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Thread: DIY Skimmer Replacement??

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    DIY Skimmer Replacement??

    I have an inground concrete and plaster pool that has developed a leak. Two leak detection companies could not determine where the leak is, however they both say they expect the skimmer to be the problem. My question is how difficult is it do replace these things? Where can I get information on what is involved? At least one person has recommended that I abandon the main drain in the process because no one can rule out the leak being in that line which is copper. Does this seem correct?

    Thanks for your help.


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

    Re: DIY Skimmer Replacement??

    Welcome to the forum. My first thought would be to let it drain down on it's own and see if it stops at the skimmer. Have you done that, yet?
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: DIY Skimmer Replacement??

    I have not done that because the pool does not leak in a significant way without the pump running. I loose about 7/8" in a 12 hour run cycle. Overnight the pool does not drop in a measurable amount < 1/8". Because the amount of loss is so small when the pump is not running it would be hard for me to tell when the pool stoped leaking as a result of the water level droping below the level of the leak as opposed to it droping due to evaporation.

    What I do know is the results of some process of elimination testing done back in May: The pool only leaks when I draw water from the skimmer/main drain. If I draw water from the jacuzzi seperate pipe from skimmer/main drain) and return it to the pool it does not leak. If I draw water from the skimmer/main drain and return it to the jacuzzi (through seperate return system from the pool return lines) there is no leak.

    The first leak detection company pressurised the return side plumbing and it held 10-15 psi for 20 minutes without leaking. After I demanded he pressurize the suction side plumbing he did so to about 10 psi and it held pressure for about 2 minutes. Based on this he insists that the plumbing is not the source of the leak.

    The second leak detection company used a camera to follow the suction side lines from the skimmer to the bottom of the pool main drain (which is copper btw) and from the pump to the skimmer. There was no obvious sign of a crack or hole in the pipe. He was unable to plug either the skimmer or main drain sufficently to pressurize the line above 10 psi, which he said was below the amount needed to hear the leak using listening device.

    Sorry for the long windedness but I really do not know what to do next. I have epoxied the joint between the skimmer and tile, (which really did not show a leak anyway when I dye tested it) . My skimmer is two part, plastic above a copper base. I epoxied this joint too eventhough it showed no sign of leaking when I dye tested it. What's next? I am really really discouraged.

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

    Re: DIY Skimmer Replacement??

    Your explanation makes me think it's either the skimmer piping or the MD Piping leaking, but your testing description is kinda hard to follow.

    Answer a few questions for us and lets see if we can help figure this out.
    What type filter do you have?
    What is the filter pressure when drawing from the pool and returning to the pool?
    What is the filter pressure when drawing from the spa and returning to the pool?
    What is the filter pressure when drawing from the spa and returning to the spa?
    What is the filter pressure when drawing from the pool and returning to the spa?

    Have you tried plugging off the MD in the bottom of the skimmer (I'm assuming the skimmer has two holes & one of them go to the MD) and running the pump on skimmer only?
    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

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    Re: DIY Skimmer Replacement??

    You would think a suction side leak would want to leak more with the pump off than on. Plus you said it does not leak when you pull from the MD and return to the spa. I cannot fathom how just the combination of pulling from the pool and returning to the pool causes the leak but no other combination that includes either of those separately leaks at all.

    50' x 22' 27k gal shotcrete freeform, 2hp 2 sp Pentair Whisperflo, Pool Pilot RC-52 SWCG, Pentair TR 100 sand filter, Polaris 280, 2 Pentair Intellibrite LED lights with controller, french gray plaster, Butterfield U-20 "smoke"integral colored salt finish concrete cantilever deck on one side, flagstone coping on the other.

    My pool build:

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    In the Industry

    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Re: DIY Skimmer Replacement??

    Had a customer with a pool built in the 60's and it had copper for all the plumbing. Last spring when we started the pool up couldn't pull water off the main drain alone. When the pool was removed to build a new pool there was 26 #2 sized holes in the pipe within 6" of the main drain. The pool would remain full even with all the holes in the pipe due to hydrostatic pressure in the ground. Water does funny things and often times will leave you wondering. You really need to plug the main drain line and officially rule it out before you tear out a skimmer. I would also check where your light cord leaves your light niche if you have one.
    Over 30 years in the pool business
    We build vinyl, fiberglass, stainless steel pools
    Certified in Hydraulics

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