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Thread: Cracked return lines... bypass in place... but need help!

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    mthompson0307's Avatar
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    Cracked return lines... bypass in place... but need help!

    Hello everyone. This is my first post, so please go easy on me. My wife and I purchased our home last year (February) so this summer marks only our second pool season, as this is the first time we have a pool. We did not know at the time of purchase that the return lines to the pool were cracked and that this is why there is a bypass in place. It's a long story, and I'd be happy to regale you with the details some other time.

    But back to the issue at hand. The bypass is a waterfall-- one waterfall, directly in front of the pump (for convenience's sake, I suppose). Neither return line works and so we have them capped shut. Otherwise, we'd lose a tremendous amount of water.

    Our problem, and the reason for my post, is that I don't think we're getting enough water circulation since there's now just one return-- the waterfall. I'm drawing from both the bottom drain and the skimmer, but the shallow end of the pool often gets dusty and has a lot of debris floating about. I use the manual skimmer but there has to be a better way... right??

    So, aside from getting your feedback, I was wondering if there's anything you know of that may help with the water circulating around other than the $7k estimated it'd take to dig-up the concrete and re-lay the return lines.

    I appreciate any and all suggestions. If pictures could help, I can provide them as well. Thanks in advance!

    Mike Thompson

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Cracked return lines... bypass in place... but need help!

    Welcome to TFP!

    A waterfall is not enough by it's self to get good circulation. You options for improving the situation are limited. About the only relatively inexpensive choice is to run a new temporary return line on top of the deck.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    mthompson0307's Avatar
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    Re: Cracked return lines... bypass in place... but need help!

    That's what I was afraid of. Thanks so much for the reply, though. Had the issue been properly disclosed to us pre-sale, we likely would've offered less or even walked away from it. Darn.

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion View Post
    Welcome to TFP!

    A waterfall is not enough by it's self to get good circulation. You options for improving the situation are limited. About the only relatively inexpensive choice is to run a new temporary return line on top of the deck.

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    Re: Cracked return lines... bypass in place... but need help!

    If you look at my pics from my New Skimmer Line thread. I believe 7K pretty pricey. My brother-in-law, wife and myself replaced our skimmer line. I'm guessing this project might run about 200 - 250.00. I've only got to pour concrete to finish.

    It was a nasty job. Cutting the concrete sucked, digging the trench sucked, digging to the bottom of the skimmer sucked, running the new line wasn't too bad. Watching the new skimmer flush water like a toilet, pure enjoyment!

    I was quoted 1K to 1500.00 for the job. Which I thought was too high.

    Before digging, I bought off ebay an endoscope. ran it down the skimmer line to inspect what I could. I think I did see our kinked line and after digging the hole and cutting out that part of the line, I'm sure that is what I had seen with the scope. The scope was around 20 bucks or so. I would have repaired the kinked line but believed I might have trouble with the rest of that line...

    Good luck!
    18x36 Buster Crab in ground, 3' shallow 8' deep, Hayward super pump, 300lb sand filter.

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    mthompson0307's Avatar
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    Re: Cracked return lines... bypass in place... but need help!

    If this is a silly question, please forgive it and we'll chalk it up to me being a novice. But would it be possible to run a slightly smaller gauge line within the existing lines thereby eliminating the need to dig ground and break concrete?

    And JasonK, thanks... I'll take a look at the pics to see what we might be up against.

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    Re: Cracked return lines... bypass in place... but need help!

    There are companies that have the ability to line the existing pipe. I think it depends on the size of what is damaged.
    There are also companies that claim to seal the leaks in existing lines. Here is a Youtube on that process: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SAdJCbuuNU
    You may want to pressure check each return line and see how big of a leak you have.
    20x44 IG vinyl. Intelliflo, Pentair Cartridge Filter (420ft^2), Raypac 336K, Kreepy Krauly

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    mthompson0307's Avatar
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    Re: Cracked return lines... bypass in place... but need help!

    How would I pressure check the lines? From last year, before we knew about the cracked lines, I unfortunately found out that it takes 12-14 hours (overnight, plus a little bit) or so to lose about 4 inches of water across 30,000 gallons.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmhjgh View Post
    There are companies that have the ability to line the existing pipe. I think it depends on the size of what is damaged.
    There are also companies that claim to seal the leaks in existing lines. Here is a Youtube on that process: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SAdJCbuuNU
    You may want to pressure check each return line and see how big of a leak you have.

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    Re: Cracked return lines... bypass in place... but need help!

    If you are loosing that much water you have more than a cracked line. How far from your skimmer to the pump? Does the skimmer move any water at all to the pump? You can test by pulling out the basked and sticking your hand down there. In the bottom of your skimmer is "might" be two inlets? what is your configuration? On mine, one was capped the other was going to the pump and filter. Somehow the cap was removed and the water was able to leak, even though for some bizarre reason it really didn't.

    Can you post some pics of your pool setup?
    18x36 Buster Crab in ground, 3' shallow 8' deep, Hayward super pump, 300lb sand filter.

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    Re: Cracked return lines... bypass in place... but need help!

    I had a 6 inch x 1 inch crack in a return line, I was losing less than a half inch a day. Sounds like you have some big ones.

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    Casey's Avatar
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    Re: Cracked return lines... bypass in place... but need help!

    Wonder if the pool was left full over the winter a.k.a. not winterized? PA can get some pretty nasty winters...
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    mthompson0307's Avatar
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    Re: Cracked return lines... bypass in place... but need help!

    I'm not losing water anymore. Last year, we did not realize the return lines were cracked as this was not disclosed to us by the previous owner.

    Here's a brief rundown, since it'll put our situation into perspective. The previous owner of the home died in 2011. His girlfriend became the executor of the estate and had the home on the market for a long time. My wife and I finally bought it after it being on sale, removed, and then relisted over the course of 2 years. We closed in February 2013 and unfortunately did not have a pool inspection because it was in the winter. The seller's disclosure form had an area for pool information, but the leaky return lines were not mentioned. I have consulted a lawyer and while this is something we could pursue, it won't turn into much because we'd have to go after the estate (which has no more money) rather than a person... so we'd at best break even or even lose money if we tried to go to court.

    Anyway, my wife and I wanted to remove the waterfall, so my father-in-law and I dug and saw two lines were capped. We correctly assumed they were the return lines on the sides of the pool, so we reconnected them to the pumphouse lines. It was at this time that we began losing a lot of water. That was the day before Father's Day last year. The next morning, we discover the level has dropped a solid 3 inches.

    I was finally able to track down the pool guy the previous owner had used and got to speak directly to him. He told me he was the one that installed the bypass (the waterfall) and that the lines had been cracked for about 5 years at the time (so, now, for about six years). So, my father-in-law and I undid everything we had done and we stopped losing water.

    The skimmer has good suction, so i'm not concerned about that too much. It's maybe 20 feet at a diagonal away from the pump. The pool was winterized and covered last year, but as for previous years all I know is that it was poorly covered...not sure about winterization in 2011 and 2012.

    I'm away from pictures at the moment, but I can post some later. If you look at my avatar, you'll be able to see the waterfall. The ladder in the upper right is right next to the skimmer and the pumphouse is out of the shot but directly behind the waterfall.

    Thanks for all of your feedback. I really appreciate it and hope to be able to offer some of my own in other threads as I become more of an expert!
    ~30,000 gal. in-ground pool with vinyl liner; Filter: Hayward EC65A (DE); Pump: Hayward SuperPump
    Pool installed in the mid-to-late-1980s. Cracked return lines, but bypassed with above-ground PVC pipe connections.

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