Recently purchased a home with an old inground pool (18-36, ~27k gallons) and old equipment but with a new vinyl liner. Over the course of the summer, we noticed a lot of water loss and began the testing process to determine the source of the leaks. What we determined right off was that we had numerous sources of water leakage (mechanicals and piping) based on the amount of water lost. I've already scheduled the replacement of all the old pool equipment (pump, filter, etc.). As part of the testing process, we turned off the pump and filter and tested the integrity of the pool and lines. Here is what we found so far:
-> Liner, main drain and skimmer box/throat have integrity (e.g. no water loss) with the pool equipment off.
I capped all the fittings (skimmer, return lines) and measured the water level over a few days of reasonable weather. There was no change in the water level (to my relief!). My next step was to remove one fitting only and test the water level again. I removed the plug on the skimmer and the next day noticed the water level had declined by .25-.50 inches in approximately 7-8 hours. What struck me was that when I removed the plug from the bottom of the skimmer, the water bubbled as air was forced out of that line. As I had the pump off and return lines capped when I did this, my assumption is that's an automatic indicator that I have a leak in my skimmer line. Another piece of evidence is that during the summer when the pool was operating, I would get a lot of air bubbles in the return inlets and many times I would have to prime the pump manually to get the circulation working. Based on what I've read, that is indicative of air getting into the line from the suction side of the pump. When I closed the valve from the skimmer to the pump, I did not have to prime the pump and had a lot less air bubbles (old pump) but still noticed water loss (which makes sense since the filter is leaking anyways). The one thing I did not do was plug the bottom of the skimmer which would have isolated the water loss from just the filter.
The next step is to check each of the inlet ports for leakage. After I confirm whether there is any water loss from the inlets, I will repeat the test with the equipment operating. The questions I have are:
-> Does "Fix a Leak" really work and is it a viable long term fix for a leaking skimmer line?
-> What does it usually cost for a leak detection company to check the various pipes for leaks (including pressure testing)?
-> What is the relative cost to tear up concrete and fix the leak? ( I live in Mass).
Any help and guidance would be appreciated.