Become a TFP Supporter Pool Math Forum Rules Pool School
Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Pool Losing Water at a Fair Clip

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Central Jersey
    Posts
    10

    Pool Losing Water at a Fair Clip

    I've been hunting down leaks for about 2 weeks. I just found this web site. This is what I've done, and what I've found. If anyone can add anything please do:

    Lay of the land:
    Basic rectangular IGVL, fiberglass steps, ladder, diving board, 2 strainers, bottom drain, no lights, DE filter, underground black poly pipe with worm drive clamps. Everything is about 20 years old except the liner, which is about 8 years old. This is not a flat landscape. Starting at my back fenceline and moving toward the house, I have level ground to the edge of the pool. Jump in, then cross the pool, and you walk out of the pool at the steps, then move 4 feet across some concrete toward the house, and you go down 3 steps to grade. At that grade, I have a paver patio, and a couple in ground drain boxes and a UG drain system that discharges to the curb line (which is another 7 foot drop in elevation, about 150 feet away). My pool equipment is off to the side, and the bottom of the filter housing is roughly at the elevation of the bottom of the skimmer inlets. So at normal operating water level (NOWL), the base of my pump and filter are actually below the water line.

    Symptoms:
    Started losing water about 2-3 weeks ago. It will drop 2-3 inches from mid strainer down, in about 12 hours. That's 600 plus gallons.

    Other info:
    We had a brutal winter. 3 feet of snow. Ice in the pool was a foot thick, right at the skimmer openings. I had drained it down past the jets when I closed it up, but I didn't get an opportunity to drain the excess water from the rains in late fall. The pool filled back up and froze.

    Tests that I've done:
    At first I thought it was leaking UG fittings. It was easy enough to dig up the fittings at the pump, so I did. No leaks. I then pressure tested the lines. Held pressure overnight. No leaks there. Went through a bottle and a half of blue dye, looking for leaks.

    Observations:
    I then noticed that the water would drop to a certain point and stop. This corresponded to just under the nosing of the first step, and 1/2 inch higher than the bottom edge of the skimmer opening. I refiled to the NOWL, and spent an hour in the pool this morning looking at every square inch of the liner at the leak level, puffing dye here and there. I also noticed this year that the shrubs at my steps aren't "twins" anymore. One looks weak and a little droopy. I'm thinking it's getting the brunt of the water leak, and it's slowly drowning.

    Things I've found:
    1. Steps
    There are 3 tiny quarter inch or smaller cracks in the 3rd and 4th steps. I guarantee you all 3 are weeping water out, but no way could I lose 2 inches from those 3 little cracks.
    2. Liner
    I actually found a decent hole in the liner, above the NOWL. Going to fix that tomorrow. But it can't be the source of my leak.
    3. Skimmer
    At first I thought the low end skimmer itself was cracked, but it's not. Then this morning, with my face up to the gasket plate, I see a bunch of crusty rust along the outside edge, on the pool water side. I think the ice jostled it and produced a leak. Why it didn't show up a month ago when I opened it, I'll never know. But when the water drains out, it stops draining when it reaches the exact height of the crustiest part of the rust. I think that's my leak. I'm going to try and get some photos today. Short term fix will be some marine epoxy. Long term, I'll fix it when I get the liner replaced in 2013 or 2014.
    4. Jet
    The low end jet seal plate has a crack in it, at the lower right screw hole. The crack goes clean through. During my pressure test of the line, I saw bubbles come right out of the crack, but I didn't lose pressure. I'm thinking in my effort to screw the plug in, I spread the crack, and allowed a leak to form. (That low end jet is a skant 5 feet from retaining wall that separates the upper level concrete pool deck and the paver patio below, and the droopy shrub, and is right next to the steps. The retaining wall itself has had some movement, and the concrete pool deck has settled on me about 3/4 inch in that area. I think it's washing out a little bit.)
    5. Deep end skimmer
    I accidentally overfilled the pool last week, and when I got up the next day, the pool was overflowing onto the lower patio. But it wasn't overflowing the top lip. I did some dye tests, and located a higher level leak in the deep end skimmer. Unmistakable leak through a crack in the deep end skimmer housing. And the water traveled 20 feet before it reached daylight. I could actually see where it was dripping out of the retaining wall (and bubbling up from patio at the base of the steps).

    So I believe I have small leaks in the fiberglass steps, a decent leak in the low end skimmer, a small one at the low end jet, and a decent one at a high point inside the deep end skimmer. Plus a hole in the liner above the NOWL. But my underground lines hold pressure.

    I think I have a handle on it, but if anyone can add anything to my findings, please do. Particularly about the rust stains around the low end skimmer (I'll post photos later).
    Rectangular Vinyl lined in ground, 16x32, circa 1990, Hayward DE4820 filter, 1 hp Hayward Superflo, 1987 Calspa

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Central Jersey
    Posts
    10

    Re: Pool Losing Water at a Fair Clip

    Here are some photos.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Rectangular Vinyl lined in ground, 16x32, circa 1990, Hayward DE4820 filter, 1 hp Hayward Superflo, 1987 Calspa

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Central Jersey
    Posts
    10

    Re: Pool Losing Water at a Fair Clip

    Here's one of the small cracks in the fiberglass steps. There are four total in the steps, all about a quarter inch.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Rectangular Vinyl lined in ground, 16x32, circa 1990, Hayward DE4820 filter, 1 hp Hayward Superflo, 1987 Calspa

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Central Jersey
    Posts
    10

    Re: Pool Losing Water at a Fair Clip

    If anyone has had any similar leaks or rust stains, especially around the skimmer, please let me know if you did anything for it (short of replacement), like epoxy putty.

    One other strange observation. If I valve off the low end skimmer, it leaks a lot slower. The level still goes down, but it's a lot slower with it valved off. Originally I thought it stopped, but I've been taking regular level readings, and it's going down still, although much much slower. I'm not sure what's going on with that.
    Rectangular Vinyl lined in ground, 16x32, circa 1990, Hayward DE4820 filter, 1 hp Hayward Superflo, 1987 Calspa

  5. Back To Top    #5
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    SouthWest Alabama
    Posts
    22,347

    Re: Pool Losing Water at a Fair Clip

    Vitamin "C" tablets will most likely take the rust stains off. You're probably going to want to change those screws out if you haven't already.

    I'd plug the skimmer off and do the bucket test to see if that's where your leak is.
    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

  6. Back To Top    #6
    Diver's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    South of Boston
    Posts
    450

    Re: Pool Losing Water at a Fair Clip

    Aggie,

    you saw my post on similar situation. i also have cracked return jet fittings, but the dye test showed no movement there. i'm going to take the light out and see if there is some leak in the niche next.
    26K In-ground Vinyl Pool | Hayward DE4820/SP0710XR50 filter | 1.125 HP Dual Speed Hayward Super Pump | Aquasol Solar

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Coastalish 'down easter'
    Posts
    4,160

    Re: Pool Losing Water at a Fair Clip

    Aggie, Welcome to TFP!!

    1 minor leak can be a PITA to find, multiple leaks which lead to serious water loss are often moreso

    My best suggestion is to get your chlorine level up, then plug all returns and suction ports and do the bucket test overnight. The bucket test takes evaporation out of the equation and plugging the lines takes the plumbing out of the equation. You may need to do a modified version of this procedure a few times to find all the issues, but we'll be here to assist
    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!)

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Central Jersey
    Posts
    10

    Re: Pool Losing Water at a Fair Clip

    I have an update. I found a total of 9 leaks. I had one in the skimmer face plate gasket, 4 in the liner and 4 in the stairs. Three of the leaks in the liner were pretty big. One of them I could slip a credit card through, one of them I could fit my pinky into. I had scheduled a diver/repair guy to come in today, so it was fortuitous. I fixed all the leakers in the liner. I did the face plate gasket the other day. And the stair leaks were pretty small and easy to tackle with marine epoxy.

    I ended up have no leaks in the piping or equipment.

    The only thing that bothers me is that I think the deer put the two bigger holes in the liner. But I haven't seen any hair anywhere, so I'm not entirely sure that one fell in recently.
    Rectangular Vinyl lined in ground, 16x32, circa 1990, Hayward DE4820 filter, 1 hp Hayward Superflo, 1987 Calspa

  9. Back To Top    #9
    Diver's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    South of Boston
    Posts
    450

    Re: Pool Losing Water at a Fair Clip

    did you find the leaks with the dye? i opened the light the other day and found no leaks there. i'm going to redo some testing around the steps and i'm letting the water drop below the skimmer and returns. but so far i haven't seen anything yet ...
    26K In-ground Vinyl Pool | Hayward DE4820/SP0710XR50 filter | 1.125 HP Dual Speed Hayward Super Pump | Aquasol Solar

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Central Jersey
    Posts
    10

    Re: Pool Losing Water at a Fair Clip

    The dye only helped me around the skimmer. I actually found the larger liner leaks using my hands (dive down, feel around, go up for air, dive down, etc).

    When the diver got in the pool, he spent a good hour going over every square inch, using his hands. He used dye around stair gaskets, returns, and skimmer openings. The holes in the liner were obvious.

    He was good, and I'd recommend him to anyone. Very reasonable rate. He patched 4 holes and inspected every square inch of the liner for under $200.
    Rectangular Vinyl lined in ground, 16x32, circa 1990, Hayward DE4820 filter, 1 hp Hayward Superflo, 1987 Calspa

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Coastalish 'down easter'
    Posts
    4,160

    Re: Pool Losing Water at a Fair Clip

    I'm glad you have a sound liner now!

    SCUBA gear is a must for checking the entire liner, it's great your diver did such a thorough job

    I hope this solves all your water loss problems, but ... if you find yourself having more issues, we're always here for you
    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!)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •