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Thread: Before I dig (even more), is a suction leak really that bad?

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    Before I dig (even more), is a suction leak really that bad?

    I've got my new pump in , I got my new SWG in (not turned on yet, but at least installed!), and re-did the piping at the pump/heater/filter area because the original set up was shoddy. My hopes in re-doing the pipes around to pump was that I would get rid of a suction leak...but that didn't correct the issue. To make sure it wasn't my rework at fault I did some tests:
    - Poured water over all the joins.
    - Submersed, as best I could, the joints under water
    - Then I tried a different test method by getting soapy water (I mean really soapy, bubbly water - I used about a cup of water and a generous amount of soap in a Vitamix on high). This created almost a paste of soap bubbles that I could put on all the joints. If there was a section leak, I would expect to see the bubbles get sucked in. Still didn't find the leak.
    - So...after that, I dug up the pipes leading from the pump area to the pool (my thinking was that since I knew the previous owner did major renovations, there could be splices that are leaking). It wasn't until I finished digging from the pump to the pool cement pad edge without finding splices that I thought about putting my ear to the pipe to see if I could hear air flowing by......and yes I did!

    So now I knew the leak was some place between the skimmer/drain (yes, both have leaks) and the edge of the pool deck. To further verify this, I tried blocking the skimmer whole (at the bottom of the skimmer) to see if more air was sucked in. The interesting thing that happened was that now I could even hear the suction coming out of the skimmer

    So....my question now is, should I dig down under the cement pad (it is only about 2.5 feet wide at the skimmer) and fix the leak? There isn't enough of a leak to cause the pump to lose prime, but are there other problems by leaving this leak? I don't think there is anything I could do about the drain leak.

    (I told my long story in case it gives others ideas in their search for suction leaks)
    18k IG vinyl pool, Jandy CV460 Cartridge filter, Hayward MaxFlo Variable Speed 1.5hp pump (SP2300VSP), Hayward Aqua Rite Salt Generator with 25K Gal Cell, Teledyne Laars Series One heater, Blood, sweat and tears manual cleaner (trying to decide what to get to replace me), no automation.

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    Re: Before I dig (even more), is a suction leak really that bad?

    If there is enough air coming in that the pump basket strainer is "frothing", I think it is a mandatory fix because the pump is operating at terrible inefficiency. What is your psi?
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Before I dig (even more), is a suction leak really that bad?

    I'm about to breakdown and cry!!!!!!!!!!
    So, literally for days now (and all of last year), there has been a suction leak. After all the time/effort of doing the investigations, now, between the time I did my post and the time you replied, there is no air (well hardly any) in the filter basket. I'm not sure what to do now!

    Anyhow, when there was air, it wasn't frothing, more just bubbling/swirling. There was maybe about an inch of air.
    I have two pressure gauges, one on the upper section of the control valve (15 psi) and one on the lower section of the control valve (12 psi). Right now I'm running at 3000 rpm.
    18k IG vinyl pool, Jandy CV460 Cartridge filter, Hayward MaxFlo Variable Speed 1.5hp pump (SP2300VSP), Hayward Aqua Rite Salt Generator with 25K Gal Cell, Teledyne Laars Series One heater, Blood, sweat and tears manual cleaner (trying to decide what to get to replace me), no automation.

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    Re: Before I dig (even more), is a suction leak really that bad?

    I'm not sure what to do now!
    Walk reverently outside and kneel near the pool and kiss the ground would be my choice!

    15 psi indicates pretty normal for most systems so I would think you are back to normal.....that's a good thing. There's no point in pursuing the leak because it's gone.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Before I dig (even more), is a suction leak really that bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    Walk reverently outside and kneel near the pool and kiss the ground would be my choice! .
    I guess that is what I'll do...I may shed some tears and spill some beer into the ground while I'm at it.
    18k IG vinyl pool, Jandy CV460 Cartridge filter, Hayward MaxFlo Variable Speed 1.5hp pump (SP2300VSP), Hayward Aqua Rite Salt Generator with 25K Gal Cell, Teledyne Laars Series One heater, Blood, sweat and tears manual cleaner (trying to decide what to get to replace me), no automation.

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    Re: Before I dig (even more), is a suction leak really that bad?

    So.....spilling tears and beer didn't keep the suction leak away. When vacuuming there would be too much of a leak, causing either poor vacuuming or lose of prime. So, I dug
    Once I got this far, I tried partially covering the drain hole to confirm that I could hear the suction leak, and I could.
    Below are a couple of pictures.
    You can see the join between the black and white pipe appears to have pulled away a bit (or the installer didn't push it all the way in!). It is a little difficult to see (sorry, hard to take pictures in a hole!), but the black pipe is pulled down, on the left, on an angle. It appears that when the fill was put in over the pipe that the filled pulled it down, causing it to pull from the connection. I'm guessing that the connection work and the backfill work here is an indication of the level of skilled work!

    I assume the suction leak is coming from where the black pipe is joined with the white. (I say assume, because I suppose it could be coming from where the white elbow is connected to the skimmer basket.) I doubt that just tightening the clamps will work, so I'm going to replace them. So my question is, would I be able to use an epoxy to cover the join? I don't want to (if I can get away with it) dig up an area big enough to do major work. Does anyone else have experience in this situation?

    http://s1004.photobucket.com/user/cp...%20-%20Skimmer

    Thanks
    Tim
    18k IG vinyl pool, Jandy CV460 Cartridge filter, Hayward MaxFlo Variable Speed 1.5hp pump (SP2300VSP), Hayward Aqua Rite Salt Generator with 25K Gal Cell, Teledyne Laars Series One heater, Blood, sweat and tears manual cleaner (trying to decide what to get to replace me), no automation.

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    Re: Before I dig (even more), is a suction leak really that bad?

    I'm guessing that the connection work and the backfill work here is an indication of the level of skilled work!
    That is about as unprofessional as work can get. Hopefully, you will meet the guy who did that and put him in prison for several years.

    I probably would try to use polyurethane caulk or something that had more flex than epoxy. That's gonna' be a hard fix regardless and I wouldn't cover it up for a while....you may be digging it back up. Sorry.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Before I dig (even more), is a suction leak really that bad?

    If you don't mind it being wet for a little while, you might try filling that hole with the hose and then running the pump. If that's where the leak is, the bubbles will stop completely when the connections are underwater.
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
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