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Thread: Leak over the fall and winter.

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    Leak over the fall and winter.

    I closed my pool this fall (we live in Canada) as I have done the past four years in September. Noticed in late November the water level seemed to be down. It was tarped but I could see it was begining to look stretched. I had lowered the water level below the jets and return and blown out the pipes. I suspect the leak is either to bottom drain or around the stairs.

    So this is what I was going to do in the spring:

    Once it is untarped, perform a bucket test to see if it is still leaking, if it is not, raise the water level until it does. Then I have (roughly) found the leak.

    However if it is still leaking what is the best way to test the main drain at the bottom of the pool?

    I'm hoping I can get the water clear enough then blow air through the return and see if there are bubbles around the edge of the drain where they should not be. I could also pump the water down to a few inches deep and do some dye tests.

    If it turns out the leak is around the drain should I attempt a fix myself, or call somebody? I would assume that any leak would either be the gasket or the drain itself. If it is the drain I'm guessing the only way to fix it is to pull the liner and jack hammer the thing out, or just plug the bottom drain and not use it.

    If it is the gasket I guess I shoud leave some water in the pool to keep the liner in place then replace the gasket?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. The pool is only 5 years old so is modern in construction.

    Cheers,

    Brent

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    Re: Leak over the fall and winter.

    Keep in mind if you have a light it could be in the conduit, of gasket. Do you know anyone who scuba dives. If so have them dive down take off the drain cover and check the screws that are in the ring under it. Be careful to not strip them out. Then while you have the cover off plug the main drain line and test it.
    Over 30 years in the pool business
    We build vinyl, fiberglass, stainless steel pools
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    Re: Leak over the fall and winter.

    Thanks for the reply, the water level is lower then the light as well so can be the source of the leak, that is why I suspect the bottom drain. I've been doing some reading and I guess I don't want to remove the water completely from the pool or I can mess up the vinyl liner. So I will perform some experiments and see if I can determine where the leak might be. I was thinking it was odd that the leak showed up AFTER I lowered the pool level in the fall. I'm wondering if the reduced water pressure on the drain + gasket from the lowered level has allowed the water to leak out. Maybe when I refill the pool the leak with slow or vanish... I love wishful thinking. Any thoughts?

    Cheers,

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    Re: Leak over the fall and winter.

    Has the leak stopped? If so, I am not sure why you think it is the main drain. If it was, wouldn't it make sense that ALL the water would leak out?
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Leak over the fall and winter.

    Superslug bear in mind a cover over your pool acts similar to a waterbed. The water under the cover supports the weight on top of the cover. So if snow or water is on top of the cover the weight pushing down on it will displace water under it and cause the water to leak out. Then when the cover is removed it will be a lowered water level. For around $5 you can get plugs called cord stoppers for the light conduit.

    duraleigh actually the water will only drain down to wherever the leak is on the main drain pipe if that is where it is leaking.
    Over 30 years in the pool business
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    Re: Leak over the fall and winter.

    duraleigh actually the water will only drain down to wherever the leak is on the main drain pipe if that is where it is leaking.
    I understand. OP is talking about replacing gaskets, etc for main drain implying he thinks it's the drain and not the piping.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Leak over the fall and winter.

    Thanks for all the replies this is great. This is the fifth winter with the pool and this is the first time the water has disappeared like this. All of the jets are properly blown and plugged as is the return. The water level is now well below the socket for the light itself so it is not leaking there. It is also well below the jets and the return. In the fall there was so much water missing that the whole cover was going into the pool along with the water bags holding it so I punched a hole in the tarp with a broom handle to allow the water being held in the tarp to flow into the pool. I agree all the water should be gone so I was thinking maybe it leaked around the built in stairs. Perhaps with less water pressure a gap opened up on the stairs and let the water drain. I haven't had a close look yet has the tarp is still on the pool and full of ice and snow. (Did I mention I live in Canada ) I'll post a picture when I get home.

    I just wondering on a course of action. Should I make sure that the water does not all drain out? Can the drain be fixed with water in the pool?

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    Re: Leak over the fall and winter.

    Just read some more posts. Agreed if the leak is in the pipe from the main drain leading to the return then the water level will stay at the level of the break in the pipe. (Hope that is not the problem...). The water began draining before we had a hard freeze so I don't think the problem is a frozen/cracked pipe...

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    Re: Leak over the fall and winter.

    Please don't discount the possibility of the light. You must approach a leak with a very open mind. Is there a seal where the liner ends and steps begin? If there is it is possible that a screw could be just a thread loose. The main drain gasket would be very tricky to change with water in the pool. To drain the pool would be risky as it could possibly shrink before you get it refilled. From past experience I believe hat your leak most likely is in either the light conduit or the actual main drain pipe. I had a drain pipe that a 90 fitting split just below the bond beam around the base of the wall and took two years to find it, as I didn't approach it with an open mind. Finally a good friend came and helped me find it. I had another pool that a concrete contractor drove a concrete spike through the conduit, didn't tell anyone, repaired it, covered it up with deck. Leaked for almost a year before we found it.
    Over 30 years in the pool business
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    Re: Leak over the fall and winter.

    An open mind it is then. So I should fill the pool to at least the level of the light. ( I believe it is lower then the jets can't remember exactly.) Then observe what happens. By
    the sounds of what you are saying, I should probably let a pool installer fix the drain gasket it that is the problem. Will blowing air through the return to the main drain reveal
    a leaking gasket or would I just be wasting time...

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    Re: Leak over the fall and winter.

    As for the stairs, I'm not sure what I am looking for exactly, I was thinking of using some die around the edges to see it reveals any leaks. However, getting into water
    around here anytime soon could be fatal...

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    Re: Leak over the fall and winter.

    To do a dye test you will need to add water maybe 6 inches over where it is now to get an accurate test
    Over 30 years in the pool business
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    Re: Leak over the fall and winter.

    So I went out to take a picture to post and low and behold the water level was right as the bottom of the light outlet so
    swimcmp you may have solved my mystery. Everything has frozen solid are here again, we are having a long winter
    this year. However, when things get warmer I will follow your instructions and post my findings. Crossing my fingers that
    it is something simple like the light.

    I just wanted to thank everyone who posted replies, all of your help and advice is very much appreciated!

    Cheers,

    Brent

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