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Thread: Money Pit, Part 1 - The Leak - **Update - New Weird Leak**

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    Money Pit, Part 1 - The Leak - **Update - New Weird Leak**

    Money Pit Part 1 - The Leak

    Summarizing is not my longsuit, but I'll do my best.

    I've read the leak detection pool school article and so many leak threads that I am totally confused about what means what anymore.

    We closed last year with a pretty hefty leak. The plan was to watch the level, and fill as necessary thru the winter. I never had to do that because we had a very wet winter.

    Opened the pool a few weeks early to get a jumpstart on the leak, taking advantage of cold weather to have longer pump-off times.

    This is a project pool that I'm desperately trying to get thru the summer while we tackle reconstruction ideas (that'll be another thread or two!). It's got an older, patched vinyl liner over what appears to be concrete or concrete block walls, sand or vermiculite floor, with a Trojan (?), white plastic over wood coping. One skimmer and two returns - very simple plumbing.

    Filled up after opening, started the pump, and watched the levels drop again. Turned off the pump and started tracking the drop.


    Facts:
    Pool held below skimmer and above closed returns over winter.

    Level drops dramatically with pump on filter or recirc: average around 1/4" an hour for both

    Drops less with pump off, but still more than evaporation: average around 1/4"-1/2" every 12 hours (I have 11 days worth of more detailed info about plugged/open status for pump-off testing. Some minor differences but nothing nearly as dramatic as pump-on vs. pump-off)


    Essentially no evaporation; bucket level didn't drop at all over most of these days. In fact, my bucket level goes up some days! We've had the coolest spring in ages here in KC!

    Pool drops below plugged skimmer and skimmer face plate; plugged skimmer holds water (i.e. no cracks in skimmer body?)

    My interpretation of the dye test showed both returns sucking in dye through the eyeball, but not around the return itself.

    Backwash line has a valve that is normally closed unless backwashing - don't know if that's relevant, but thought I'd stick that in here. I'm thinking that means it's a double-secure method of not having the multiport leaking out the backwash pipe???




    I have a fabulous detailed spreadsheet that starts on 4/19, and a pool covered with pencil marks and tape strips. I turned off the pump once the water level got too low. I've let it drop 2" below the skimmer but it was still above the returns. It may have continued dropping, but I needed to fill and filter because we finally had a few warm days.

    At this point, I'm thinking I have multiple types of leaks, given the behaviour, but am desperate for input. I've tried any number of combinations of plugging things and running things, just in the name of gathering data to share. I feel very unfocused!

    So, there's my poor attempt at summarizing!


    (I need to update my signature, I see. The heater is gone, and the sand filter was replaced with a new, identical model.)
    18x36 26.6k IG vinyl liner over concrete or concrete blocks - liner is slipped-out in spots, but not moving; constant slope from 3.5' to 8'; 1 shallow skimmer/2 deep-end eyeball returns; Pentair multi-port valve; 2010 Triton Sand filter TR60 (replaced identical 1994 model); Sta-Rite Dura-Glas Up-rated P2RA5E-124L 5" pump w/ AO Smith Centurian B848 switchless motor 1hp; (removed-TeledyneLaars LaarsLite heater); (removed-Sun Auto. Pool Chlorinator); (replaced-Hayward Vari-flo valve SP0710x-40)

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    Re: Money Pit, Part 1 - The Leak

    Quote Originally Posted by amylucintfp
    Money Pit Part 1 - The Leak

    Level drops dramatically with pump on filter or recirc: average around 1/4" an hour for both

    Drops less with pump off, but still more than evaporation: average around 1/4"-1/2" every 12 hours Some minor differences but nothing nearly as dramatic as pump-on vs. pump-off)

    Pool drops below plugged skimmer and skimmer face plate; plugged skimmer holds water (i.e. no cracks in skimmer body?)

    My interpretation of the dye test showed both returns sucking in dye through the eyeball, but not around the return itself.
    Base on those points above (especially the dye going into the return) I think you have a leak on your return piping. Try a pressure test on that side of the system.

    To rule out a second leak on the suction side you need to plug the returns and leave the skimmer open - if the water level deosn't drop then you only have a leak in your return piping.

    Good luck!
    15,600 Gallon, 16' x 32' In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    Pentair VS 3050 pump, Quad DE 60 filter and SunTouch controller
    8 gallon Liquidator, Aquatherm EcoSun Solar Panels, 2 wheel ThePoolCleaner

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Money Pit, Part 1 - The Leak

    I agree that your leak is most likely in the return plumbing. You could test the suction line to rule out any issue with that.
    If you post a pic or two of the equipment we may be able to tell you where to start looking.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    Re: Money Pit, Part 1 - The Leak

    Thanks so much for the quick response!

    I was afraid it was a plumbing leak.

    Now I know I've seen threads about pressure-testing, but I am equally sure I won't be able to successfully find my way back to them.

    Is it something we can do ourselves? We have a small/mid-size compressor from Costco, and I have screw-in winter plugs for the returns. I think I have an adapter for the pump basket drain plugs we used to blow out lines for winter. How do I block the skimmer inlet in the basket? Just shove a wet towel or something in there? Set the multi-port to closed? And then at that point, I'm at a complete loss about what to do. I know I read something about 24 hours, but what exactly is one looking for?

    I'll work on pictures and suction-side testing tonight. Interestingly, I didn't test pump-off, returns-plugged, skimmer-open, I don't think. Every other combination, though!

    And, I swear, if that's what it is, I'm going to create some kind of temporary, above-ground return just to get thru this summer. (I saw a thread where someone had done that!) I so want this pool to be refurbished as best as I can afford and WITHOUT rushing! This house has bitten us so many times, and I refuse to be defeated by what was supposed to be the best part
    18x36 26.6k IG vinyl liner over concrete or concrete blocks - liner is slipped-out in spots, but not moving; constant slope from 3.5' to 8'; 1 shallow skimmer/2 deep-end eyeball returns; Pentair multi-port valve; 2010 Triton Sand filter TR60 (replaced identical 1994 model); Sta-Rite Dura-Glas Up-rated P2RA5E-124L 5" pump w/ AO Smith Centurian B848 switchless motor 1hp; (removed-TeledyneLaars LaarsLite heater); (removed-Sun Auto. Pool Chlorinator); (replaced-Hayward Vari-flo valve SP0710x-40)

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Money Pit, Part 1 - The Leak

    Building an above ground return isn't too big a job depending on the placement of the equipment in relation to the pool.

    Post some pics of the pool and equipment and we'll give you some ideas on how to go about it.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: Money Pit, Part 1 - The Leak

    The return test is still pending, as I'm trying to get some filtering done this evening. Hopefully, overnight, I'll get it done.

    I'm still trying to figure out how to do the pressure test. Any guidance would be most appreciated!


    Pictures:

    From the pool equipment, towards the pool. Skimmer is on the right-side short edge; two returns are on the left, one on the close long side (along the fence) and the other is directly opposite the skimmer (left, short edge). We are generally facing north here, with the left edge of the pool due west. Prevailing winds head straight for the skimmer, west to east!




    From the northwest corner, back towards the pool equipment, which is just to the right of the chimney. Along the closer short edge of the pool is one return (deep end). The skimmer is directly opposite (shallow end), on the short edge closer to the house. The other return is also in the deep end, but is on the long side to the right.




    Pool Equipment:

    The inlet and return to the pool are immediately adjacent to each other on the left in these pics. To the right of the multi-port is the backwash, and on the ground, front-right are the pipes to and from the heater that was disconnected last year.







    Skimmer:



    Return:



    Hope this helps. I have lots more, but didn't want to inundate everyone.
    18x36 26.6k IG vinyl liner over concrete or concrete blocks - liner is slipped-out in spots, but not moving; constant slope from 3.5' to 8'; 1 shallow skimmer/2 deep-end eyeball returns; Pentair multi-port valve; 2010 Triton Sand filter TR60 (replaced identical 1994 model); Sta-Rite Dura-Glas Up-rated P2RA5E-124L 5" pump w/ AO Smith Centurian B848 switchless motor 1hp; (removed-TeledyneLaars LaarsLite heater); (removed-Sun Auto. Pool Chlorinator); (replaced-Hayward Vari-flo valve SP0710x-40)

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    Re: Money Pit, Part 1 - The Leak

    Read this thread - I forget where but by the second page and into the third he's got some pics and descriptions of what he's doing for a homemade pressure test setup...not for the faint of heart though...

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/haywa...et-t30065.html
    15,600 Gallon, 16' x 32' In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    Pentair VS 3050 pump, Quad DE 60 filter and SunTouch controller
    8 gallon Liquidator, Aquatherm EcoSun Solar Panels, 2 wheel ThePoolCleaner

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Money Pit, Part 1 - The Leak

    Quote Originally Posted by amylucintfp
    If what I'm seeing is correct, you have a perfect setup to be able to pressure test the returns.

    If the valve in the lower right corner of the picture is not connected to anything you can add a Tee, a valve and a pressure gauge there. Then plug the returns off, close the valve at the existing tee, open the lower right valve and apply pressure at the new fittings, close the new valve and watch the gauge to see if it holds pressure. If it doesn't, you have a pressure side leak.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: Money Pit, Part 1 - The Leak

    Ahh.... I see what you mean!

    And you are right. The lower right valve goes nowhere. I may give that a shot.

    After two weeks of charting and the potential for a return leak, I called a 'pool guy' this morning, and he's sending out leak detectors.

    I plugged the returns last night, and lost about 1/2" in 8 hours...so that's my liner leak.

    For the return leak, if the leak guy can't fix it, I am going to route an above-group pipe until I can get my act together.

    I'm just very disheartened this morning. Now that this repair may be more imminent than I was hoping, i called a pool renovation specialist. I was almost excited, thinking about making some progress towards something nice. However, this gentleman had no interest in anything that wasn't a concrete pool, even doing the design and deck work for a vinyl pool and despite the fact his website says he does consultations for DIYers. He referred me to someone else, but I wasn't impressed with the concrete deck work on the referred website. Since our goal is a nice area surrounding the pool, deck appearance is pretty important to me.

    I just hope this isn't a portent of how this project is going to go.

    Amy
    18x36 26.6k IG vinyl liner over concrete or concrete blocks - liner is slipped-out in spots, but not moving; constant slope from 3.5' to 8'; 1 shallow skimmer/2 deep-end eyeball returns; Pentair multi-port valve; 2010 Triton Sand filter TR60 (replaced identical 1994 model); Sta-Rite Dura-Glas Up-rated P2RA5E-124L 5" pump w/ AO Smith Centurian B848 switchless motor 1hp; (removed-TeledyneLaars LaarsLite heater); (removed-Sun Auto. Pool Chlorinator); (replaced-Hayward Vari-flo valve SP0710x-40)

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    Re: Money Pit, Part 1 - The Leak

    I'm back. Still waiting for the leak detection folks.

    However, I had something happen last weekend that reminded me why I cancelled the detectors last fall.

    Last Saturday, I filled up the pool and started the pump. I ran a hose for two hours to keep ahead of the leak. I noticed that the level wasn't dropping, so I turned the hose off. Left the pump on and ran for another 10-12 hours with little discernable drop. My leak was gone! I didn't measure anything, as I fully expected water to drop, so I don't have 'facts'.

    However, days subsequent to that, the leak seemed to be back, and today is most certainly back. This morning, even with the hose on low-mid setting, I lost at least 2 inches in 6 hours of pump-on time.

    So, how does a leak come and go so drastically? Someone here at work suggested a correlation between the wetness of the ground in relation to the ability to absorb leaking water. Is that a possibility? That my leak is worse if the ground is dry? I think that's a stretch, but I have no idea at this point.

    I looked at metro climate history and don't see a correlation, but I seem to remember more rain than NOAA shows.
    18x36 26.6k IG vinyl liner over concrete or concrete blocks - liner is slipped-out in spots, but not moving; constant slope from 3.5' to 8'; 1 shallow skimmer/2 deep-end eyeball returns; Pentair multi-port valve; 2010 Triton Sand filter TR60 (replaced identical 1994 model); Sta-Rite Dura-Glas Up-rated P2RA5E-124L 5" pump w/ AO Smith Centurian B848 switchless motor 1hp; (removed-TeledyneLaars LaarsLite heater); (removed-Sun Auto. Pool Chlorinator); (replaced-Hayward Vari-flo valve SP0710x-40)

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Money Pit, Part 1 - The Leak

    The rate at which you lose water can certainly change as the ground water depth changes.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Money Pit, Part 1 - The Leak

    Oh, good. Then the three hours of water my husband just
    poured NEXT to the pool instead of in it won't be totally wasted!

    18x36 26.6k IG vinyl liner over concrete or concrete blocks - liner is slipped-out in spots, but not moving; constant slope from 3.5' to 8'; 1 shallow skimmer/2 deep-end eyeball returns; Pentair multi-port valve; 2010 Triton Sand filter TR60 (replaced identical 1994 model); Sta-Rite Dura-Glas Up-rated P2RA5E-124L 5" pump w/ AO Smith Centurian B848 switchless motor 1hp; (removed-TeledyneLaars LaarsLite heater); (removed-Sun Auto. Pool Chlorinator); (replaced-Hayward Vari-flo valve SP0710x-40)

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    Re: Money Pit, Part 1 - The Leak

    *Update*

    Leak guy came Wednesday. My husband was there for part of the visit. For $295, we now have 4 pencils marks on the pool edge identifying a liner leak somewhere below that mark, and a note that there is a return leak on the west return near the pool wall.

    So, I know what I knew before with more specificity. He wouldn't get in the pool to further identify the leaks, so we have to sort out where on the 8' wall (or nearby floor?) the actual liner leaks are, since 3 of the 4 liner leaks are in the deep end.

    He wanted $800-900 to fix the liner leaks and the return leak, not including replacing the concrete to be dug up. My husband thinks that's excessive, so I think we're going to tackle it ourselves this weekend.

    Our plan so far: He's going to rent a concrete saw and that cool Home Depot jackhammer(?) from the 'Older pool rust and jet repair...' thread. He has a plumber friend who can do the pvc replacement. We don't plan on putting back the concrete at this point. Since our goal is to redo the decking in some fashion this fall/next spring, we are going to try to survive with a patch of decorative rocks at that spot. It's at the far/deep end, so hopefully, it won't be too much of an issue.

    My only concern is whether that will leave a portion of the pool wall without support from the decking. I know that logically the deck does not support the wall, but I'm still concerned. This is an odd, old pool. I know the decking is not attached to the pool wall, because the opposite decking has dropped, leaving a gap under the wooden, plastic-covered coping, down to the decking. But I still worry....mainly cuz that's my job!

    Any red flags or "ARE YOU NUTS?" with this idea?

    Another question I do have is regarding the process of exposing the return line. Is there something we should be looking for as we dig down thru the dirt? In other words, will there be clues as we dig that point us to the right location?

    Amy
    18x36 26.6k IG vinyl liner over concrete or concrete blocks - liner is slipped-out in spots, but not moving; constant slope from 3.5' to 8'; 1 shallow skimmer/2 deep-end eyeball returns; Pentair multi-port valve; 2010 Triton Sand filter TR60 (replaced identical 1994 model); Sta-Rite Dura-Glas Up-rated P2RA5E-124L 5" pump w/ AO Smith Centurian B848 switchless motor 1hp; (removed-TeledyneLaars LaarsLite heater); (removed-Sun Auto. Pool Chlorinator); (replaced-Hayward Vari-flo valve SP0710x-40)

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Money Pit, Part 1 - The Leak

    That all makes sense. Opening up a two foot wide pit behind the wall won't be a problem as long as it doesn't go all the way down to the base of the wall. You should only run into wall problems if it is much wider than that or goes into the concrete at the base of the wall. Try to leave a strip of deck right against the wall intact.

    While digging, there won't be any obvious clues unless there is a fairly rapid leak.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Money Pit, Part 1 - The Leak

    When cutting out the decking just try to cut managable pieces so you can slide them back into place when your done. Live with that until your remodel.
    40'x19' IG Diamond Brite 29K 4' Waterfall/Dive Rock FNS60 DE Inteliflo VS 2hp Whisperflo pumps Aqualogic(P4) SWG TF100 Tester


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    Re: Money Pit, Part 1 - The Leak

    Oh, brilliant idea! And, even if we can't save the concrete, it may be a good place to test pavers and our ability to lay them.

    We should be fine with the depth of the pit, as luckily we're at the deep end here.

    Now, if we could just find an easy way to find the liner leaks in the deep end. The pool really wasn't THAT cold..my kids had been swimming in it for 2 weeks. When leak detectors find liner leaks, do they have the ability to identify more than just the plane on which the leak is? In other words, if it's on the wall, can they identify the depth?

    Amy
    18x36 26.6k IG vinyl liner over concrete or concrete blocks - liner is slipped-out in spots, but not moving; constant slope from 3.5' to 8'; 1 shallow skimmer/2 deep-end eyeball returns; Pentair multi-port valve; 2010 Triton Sand filter TR60 (replaced identical 1994 model); Sta-Rite Dura-Glas Up-rated P2RA5E-124L 5" pump w/ AO Smith Centurian B848 switchless motor 1hp; (removed-TeledyneLaars LaarsLite heater); (removed-Sun Auto. Pool Chlorinator); (replaced-Hayward Vari-flo valve SP0710x-40)

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    maxepr1's Avatar
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    Re: Money Pit, Part 1 - The Leak

    I'll bet he'll tell you for $900, Amy!
    40'x19' IG Diamond Brite 29K 4' Waterfall/Dive Rock FNS60 DE Inteliflo VS 2hp Whisperflo pumps Aqualogic(P4) SWG TF100 Tester


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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Money Pit, Part 1 - The Leak

    They use different techniques to find out different things. There is an electronic detector that can often tell them where along the wall horizontally a leak is, but to find depth they usually have to go in the water, which they prefer not to do unless you are having them fix the problem.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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  19. Back To Top    #19

    Re: Money Pit, Part 1 - The Leak

    I had assumed fixing liner leaks was part of the fee. I should have clarified with him what I'd end up with. Last year when we had liner leaks fixed in October, the $150 fee included finding and fixing. I just assumed that was standard practice. Of course, we all know what happens when we 'assume'!

    But, we're about 7 hours into our DIY version. We rented a concrete saw and cut a 12" square. I had suggested bigger, but that was what my husband decided. The concrete was almost 5" thick in some places, and was really nicely done! We had to sledgehammer out the piece, since there was no way to get any leverage. But, it's the size of a 12" paver, so we should be good.

    As soon as we got thru, we could see the water behind the wall. We dug down to the piping, and could see the leak at the joint where the pipe turned south after coming west out of the wall. Water was just pouring out. We hadn't heard from our plumber friend, so we were debating making the hole bigger in the rental time we had left. At just that moment, the plumber appeared at the gate! He took a look and said the hole was just fine.

    He and my husband have been working 4 hours now. They are currently struggling with keeping water from filling the hole, as both ends of the cut pipe have water coming back in. We've got the multiport closed, the suction side valve to the pump closed, the return valve to the pool closed, and both returns winter-plugged. They cut the pipe from the west return close to the wall and can see water pouring back in from the pool thru it, even though it's plugged. They've tried other plugs, but the water keeps coming through pipe. Where on earth is the water coming in? Could it be coming in from around the outside of the return pipe? If so, how do you fix that? There's a screw missing from the return faceplate that was supposed to be replaced. Could it be that?

    For now, they're dropping the water in the pool so they can replace the piping. But I'm worried about the water entering the pipe even though the winter plug is in place. That would seem to make winterizing impossible!

    Any ideas?
    18x36 26.6k IG vinyl liner over concrete or concrete blocks - liner is slipped-out in spots, but not moving; constant slope from 3.5' to 8'; 1 shallow skimmer/2 deep-end eyeball returns; Pentair multi-port valve; 2010 Triton Sand filter TR60 (replaced identical 1994 model); Sta-Rite Dura-Glas Up-rated P2RA5E-124L 5" pump w/ AO Smith Centurian B848 switchless motor 1hp; (removed-TeledyneLaars LaarsLite heater); (removed-Sun Auto. Pool Chlorinator); (replaced-Hayward Vari-flo valve SP0710x-40)

  20. Back To Top    #20
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    Re: Money Pit, Part 1 - The Leak

    That is surprising. A winterizing plug should stop the water flow. A screw missing would cause a small leak, but your description sounds like a large leak.

    I wonder if that pipe really goes where you think it goes. Is it possible that it runs to a main drain or another skimmer?
    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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