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Thread: Crakced Skimmer line

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    Crakced Skimmer line

    Cracked Skimmer line

    Hello, I have a either a cracked skimmer line or a break in the connection at the skimmer. Either way when I donít have it capped off my pool loses 2 inches a day. Fortunately, The skimmer line is only 6 feet long. It is metal, brass or copper? I was going to replace it, but Iím not sure how to connect the PVC pipe to bottom of the skimmer? I had the work estimated, but he never did get back to me, is this too small of a job for a pro to do? Does anyone know where I can find a good step by step guide to help?

    Thanks,
    Lee

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Crakced Skimmer line

    Welcome to TFP.
    What type pool do you have?

    Am I understanding that if you plug the skimmer line in the bottom of the skimmer, the leak stops?

    The pipe should be screwed into the bottom of the skimmer. It'll be standard pipe threads. You should be able to screw the old one out and screw a new adapter into it.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Crakced Skimmer line

    Thanks, I am handy, but very inexperienced. That actually makes it sound like something I can do myself. The pool is a plaster/ gunite built in 1960, and it has had some concrete work done, about a foot and a half to get through. I was planning to break the rest of it off and figure out what the leak looked like to decide if it was work I could do it.

    The skimmer box is concrete, the same material as the coping. If there is a problem with the skimmer and it has to be replaced I think I will just hire someone to replace it. They donít really use concrete anymore though right? Probably plastic and then it is just sealed to the pool? Thanks

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    Re: Crakced Skimmer line

    If you can do the escavation and demo work, you will save a lot of money and make it a simpler job to estimate and repair. That needs to be done first to find out what your dealing with. Whatever fitting is embedded in the bottom will be the key. It could be brass, copper or galvanized.

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    Re: Crakced Skimmer line

    Hey thanks for the welcome Dave!
    My pool was built in 1960 and is an in ground plaster/Gunite. ĺ HP Pentair pump. 30Ē Pentair 2000 series DE filter.

    The pool does stop losing water when I plug the skimmer. I broke most of the concrete away and dug out the skimmer line, then took the plug out and my hole instantly filled with water. I still have more concrete to break but I think the pipe has ruptured.

    Thanks to everyone for all the tips!

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    Re: Crakced Skimmer line

    I am trying to replace my skimmer line. I cut through 4Ē of concrete and started digging dirt, then ran into 2 feet of concrete and rebar. I watched a bunch of YouTube videos on doing this work and they only had to deal with 4 inches of concrete, is it common to run into 2 feet? The skim line is copper, and it runs right through the concrete. Has anyone had to deal with this? What should I do? I was going to rent a small jack hammer to break the concrete, but can I cut through the rebar without messing with the integrity of the pool? Here are a couple of photos.

    Thanks,
    Lee


    pool was built in 1960 and is an in ground plaster/Gunite. ĺ HP Pentair pump. 30Ē Pentair 2000 series DE filter
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Crakced Skimmer line

    Can you add a picture of the inside of the skimmer? It is normal today to put a plastic box inside concrete for skimmers as far as I understand. I'm not sure if something like that is involved in yours or not.
    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
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    Re: Crakced Skimmer line

    The line in the photo doesn't look like copper? Are you saying the skimmer is under the square cover and there is a copper line in the bottom of a formed concrete skimmer? The oldest original skimmer i have seen in a pool was a 1963 pool and the skimmers were copper, before that they usually were guttered pools. It almost looks like they might have built a new shell inside of an old pool from the photos.

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    Re: Crakced Skimmer line

    My wife was unable to get a picture in the skimmer box because of glare off the water, but there is no plastic box. I think it is the original 1960 connection right to the copper pipe.

    Renovxpt, I didnít think the pipe was copper either until I nicked it with a chisel, but the pipe in the photo is copper. I was a bit confused when I started to hit rebar, especially that deep. I thought that maybe instead of filling around the pool with dirt they used concrete because they had extra? I have never heard of pouring a new pool in the old one, is that common?

    The skimmer is under the square cover. I think the skimmer box is the rounded slightly discolored concrete you can see in the top picture, and that it was pre made and set up against the pool. Then plumed in copper, then concrete poured around it? You donít think that the rebar in the picture (about 2 feet from the pool) has anything to do with pool integrity? I was planning to cut right through it.

    Thanks,
    Lee

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    Re: Crakced Skimmer line

    Lee, you have taken on quite the task, I hope your a young man and don't age too much in the process. In 1960 pool builders were pioneers and steel and concrete were cheap. I think that the original pool was probably a gutter pool with formed and poured walls and bottom with lots of expansion joints. At that time most pools were drained and repainted every season. I believe that at some point it had a new shell shot inside the old concrete and they converted the gutter into skimmers which would account for the thickness of the concrete and the setback of the skimmer from the waters edge. The piece of rebar sticking out is most likely part of the original structure and it wouldn't harm anything to cut it out. You might consider cutting the copper line and pressure testing it to make sure theres a problem between the exposed area and the bottom of the skimmer before proceeding with the demolition.

    Good luck and take care of your hands, Rod

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Re: Crakced Skimmer line

    Well, leak has been found, unfortunately it is right under the skimmer box. You can see it in the pictures, it is in the copper line. The connection under the skimmer box is brass but it has 2 connections. One is the 2inch copper line that leads to the pump and the other is a brass line that is maybe a one inch line and it heads directly towards the pool? I couldn't really get a good photo of it because it is still buried in concrete, but you can see that the brass connection tees off with a 90 degree turn. Does anyone have any idea what that is?

    Ron, you were right this has become a Hugh task. I was hoping to just reach down unscrew the connection and put on a new one. Any advice would be much appreciated. Can I some how just patch the 2 little holes in the copper line? Should I just cut off the brass fitting, down a few inches and try to connect a new plastic line? Should I just cut in a new skimmer box? I think I will be hireling someone to do this work, I am getting a bit over my head.

    Thanks,
    Lee
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    Re: Crakced Skimmer line

    The other line you found is probably an equalizer line that has been abandoned.

    The holes in the copper line are most likely due to thinning of the pipe and patching them would only fix that spot and you would soon have the same problem reoccur in another area.

    They would use brass for imbeds because it is more noble than copper and could withstand the interface with the concrete. The brass fitting probably has a waterstop built into it to prevent water from following the pipe through the concrete and leaking. In other words, you basically have a concrete sump poured around a fitting with a waterstop.

    One option would be to remove the bottom of the sump or as much as is required to remove the fitting and waterstop, place a new PVC fitting and waterstop in the old location and repour the bottom of the skimmer. Vibrating the new pour would be important and it would help if you could cut a keyway, which also acts as a waterstop, in the old concrete. If that leaks you could plug the leaks with hydraulic cement.

    A second option would be to try and fit a smaller pipe inside the brass fitting and seal it from the top of the skimmer. Maybe epoxy or hydraulic cement would work but this is just a guess.

    Installing a new skimmer would be tough considering the thickness of the wall.

  13. Back To Top    #13
    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Crakced Skimmer line

    Quote Originally Posted by carolina pool
    The other line you found is probably an equalizer line that has been abandoned.

    The holes in the copper line are most likely due to thinning of the pipe and patching them would only fix that spot and you would soon have the same problem reoccur in another area.

    They would use brass for imbeds because it is more noble than copper and could withstand the interface with the concrete. The brass fitting probably has a waterstop built into it to prevent water from following the pipe through the concrete and leaking. In other words, you basically have a concrete sump poured around a fitting with a waterstop.

    One option would be to remove the bottom of the sump or as much as is required to remove the fitting and waterstop, place a new PVC fitting and waterstop in the old location and repour the bottom of the skimmer. Vibrating the new pour would be important and it would help if you could cut a keyway, which also acts as a waterstop, in the old concrete. If that leaks you could plug the leaks with hydraulic cement.

    A second option would be to try and fit a smaller pipe inside the brass fitting and seal it from the top of the skimmer. Maybe epoxy or hydraulic cement would work but this is just a guess.

    Installing a new skimmer would be tough considering the thickness of the wall.
    Would it be possible to cut the copper a few inches out from the holes and slip something inside it up to just past the point of the holes? I'm not sure if that's just a stop-gap however. The only other option I can think of is to close off the skimmer (place a permanent closure over it) and rely on some other or new drain and use a return powered skimmer alternative.
    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

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: Crakced Skimmer line

    Lee,

    If you can get a 3 inch diameter or larger hole in the bottom of the skimmer/sump you can fix it.

    It looks like you have a large hammer drill on site but I'm not sure you can add enough extensions or they make a long enough bit for that to work from the top without jamming and breaking a lot bits. Maybe a smaller higher speed hammer drill could fit inside the throat. They make core drills that would do the job and there are people that specialize in that type of work.

    Working from the bottom would bring out the worst in anybody and you should probably send the family away if you go that route.

    Keep me posted, Rod

  15. Back To Top    #15

    Re: Crakced Skimmer line

    Thanks guys for all the advice, I have a few days before my next day off, so I will look at all the options and keep you posted.

    Thanks,
    Lee

  16. Back To Top    #16

    Re: Crakced Skimmer line

    Rod, are you suggesting that I drill a bigger hole and then put in a new pipe? Or that I try to add in a new skimmer inside of the old one? Another person suggested I just do a temporary fix with JB weld. I plan to redo the whole pool in 1 to 2 years. Anyone have experience with JB weld on copper pipes?

  17. Back To Top    #17

    Re: Crakced Skimmer line

    Lee, Yes. If you can get a big enough hole in the bottom of the skimmer, you can run a new pipe and seal it up for a long term fix.

    Its feasible you could buy some time with epoxy or try to braze it, but the copper is probably very thin and by the time you find something solid to bond to, the hole will become much larger. At this point you have put a lot of effort into demolition and I would reccomend a longer lasting solution before you cover it up.

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