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Thread: Thinking about giving up and filling it in... suggestions?

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    Thinking about giving up and filling it in... suggestions?

    Hello everyone...

    I will try to sum it up as best and quickly as possible. My wife and I purchased a house with pool a little over 5 years ago and have had problems from day one with the pool (house too but that's a bit off topic). We are on our 2nd liner, have already replaced all above ground plumbing, installed a new multi-port valve, replaced the sand in the filter, and installed a new pump motor within the last 5 years. It shouldn't be this difficult.

    We now have a leak and for $75 the local pool company performed a pressure test and it's the worst possible case. We have a leak in the return lines somewhere. They gave me a "ballpark" price of $1,000 to install new return lines which would all now be on the same side which I don't care for nor think would really work properly. Anyway, they didn't even suggest fixing the current lines.

    I then asked about permanently closing the pool and filling it in which he said would run about $3,000. This sounds really high to me. We don't use the pool nearly enough for the continued trouble and cost it has become.

    Any suggestions on which way to go? Sorry for the long post; we just need the advice of some experts.
    26,000 vinyl IG pool
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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking about giving up and filling it in... suggestion

    Hmm. Let me ask a few questions. How far did you allow the water level to drop? Is it a fast leak or a slow leak? How many returns do you have? Can you isolate any of the returns?
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    Re: Thinking about giving up and filling it in... suggestion

    The water level was dropping about an inch every 4 hours with the pump running. After turning the pump off, the level continued to drop about 3 inches over 3-4 days. The water was right at the bottom of the skimmer when the pool co. performed the pressure test. The pool has three returns with one in the steps.

    To add a little more information, the concrete deck around the pool cracked really bad this year due to the lack of rain and the excellent soil we have. If I had to guess, the returns by the stair and in the shallow end are the ones to blame since that is where the concrete is cracked the worst.
    26,000 vinyl IG pool
    Hayward 300lb sand filter
    1 1/2 HP pump
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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking about giving up and filling it in... suggestion

    You could always try to dig out the line where the concrete is worst. Depending on how bad the break is, you could repair it or cap it off. Could you post a picture of your pool?
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Thinking about giving up and filling it in... suggestion

    $3,000 is pretty cheap to fill it in.. I would estimate more like $5,000. Anyways, don't forget you could always do quick and ugly with an above ground line bolted to the pool decking.
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    Re: Thinking about giving up and filling it in... suggestion

    Thanks for the replies so far. I will get a picture posted later today.
    26,000 vinyl IG pool
    Hayward 300lb sand filter
    1 1/2 HP pump
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    Re: Thinking about giving up and filling it in... suggestion

    Here is an old picture of the pool which is an 18x36 Grecian. I also included a picture of the concrete where I suspect the break to be.

    If we go the repair route, I will try to do as much as I can myself and thought today about using a flexible PVC pipe and using something other than concrete for the decking since the soil moves so much. Any opinions on that route?

    Finally, there is also a local plumbing company that claims they can re-pipe without having to dig. Anyone heard of this and do you think it would work? Thanks again everyone.
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    26,000 vinyl IG pool
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking about giving up and filling it in... suggestion

    I know you don't want to spend any more money but the info you got for your $75 wasn't really any better than you already had. You knew you had a leak somewhere before and that's about all you know now.

    Is there water coming out of the waste port when the pump is running?

    I'd recommend getting a leak detection company to come out and pinpoint the leak. That way you'll know exactly what your options are for fixing it and exactly where it is.

    P.S. What part of our great state are you in?
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Thinking about giving up and filling it in... suggestion

    You are correct that I don't want to spend any more money on this, but I don't think that is an option seeing how expensive it is to fill in. I do have some friends with large dozier equipment, but I am sure there is a proper way you close a pool for good. I checked the waste port first when I started losing water and it isn't leaking.

    The question now is what to do and when to do it. I will give a couple of plumbing companies a call to see what they will charge for the detection. Thanks again.

    Bama Rambler - we are in the central Alabama area outside of Montgomery.
    26,000 vinyl IG pool
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    Re: Thinking about giving up and filling it in... suggestion

    I know how you feel about filling and for $3000 to get rid of the stress forever is really cheap. I am very handy and fixed all the problems with my pool without calling the pro in the past 10 yrs. But the problem is, every time after I fixed a problem, feeling relieved and proud for saving the summer, there was always another problem returned the following summer. We only use the pool 2-3 months out of the year so the problem has to be fixed right away before the summer is gone, if not, what's point of maintaining the pool all year, and this causes a lot of stress. Not to mention the time spending every weekends to clean the pool, the skimmer, controlling the chemical, the extra debris during the windy months and the occasional filter cleaning. I can't never keep track of the $$ we spend on the pool every year either. May be it's just my pool with the idiotic original owner who decided to put in a pool in the middle of all the pine trees ( it's partly my fault buying the house without knowing enough about pool). Water and electricicy are getting more and more expensive in CA, too. There are times when I am thinking of just getting rid of the pool when I become too old to maintain the pool and when my kids are in college. It's just too much hassle all year round for a very little enjoyment in a very little period of time. Oh, did I mention I just replaced new pump and filter 4 weeks ago only because I couldn't find one part for my 30+ year old filter. The day I find the leak under the concrete is the day I'll convince my wife to fill the pool and until then, I'll come here to search for help, lol....

    Sorry, this sounds more like my venting than giving any suggestion.

    This place is awsome, by the way. May be I'll tolerate my pool more because of it.
    35k Gallon, 2 In Piping, Aquarite, KK, Spa, Water Fall.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking about giving up and filling it in... suggestion

    Once you find a detection company you'll know what your options are. It may be something simple and close to the pad that won't cost much to fix.
    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: Thinking about giving up and filling it in... suggestion

    We've all been in situations where we just don't know what's wrong and we think it's an AWFUL scenario coming up. Pools do cost money, but sometimes the fixes are short term and relatively easy and affordable. The little you'll spend on a leak detection test will certainly outweigh breaking up an entire area of concrete to find that the leak didn't exist there. I'm much more tolerable and I quickly forget what I've done. I had a leak in my pond next to my pool while the pool was being built and I had moved all the plumbing to my pool house for the pond. I ended up taking tackling portions of the pond - I first determined that the leak was at a specific level and had to do with plumbing, so I began by replacing the main pond liner. I justify it by saying it is now a double liner, so much more safe. It didn't solve the problem. With that I took out about 400 big rocks and put them back in. I then began working on the 2nd level pond and the entire stream coming from the top. I replaced that entire pond liner. Once again, problem not solved yet. I then put the waterfall inside the pond liner and found that the waterfall drain was broken - My leak at the furthest point from where I started. If I had gotten someone in for leak detection, I probably would have saved a couple hundred dollars and about 2 months worth of work - I justify it by the fact that I really like how I re-did the entire pond. It's all now self-contained and nothing can leak out except the pipe going to/from the pond. Everything else is within the liner. The other thing that I do know with confidence, that pipe doesn't normally leak. It's usually something else.

    Good Luck, but stay patient... and have a beer in between once in a while.
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    Re: Thinking about giving up and filling it in... suggestion

    amati5 - I hear ya... vent away. I feel like I've done my fair share.

    Dave - Very true, it would be a nice change to be making more of it than it turns out to be for once!

    XsAllOverIt - Sounds like you had quite a fiasco as well, but it turned out well. Thanks for the advice.
    26,000 vinyl IG pool
    Hayward 300lb sand filter
    1 1/2 HP pump
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    Re: Thinking about giving up and filling it in... suggestion

    Old story goes. there once was an old woman that swallowed a fly...well you know the rest. Depends weather you want a pool or not as to how much you want to re invest. I would consider building a new pool from scratch and turning the old into a water tank. Just my 2 cents.

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    Re: Thinking about giving up and filling it in... suggestion

    I received a quote yesterday from one plumbing company... $500 minimum just to take the camera through the pipe to try and find the leak. No guarantees they find anything. Nothing is cheap with pools.
    26,000 vinyl IG pool
    Hayward 300lb sand filter
    1 1/2 HP pump
    Jacuzzi Tracker

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking about giving up and filling it in... suggestion

    You can do some more troubleshooting on your own before you spend the money on the camera if you want to spend a little time.

    You can plug the returns in the pool and run a temp line across the ground and run the pump and see if it loses water that way. If it does, then you can run a temp suction line to the pump and plug all the suctions in the pool and see if it loses water that way. At least you'll be able to narrow down some things.
    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: Thinking about giving up and filling it in... suggestion

    Out of curiosity, are there ever any codes/permits that have to be followed when one fills a pool with dirt etc.?
    You just fill it with dirt, or you have to remove the plaster & rebar etc, or make holes in the bottom or what? How does one eliminate his in-ground pool?
    19,800 gallons (closed/winter 18,654 gal); plaster; 18x34 Ft kidney bean shape, Depth 3Ft-5Ft. Built 1992
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking about giving up and filling it in... suggestion

    I'm sure there are jurisdictions where there are permits and specific steps that have to be followed in order to fill a pool with soil but I've never heard of any. There are common sense things you want ot do such as punch a few holes in the bottom and remove the concrete to well below the surrounding surface.
    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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