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Thread: UPDATE: Plumbing Leak...or not...

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    UPDATE: Plumbing Leak...or not...

    If a spider gasket is worn enough to cause a leak to waste, would it be obvious to visual inspection?

    A little context: I have a leak somewhere in the plumbing, which is verified with the bucket test. I was hoping/praying that the source might be the multivalve as that is an easy fix. However, upon disassembly, I find no obvious wear outside of normal. Meaning, I can tell the outer ring of the gasket is slightly worn, but no broken or displaced or ragged spokes. Spring is a little sticky but seems to be working as intended.

    I'm just wondering...the spider gasket costs $27...do you think it is worth it to replace it in a process of elimination, or am I chasing a ghost by focusing on the multivalve?

    Thanks in advance.
    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Leak - possibly spider gasket...

    Are you not able to see if water is actually coming out of the waste?
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Leak - possibly spider gasket...

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    Are you not able to see if water is actually coming out of the waste?
    The waste line is plumbed into the sewer. I do not see water in the sight glass, but my theory was that if it was a trickle it *might* not make it into the sight glass.
    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

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    Re: Leak - possibly spider gasket...

    BTW, I'm only losing about an inch of water per 8-10 hr pump run time, so small leak. It is still a PITA though, because my CYA level keeps dropping over time. That was my first clue to the leak in the first place. I was trying to convince myself the loss was due to evaporation, but the CYA level made me look closer...
    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Leak - possibly spider gasket...

    Your trickle theory may be valid that you would not see it.

    Just a thought ... maybe cut the waste pipe to see if it is leaking. Then plumb in a union so you can disconnect it at any time to check?

    I would say you were chasing your tail, but on more than 1 occasion my multi-valve has not seated properly when I put it to filter after backwashing and I lost a good portion of my new DE out the waste pipe.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
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    Re: Leak - possibly spider gasket...

    Your sticky spring may actually be the problem. The spider gasket seals from pressure applied by the spring. I would suggest taking the top off the valve, and working on that spring with some cleaner and lubricant until it moves easily on the shaft. I wouldn't suggest replacing the spider gasket, unless it has obvious flaws.

    If you're really looking for something to do, cut the backwash line and plumb in a ball valve (If you close the valve your small leak in the backwash becomes obvious when you remove the sight glass....just don't forget to open the valve when you're backwashing).
    In the industry, CSP (Certified Service Professional) by the NSPI and it's successor the APSP. My company services over 600 pools every year. I think the practices regularly espoused on this forum (especially the BBB method) are outstanding; however my comments will be often oriented towards the goal of getting it done, and getting it done right now!

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    Re: Leak - possibly spider gasket...

    This is one time to go to Leslie's, take the valve top into the store and they will put the new spring on for you. I don't remember what the spring costs but it couldn't have been too high or I would have remembered.
    20 x 40 Vinyl, w/ Pentair 1 hp pump & Hayward 24" top mount filter

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    UPDATE: Plumbing Leak - multivalve eliminated as source

    Thanks for the help guys, but no luck yet.

    @jblizzle: Thanks for your suggestion to cut the waste line to actually observe if the leak was there. Led to a discovery that definitely helped. (see below)

    @Qwaxalot & reeltor: Thanks, those were good ideas, but I had you barking up the wrong tree...

    Turns out after looking closer, the waste line was already cut and spliced with a flex hose. This allowed me to disconnect it easily to verify if water was leaking to waste. Unfortunately, it is not. Not a drop errantly going to waste. I will verify that the leak is not structural, but I really don't think so.

    This leaves me in the position that I dreaded most. The dreaded plumbing leak in an inground pool. So now what are my options? An obvious first step is to turn the polaris off to eliminate that line as a source. But how in the world to check the rest of the plumbing? From my reading here on TFP, I have gleaned that leak detection services are hit or miss. Am I right on this?

    I don't really understand it, because it seems like a lot of water leaking, but I can't really see any standing water or muddy soil anywhere. I had an idea that maybe I should leave the pump running 24/7 refilling as needed until I can see evidence of the water leaking. Does this sound reasonable?

    Any other ideas? Your help is greatly appreciated.
    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

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    Re: UPDATE: Plumbing Leak - multivalve eliminated as source

    I think I would run the bucket test again.
    I would not rule out evaporation; when humidity is down and the sun is hot I can loose a lot of water in a day, maybe not an inch but close.
    I had a leak in my vinyl liner, they were able to pinpoint it very accurately and verify with a visual. They said they can also check the plumbing but I don't know how that is done or how accurate the results are. I had visions of jack-hammering up the concrete apron.
    20 x 40 Vinyl, w/ Pentair 1 hp pump & Hayward 24" top mount filter

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    Re: UPDATE: Plumbing Leak - multivalve eliminated as source

    Quote Originally Posted by reeltor
    I think I would run the bucket test again.
    I would not rule out evaporation; when humidity is down and the sun is hot I can loose a lot of water in a day, maybe not an inch but close.
    I agree, the loss could almost be chalked up to evaporation, but the cincher for a leak is dropping CYA level. At the beginning of this season CYA was at 50, a week ago I tested and it was <20. Besides, I have marked the loss after the sun went down, but pump running...

    I have the pump off right now, and will leave it until tomorrow morning. That is more time than has been needed to record the loss when pump is running. Unless I am not thinking correctly, that should eliminate the possibility that the leak is structural.

    Quote Originally Posted by reeltor
    I had a leak in my vinyl liner, they were able to pinpoint it very accurately and verify with a visual. They said they can also check the plumbing but I don't know how that is done or how accurate the results are. I had visions of jack-hammering up the concrete apron.
    Yes, I know that visual well...thanks for the help.
    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

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    UPDATE: plumbing leak...or not...

    Well, all that experiment did was confuse me further. Without pump running I lost 1/2" water in 16 evening/night hours. That is more than I expected but not enough to be conclusive of any problem.

    So now I'm pretty much back at square one...really don't know if I have a real problem or not... But that's my MO right? much ado about nothing?
    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

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    Re: UPDATE: Plumbing Leak...or not...

    I thought of a better way to determine evidence of a leak. First, I should restate that the impetus for this thread was a significant drop in CYA level over a short period of time. I used this single chemical parameter to conclude that the pool was leaking water.

    After mulling over that process, I realized there is an even more reliable chemical parameter than CYA, in the CH level. So from here forward I will be tracking CH weekly. A declining CH level should be conclusive of a leak; a stable (or rising) CH level should accurately rule out a leak.
    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

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    Re: UPDATE: Plumbing Leak...or not...

    If the pool level is dropping, even a little, won't you refill it with fresh water? so won't the chemical levels will change with the new water added?
    20 x 40 Vinyl, w/ Pentair 1 hp pump & Hayward 24" top mount filter

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    Re: UPDATE: Plumbing Leak...or not...

    Quote Originally Posted by reeltor
    If the pool level is dropping, even a little, won't you refill it with fresh water? so won't the chemical levels will change with the new water added?
    CYA & CH do not change except by water replacement. Evaporation does not affect either one. CH can rise over time because fill water contains calcium, but it cannot decline except by some process whereby water is lost (i.e. backwashing, splash out, leak ).

    Part of my method will be to always refill to a predetermined level before testing.
    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

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