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Thread: Gunite Spa Leak - Need advice

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Springfield, MO
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    Gunite Spa Leak - Need advice

    Have gunite pool & elevated gunite spa. Over $100K project. Although PB thinks otherwise, should have been completed around July 2011. Had MULITPLE issues with PB.

    To keep this short - spa is guinte, square exterior shape, octagonal interior shape with 8 jets. Planned on keeping spa open during winters with combination of geothermal & secondary gas heater.

    Pool & spa 80% done in July. All summer, spa held water without problem. PB did crappy job with pool & spa gunite (Diamond Brite). After threatening legal action, FINALLY came back out in November to address guinte issues. They did a light acid wash on spa to improve uniformity & placed permanent jets (1st jets were wrong color).

    Shortly after November work by PB, weather turned cold (in 20's at night). Around same time, spa pump started working incorrectly. Have variable speed Pentair pump with Easy Touch control. Pump scheduled to work 24 hrs per day via easytouch. Pump began to turn off by itself when it should have been on. As weather cold, I checked pump diligently. Although heater was installed, couldn't heat spa well as pump wasn't working right and PB still had not gotten the cover installed. Would check before bed at around 9-11 PM to make sure it was on. But when I checked pump at 7:00 AM, it was off. I informed PB - after 2 visits they determined there was a bad relay on Easy Touch. They then moved pump to a new Easy Touch relay - solved problem. Took them about 1 week to diagnose and fix. During this time, night temps in the 20s. Checked spa and approximately 2-3 times, had thin but full layer of ice on top of water. Water level at or near tile level during this time.

    During this time 1) shortly after gunite fix, 2) colder weather, & 3) pump problems - we began to notice that the spa was leaking. We would see water leaking though the exterior stone in 2 separate places. Called PB several times - finally came to look at the problem in Jan. He thought jets might not have been sealed correctly after gunite fix. Alternatively, he thought we had a leak in one of the jet pipes due to freezing and breakage. He sent one of his guys out. I was at work when they came out. Supposedly, he "resealed" the jets. This was done underwater as water level was far above jets when he came out. Didn't fix problem. So now, PB thinks pipe is broke. Wants to remove some of the exterior stone to find leak.

    For reference, I'm calling the 4 exterior sides of the spa "front", "back", "pool side", and "sidewalk side". To this post, I've attached 2 photos which give an overview of the "front" & "back" sides. These are also the locations where water was visably leaking on the exterior stone. I'll post additional photos which detail the location of the leak and current water level relative to jets.

    Whole experience with PB has been miserable. I have little to no confidence in his ability. We've held $6K back and will not pay him until we are 100% done.

    My questions:
    Any way to further diagnose this problem? Due to inadequately sealed jets, pipe burst, or something else?

    Should we let PB start removing stone in attempt to fix problem? Or get 2nd opinion from another pool company?

    Thanks in advance for the help.

    [attachment=1:2729bzx8]Overview Front.jpg[/attachment:2729bzx8]

    Above photo shows "pool" side and part of "front" side.

    [attachment=0:2729bzx8]Overview Back.jpg[/attachment:2729bzx8]
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. Back To Top    #2

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    Re: Gunite Spa Leak - Need advice

    Water was leaking and dropping level in spa approximately 1/2" to 1" per day. In attempt to localize the leak, we've let the spa continue to leak and not refill. Water level appears to have settled with very little change over past 1 week.

    Front side of spa is shown below. When water level is higher, there is much visibile wetness on the exterior stone. You can see the white calcium deposit on left side of the image where water was leaking. When water is actively leaking, approximate left 50% of this wall is wet.

    [attachment=1:1ql74doe]Front Leak.jpg[/attachment:1ql74doe]

    Back side of spa is shown below. This is directly opposite the front side. You can see a small amount of wetness on the sidewalk pavers and stone. Don't know if this is actively leaking or residual from recent leak. When actively leaking, this is much more pronounced.

    [attachment=0:1ql74doe]Back Leak.jpg[/attachment:1ql74doe]
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: Gunite Spa Leak - Need advice

    Again, we've let spa leak and come to a "resting level". There has been little to no drop in water level over past 1 week.

    Below photo shows "resting level of water" relative to jets on "front side" of spa where leaking water has been visualized. The lower jet on the right of this image and center jet are closest to location of visible leaking on exterior "front side".
    [attachment=1:1onvy8vb]Front 3 Jets.jpg[/attachment:1onvy8vb]

    Below photo shows "resting level of water" relative to jets on "back side" of spa where leaking water has been visualized. The center jet is closest to location of visible leaking on exterior "back side".
    [attachment=0:1onvy8vb]Back 3 Jets.jpg[/attachment:1onvy8vb]
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: Gunite Spa Leak - Need advice

    We have not seen water leaking on the face of the other 2 exterior sides of the spa. Just in case, I've included photos which demonstrate "resting water" level relative to additional 2 jets in these locations.

    [attachment=0:25elrqo8]Pool Side Jet.jpg[/attachment:25elrqo8]
    [attachment=1:25elrqo8]Sidewalk Jet.jpg[/attachment:25elrqo8]
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. Back To Top    #5

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    Re: Gunite Spa Leak - Need advice

    I tried to be as detailed as possible. Please let me know if you need any additional information or photos. If necessary, I can add more water and take additional photos which demonstrate full extent of leaking on exterior of stone.

    Thanks again. Chad

  6. Back To Top    #6
    acaciolo's Avatar
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    Re: Gunite Spa Leak - Need advice

    I'd insist that the pb gets a leak detection expert in there to investigate. google pool leak detection in your area. there are many ways to do it, but the easiest is with a syringe filled with dye. once the area is located, the deconstruction can be started to fix the leak. but before you start tearing things apart...find out through a dye or sonic test where the leak is.
    Owner of Monogram Custom Pools in NE PA. My Personal Pool - 1000sf gunite pebble pool with 1500 gallon spa/grotto and 500 gallon outdoor spa; Pentair i9 Intellitouch with i10x expansion panel. Screenlogic 2/iPhone
    Intelloflo SVRS main pump, 6 whisperflow pumps 2hp to 3hp, Intellichem system, ic60 salt water cell, Sta rite 400k btu heater, Pentair 120k btu heat pump

  7. Back To Top    #7

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    Re: Gunite Spa Leak - Need advice

    Thanks for the suggestion. Just so I have an idea, what is a ballpark price for such leak detection?

  8. Back To Top    #8
    acaciolo's Avatar
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    Re: Gunite Spa Leak - Need advice

    it should be a few hundred, at most.
    Owner of Monogram Custom Pools in NE PA. My Personal Pool - 1000sf gunite pebble pool with 1500 gallon spa/grotto and 500 gallon outdoor spa; Pentair i9 Intellitouch with i10x expansion panel. Screenlogic 2/iPhone
    Intelloflo SVRS main pump, 6 whisperflow pumps 2hp to 3hp, Intellichem system, ic60 salt water cell, Sta rite 400k btu heater, Pentair 120k btu heat pump

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