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Thread: Suction side leak repair

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    Mar 2012
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    Bethel, CT
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    Suction side leak repair

    Hi. My pool has declared war on me this year, but I'm not going to let it win without a fight. I'm still trying to get it open. Now that I've got the electrical repairs done and the pump is running, I believe I have a substantial suction line leak. Here's my thinking:

    When I got the pump running, I removed the winterizing plug from the skimmer, turned the pump on, and started adding chlorine. There is no bottom drain, just the skimmer. The pool hadn't been opened in three years, so the water was black and foul. Since it needed so much cleaning, I stayed on top of it for the first few days, working near the pump and bumping every 10 minutes or so, whenever the flow slowed, but turning the pump off at night. Since I backflushed the filter twice a day at first, I didn't really notice the leak for a few days. Once I stopped backflushing so much I noticed the water level dropped about 2 inches overnight. I then reinstalled the winterizing plug on the skimmer line overnight when the pump was off, and the leak stopped completely.

    I have a few local pool companies coming to look at my pool tomorrow to give a quote, but I'm also looking into making this repair myself. If anyone has any experience with something like this, I'd be grateful for any input. Thanks!
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    My pool holds 21120 gallons. It is a 16x32' rectangular in-ground pool with DE filter and a vinyl liner.

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    Re: Suction side leak repair

    A suction side leak invariably pulls air into your system (usually detectable at the pump basket lid) with the pump on. Is it doing that?
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Suction side leak repair

    Yup, it's had an increasingly large amount of air visible in there when the pump was running for the last few seasons we had it open. Now it's a constant inch or so of air in the pump basket. When I put in fresh DE, the air bubbles almost disappear for maybe a half hour before coming back.
    My pool holds 21120 gallons. It is a 16x32' rectangular in-ground pool with DE filter and a vinyl liner.

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    Re: Suction side leak repair

    Track down where that air is coming from. It is absolutely on the suctions side but is almost never the underground pipes....(almost)

    Check the O-ring on the pump basket lid, the drain plugs on the pump basket, any joints or unions that you can pour water on while the pump is running to see if the bubbles stop....any place where that air could be entering. Once you have eliminated EVERYTHING else on the suction side, it's time to look at the pipes.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Bethel, CT
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    Re: Suction side leak repair

    Thank you for the reply. I have done some investigating into the air leak, suck as cleaning the pump o-ring and seal. While I was concerned about the air leak when it was only that, I'm now far more worried about fixing the water leak that loses two inches of pool level in twelve hours. I'm certain that this leak is not happening at the pump, nor at any of the fittings I can easily get to.

    I'm guessing that the connection at the bottom of the skimmer is broken, which would be the entire cause of the water leak, and at least partially responsible for the air leak. Unfortunately this is likely to involve cutting into the concrete decking, and I have no experience with that kind of work.

    I have started to dig to uncover the line from the pump. The yard has been very overgrown anyway, so there's nothing to wreck as far as landscaping. I'll have a try at the idea of pouring water over the visible suction connections to see if that has any impact on the air situation, but I think at even if I do find a trouble spot I still have to get that water leak fixed.
    My pool holds 21120 gallons. It is a 16x32' rectangular in-ground pool with DE filter and a vinyl liner.

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    Re: Suction side leak repair

    Hmmm. Well, you seem to have chosen a path already and that's fine but an air leak underground at the bottom of the skimmer is hard to picture.

    You are there and can see and have analyzed it so good luck but I would make darn sure that water leak isn't on your pressure side before I started digging
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Suction side leak repair

    I also hope I'm not on the wrong track. I have a bad habit of getting tunnel vision when I'm looking for a problem. I don't know for sure that there's not a leak on the discharge side, but I left the discharge port open for the last two nights when I had the winterizing plug installed on the skimmer side, and no water was lost at all.

    This is my reasoning for thinking I've got a decent leak in the suction side, but maybe that's not as conclusive as I thought it was?
    My pool holds 21120 gallons. It is a 16x32' rectangular in-ground pool with DE filter and a vinyl liner.

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