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Thread: Argh! Vinyl liner water down to 3-4 inches! MOSTLY FIXED :)

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    Argh! Vinyl liner water down to 3-4 inches! MOSTLY FIXED :)

    I put the pool cover pump on the pool cover today (2nd time since pool closed). I thought the cover (resting on the water) looked a little low, so I put the outlet end of the hose under the cover to pump the water back into the pool. After the cover was pumped off, it still looked low, so I moved some water bags and peered inside with a flashlight. The water in the shallow end was down to 3 or 4 inches!!!

    Pool was closed with water level 18" below normal level; for some reason, the returns are 12" below the normal water level, so there wasn't a good level between the skimmer and returns; so I closed with the water level below the returns.

    1) Here's the big question, is the liner is ruined? Pushing on the side felt like pushing on a balloon, it's shrunk up like I read it would do if drained too far. It's supposedly only 2 or 3 years old.

    2) What should I expect to pay for a liner? Also, I might get the 2 returns and the other outlet (I suspect it's for a pool cleaner) lowered to 18" so the pool can be closed more easily while I'm at it.

    3) Should I take the cover off (it's new for this year) in an attempt to save it? It turns out to be too small for the pool, since the pool has to be closed with the water level so low... so it is stretched to some extent when installed normally, it doesn't go straight down the walls and has to be secured with ropes. Since the water's dropped another 30", only about half of it is resting on the water at this point.

    IIRC, I closed October 2nd, so water has dropped 5"/week... I thought the pool used a lot of water this year, but being a new pool owner, I kinda chalked it up to an extremely hot summer and a leaky outlet on my pool pump http://www.troublefreepool.com/how-d...king%20threads. I obviously should've done the bucket test, good lord it is biting me now.
    25,000 gallon 18x36 vinyl inground, sand filter, been doing this a few years now and feel like I have a decent handle on it.

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    Re: Arrgh! Vinyl liner water is down to 3-4 inches!

    That's terrible! I can't offer any advice but I'm sure someone will come along soon.
    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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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Arrgh! Vinyl liner water is down to 3-4 inches!

    You have some choices, none of them pleasant. Basically you can deal with it now, or later. Dealing with it now improves your odds for saving the liner, but is likely to be a significant amount of work. Your liner is new enough that the odds are fairly good that it can be reset instead of requiring replacement, but that requires that it not get torn in the meantime. Dealing with it now improves the odds of keeping it intact. To deal with it now requires uncovering the pool, searching for the leak, and investigating how much the liner has shifted to see if it can be rescued easily, needs resetting, or is already too damaged to recover.
    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: Arrgh! Vinyl liner water is down to 3-4 inches!

    Will a leak detection company check for a leak this time of year? I would think the water temperature is in the 40-50's, outside temperatures are getting down into the 27-47 degree range at night, with daytime highs in the 50's and 60's, and not a lot of sunlight, so whoever's working on it's gonna be COLD! (Water might be only 3" in the shallow end, but it's still 4' 3" in the deep end.)

    I'm concerned that the leak might be the main drain line, as a friend and I spent a lot of time looking at the bottom of the deep end one day this summer trying to find a leak. The only thing we ever found was an area about 1 1/4" long with a definite indention shaped like the corner of a brick or something had impacted, but there was no sign of impact and the vinyl looked and felt fine.
    25,000 gallon 18x36 vinyl inground, sand filter, been doing this a few years now and feel like I have a decent handle on it.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Arrgh! Vinyl liner water is down to 3-4 inches!

    Some leak companies will still be working this time of year, but others will be closed. You should be able to find someone if call around.
    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: Arrgh! Vinyl liner water is down to 3-4 inches!

    I would say 6 inches in the shallow would be a safe minimum to keep the liner in place. With the liner only being a few years old I would say the liner is still salvageable, just don't let it get lower and start adding water to the pool. Naturally you want a company out to do a leak find asap. Also keep in mind a leak finder only works from the water level down when looking for leaks in the liner.

    -Kevin
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    22,000 gal / 16' x 32' / Vinyl / Hayward s244t /Pentair SuperFlo 1 hp

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    Re: Arrgh! Vinyl liner water is down to 3-4 inches!

    Ok, I'll put some water in the pool immediately.
    25,000 gallon 18x36 vinyl inground, sand filter, been doing this a few years now and feel like I have a decent handle on it.

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    Re: Arrgh! Vinyl liner water is down to 3-4 inches!

    So, talked to a guy who works on pools, he suggested a company and I called them Monday. The fellow I spoke with said to fill the pool back up to operating levels so as long as they're looking for leaks, they can find ALL of them. He said they will not dive the pool this time of year, but they will apply patches with a pole if necessary. Sounds hokey but I have no better ideas and no scuba gear or knowledge. $125 to look for leaks, which sounds reasonable; I did not ask what it costs to patch.

    Filling pool up (will finish tomorrow morning), pulled off cover, reassembled and wired up pump. Cable guy is coming tomorrow morning, hopefully I will have time to clean the pool before the pool guys show up tomorrow afternoon - gunk fell out when I disconnected the light from the wall to let it hang for the winter, and gunk came up from the main drain when I blew it out), and there's leaves and **** from me taking the cover off by myself.

    Crossing my fingers!
    25,000 gallon 18x36 vinyl inground, sand filter, been doing this a few years now and feel like I have a decent handle on it.

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    Re: Arrgh! Vinyl liner water is down to 3-4 inches!

    I use a pole to attach patches this time of year if I can. If i can't then ill use the dry suit. Are they using a leak finder or just looking?

    -Kevin
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    X-Pert Pool on Facebook and @XPertPoolServic on Twitter
    22,000 gal / 16' x 32' / Vinyl / Hayward s244t /Pentair SuperFlo 1 hp

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    Re: Arrgh! Vinyl liner water is down to 3-4 inches!

    I believe he said something about "$125 to use the leak finder equipment". Surely they'll use a leak finder, I don't see how anyone could find the leak by just looking.
    25,000 gallon 18x36 vinyl inground, sand filter, been doing this a few years now and feel like I have a decent handle on it.

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    Re: Arrgh! Vinyl liner water is down to 3-4 inches!

    Pool guy came out, ran equipment, found a hole he said he thought the tip of his pinky would fit in, with some smaller holes around it. Made a patch a few inches in diameter and he thought it held pretty good. He said to go ahead and monitor the water level for a few days to see if this solved the problem.

    Crossing my fingers! Thanks for all the help so far.
    25,000 gallon 18x36 vinyl inground, sand filter, been doing this a few years now and feel like I have a decent handle on it.

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    Re: Arrgh! Vinyl liner water is down to 3-4 inches!

    Where was the hole?
    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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    Re: Arrgh! Vinyl liner water is down to 3-4 inches!

    Hole was in the deep end. You know how the sidewall comes straight down 5' or so, then is at an angle for the rest of the way? It was about 3" down on the angled part.

    Alas, I'm pretty sure the pool is still leaking. I noted where the water was on the skimmer when the pool guy was here the other day, and I think it's gone down 1/4 or 3/8" (hard to tell, wind was moving water both times). I put a bucket on the step with the water level marked today, but it blew off the step and into the pool, thanks to the 40mph gusts we had today.

    So the things I can think of at this point are:
    Patch didn't work
    Pool wall light leaks
    Area where liner meets drain leaks
    Main drain leaks
    Skimmer leaks
    25,000 gallon 18x36 vinyl inground, sand filter, been doing this a few years now and feel like I have a decent handle on it.

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    Re: Arrgh! Vinyl liner water is down to 3-4 inches!

    I also thought the pool had leaked when I got up this morning, so I was thinking at work today (well, grasping at straws).

    The people I did talk to said nobody around here will dive with these water temperatures - supposedly someone with a dry suit did, but he retired. Is there any chance I can swim down and plug the pool drain? Water temperature is 46 degrees F; Outdoors tomorrow it is supposed to be 70, undoubtedly the warmest chance I have. I have an air compressor and a filter for supplying breathable air inside an automotive paint booth, and I'd have to run plastic tubing from that to breathe through.

    It looks like the drain cover has four screws; then below that, would I be able to access a standard 2" pipe that could be plugged with a freeze plug?

    I'm to the point I've even looked on ebay and craigslist to find scuba gear to pull this off.
    25,000 gallon 18x36 vinyl inground, sand filter, been doing this a few years now and feel like I have a decent handle on it.

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    Re: Arrgh! Vinyl liner water is down to 3-4 inches!

    Sorry you are having this problem!

    Try the bucket test again - this time use rocks to weigh down the bucket, mark the level in the bucket and in the pool and compare the next day.

    There is always a chance that the light conduit has broken, but the leak finder should have pointed that out.

    Any idea as to why the area they patched would be in need of patching?


    [edit] you can try placing a plastic cover over the MD to stop the 'leak'.
    Luv& Luk
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    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

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    Re: Arrgh! Vinyl liner water is down to 3-4 inches!

    Quote Originally Posted by waste
    There is always a chance that the light conduit has broken, but the leak finder should have pointed that out.
    Guy said the electronics wouldn't help him around the main drain or the light since the light fixture is metal. and the main drain has metal screws. However, that doesn't jibe with what I understand from how the electronic detectors work, now that you mention it; but I'd figure the guy would know the equipment better than I do.

    Quote Originally Posted by waste
    Any idea as to why the area they patched would be in need of patching?
    No, not a clue. This is my first year with the pool and I don't think we did anything that could have caused that. I really don't see how anything short of a stick could make an oval/round hole in the liner like that. There were very few children and teenagers in our pool this year. It doesn't look like what I'd think a toenail would cause, but who knows - maybe it was from someone climbing out of the pool there.

    Quote Originally Posted by waste
    [edit] you can try placing a plastic cover over the MD to stop the 'leak'.
    Please elaborate!!!

    Thanks for everyone's help, I bought this house for reasons other than the pool, and the way things have been this year, it seems I cannot really afford the pool... but I hate to fill it in when it just also seems like it maybe just needs a little fixing up.
    25,000 gallon 18x36 vinyl inground, sand filter, been doing this a few years now and feel like I have a decent handle on it.

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    Re: Argh! Vinyl liner water down to 3-4 inches! STILL LEAKIN

    The pool guy is right, he's using an electronic leak detector anything that is grounded will always show up as a massive leak which includes
    step, skimmer, maindrain, and return screws
    and the light niche.

    The only way to check those areas is to use a microphone or dye.


    By the way if you have a tarp cover on your pool you can put the cover on and that should help stop the water from bouncing around when marking the water for a bucket test. Even a mesh cover will stop some wind from moving the water around
    -Kevin
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    22,000 gal / 16' x 32' / Vinyl / Hayward s244t /Pentair SuperFlo 1 hp

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    Re: Arrgh! Vinyl liner water is down to 3-4 inches!

    Quote Originally Posted by DistantHorizon
    Is there any chance I can swim down and plug the pool drain? Water temperature is 46 degrees F; Outdoors tomorrow it is supposed to be 70, undoubtedly the warmest chance I have.
    I'm no expert, but the swimming idea sounds like a bad idea.

    From this web site http://www.enter.net/~skimmer/coldwater.html:
    Hypothermia (decreased body temperature) develops more slowly than the immediate effects of cold shock. Survival curves show that an adult dressed in average clothing may remain conscious for an hour at 40 degrees F and perhaps 2-3 hours at 50 degrees F (water temp.).
    The crisis is more serious than these numbers suggest.
    *Any movement in the water accelerates heat loss.
    *Survival time can be reduced to minutes.
    *Hands rapidly become numb and useless.
    *Without thermal protection, swimming is not possible.
    *The victim, though conscious, is soon helpless.
    *Without a life jacket, drowning is unavoidable.
    36K gallon 42X22 gunite/plaster kidney-shaped IG;
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    Re: Arrgh! Vinyl liner water is down to 3-4 inches!

    Called pool guy last night, but don't know when I'll get a response. Spent the last hour with a net skimming out 1.5 billion leaves, as the trees near the pool started losing their leaves the day after I uncovered the pool.

    Quote Originally Posted by CUTiger78
    Quote Originally Posted by DistantHorizon
    Is there any chance I can swim down and plug the pool drain? Water temperature is 46 degrees F; Outdoors tomorrow it is supposed to be 70, undoubtedly the warmest chance I have.
    I'm no expert, but the swimming idea sounds like a bad idea. [/b][/color]
    Haha, yeah, I put my arm in the water last night and that was the last of that idea!!! I imagine I would go into the pool, immediately get out of the pool, go in the house and warm up, and spend the next week fighting the flu.

    Quote Originally Posted by X-PertPool
    The pool guy is right, he's using an electronic leak detector anything that is grounded will always show up as a massive leak which includes
    step, skimmer, maindrain, and return screws
    and the light niche.

    The only way to check those areas is to use a microphone or dye.
    Checking the light with dye from outside the pool looks very difficult. I considered putting a dye syringe on the end of a pole and reaching out near the main drain, but I don't know if I'll be able to see it from the surface... also have to be very very careful to keep from puncturing the liner with an eight foot pool with a needle on the end. Don't think I can check the skimmer mouth where it meets the liner with the wind we have again today; I could check the inside of the skimmer with dye, by blocking the skimmer mouth with cardboard.


    Quote Originally Posted by X-PertPool
    By the way if you have a tarp cover on your pool you can put the cover on and that should help stop the water from bouncing around when marking the water for a bucket test. Even a mesh cover will stop some wind from moving the water around
    For now, I'm pretty much the only one here... fiance is spending all her time at the hospital, and neighbors, well, that's another story. I got the tarp cover off by myself, but I don't think I can wrestle it on. Wind should die down tomorrow.

    Checked the pool water, pH is ok, TA is down to 80.
    25,000 gallon 18x36 vinyl inground, sand filter, been doing this a few years now and feel like I have a decent handle on it.

  20. Back To Top    #20

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    Re: Argh! Vinyl liner water down to 3-4 inches! STILL LEAKIN

    With that much wind I don't know that 1/4-3/8" is indicative of a leak
    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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