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Thread: AHHH big leak in pool!

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    AHHH big leak in pool!

    Hello all,

    I previously posted a few days ago when things were going swimmingly! Things have took a turn quickly. A little background- I bought a foreclosed house a few months ago and the house/pool had been vacant for three years. I needed to buy a new pump, but other than that the liner and plumbing were in surprisingly good shape (according to local pool guy) and the water line was still high (about at the skimmer). When cleaning out all of the muck, getting the chemistry right, filtering the pool and defeating the algae, the water level was very constant.

    Then 2 days ago I noticed the water line dropping alarmingly fast. I initially thought it must be the steps because I was cleaning them with a wire brush to get rid of some brown muck (vitamin C did not get rid of most of it). I did this because of my concern that there was some algae that had adhered to the steps and was in protection mode and I could not detect such a small amount of algae with the OCLT test (I am a worrier). Anyway, when brushing the steps I also peeled off some silicon sealant between the strip that secures the stairs, and the stairs themselves. However, this seemed odd because what I read stated that there is a gasket behind there and the silicon sealant really is not necessary. So I resealed anyway with 2 part epoxy. Unfortunately, the water level has continued to drop 1/2 " from 8 pm last night to 7 am this morning. I have tried a dye test around the common suspected problems (return lines, skimmer, stairs where I eopxyed, light) and I have not found anything. Also, I still cannot quite see the bottom of the deep end (still a bit too cloudy). I have gone underwater and looked at it, and it looks fine. Thoughts as to what this may be, a better way to locate the leak or if it is time to call in a professional? I am wondering if I should let the water continue to leak out until it stops which might help me locate the leak, or if it would be prudent to call someone and to get working on this now to prevent damage to the surrounding area?

    Thanks!
    Scott
    22,000 gallon in ground vinyl, Pentair FNS36 DE filter 36sqft, Jandy FHPM1.5 FloPro Medium Head 1-1/2HP Up-Rated Single Speed Pool Pump

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: AHHH big leak in pool!

    Leaks are tough. They can be maddening when their is no "smoking gun" source for the leak. If the water level was holding, then started to drop, it must be related to anything that happened between when the level was stable and when it started dropping. Review everything you did to the pool between that time and investigate it.

    If where you repaired the steps is not that far below the water line, you could let it drain/leak to that point while testing some more for leaks. Do as much as you can to root out the problem yourself until you hit a brick wall. Depending on water cost and how far down the level goes before stopping it might be cheaper, but infinitely more frustrating to find it yourself. Professional leak detection has a reputation for being expensive.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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    Re: AHHH big leak in pool!

    JVTrain-

    Thanks, I was also vacuuming the bottom pool a few days ago, I guess it is possible I ripped up the liner somewhere. For the stairs, I think I have another 2 1/2 feet to get to the bottom of the stairs. Should I consider buying a new vinyl liner right away instead of dealing with trying to find the leak? The local pool store did say they installed the liner in 2009, but I have read mixed things about how long a vinyl liner should last, and this one was neglected completely for 3 years (Also I should point out the pool was properly winterized before foreclosure).
    22,000 gallon in ground vinyl, Pentair FNS36 DE filter 36sqft, Jandy FHPM1.5 FloPro Medium Head 1-1/2HP Up-Rated Single Speed Pool Pump

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: AHHH big leak in pool!

    That's a lot of water to drain to get to the suspected leak point. I'd try some more dye testing where you can see in the pool.

    A new liner might be a good option if you determine the current liner is damaged, stained or getting brittle. That's not a cheap option either, but that route would give you a new liner and if you have it installed, it's on them to make sure it doesn't leak.

    I would try another test as well. The "bucket test" is a good option to at least isolate leaks to certain parts of the pool. Weight down a bucket on the steps and fill it to the same level as the pool. Monitor the level in the bucket which should change very little (evaporation only) versus the pool level. If you do this while capping all the returns/skimmer drains, you'll know if the leak is in the pool itself or plumbing outside the pool.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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    Re: AHHH big leak in pool!

    You know the other thing I did think of is that when I was vacuuming my pool, I used a head that my neighbor gave me over the weekend (also vinyl pool). The difference was that his was weighted and for some reason ended up getting stuck and sucking up the vinyl liner in a few spots. I switched it back to the one I bought after a few times of this happening. Could the vinyl liner have teared where this happened??

    Thanks
    Scott
    22,000 gallon in ground vinyl, Pentair FNS36 DE filter 36sqft, Jandy FHPM1.5 FloPro Medium Head 1-1/2HP Up-Rated Single Speed Pool Pump

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    Re: AHHH big leak in pool!

    If you were sucking the head down to the liner, odds are that you already had water under the liner. That's the only time I e ever head trouble with vac heads sucking down on the liner...

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    Re: AHHH big leak in pool!

    Shoot OK. Does it matter if the vacuum head was really worn and almost out of bristles? Also, I talked with a a local pool guy who suggested filling it back up to the point I can use the equipment and start getting the water clear (I almost had it clear by the time this happened) and in the mean time use red phenol to try to determine leak after I get water completely clear. I think this is a reasonable approach. Any opposing thoughts?
    22,000 gallon in ground vinyl, Pentair FNS36 DE filter 36sqft, Jandy FHPM1.5 FloPro Medium Head 1-1/2HP Up-Rated Single Speed Pool Pump

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    Re: AHHH big leak in pool!

    Have you check your equipment pad for signs of leaks? I notice you have a DE filter which means you most likely have a multiport valve. The spider gasket in a multiport valve is known to fail and as a result when you run your pump with valve on 'Filter' water can still come out of the backwash port. If your backwash port is plumbed to a drain of if a hose is connected and laid out it may be draining water and you are not aware of it.
    25,000 gallon in ground white plaster- 1 1/2 HP Pentair SuperFlo pump - 60 sqft FNS DE filter (with FiberClear), 1999 Sundance Optima 850 hot tub.
    Manassas Park, VA

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    Re: AHHH big leak in pool!

    Rocco-

    Yes, I still get water loss when all the equipment is turned off, return lines plugs and water is below the skimmers. I do have a multiport valve, but it goes right to sewer on backwash.

    I have brought the water back up in the past 2 days so I can get the water clear in hopes of finding the tear. My pool is crystal clear today and I did notice something...A quarter sized brown spot on the liner that will not brush off between the shallow and deep end. However, no wrinkling of the liner or bulging of the liner. Does anyone have any experience with a tear/rip looking like this? I am hoping it might be atypical (from what I have seen they look different) because it might have been caused by the worn out vacuum head that got stuck on the liner when I was using it near that spot. Either way, it is warming up tomorrow and I will get in the pool and do the dye test at that spot, I am really hoping that is it!

    Thanks everyone for the help so far!
    22,000 gallon in ground vinyl, Pentair FNS36 DE filter 36sqft, Jandy FHPM1.5 FloPro Medium Head 1-1/2HP Up-Rated Single Speed Pool Pump

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