Become a TFP Supporter Pool Math Forum Rules Pool School
Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Does Small leak = big trouble

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Does Small leak = big trouble

    In ground gunnite, 20k gals
    2 skimmers, 1 main drain
    Hayward Super II Pump.
    Sand filter w/ side mount Muli-Valve

    Pool is approx 20 yrs old. Inherited it in the summer of 2009.
    At this time I have no reason to believe that all equipment isn't original, tho I may have seen a receipt for a new pump w/ going thru the paper work te prev. owner left me.

    My Problem:
    I don't know what it is, so I'll list the symptoms I've witnessed

    1) since opening the pool 1.5 weeks ago, I've yet to backwash the filter as pressure hasn't gone up more than 2PSI from what I've come to know normal operating pressure (10 PSI). Pool started w/ 2+ ft viability. Now its all but crystal clear.
    2) the past to seasons of running the pool, when looking down in the clear plastic lid to to the pump basket, i would see mostly water, maybe a couple pea sized bubble rolling around when the pump was running, and same for the view bubble on top of the filter. Now, and since opening, the pump looks more like a washing machine, just water sloshing around, and same for the filter. To me that means air in the system.
    3) Since day one for me, there has always been water coming from somewhere under the pump, not a lot, but enough to keep the area wet. I could never see it flow necessarily, but it would appear after the pump was running for a bit. Now, I still can't tell where its coming from, but there seems to be somewhat of a greater flow. I could be over sensitive right now considering these new other symptoms.
    4) I put my pump on a timer before last season. Works great, I love it, Intermatic T104. Starting this season, I put another set of toggles in so I could run the pump a couple hours over night. So a few times when i check the pool in the morning, one or both of my skim caps are off and the basket is upside down or ajar in the skimmer. So much so that I had myself convinced I wasn't putting the skimmers back together after emptying the baskets the night before. On a humid night, there would actually be wet pool deck around the skimmer caps in the morning, like it overflowed at some point. (so me thinks some kinda reverse flow of water/pressure/bubbles). Not that I have my suspicions, it hasn't happened again, I check after every time I turn the pump off manually.
    5) When I turn the pump off, there seems to be a rush of water into the pump basket in the wrong direction. I can hear sloshing going on thru out the pipe work around the pump and filter.
    6) When turning the pump off, I would hear water head down my waste pipe. I havea valve after the multivalve on my waste pipe, so I closed that, thinking air was getting into the system that way when I turned the pump off, kinda a pressure release or something, tho I don't much water was escaping the system out of my waste. So I closed that waste valve, and a day later, water was leaking out of my waste view bulb. So I stuck a garden hose washer in there and wrapped the bulb threads in plumbers tape and screwed it back in, leak stopped but I knew I had a bigger problem. More on that later.
    7) Last symptom, I noticed for the first time the other day (the last time I ran my pump) that when I turned it off, and I'm watching all the back flow of whatever/air/water, I hear something at the three valves I have for my 2 skimmers and main drain. Don't remember what I heard, but it got my attention, and I see that a little bit of water as escaped from the valve, seemingly from around the stem of the wheel. (I have gate valves, those big metal thins, that look like oversized Garden hose taps.) Leading me to believe I have an issue w/ the valve packing on those valves.
    8) I think I'm getting filter sand in in my pool. There's something dark and somewhat heavy that keeps appearing. I vacuum it up, and its back a day or so later. Pool is to cold for me to get in and touch it. But it seems to heavy to dirt as If I go over it w/ the vacuum too fast, it stays put. Needs relatively good suction to get it up.
    9) The past few times I've turned the pump on, I've closed the skimmer valves so the pump would prime just off my main drain. Which worries me because if my pump tuned on in the middle of the night before I took it off the timer, it may have run a couple hours w/ out water going thru.

    So, driven by symptom 6 above, I replaced the spider gasket on my multi-valve thinking that when the pump was turned off a lack of a good seal @ my waste port was allowing the air in and offering all of that swooshing sound and back flow of water. Sales dude sold me on some Teflon sealant/lubricant that I covered the spider w/ as well as all the other rubber gaskets I could get to. (one on the cap of the multi valve, and the one under the lid of the pump basket)
    My hopes were high. Cranked up the pump, let it run for several minutes. The air never cleared, pressure didn't build in the filter. I turn it off and see water rush back into the pump basket, I hear air sucking around. And this is also when I saw the water near the skimmer and main drain valves. Pump has been off since then.

    The things I'm contemplaing are
    1) replace the packing on those three vavles (2 skimmer, 1 main drain). Everything I'm reading is telling me that if air is getting in the system, it has to be on the vacuum side, duh, where is there negative pressure. So somewhere b/w the pump and the skimmers/main drain.
    2) crack open my pump and see what seals need replacing. I'm guessing any water emerging from the bottom of my pump is bad.
    3) Could my multivavle be malufuncitoning, like is the plunger not seating well/completely? There's some play in the handle when left in its operational position, COuld the spring or washers in that system need replacing?

    Do I have three (or more) problems here so I need three solutions? Should i tackle one before the other? Can I handle any of them? Am I off the mark on any of this?

    Sorry, I tend to blabber. Pictures are worth a thousand words, so if there's something I could take a picture of or a video, lemme know.
    Thanks for any help anybody has to offer. I've got an almost 3yr old begging to get in the pool, but I'm not officially opening until I've got the water flow straight and the pump not losing prime when turned off.

    This is a video I took of my pump when I opened last season. I'll gladly grab another video if it helps anyone.

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Tucson, AZ

    Re: Does Small leak = big trouble

    Welcome to TFP!
    You definitely have a big suction-side air leak. The most common and easiest to fix places are the pump basket lid and the pump drain plugs. Make sure these are secure, the o-rings are in good shape, and lube them up with silicone- or teflon-based lube. >90% of suction side leaks are from the pump basket lid. Once you get the air leak fixed, your skimmer baskets won't be blowing backwards anymore. That's cause by having a huge air bubble trapped in your filter.

    As for the water leak, try real hard to see where it's coming from! Check the drain plug on the pump that closer to the motor, where the motor and wet end of the pump meet, and the pump/pipe joint. If you can figure that out, we can help you fix it whichever spot it's in.
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
    TF Test Kits -- PoolMath -- Pool School
    Make each day your masterpiece. - John Wooden

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Re: Does Small leak = big trouble

    I think you definitely have a leak. You've done what I would have suggested first, replace the spider gasket. Did that stop the water going to waste? I believe your next logical step is to replace seals in your pump. You may find that your air leak and water leak are one and the same.
    16x32 Oval In-ground Vinyl, ~17,000 gallons, Hayward 1hp Superpump, Hayward S245T Sand Filter

    Worn out sand? sand-filter-expert-help-t30049.html
    Drain the easy way: cyanuric-acid-blues-draining-pool-t43843.html , pool-school/chlorine_cya_chart_shock , pool-school/shocking_your_pool

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Re: Does Small leak = big trouble

    Thanks, gang, for the responses I will look into both of your suggestions and respond back.

    I'm pretty sure my waste issue was solved by the spider gasket. But my main reason for doing that was the air sucking sound when the pump was turned off. But I that's not a symptom of spider gasket issues. And my only proof of the waste issue was the view bulb leaking when my waste inline valve was off. I fixed the leak before I replaced the spider. We had some rain last night. I'll power up the pump today to and watch my waste output for any flow.

  5. Back To Top    #5
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    SouthWest Alabama

    Re: Does Small leak = big trouble

    Lets walk through these one at a time.

    1) Does your gauge go to zero when the pump is off? You may indeed not need to backwash but I'd make sure the gauge is right.

    2) You are right about that being from and air leak.

    3) That's most likely from the shaft seal and will only get worse over time. You might get the rest of the year out of it and it might go tomorrow. That's not where your air is coming from.

    4) What's happening is that air is building up in the filter from the siction side leak(s) and when the pump shuts off it forces air and water backwards through the skimmer lines and forces the basket out of the skimmer against the lid.

    5) See # 4.

    6) That was a spider gasket leak but you've handled that later in the post. That's not where your air leak was either, but it needed fixing.

    7) The stem packing is leaking and that's probably where most of your air leak is coming from. You should try to seal them. You may be able to tighten the packing but most likely you'll have to add or replace the packing or valve.

    8) You can rig up a way to hold a sock or stocking over the return while the pump is running and if any sand gets in the sock/stocking you'll know you have a filter problem.

    9) You won't have that problem once you get the air leaks fixed.

    Contemplating items:
    1) You are correct! That would be my first priority.
    2) That's a good plan of action because you never know when it's going to go from a drip to a full blown blowout.
    3) It could be the things you mentioned. The springs could be weak. You'll know more once you've tried the sock over the return.

    It doesn't really matter what order you do things in but I'd suggest tackling the air leak first.
    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

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Re: Does Small leak = big trouble

    Quick update:
    1) Gauge does not zero out when the pump is off. I pulled the gauge off and it still stayed @ 10PSI. I cleaned it pulled whatever was used to seal it off, and wrapped some plumbers tape arround it and screwed it back on. It went up to about 11PSI when I turned the pump on.
    3) I talked to the guys @ my local store, eventually I'll take my pump apart and take the mechanics of it in and they'll help me go thru it and replace what is needed.
    4) I actually made an effort to catch the skimmer geysers in action this weekend, would be quite impressive if it wasn't mine or was suppused to be doing that. Not an insignificant amount of pressure going back that way.
    6) No water seems to be escaping from my waste when in filter mode.
    7) I pulled the stems of my 3 gate valves. Instead of packing, its a solid brass cylinder w/ two notches and o-rings in them. So I'm going to replace the o-rings and slop on the teflon gel. The current O-rings are pretty squared off on the top, just about level w/ the brass cylinder.
    8) Just seeing the ammount of pressusure shooting the the system the wrong way when I turn my pump off, I can't help but want to resolve the air leaks before to start looking into the sand issue. I vaccumed the pool yesterday, and the pump ran for several hours after that then timer shut it off over night. No Sand this AM, but I bet if there will be some, it will show up after I turn the pump on again.

    Other things Done this past weekend, w/ limited positive results.
    At the urging of my pool store, I replaced the o-rinig on my pump basket lid. Didn't fix it. No big deal, my old one wasn't bad, having a spare around isn't the worst. they made a good argument, try the $10 fix before you start talking replacing gate valves.
    Also, when inspecting my 3 valve stems, I lubed them up good w/ teflon gel before reinstalling. Cylced the pump for a bit. Perhaps I'm ambitious, but it seemed to help some w/ the amount of air in the pump basket. But when I turned the pump off, we still got the big back flow, and seemingly less water spurt out of the valve stems.

    Hopefully picking up some new valve stem o-rings this evening @ Lowes. Maybe I'll pick up some teflon paste or silicon grease and do a full maintenance on the 3 gate valves.

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Re: Does Small leak = big trouble

    An actual quick update:

    I replaced the o rings on my gate valve stems last night (2 each). Not sure the new o rings are the perfect o rings for the application, but I'm rolling w/ it for now.
    I liberally covered the stems up and down w/ plumber's grease.
    Reinstalled the stems and fired up the pump.
    The pump primed on its own and I didn't have to add any water. After a couple minutes of running, there wasn't a bubble to be found in the pump basket.
    It took a while, but all bubbles eventually cleared from the Filter view bubble on top.

    So at a minimum, we've identified that my gate valves were/are the source of my air leaks. I'm going to search for better o rings at a plumbing supply.

    Sand is starting to accumulate in the bottom of the pool again. I'll vacuum it up and see if it shows up again. My thinking being that my air issue and the resulting back rush of water and air thru the system when the pump was turned off some how was doing something in my filter that shouldn't be happening when the Multivalve is in filter position.

    Just went out to fire up the pump again, its been off for about 9 hrs. The pump basket is all but full of water, up to the top of the lid, and teh view bubble on top of the filter is full of water as well.

  8. Back To Top    #8

    In the Industry
    duraleigh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Sebring, Florida

    Re: Does Small leak = big trouble

    Nice work, kunikos. Air leaks can be very troublesome to find but I think you've done so. As long as your pump primes, even if it takes a bit of time, you can ignore that tiny leak that's left.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Re: Does Small leak = big trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by Kunikos
    Just went out to fire up the pump again, its been off for about 9 hrs. The pump basket is all but full of water, up to the top of the lid, and teh view bubble on top of the filter is full of water as well.
    Meant to say that before powering the pump on, the pump basket was almost all full, well above the pump basket lid o-ring. and the Filter view bubble is almost full

  10. Back To Top    #10
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    SouthWest Alabama

    Re: Does Small leak = big trouble

    Good job! Those gate valves are notorious for leaking around the stem. Glad you fixed it. Your skimmer baskets should stop geysering now!
    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

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Re: Does Small leak = big trouble

    Finally tackled the leak in my pump. Been a week now since my fix and no water so far. Which is encouraging.
    Basically I dismantled my pump and took all the pieces that weren't attached into my local pool supply and the guys pulled all the parts for me.
    I have a Hayward Super II.
    I replaced the mechanical seal, Diffuser Gasket, and Impeller Housing gasket. Also bought a tube of the Teflon lube they push. Magic Lube. Total was less than $40. I was quite surprised.
    There's plenty of good videos on youtube for replacing the mechanical seal, which also includes detail on taking the pump apart.
    One thing to note, all of the instruction I saw or read said you have to remove the capacitor at the back of the motor so hold the fast the shaft so you can unscrew the impeller, in fact you just need to remove the capacitor from its mount, you don't have to unplug anything, and of course triple check that all power to the motor is OFF: breaker, timer, switch
    These are the videos I looked @:

    My next project is probably to try to re-grout some of my tiles. I've got some water getting behind a skimmer and the coping is starting to separate from the tile and tiles are bulging a little. I just need to hold off damage for a few more years then I'll get the pool a face lift when I need it to be resurfaced. I'll get a new deck and coping, and bring the pool into the 21st century.

    Also planning to change out the sand in my filter this winter after everything has drained for a while. If any body has and pointers on that, I'd love to hear them.

    Wanna thank everybody for the support in my issues this season. You all gave me the confidence to take these problems on myself, saving me who knows how much money.
    Helped me enjoy the pool that much more this season.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts