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Thread: Plumbing or sand filter leak?

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    ChiknNutz's Avatar
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    Plumbing or sand filter leak?

    I have a severe leak when the pump is running, just started quite suddenly. We are losing about 500 gallons per hour when the system is running. I am certain it is not the liner, as the leak only happens during pump time. Anyway, my wife when to the local pool store and asked them. They said that it sounds like the sand filter is bad. They say this due to amount of water loss coupled with the fact that we have noticed a fair amount of sand/silt in the pool shortly after cleaning it (manually). When I say a fair amount, the actual amount probably isn't that great, but it is very noticeable in the deep end and areas when it can accumulate. Where the main drain exits into our yard (we are on a large pc of property) the water is exiting there where it normally would when I drain water during the winter months due to large amounts of rain here in the PNW. So, given all of that, does this seem like the likely cause or something else? The pool has been in operation for 20-25 years now, so it seems hard to believe it would suddenly have sprung a leak in the underground plumbing. I first thought it might be the valve itself as I have replaced the spider gasket a couple of years ago after I noticed more sand/silt that I thought I should. This fixed it, but there was no noticeable water loss at that time. Many thanks for any assistance offered!
    Chris A.
    20x40 36k gal IG vinyl pool w/diving board & slide | 1.25HP Pentair Challenger motor & pump | 30" Triton TR100 sand filter | Pentair SM-20-3 multiport | Stenner 45MHP2 Peristaltic Pump & 13 gallon carboy (BBB) | Hayward CL200 Tablet Chlorinator (used on pool startup) | TF-100 | 2003 Sundance 850 Altamar hot tub

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Plumbing or sand filter leak?

    Can you see the backwash line to see if anything is coming out of it during normal filtering? That would be the first place I'd suspect.
    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
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    ChiknNutz's Avatar
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    Re: Plumbing or sand filter leak?

    Unfortunately, no. Is it common on some systems that you can?
    Chris A.
    20x40 36k gal IG vinyl pool w/diving board & slide | 1.25HP Pentair Challenger motor & pump | 30" Triton TR100 sand filter | Pentair SM-20-3 multiport | Stenner 45MHP2 Peristaltic Pump & 13 gallon carboy (BBB) | Hayward CL200 Tablet Chlorinator (used on pool startup) | TF-100 | 2003 Sundance 850 Altamar hot tub

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Plumbing or sand filter leak?

    Most systems have a sight glass of some sort so you can see the backwash.
    Is there any way to unhook it temporarily?
    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
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    ChiknNutz's Avatar
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    Re: Plumbing or sand filter leak?

    Oh yeah, the site-glass. There is a small one on the lower part of my multiport and I don't recall having ever noticed it being anything but clear the times I have looked at it.
    Chris A.
    20x40 36k gal IG vinyl pool w/diving board & slide | 1.25HP Pentair Challenger motor & pump | 30" Triton TR100 sand filter | Pentair SM-20-3 multiport | Stenner 45MHP2 Peristaltic Pump & 13 gallon carboy (BBB) | Hayward CL200 Tablet Chlorinator (used on pool startup) | TF-100 | 2003 Sundance 850 Altamar hot tub

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    Re: Plumbing or sand filter leak?

    500 gph is 8 gpm...about the same as a full-blown garden hose flow.

    If the water loss stops when you turn off the pump, I suspect you have a faulty multi-port. Are you saying you don't know where your backwash water goes?
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Plumbing or sand filter leak?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChiknNutz
    Where the main drain exits into our yard...the water is exiting there where it normally would when I drain water...
    If I read that right you're saying you have water coming from your "main drain", or waste line, any time the pump is running. Your backwash should be plumbed to exit there as well and the sight glass on your valve is just there so you can see when your backwash water from the filter changes from dirty to clean/clear. There shouldn't be any water in it unless you're backwashing.

    With water coming out of the drain/waste/backwash line with your valve NOT set to either waste or backwash you've definitely got something faulty in your multiport valve. Time to break it down and inspect it. I've got a dollar that says its your spider gasket again.

    And don't forget the pics!
    "The early bird might get the worm, but its the second mouse that gets the cheese." ~ W. Rian Adams
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    Relative's IG Vinyl | 16x32 | ~18,600 gals | Hayward 3/4hp Pump | Hayward S244T Filter | Pentair Model 300 Chlorinator (not used) | Polaris 180

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    Re: Plumbing or sand filter leak?

    I do know where the backwash water goes, it goes to the same place as when I change the valve to waste.

    It definitely is the spider gasket. I took the multiport valve apart and the gasket was tweaked and out of shape. So I definitely have blowby happening. I talked to the pool guy that installed our liner a couple years ago and he said that it is also very likely that the filter laterals are bad. He suggests replacing the filter and the multiport valve. The multiport is worn due to sand getting in between the housing and valve body, which has worn a bit of a groove in the housing. He said the laterals can be replaced but that the problem will likely return in a few months. Granted, I have never worked on one of these, but it seems hard to believe that the whole filter needs to be replaced if only the laterals are bad. What else would need to be replaced?

    Curious what the general consensus is on all this as a new filter, valve and sand is about $1000 excluding other incidentals such as plumbing fittings and such. My pool guy gave me an estimate of approx $1500 if he did it all. I may also just try to limp this along until winter and just replace the spider gasket for now. When I did this before, I glued it in with CA glue, not sure if that was correct or not. Perhaps the CA glue is not what I should have used and why the gasket cut loose again so soon.

    If I decide to do all this, is one brand any better or worse than another? Pentair and Hayward seem to be the main brands to look at. He also gave the option of a cartridge filter but I think the sand filter is my preference at this point, but I am open to options. Thanks again.
    Chris A.
    20x40 36k gal IG vinyl pool w/diving board & slide | 1.25HP Pentair Challenger motor & pump | 30" Triton TR100 sand filter | Pentair SM-20-3 multiport | Stenner 45MHP2 Peristaltic Pump & 13 gallon carboy (BBB) | Hayward CL200 Tablet Chlorinator (used on pool startup) | TF-100 | 2003 Sundance 850 Altamar hot tub

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    Re: Plumbing or sand filter leak?

    I would fix the multi-port first.

    When that's done, I would try to figure out why sand is coming from the filter. How much?

    It may then be time to open the filter and inspect the sand bed....when was that last done?

    I wouldn't be in a big rush to replace the filter until I figured out what, if anything, is wrong with your current one.

    The multiport gasket is a fairly easy DIY.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Plumbing or sand filter leak?

    If there is nothing wrong with the shell, replacing the laterals and fixing/replacing the multiport would be the best way to go. Pool store is feeding you a sales pitch.

    Multiport first, then if sand problem remains, then check/replace laterals. Since you describe having grooves from sand erosion in parts of the valve, it might be best to replace the whole valve.

    These fixes can be had for WAY less than the cost of a complete new filter.
    15'x48" 4500 gallon Intex pool, buried 1.5 ft. Pac-Fab Dynamo 3/4 hp pump. Hayward S180T sand filter, bought used. Taylor K-2006 test kit. Rocket mass heater based wood fired pool heater.

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    Re: Plumbing or sand filter leak?

    Just agreeing with the above for reinforcement. Replace the spider gasket and I bet that fixes the entire problem. Laterals don't normally go bad when in service, unless some outside influence is placed upon them (i.e. replacing the sand, resettling and cleaning the sand, etc.).
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Plumbing or sand filter leak?

    Also note that I have never replaced the sand and we have had the house since 2007, no idea if/when it was replaced before that. In any case, many thanks for the corroboration on the issue. Regarding the spider gasket, what is the preferred adhesive type to use? I assume an RTV or weather stripping type would be better than the CA glue I used last time as it didn't seem to hold the gasket in place well as evidenced by the old gasket being moved out of the channel in the direction of the valve rotation.
    Chris A.
    20x40 36k gal IG vinyl pool w/diving board & slide | 1.25HP Pentair Challenger motor & pump | 30" Triton TR100 sand filter | Pentair SM-20-3 multiport | Stenner 45MHP2 Peristaltic Pump & 13 gallon carboy (BBB) | Hayward CL200 Tablet Chlorinator (used on pool startup) | TF-100 | 2003 Sundance 850 Altamar hot tub

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    Re: Plumbing or sand filter leak?

    Some people have good luck with silicone sealant. I would think 3M weather strip adhesive would work well too.
    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
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    Re: Plumbing or sand filter leak?

    Put in a new spider gasket but this time glued it in really well using "Seal-All" clear contact adhesive. I don't know if it really needed it or not, but I chamfered the edges of the valve ports to help not catch the seal as it's rotated. I then lubed it up good with plumber's grease. So far so good. I've let it run for about an hour now and it doesn't look to have dropped any water. Now the longer term test will be to see if I still get some sand into the pool.

    In any case, I am planning to replace the sand since I've never done it in the 6 years we've lived here. I am also considering replacing all of the 8 laterals just to be safe. I'd rather have them and not need them than not have them in the event one or more are actually bad. Since I have to replace 600 pounds of sand, the $50 in laterals is minor in the grand scheme. Any reason I shouldn't just replace the laterals along with the sand?
    Chris A.
    20x40 36k gal IG vinyl pool w/diving board & slide | 1.25HP Pentair Challenger motor & pump | 30" Triton TR100 sand filter | Pentair SM-20-3 multiport | Stenner 45MHP2 Peristaltic Pump & 13 gallon carboy (BBB) | Hayward CL200 Tablet Chlorinator (used on pool startup) | TF-100 | 2003 Sundance 850 Altamar hot tub

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    Re: Plumbing or sand filter leak?

    Why would you replace either as long as they are functioning?

    Sand virtually never needs replacement and laterals are close to the same longevity.

    Have you cleaned the sand bed? Annually is best.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Plumbing or sand filter leak?

    Sand is millions of years old so a few years in a filter isn't going to wear it out. There's only a couple of reasons it ever needs changing and they're rare. I wouldn't change either, just to be changing them.
    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
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    Re: Plumbing or sand filter leak?

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    Why would you replace either as long as they are functioning?

    Sand virtually never needs replacement and laterals are close to the same longevity.

    Have you cleaned the sand bed? Annually is best.
    No I have not. How do you go about doing that? I backwash regularly, but don't know about cleaning the sand bed. Why do some say 5-7 years and other say never?

    The reason I was planning on replacing the sand and laterals is I have a lot more sand/dirt in the pool than should be. I see this because after vacuuming the pool, it is quite dirty again in just a couple days. Further, today the pool was clean and was clean for a couple days while I had the pump off. In just a few hours of the pump running, I notice silt/sand in the bottom of the pool, mostly scattered near the shallow end jet. From what I have researched so far, this is indicative of a filter lateral being broken. Please advise me if I am on the wrong track here.
    Chris A.
    20x40 36k gal IG vinyl pool w/diving board & slide | 1.25HP Pentair Challenger motor & pump | 30" Triton TR100 sand filter | Pentair SM-20-3 multiport | Stenner 45MHP2 Peristaltic Pump & 13 gallon carboy (BBB) | Hayward CL200 Tablet Chlorinator (used on pool startup) | TF-100 | 2003 Sundance 850 Altamar hot tub

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Plumbing or sand filter leak?

    There's an article on how to clean and resettle the sand here.

    I'm not sure where the 5 to 7 years replacement came from but my guess is it started with people that sell pool filter sand.
    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
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    Re: Plumbing or sand filter leak?

    I read the thread on clean/resettling but my concern in doing it this way is my filter is in an enclosed pool-house and unless I move a bunch of stuff out, I am afraid of the running water getting all over stuff. I does have a concrete floor, just wondering if there is a less messy method of doing this.
    Chris A.
    20x40 36k gal IG vinyl pool w/diving board & slide | 1.25HP Pentair Challenger motor & pump | 30" Triton TR100 sand filter | Pentair SM-20-3 multiport | Stenner 45MHP2 Peristaltic Pump & 13 gallon carboy (BBB) | Hayward CL200 Tablet Chlorinator (used on pool startup) | TF-100 | 2003 Sundance 850 Altamar hot tub

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Plumbing or sand filter leak?

    The first thing to do is open the top and take a look at it. You may not need to do anything.

    You could use a shop vac to suck the water out as you ran it in with the hose. You could keep it from overflowing that way.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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