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Thread: How to Fix Joint/Leak from Bottom of Skimmer

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    How to Fix Joint/Leak from Bottom of Skimmer

    Greetings,

    This is my first post. What a great forum!

    I'm 95% sure that the flexible PVC line/joint at the bottom of my skimmer is leaking. When using the vacuum attached to the port at the bottom of the skimmer air is draw into the pump and I loose suction. If I insert a plastic fitting into the flexible PVC pipe attached to the bottom of the skimmer, and attach my vacuum to that fitting, I get no more air in my pump (this bypasses the bad joint). However, even in this configuration I can see red dye being drawn between the outside of the fitting in the PVC pipe and skimmer port, indicating the joint is still leaking.

    My questions: 1) If I start digging, can I expect to get to the bottom of the skimmer where the flexible pipe is attached? 2) Assuming I can get to the bottom and expose the line and can get the line apart, what would be the best way to secure the flexible PVC line back to the bottom of the skimmer?

    I have no reason to believe there are any other leaks.

    Thanks for any helpful information!

    Mike
    Last edited by Pendlm; 10-22-2014 at 07:02 PM. Reason: Deleted attachment

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: How to Fix Joint/Leak from Bottom of Skimmer

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    Certainly if you dig enough you should be able to get to the bottom of the skimmer ... not sure if you will have to break concrete, though. But, I am not sure how you are going to be able to remove the existing pipe if solvent was used to attach to the skimmer.

    Usually best to not use flexible PVC and to use rigid instead with primer and solvent.
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    Re: How to Fix Joint/Leak from Bottom of Skimmer

    I'm going to agree with everything Jason says above.

    There are some PVC sleeves that you can use for repairing leaks. You join the halves together over the pipe and it (in theory) stops the leak. I'm not sure that would work here. I'm sure some other plumbers on here have other ideas.

    One thing you need to be careful about if you do this is refilling your hole. Since the ground serves as the lateral support for your pool structure you need to be sure that when you fill your hole you compact the fill material using either a tamper or an power compactor. I'd compact in 4 or 5 inch lifts. I would not do this when there is very much moisture in the ground.
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    Re: How to Fix Joint/Leak from Bottom of Skimmer

    Thanks, guys, for the information so far - it is appreciated! I can't say I'm enthused about having to perform this repair. We purchased our home with the pool already installed, and this line has leaked for quite awhile. I had previously had some success with sealing it from the top by using a cut-off piece of plastic tubing nipple pressed into to the flexible hose. This seemed to work for a few years by pressing the wall of the flexible tubing against the skimmer fitting, but is was never perfect. Now, the problem has gotten worse. It typically was only an issue while vacuuming since that put that joint under more suction.

    I have debated (with myself) about just leaving the plastic fitting shown now in the skimmer hole (see other pictures in this post) and simply caulking around it with silicone. It seems like the silicone would seal the gap between the outside of the fitting and the skimmer, thereby sealing my leak. And, as long as the plastic fitting stayed inside the flexible line OK, I would have resolved the problem - But, this just isn't the correct way to do it....

    I do see the root cause of the issue as a combination of the use of the flexible PVC pipe (especially in a line under suction) and apparently a poor PVC weld-joint.

    Any comments on my possible alternate approach to repairing this as noted above, or any other helpful comments are gladly accepted!

    Thanks,

    Mike
    20141018_123716937_iOS.jpg

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    Re: How to Fix Joint/Leak from Bottom of Skimmer

    After spending some time with the shovel I think I have my leak fixed. The flexible PVC pipe joint to the bottom of the skimmer was so loose that once I got to it, it just came apart. I was able to use a PVC extender coupling to reattach the flexible pipe to the bottom of the skimmer. The good thing about the extender coupling is that it goes inside the flexible PVC pipe; so, under suction the flexible pipe is drawn to the coupling. Also, now I have a hard PVC pipe connection to the bottom of the skimmer. Not sure why the joint failed, other than poor workmanship during the original installation?

    I'll let my cement dry overnight and put water back to the pool to skimmer level to check things out. If all is good, I'll replace the dirt/gravel, compacting it as gwegan suggested.

    Mike

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: How to Fix Joint/Leak from Bottom of Skimmer

    Nice to hear it was relatively straight forward
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    Re: How to Fix Joint/Leak from Bottom of Skimmer

    You are a brave guy. Thats work.
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    Re: How to Fix Joint/Leak from Bottom of Skimmer

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    You are a brave guy. Thats work.
    Thanks! I was beginning to wonder about what I was doing after the first couple feet of digging. In this case, everything went as well as could be expected. I've been running my filter now for the last several days getting ready to close the pool for winter on Friday. I'm pretty happy because I've finally fixed this leak which has been an issue for quite awhile. Already looking forward to Spring!

    I have to say, this is a great forum and I'm looking forward to poking around a bit exploring all the great information!

    20141018_171022859_iOS-1.jpg
    Last edited by Pendlm; 10-22-2014 at 07:01 PM. Reason: Add photo

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