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Thread: Leak in return fitting - use plumbers putty? EDIT fixed

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    Leak in return fitting - use plumbers putty? EDIT fixed

    I've had this leak since last season. I telflon taped the threads really well on a closing plug and that kept it at bay. Now it's gotten worse and my closing plug isn't quite sealing it. Because it is the female threaded fitting that is cracked the plug doesn't really thread in properly.

    Plumbers putty around the plug would take care of it quick and easily. Is that a wise idea or am I going to damage plastic or anything?

    Thanks in advance, it's to the point where I'm losing inches a day and run the risk of a dry pump. Should I shut down the skimmer and just pull from the side drain that is 2-3 feet down to cut out risk of dry pump?

    -edit-
    Maybe not a good idea. Putty tub says "DO NOT USE ON PLASTICS" in bold and caps. Use silicone sealant instead. If I could peel off silicone sealant and it's not permanent maybe that's a better idea?
    18x36 inground vinyl lined, Hayward sand filter and tablet chrolinator, approx 18k gallon

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    Re: Leak in return fitting - use plumbers putty?

    It was probably the teflon tape that caused your female fitting to crack. You will probably need to replace the female fitting and next time don't use teflon tape, use thread sealant that is approved for pvc threaded fittings. http://www.lascofittings.com/supportcen ... lastic.asp
    8638 gallon 20'x52" Intex ultra frame round AG. 2650 gph Intex Sand Filter. Intex krystal Klear SWG. (newer model that includes copper ion generation) Hayward 1091LX skimmer, Kreepy Krauly lil shark. Taylor K-2006 w/speed stir and sample sizer. New this year, Intex PureSpa - dichlor-> bleach method for sanitizing.
    New pool, 16'x36' (approx 18000 gal) in ground pool, Haywood DE filter

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    Re: Leak in return fitting - use plumbers putty?

    Quote Originally Posted by PridgNYC
    It was probably the teflon tape that caused your female fitting to crack. You will probably need to replace the female fitting and next time don't use teflon tape, use thread sealant that is approved for pvc threaded fittings. http://www.lascofittings.com/supportcen ... lastic.asp
    I understand. I only used the teflon tape to try to fill the crack in the threads after the problem (which I likely inherited when I purchased the house in 2011 with pool closed). In other words, I used it after the crack was found. If I didn't do that the leak would drain down to that return in a matter of 5 hours. When I take the plug out I can hear the water gushing in.

    Pool companies are saying the only way to repair is to dig up concrete and replace return fitting from behind the wall.

    Any thoughts on using plumbers putty as a temporary measure to seal it before a long term fix is in place (replace female return fitting). To repeat the return is plugged with a screw in closing plug wrapped in teflon tape and an O-ring. That had kept it sealed but not working anymore. If I could put a small bead of plumbers putty around the closing plug and female return fitting I'm sure it would stop the leak.

    What I'm concerned about is the putty harming the plastic.
    18x36 inground vinyl lined, Hayward sand filter and tablet chrolinator, approx 18k gallon

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    Re: Leak in return fitting - use plumbers putty?

    We would really need a picture to give you a good answer.

    I'm not trying to be disrespectful, but plumbers putty is no different than using Scotch tape or Elmers glue to fix a plumbing problem if pressure is involved. Plumbers putty is meant to prevent wicking of water between parts that have poor fits, but only when no pressure is involved. It is basically a waterproof clay mixture.
    21K gal 16' x 40' in-ground pool built 1959, old school with Jacuzzi bronze pump, American Products 24" Sand Filter & Americana Multiport valve, Jandy Lite2 millivolt heater, Coverstar cover, and classic Kreepy Krauly.

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    Re: Leak in return fitting - use plumbers putty?

    You're in luck then. I'm a diver with underwater camera.

    There is no pressure on the return. I have long ago shut those returns off. The only pressure is 6-8 inches of water.
    18x36 inground vinyl lined, Hayward sand filter and tablet chrolinator, approx 18k gallon

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    Re: Leak in return fitting - use plumbers putty?

    Quote Originally Posted by spidey07
    You're in luck then. I'm a diver with underwater camera.

    There is no pressure on the return. I have long ago shut those returns off. The only pressure is 6-8 inches of water.
    I must be missing something. If you can reach it with plumber's putty you can also reach it with the 2 part underwater epoxy putty. No?

    Regards
    Michael
    14,288 gal IG freeform Diamondbrite
    Hayward 9002 filter
    3/4 hp Hayward pump
    Barracuda G3 cleaner
    TF-100 test kit
    resurfaced 6/2013

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    Re: Leak in return fitting - use plumbers putty?

    Quote Originally Posted by mmn
    Quote Originally Posted by spidey07
    You're in luck then. I'm a diver with underwater camera.

    There is no pressure on the return. I have long ago shut those returns off. The only pressure is 6-8 inches of water.
    I must be missing something. If you can reach it with plumber's putty you can also reach it with the 2 part underwater epoxy putty. No?

    Regards
    Michael
    Yes I could. But if I put epoxy on the threads then that return fitting would be ruined and it would be sealed permanently. Would be difficult to close and get the water out of the plumbing with it permanently plugged like that.
    18x36 inground vinyl lined, Hayward sand filter and tablet chrolinator, approx 18k gallon

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    gtemkin's Avatar
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    Re: Leak in return fitting - use plumbers putty?

    OK. Now I'm getting it. Here's a link to how I saved a multiport valve that had a crack through the female threads but it would require lowering your water level.

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/how-i...ve-t58563.html

    If you can't do that, then PridgNYC's suggestion of using a proper plumbing sealant seems like the best dis-assembleable, temporary, underwater approach.
    21K gal 16' x 40' in-ground pool built 1959, old school with Jacuzzi bronze pump, American Products 24" Sand Filter & Americana Multiport valve, Jandy Lite2 millivolt heater, Coverstar cover, and classic Kreepy Krauly.

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    Re: Leak in return fitting - use plumbers putty?

    Correct. I'm looking for something to fill the leak in the return fitting underwater and be easily removable. That's why I was thinking plumbers putty. Is regular silicone caulk something that would work for that?
    18x36 inground vinyl lined, Hayward sand filter and tablet chrolinator, approx 18k gallon

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    gtemkin's Avatar
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    Re: Leak in return fitting - use plumbers putty?

    I don't know exactly. Most of the retail silicones uses acetic acid to prevent the silicone from curing in the tube. The silicone only cures after the acetic acid dissipates, which it can do in open air. That's why the uncured material has a slightly vinegary smell. I don't know if the acetic will be able to dissipate under water. I imagine it will eventually but it's hard to say how long and how well.
    21K gal 16' x 40' in-ground pool built 1959, old school with Jacuzzi bronze pump, American Products 24" Sand Filter & Americana Multiport valve, Jandy Lite2 millivolt heater, Coverstar cover, and classic Kreepy Krauly.

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    Re: Leak in return fitting - use plumbers putty?

    Quote Originally Posted by gtemkin
    I don't know exactly. Most of the retail silicones uses acetic acid to prevent the silicone from curing in the tube. The silicone only cures after the acetic acid dissipates, which it can do in open air. That's why the uncured material has a slightly vinegary smell. I don't know if the acetic will be able to dissipate under water. I imagine it will eventually but it's hard to say how long and how well.
    Thank you. It looks like my options are slim to none given where the leak is. I'm going to the pool store tomorrow for more advice (this guy I trust, he builds and run commercial pools, the pool store is just side business and he has never steered me wrong and knows not to talk water chemistry with me...he gets it, and agrees. But for plumbing etc he sets me straight and has saved me during a pool emergency as in filter spewing water 20 feet away).

    I feel I have 3 options:

    1) Use plumbers putty underwater, that would seal the leak but I'm concerned about using it on plastic and its effect overall. What if a piece breaks off and get sucked into my plumbing?

    2) Use underwater epoxy - not really an option as it's permanent unless you guys can tell me a way to remove it later.

    3) Drain below return and use silicone to seal on a dry return. Probably the best option but I don't know if I can loosen or remove that silicone. Since these returns are in a chair I'd have to drain 12". Not a big deal as water is pretty cheap. With this leak we just had a 400 dollar water bill.
    18x36 inground vinyl lined, Hayward sand filter and tablet chrolinator, approx 18k gallon

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    Re: Leak in return fitting - use plumbers putty?

    Update - went to talk to pool store. This guy is a builder and knows plumbing inside and out. He gave 3 options:

    1) Plumbers putty on the crack and use a larger rubber closing plug that will seal the female threaded portion, a #10 plug. We played around with a model of my exact fitting and this one fit and sealed it perfectly.
    2) Use underwater epoxy and re-tap the threads before it cures fully - this is the permanent fix and he said I could do it myself, even said I could borrow his thread taps. They're not cheap apparently.
    3) Use underwater silicone, #2 or also called "marine silicone" that will cure underwater. Would need 48 hours to cure and don't run pump.

    I went with #1 and that did the trick. It will last the rest of the season. I'll pay him to do the permanent fix #2 because I don't want to ruin the return fitting as that would require digging up my nice cool-dek concrete. He's been nothing but awesome to me and deserves the business.
    18x36 inground vinyl lined, Hayward sand filter and tablet chrolinator, approx 18k gallon

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