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Thread: Suction-side leak at skimmer...

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Suction-side leak at skimmer...

    Aloha friends!

    I just started helping a new customer with a nightmare pool...he bought the property two weeks ago, and is now learning why he should have DEMANDED a good inspection of the pool before finalizing the deal! I'm hoping to get some perspective on how to cure one of the problems: a suction-side leak at the skimmer.

    After trying all the "obvious" possibilities for air leaks, I took my inspection all the way back to the skimmer, and found that there are actually some small air bubbles (approx. 2mm diameter) rising out of the flex pipe that connects to the bottom of the skimmer! As I see it, that means that the air leak is so close to the skimmer bottom that a small bit of the air is escaping the strong suction in the pipe and rising up the skimmer!

    Here are the specs:

    Inground 18,000 gal. vinyl pool
    2 HP pump mounted 12" above water level--500 lb. Hayward sand filter at 12 psi baseline
    NO bottom drain...only 1 skimmer with 2" flex all the way to pump input port (Hypersuction!)
    Skimmer bottom port looks like it has 1.5" flex pipe pushed all the way inside the skimmer port
    Skimmer is an "Aqua Genie" (never seen one before--made with a trichlor dispensing vestibule and container)
    1/4" tube (for supplying water to trichlor tablet canister?) is broken...
    Does anyone know how the trichlor gets added? (into the suction going to pump, or into the pressure chamber for return into pool?)
    This skimmer doubles as a RETURN (slit jets direct water downward just underneath the weir entry port)
    There are 3 eyeball returns on the long wall opposite the skimmer/return (all ejecting air bubbles).

    Any ideas on the suction air leak?
    Maybe a bad junction between 1.5" flex pipe and the 2" flex pipe that I presume begins just inches from the skimmer port?
    Since air is freely entering the skimmer pipe, can I assume it is sucking air from the concrete vestibule around the skimmer?

    I'm not a pool construction guy...just a service technician currently trying to solve a bunch of problems with this guy's pool.
    Showed up yesterday and he's got 150 ppm CYA, 0.2 ppm FC and 2.4 ppm CC!! And no water source for replacement water!!
    Complete idiots had been taking care of it for years ("it needs brushing every day, it's completely normal"--What's cyanuric acid?)
    Used Cal Hypo to bring it up to 40.5 ppm FC and 5 ppm just keeping it headed in the right direction and getting ready to vac to waste
    What a challenge!

    Any ideas on the suction leak, or experience/perspective on the Aqua Genie will be appreciated!

    Big Island Pool Service

    No pool of my own...but my customers' pools are ALL my foster babies!!

  2. Back To Top    #2

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    duraleigh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Sebring, Florida

    Re: Suction-side leak at skimmer...

    Hey, Warren,

    Yeah, that's a tough one. It certainly points an ugly finger at flex pipe. We almost never see a suction side leak (in the pipe) when hard pipe is used.

    Do you think that 1.5" pipe might have been an attempt to work on the leak by putting a pipe within a pipe? I can't quite picture how it is in there.

    Well, starting with the obvious, how much stuff has to be torn up if you were to propose replacing the entire pipe?

    Assuming that isn't an option, I'm wondering if you can pinpoint that leak and then maybe drain the pool below that depth so you can work some epoxy into the damaged area.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    SouthWest Alabama

    Re: Suction-side leak at skimmer...

    If it really is the pipe it's gonna require some rip out. There's almost no way around it. Hopefully you can reach the leak and apply some epoxy to it.
    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

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Re: Suction-side leak at skimmer...

    Thanks for the input friends...

    I actually got a closer look at the skimmer this morning...the builders actually cut off the 1-1/2" threaded nipple on the bottom (with a sawzall?) so they could push the 2" hose right up to the bottom interior of the skimmer. They must have realized that with a 2 HP pump and only one suction port (4 returns, 1 suction) that the 1.5" suction port would just be too small. I practically broke my hand this morning when I reached down to inspect it while it was running...SLAM!

    This skimmer actually makes audible noise because of the water turbulence (no air) sucking over the edge into that hose at the bottom of the skimmer. They could have used both holes in the bottom and tied them together with a tee and an ell to increase the amount of "hole space" they would be sucking through (no through port hole in the wall underneath the skimmer, the other hole is simply plugged).

    Oh least it is getting better chemically (Chlorine/CYA and FC/CC)...we are going to have to do a lot of "vac to waste," refill with catchment water (maybe 2,000 gallons is reasonable) from the 10,000 gallon tank, and pray for more rain to refill the tank. Little by little...and then if I can get his SWCG working properly (the pool looks like the Hayward Aquarite has NEVER been set salt in the pool!), I'll be able to stop when we get down to 80 ppm of CYA.

    I'll just have to tell him that he's going to have to save for a "rip up the concrete around the skimmer" operation some day...until then he will have champagne bubbles coming from his returns whether his SWCG is running or not.

    Thanks again gang!
    Big Island Pool Service

    No pool of my own...but my customers' pools are ALL my foster babies!!

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