/ leak, new liner questions!

    I posted earlier today because we knew we had a leak somewhere as we had several feet of water loss over the winter while the pool was closed. We went ahead and took the cover off today to see if we could begin to see what was happening and we found two large tears in the corners of the deep end liner at the tops probably an inch from the beading. The pool is what I believe is called grecian style. The liner in the corners even last year was stretching well out from the wall. The liner is at least 6 years old (we have owned the home 4 years). Now, we obviously are going to have to replace the liner at this point and hope to do it ourselves. My questions are:
    1) What was causing the liner to stretch so far out from the walls in the corners?
    2) Do we still need to find the source of the leak or will replacing the liner fix the leak?
    3) Is there any issue with draining the water, doing some patching of the floors, ordering the liner, etc and having the pool empty for 2-3 weeks or do we need to drain only when we're ready to replace the liner quickly?
    4) Anything else I need to know/consider?
    Thanks so much!!
    18x36 IG concrete w/ vinyl liner - 28,000 gal; 1hp Hayward SP w/ sand filter.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Major Leak??

    1) It might have been too small to begin with or ground water might have pushed it out away from the wall over the winter.
    2) Replacing the liner will fix the leak if the leak is in the pool. It will not fix a leak in the plumbing.
    3) If the ground water level is too high, completely draining the pool may cause problems. You can drain it down to the water table level, if you know what that is.

    Was the water level below the level of the returns and well above the bottom of the pool? If so, that pretty much means there was a leak in the pool, though there is a slight chance of a main drain plumbing leak.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Help! Major Leak??

    I have no idea what ground water level or water table level is! How do I figure that out?

    The water has drained to about 8 inches in the shallow end, so the leak doesn't seem to have anything to do with leaking return jets or skimmer. As said, there are no stairs or lights, so the only thing left plumbing wise is the main drain. However, it seems to stay steady at this level... so, perhaps it is a leak in the liner and not the main drain.
    18x36 IG concrete w/ vinyl liner - 28,000 gal; 1hp Hayward SP w/ sand filter.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Major Leak??

    Figuring out the ground water level is the tricky part. Since the liner is already pulling away from the wall, you could encourage it to pull a little further and look down between the wall and the liner to see if there is any water. If the ground water level is high you will see some water down near the bottom of the wall.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Help! Ugg, totally confused now??

    From what I can tell there is no water 3.5 ft from the top of the pool, but there is still about 5 ft of water in the pool so I can't see that far down. Our pool is grecian shaped with an odd concaved deep end, so I don't think we can get accurate measurements and order the right liner without draining. If we drain, it will have to stay empty at least two weeks. We have had a good amount of rain over the last couple of weeks, though, so I am a little nervous about this. I hate not knowing enough to know what to do!
    18x36 IG concrete w/ vinyl liner - 28,000 gal; 1hp Hayward SP w/ sand filter.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Ugg, totally confused now??

    If you are having the liner replaced by a professional, have them take care of everything.

    If you are replacing the liner yourself you will need to be very through and careful when measuring, and that does mean draining the pool. The main risk is that high ground water can mess up the floor if the pool is left empty for a couple of weeks. This is not usually an issue, but it can be a serious problem every once in a while.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Help! Ugg, totally confused now??

    Suppose I drain to measure and then refill until we can do the replacement of the liner - is it mainly the floor that is the concern or the walls too? Any idea how much I would need to refill to be safe? (I guess that again depends on the ground water table?) I am not sure we can get the accurate measurements we need without removing the current liner because it is so warped, especially on the top, but we may be able to salvage enough of it to get 5 ft of water back in the pool. The other 3.5ft of water has been gone for a good long time now anyway, so I don't anticipate that will be a problem at this point. (we can't afford to have it done professionally so we are going to attempt it ourselves; we generally quite the do-it-yourselfers! )
    Oh, I realized we have a Fox pool... does that make a difference? Again, it was build around 1979ish.
    18x36 IG concrete w/ vinyl liner - 28,000 gal; 1hp Hayward SP w/ sand filter.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Ugg, totally confused now??

    When you drain the pool you will know right away if there is going to be a problem. The only real risk is if there is lots of water flowing through. If that is the case you will know as soon as you get the pool down to the ground water level because the liner will start floating up. If that happens you can stop, and will then need to setup up something to lower the local water table, typically sump pumps in dry wells around the pool.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Help! Ugg, totally confused now??

    Is there any type of water near your house? Anything like a lake, river, pond etc? If yes, what is the water level of the body of water in relation to your pool?

    To determine the ground water level, you could have a test hole dug. If the ground water is high enough to cause problems, you could use one or more holes with well points to control the groundwater while the pool is drained.

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    Re: Help! Ugg, totally confused now?? - ed. new liner progre

    Pool is drained... pretty uneventful, thankfully. We found that the pool is vermiculite and needs a lot of patching. It is covered with algae. Is that normal?
    I assume we need to clear up the algae for the patching to hold... how might we accomplish this?
    I found another post about vermiculite patching so I think I am ok there unless anyone wants to go ahead and give tips... I'd love them!
    Last question, I need to replace skimmer gasket and faceplate and jets... how do I know the brand of the skimmer? Does it match the brand of the pump?
    Thanks so much for everyone's help... invaluable!!!
    18x36 IG concrete w/ vinyl liner - 28,000 gal; 1hp Hayward SP w/ sand filter.

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Ugg, totally confused now?? - ed. new liner progre

    I think it will die on its own once it dries out. To be sure, you can use 1 part bleach to 2 parts water in a pump up sprayer and spray the vermiculite thoroughly and let it dry.
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    Vogue 21' round AG, Pentair 1 hp 2 speed pump, 36 sq ft DE filter, Hayward S180T 150# sand filter, Houston, Texas
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