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Thread: Major leak, need some advice

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    Major leak, need some advice

    I just bought a home in Florida about a month ago with a kidney shaped pool. Gunite, the details in my sig.

    Anyways, After getting my first water bill, I put 13,000 gallons of water into it in a month, which is excessive (approx 17k gallon pool). It's also screwing up my CYA and it's going down, bleh. I am wondering what my first steps would be at this point, I am refilling the pool nearly daily. I have approx. 5k $ for renovations, but not sure if I want to spend it all on remarciting or not.

    Would it be worth my money to get a leak test from a professional and attempt to seal the leak on my own? I know the pool is approx 30 yrs old, not sure if it's ever been remarcited, but it appears to be in decent condition. I am just at a loss here, I want to seal this leak, but I want to use my money wisely, as I would also like to put a screen over my pool which wouldnt be possible if I remarcite. I wish remarciting was a project I could do myself to save money lol. Thanks TFP.
    16x32 27k gal oval gunite pool, 24-inch Hayward sand filter, 1HP pump

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Major leak, need some advice

    I am assuming you have not seen evidence of a leak other than the water bill. Does your pool have an auto fill? If so shut it off and do a bucket test. The bucket test will show if you have a leak or evaporation. If the bucket test shows a leak then we need to track it down. Start by plugging the main drain if you have one and run another bucket test. If that does not stop the leak remove the main drain plug and plug the returns. If the returns are not the problem then plug the skimmer. Also if your pool has an auto fill does it also have an overflow drain? The auto fill works like a float switch in a toilet, and adds water when it drops below the pre set level. If the auto fill is faulty and you have an overflow drain, it could be continually adding water to the pool. If that is the case, turning off the auto fill is a cheap temporary solution.

    A deteriorated pool finish usually will not be responsible for that big of a leak.
    TFP Moderator
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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Major leak, need some advice

    Check your waste line for water flow during normal filter operation. This is a common problem that is easy to fix.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
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    Re: Major leak, need some advice

    I'm dealing with this myself right now. Youtube has some videos on how to bucket test. So far I'm leaking where everyone told me to look based on my symptoms, which was where my skimmer meets the shell. Try and post more of your symptoms, does it drop more when the pump is running, are air bubbles in your pump basket or coming out of your returns, does it drop more when the pump is not running etc.

    Unless you have obvious cracks in your finish, I wouldn't worry too much about it or the shell at this point. I have a small spot on mine where I can see the gunite and was sure that was my leak, I hit it with food dye and no leak.

    Do what you can and hopefully you will find the leak and save a little $$, it just will take a little time. If you are pressed for time the leak detector may be the way to go. I have a co worker who paid 350 for leak detection, they found it in his skimmer and charged him 175 for the patch. The only thing he regrets was paying for the patch.
    18k Inground Plaster pool / TriStar Variable Speed Pump and Controller
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    Re: Major leak, need some advice

    Check the easy things first.

    As said above make sure the waste line isn't dribbling when the pool is running.

    Check the skimmer throats for leaks (turn the pool off and run some dye around the joint between the skimmer and the gunnite)

    Check the light niche. Dye test is harder because it's dark in there. If there's any doubt, plug the conduit with some underwater putty.

    Good luck.
    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: Major leak, need some advice

    Thanks for the responses!!! a few questions:

    What should I use to plug the skimmer, main drain, etc? Do I need to go buy plugs? My main drain has a cover with 2 screws holding it down. I tried to tighten/loosen them and they are in there real good so that will be a challenge diving in the deep end lol.

    Another thing to note, my waste line WAS leaking prior to replacing my filter/pump, but now I replaced it with a new sand filter and pump. I have my pipe where I can't see it so I will get back there and look for any leaking water in the waste line.

    I will try the bucket test. I highly doubt it's evaporation, but will check anyways since I live in Florida and it's hot as **** right now.
    16x32 27k gal oval gunite pool, 24-inch Hayward sand filter, 1HP pump

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    Re: Major leak, need some advice

    Quote Originally Posted by dravenone
    I'm dealing with this myself right now. Youtube has some videos on how to bucket test. So far I'm leaking where everyone told me to look based on my symptoms, which was where my skimmer meets the shell. Try and post more of your symptoms, does it drop more when the pump is running, are air bubbles in your pump basket or coming out of your returns, does it drop more when the pump is not running etc.

    Unless you have obvious cracks in your finish, I wouldn't worry too much about it or the shell at this point. I have a small spot on mine where I can see the gunite and was sure that was my leak, I hit it with food dye and no leak.

    Do what you can and hopefully you will find the leak and save a little $$, it just will take a little time. If you are pressed for time the leak detector may be the way to go. I have a co worker who paid 350 for leak detection, they found it in his skimmer and charged him 175 for the patch. The only thing he regrets was paying for the patch.
    Thank you for the detailed response! I do notice 1 pipe wants to shoot out some air bubbles frequently. I am gonna get some dye tonight and check the skimmer out since thats a frequent problem spot. The only reason I say "major leak" is taht is what the prior pool guy told me that it was. He didn't state where, but it's leaking alot (shown on water bill). I just figured since the gunite is old it may be the shell, I'd love for it not to be, so let's hope its the skimmer
    16x32 27k gal oval gunite pool, 24-inch Hayward sand filter, 1HP pump

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    Re: Major leak, need some advice

    Quote Originally Posted by zea3
    I am assuming you have not seen evidence of a leak other than the water bill. Does your pool have an auto fill? If so shut it off and do a bucket test. The bucket test will show if you have a leak or evaporation. If the bucket test shows a leak then we need to track it down. Start by plugging the main drain if you have one and run another bucket test. If that does not stop the leak remove the main drain plug and plug the returns. If the returns are not the problem then plug the skimmer. Also if your pool has an auto fill does it also have an overflow drain? The auto fill works like a float switch in a toilet, and adds water when it drops below the pre set level. If the auto fill is faulty and you have an overflow drain, it could be continually adding water to the pool. If that is the case, turning off the auto fill is a cheap temporary solution.

    A deteriorated pool finish usually will not be responsible for that big of a leak.
    BTW, no auto fill or overflow drain.
    16x32 27k gal oval gunite pool, 24-inch Hayward sand filter, 1HP pump

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Major leak, need some advice

    Ok, so it could be the skimmer, returns, or light niche. If you don't find anything with the dye, try plugging the skimmer and returns.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Major leak, need some advice

    Quote Originally Posted by zea3
    Ok, so it could be the skimmer, returns, or light niche. If you don't find anything with the dye, try plugging the skimmer and returns.
    I asked above, but how would I plug them without letting any water pass through? Thanks.
    16x32 27k gal oval gunite pool, 24-inch Hayward sand filter, 1HP pump

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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Major leak, need some advice

    Quote Originally Posted by lelandapple
    Quote Originally Posted by zea3
    Ok, so it could be the skimmer, returns, or light niche. If you don't find anything with the dye, try plugging the skimmer and returns.
    I asked above, but how would I plug them without letting any water pass through? Thanks.
    Standard returns have a fitting that can be removed and a plug that you can insert. Most skimmers have a threaded hole in the bottom that also can be fitted with a plug.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=return+p ... 67&bih=655
    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
    Hayward SuperPump (model ?), Polaris 380 & PB4 Booster Pump

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    Re: Major leak, need some advice

    Making sure you have adequate chlorine in the pool first, you can shut the pump off and see if the leak continues. If it does, let it drain down to where it stops.....that'll give you the vertical location of the leak.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Major leak, need some advice

    Quote Originally Posted by UnderWaterVanya
    Quote Originally Posted by lelandapple
    Quote Originally Posted by zea3
    Ok, so it could be the skimmer, returns, or light niche. If you don't find anything with the dye, try plugging the skimmer and returns.
    I asked above, but how would I plug them without letting any water pass through? Thanks.
    Standard returns have a fitting that can be removed and a plug that you can insert. Most skimmers have a threaded hole in the bottom that also can be fitted with a plug.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=return+p ... 67&bih=655
    Can't remove mine, it was done in the 70's and there isn't a way to unscrew them. They are in the walls plastered in unfortunately. Had this issue trying to add a polaris 360 to my pool and realized I couldnt unscrew the eyeball returns. But I will research for something that'll fit thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    Making sure you have adequate chlorine in the pool first, you can shut the pump off and see if the leak continues. If it does, let it drain down to where it stops.....that'll give you the vertical location of the leak.
    I was thinking of this too Duraleigh, when I originally moved in, the water was sitting at 1 point and didn't seem to lower anymore. I believe it was below the skimmer, so maybe that would give me a good indication. After work, I will check my skimmer first. Appreciate the input!
    16x32 27k gal oval gunite pool, 24-inch Hayward sand filter, 1HP pump

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Major leak, need some advice

    You can try finding some rubber expansion plugs at your local hardware store, if you need to plug the returns.
    TFP Moderator
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