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Thread: Major Leak

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    Major Leak

    Hi all, I am brand new to the forum, but have been lurking for a few months. A couple months ago we bought a house that has a 14x32 in ground pool. Following the basics here, I got the pool open and an algae problem under control. A major problem crept up this week and I am looking for some advice.

    I am currently out of town for a business trip and my wife has been taking care of the pool. She noticed the chlorine levels were dropping and I had her check the chlorinator located on the return side of the pump and told her to add chlorine from the buckets in the garage. Initially, she added about a 1 cup scoop of granulated chlorine. I told her she got the wrong chlorine and she went back and added a tab. The next morning she went out and the pool was down 1 foot. After some quick troubleshooting over the phone, we determined the leak appeared to be coming from the jet return line at the pump and I had her move the return valve to waterfall only. This stopped the leak at the pump. I assumed she leaned on the return line and broke sealant and planned on fixing it when I returned. She also turned the suction line from skimmer to skimmer and drain. The next day, the pool was even lower. More troubleshooting and it appears we are still losing water at the jets return line, with the pump off, the water loss stopped at the jets. This has been consistent for two days.

    With all that said, could the chemical she added have sat in the return line and corroded through the pvc or eaten through the glue? I am not familiar with any pool chemicals that could react this way, but that is the only plausible explanation at this point. I will follow up with the exact chemical, or at least what is labeled on the bucket.

    My plan forward is to dig up the return line from the pump to the pool and plan on a full replacement. I also considered a USB fiberoptic camera running back from the pool side to try and isolate the leak. Any advice on locating and repairing? Thanks for any and all the help!

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Major Leak

    Welcome to TFP!

    Mixing dichlor and trichlor can cause a reaction that gets fairly hot if they aren't dissolved first. But that would have been limited to the chlorinator, which doesn't seem to be involved with any of the leaks you have described.
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    Re: Major Leak

    The chemicals that were added were aqua chem 3" chlorine tablets and calcium hypochlorite granular. Anybody know of any potential reaction and can you tell me what it would be? I am thinking one occurred, the coincidence is just way too convenient.

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    Re: Major Leak

    Does anybody have suggestions for finding and fixing a return line leak? My plan as of now is to start at the pump and dig up the return line looking for leaks. Any help is appreciated.

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    Re: Major Leak

    Well, just because I hate to leave a thread wide open, this is what I found. The return line from the pump, past the chlorinator and valve, right where the line went into the ground there was a small hairline crack in the the line. Digging deeper and farther, I found major damage to the line and a total of about a 30 inch section of line that was cracked with a hole in the line. Not only was I losing water under pressure, but when the pump was off, water was backfilling from the pool and escaping at that hole.
    My guess is that a reaction occurred and was blocked by the water from the pool and possibly the jandy valve and blew through the line. I was very surprised to see not only the pvc cracked, but also the elbow. Some pretty good force there. The fix was easy, digging past a bunch of bamboo was the hard part. Plus, I broke off the grease port on my return valve and waiting on that part.
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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Major Leak

    yes, mixing Cal-Hypo and either Dichlor or Trichlor is a big NO NO, it will generate a LOT of heat, even catch fire and explode when mixed dry.

    Ike

    p.s. sorry your questions seem to have dropped through the cracks earlier, it is hard for us to keep up with all the questions this time of year
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Major Leak

    That is some crazy damage. How far under ground was that pipe? I would guess freeze damage (although not sure if that is possible where you live or not).
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Major Leak

    I agree it looks a lot like freeze damage , but I suspect overpressurization from a trichlor/cal-hypo reaction would look a lot like overprressurization from ice forming. If the valves were all closed and it reacted with the remnants in the chlorinator then the failure would be at the weakest point, which might have already been weakened from a freeze and near fracture event if it was shallow enough.

    Ike

    p.s. you may not want to store the cal-hypo next to the trichlor

    see this guys video even if he has the terminology off a bit the video says a lot

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6C0Q1OoXat4
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: Major Leak

    I would agree it looks like freeze damage, that is the only time I have ever seen a burst pipe like that. The damage was about a foot underground, we live near Hilton Head SC and freezing doesnt really happen down here. All indications point to a chemical reaction blew the pipe, just glad we didnt have more damage.

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