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Thread: Possible leak, bubbles from returns, sometimes main drain.

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    Possible leak, bubbles from returns, sometimes main drain.

    My 23yr old swimming pool (just inherited) appears to be leaking water (losing slightly less than 1/2" daily) and I've noticed while running the 1.5HP hayward pump that randomly I see a single, large bubble float up from the main drain along with micro-bubbles from the returns. This is with the pump pulling from the skimmer and the main drain with the filter engaged. The system has been running like this for several days and the behavior continues. I can't find any leaking water at the pipes above ground or from any of the equipment and cannot find any wet ground around the pool, but most of that area is covered in concrete so it would be hard to spot.

    Any ideas?
    Kevin Edwards
    President at Spa Cover Spot
    Tot Tub Covers

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    Join Date
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    Re: Possible leak, bubbles from returns, sometimes main drai

    Are your skimmer and drain tied or individually run and valved at the pump?

    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: Possible leak, bubbles from returns, sometimes main drai

    The only way I can think of for bubbles to be coming from the main drain is if it is being used as a return. Is this a concrete or vinyl pool? Is this a salt water pool?

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    Re: Possible leak, bubbles from returns, sometimes main drai

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    Are your skimmer and drain tied or individually run and valved at the pump?

    Scott
    The skimmer and drain are individual pipes and valved at the pump.

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesW
    The only way I can think of for bubbles to be coming from the main drain is if it is being used as a return. Is this a concrete or vinyl pool? Is this a salt water pool?
    It is concrete and not salt water. The bubbles from the main drain only occur maybe once every 1-2hours and it is normally one solid medium sized bubble (guessing 1.5").
    Kevin Edwards
    President at Spa Cover Spot
    Tot Tub Covers

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    Re: Possible leak, bubbles from returns, sometimes main drai

    I completed some additional trouble-shooting today by closing off the main drain, but keeping the two skimmers open. I let that run for about 10 minutes and the microbubbles in the return were still present. Then I closed each skimmer off individually (only leaving one skimmer open at a time with the main drain still closed) and the microbubbles in the return were still present when pulling from either of the skimmers...
    Kevin Edwards
    President at Spa Cover Spot
    Tot Tub Covers

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    guamguy's Avatar
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    Re: Possible leak, bubbles from returns, sometimes main drai

    You might try taking suction from only the main drain. Do you see any air in the pump strainer basket?
    12,800 gallon IG plaster kidney-shaped pool, waterslide, 800 gallon spa.
    1HP 2 speed Sta-Rite pool pump, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite spa jet pump. 2 skimmers, 1 main drain
    Purex-Triton TR-60 325 lb.sand filter. 2" Plumbing, Intex SWCG, TF-100 test kit.
    Link to pics of my pool! http://www.troublefreepool.com/my-oasis-t26558.html

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    Re: Possible leak, bubbles from returns, sometimes main drai

    I just tried taking suction from the main drain only and while I no longer noticed the large bubble from the drain itself, the microbubbles remained the same from the returns. Under all valve conditions I do see a large amount of bubbles in the pump strainer basket, so many that it looks like a minature cyclone to the extent that I can't see the bottom of the basket, only the surface. The water doesn't seem to completely fill the compartment or touch the top of the clear viewing dome. Sometimes the water level in the compartment gets close enough that I can see in better/deeper, but the bubbles are still visible at the top twisting violently even at the best of times.
    Kevin Edwards
    President at Spa Cover Spot
    Tot Tub Covers

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Possible leak, bubbles from returns, sometimes main drai

    Lets attack the air in the pump basket first.
    Remove, clean, lube the basket lid o-ring and sealing surface and replace it.
    Check the drain plugs and reseal them.
    Check the skimmer weirs and make sure they're not sticking, and not creating a vortex.
    Once you've done the above, post back and let us know if it worked.
    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: Possible leak, bubbles from returns, sometimes main drai

    Checked the pump basket o-ring and it's good. Is there a certain lube that is better than others? The pump is less than a year old at the moment.
    Checked the skimmer weirs and they're operating good and open as far as I can tell, but I do notice with the cover off the top of the skimmer that there is a bit of "whirlpool" look in there at times.
    Where might the "drain plugs" be located? (I'm still new to the pool, sorry).

    Thanks again for the all the help.
    Kevin Edwards
    President at Spa Cover Spot
    Tot Tub Covers

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Possible leak, bubbles from returns, sometimes main drai

    You should use silicon pool lube or teflon lube.

    The drain plugs are on the pump strainer basket near the bottom.

    If the skimmers are creating whirlpools then raise the water level and inch or so and see if that helps.
    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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    CUTiger78's Avatar
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    Re: Possible leak, bubbles from returns, sometimes main drai

    Re. the bubbles from the returns - I had that problem. I had a small suction leak at the stem of a metal gate valve. Only a few drops of water came out when I turned the pump off; no water drops when the pump was on. Repacked the stem with plumbers tape (not teflon tape used on threads). No more bubbles!

    Good luck!
    36K gallon 42X22 gunite/plaster kidney-shaped IG;
    1 hp Hayward Super Pump (new in 2012);
    Hayward S244T sand filter w/ Zeosand (both new in 2009);
    175K BTU LAARS Lite2 LG natural gas heater; Polaris 380;
    TF-100 test kit.

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    Re: Possible leak, bubbles from returns, sometimes main drai

    Raising the water levels currently to see if that helps, I checked those plugs and re-seated them, they seem to be good. However, I did find a few drops at one of the return lines that was hidden very well so I'm going to fix that also and the post from CUTiger78 has me hopeful that it may be the problem.
    Kevin Edwards
    President at Spa Cover Spot
    Tot Tub Covers

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