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Thread: Daily water loss of 3/16" with filter on

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    Daily water loss of 3/16" with filter on

    I've been adding about 1 1/2" of water per week to the pool, it takes an hour with the water on full blast to refill that amount, I'll guess that is 900 gallons a week. The neighbor mentioned that she has not added water to her pool in many many months, and they run the waterfall all the time, so this water loss is not normal.

    I was able to talk the the company who built the pool 8 years ago, although they do not do any service or repairs. He said to do the bucket test, then shut off waterfall and test again, then shut off entire pool and test again.

    With normal operation, I lose 3/16" per day. Normal means that I run the waterfall one hour, then the main filter comes on for 6 hours and the Polaris runs for 3 hours during that time. Shutting off the waterfall made no difference to the water loss rate. Shutting off the entire system seemed to totally halt the water loss. (There was some uncertainty as persistant rain got the pool up to the overflow grate and some probably leaked out there leading to a 1/4" difference between the bucket and the pool after 4 days of test with all systems off. You may recall that my overflow is fake, with the pipe leading UP into landscaping, but it does leak out eventually at the very poor connection of the 1 -1/2" PVC to the 4" flexible tubing as it turns to go up so I credit the 1/4" difference to that.)

    So, what do I do now? PB's suggestion was to call American Leak Detection and tell them that I need a pressure test of system, not on pool structure. Is there anything else I can do now on my own?

    A few more details: I noted that the spa was 3/4" below the spillover in spite of the rain. I quizzed him on whether I needed to do a separate test of the spillover spa to isolate if that was the leak and he said that if the checkvalve there was leaking it would likely make any results inconclusive as it may hold or it may leak and holding or dropping was not diagnostic. So, a replacement of the checkvalve might be in order, first. I did not ask exactly where that check valve is nor what was involved in replacing it. Any advice on that?

    I tend to suspect the spa because I noticed once that when it was running, without the blower on, there were a lot of bubbles in the return. I might need to redo that and observe more carefully. So, I am wondering if there might be any point in running the spa, without the heater, or with the heater, for several hours, just to see if there was a huge water loss there.

    Is there anything else I can do at this point?

    I will mention that I do not see any obvious wet spots in the yard, although when we had a bit of fencing added around the far side of the backyard, the contractor mentioned that he was suprised to hit water 2' down as he was digging the post hole. Might not be important, as the greenbelt behind us may drain collected water past us toward the street. (We haven't been here long enough to know these things.)

    I also note that the concrete pad that the equipment sits on is tilted a little and cracked a bit. We had to shim the base of the canister filter as the tilt of the slab ( 2 or 3 degrees?) made it creep toward the house making it impossible to get the band off to clean it (I think that each stop and start jolted it just a bit to let it scoot toward the wall). The dirt around the slab there is sort of washed away but it may just be from blowing water off the top of the filter after cleaning out the pump basket or the lack of gutters on the roof. I do not see any excess water there although we've had so many sprinkler repairs to do that it is hard to say what water comes from where.

    I read here in the forum that a "leak when the system is running points to a leak in the pump housing, leaking seal, or bad multiport gasket, or return or inlet line." The pump housing and gasket were both repaired when we bought the home 4 months ago. There was a small leak (1 drop per second) in the seal between the pipes at the pump inlet but it seems to have stopped for some reason. I don't know what a multiport gasket is but I do not see any leaks at the Jandy valves. Inlet/returns require the pressure test I'll guess.

    So, can I do anything more at this point? Or must I start throwing money at this?

    Anonapersona, who tends the pool all the time but has yet to take a swim since purchase in October
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Daily water loss of 3/16" with filter on

    You've done your homework. You are probably right that is a leak but you didn't mention where you are located. I lose a 1 1/2" a week in the heat of the summer but not much this time of year. Given what your neighbor said, it sounds as though you should not be losing that much.

    So, what do I do now? PB's suggestion was to call American Leak Detection and tell them that I need a pressure test of system, not on pool structure. Is there anything else I can do now on my own?
    A pressure test will probably only confirm what you already know. The hard part will be finding the leak.

    Given that you lose water only with the pump on, it will be on the return side. If you can't see water coming out anywhere on the pad then the leak is likely underground.

    Unfortunately, underground leaks are the hardest to find unless you can follow the water. It means a lot of digging but if you can find the wettest spot, then you have hope of finding it. Once exposed it should be easy to fix.

    One messy alternative is to run the pump 24/7 until you can see the water at the surface. The ground may be absorbing the leaking water between runs preventing you from seeing it.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Daily water loss of 3/16" with filter on

    You won't have a multiport since you have a cartridge filter, but you might have a waste line still. Do you? If you do, and you happen to know where it discharges into the yard, check the end of the line and see if water is dripping out.

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    Re: Daily water loss of 3/16" with filter on

    Quote Originally Posted by spishex
    You won't have a multiport since you have a cartridge filter, but you might have a waste line still. Do you? If you do, and you happen to know where it discharges into the yard, check the end of the line and see if water is dripping out.
    Hmm, There is a plug on the bottom of the cartridge filter but no line attached to it and no drips there.

    And there is a hose bib on top of the pipe after (or before?) the filter pump but no line attached to that, and no drips there.

    Are those the waste lines you might be talking about?

    Meanwhile, the water level in the spa is down by about 1/4" overnight, could be a bad checkvalve or not. I think I'm going to run the spa for a few hours to see if I measure a massive water loss that way.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    Re: Daily water loss of 3/16" with filter on

    OK, I may have a few facts here...

    Turning on the spa, I get a LOT of bubbles, even though the blower is not on. I see a lot of bubbles in the filter pump intake window, and I hear a clunk from the blower tubing every 5 seconds roughly.

    So, this means the leak is on the suction side of the spa -- right? Sucking air in.

    Now, does this mean I have TWO leaks? Can this leak on the suction side of the spa be losing water at the same time it takes in air? Or is it just taking in air now while it is running faster on spa mode, and when the pool is on regular circulation the pressure is slightly positive and water goes out?

    Is the blower sound a burp as air enters it?

    Help please!
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Daily water loss of 3/16" with filter on

    If you're running with the spa completely isolated, then you may have a suction leak in the spa line that is normally closed during pool operation. In other words, with the pool on you won't be pulling from the spa drain.

    The hose attachment at the pump line would be your waste line.

    What's your normal daily filtration cycle like for the pool and spa? I wonder if you're losing water from a suction side leak in the spa then turning to spill over so the visible water loss is shifted to the pool. That's an awfully big leak to lose 100 gallons a day though, and you'd see the spa dropping much faster unless it was always on spillover.

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    Re: Daily water loss of 3/16" with filter on

    During normal operation the spa is in spillover mode, and so yes, that loss was spreadout over the entire pool.

    I am really uncertain about the volume of the loss. I tried to imagine how fast a bucket would fill if it were catching the flow of the pool fill spout -- so I could be off by a factor of 2 easily. Still, 100 gallons a day might explain why the post hole 70 feet away had so much water.

    Montlhy water usage for the house was 10,000 gallons, which the water department tells me is not unusual but that seems a lot for two people and no sprinkler system in use. But 900 gallons a week could still be lost in that number and not be noticed. They suggested that next time I refill the pool, I note the water meter reading before and after -- smack! why didn't I think of that one?

    OK, well, suction side leak in the spa line. Now, I can call the Leak Detection people out to find it and fix it. We'll get that appointment set up ASAP.

    After one hour the water level in the spa dropped about 3/4" maybe less..... 7' circle .... 38 sf area ... 2.4 cf loss in one hour... 18 gallons per hour running, times 6 hours per day is 100 gallons per day or so.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    Re: Daily water loss of 3/16" with filter on

    You could very well have two leaks in your plumbing.

    As I had posted earlier, why don't you run the pool in pool only mode (not spillover) for 24 hours and see what the water level is at the end of that. If you haven't lost much water, then the leak is not likely in your pool system and probably in the spa or spill over.

    However, if the leak was in the suction side of the spa, then the amount of water lost when spread over the surface of the main pool would be much less. The area of the pool is probably 10 to 20 times that of the spa. So a 3/16" water loss in the pool should be close to 2" or more water loss in the spa. It doesn't sound like you lose that much water in the spa so I would suspect that the main leak is in the pool plumbing or in the spill over plumbing. You may still have a leak in the spa suction but I doubt that would be the cause of that much water loss.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Daily water loss of 3/16" with filter on

    I missed that suggestion of pool mode only.... I'm not sure how to do that.
    Can you walk me through it. I know the Aqualink is set up fso that when the filter pump button is on, the circulation goes through the spa and spillover as well. Not sure how to defeat that.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    Re: Daily water loss of 3/16" with filter on

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985
    The area of the pool is probably 10 to 20 times that of the spa. So a 3/16" water loss in the pool should be close to 2" or more water loss in the spa.
    Had I run the spa for 6 hours instead of one, it would have been well over 2 inches lower, maybe 3 inches. I could run it longer but I didn't like the amount of bubbles in the filter housing window.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    Re: Daily water loss of 3/16" with filter on

    I don't think there is a way to not run the spa when the pool filter is on.

    After the main filter pump, the line goes through the heater and back out. Then it goes through a Jandy valve and goes either to the Spa Return or through the Clorinator and then the line splits, with no valve in between, to the Spa return and the Pool Return. On the Spa Return there is a round insert that has the check valve in it. (so now I know where that is!)

    So I don't think that circulation without the spa is possible.

    Edit --- several hours later.... I ran the whole pool system to circulate chlorine after 4 days off and to skim leaves and when I turned it all off and went outside I noticed several large bubbles rising from one of the returns in the spa. Does this point to the culprit? or just the high point in the lines from which air must rise?
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Daily water loss of 3/16" with filter on

    After the jandy valve do the two spa returns (dedicated one and the one on the chlorinator side) go to the same returns in the spa or different ones?

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    Re: Daily water loss of 3/16" with filter on

    Quote Originally Posted by anonapersona
    Had I run the spa for 6 hours instead of one, it would have been well over 2 inches lower, maybe 3 inches. I could run it longer but I didn't like the amount of bubbles in the filter housing window.
    I'm still a little confused about your setup. Does the spa spillover actually return into the spa or is it a fake as you mentioned earlier and just dump into the pool? Also, which line did you see the bubbles, the spa mode return line or the spa spillover return line (unless it is a fake which means the bubbles came out of the spa mode return line)?

    SPA Mode:

    If you are losing water while in spa mode and the pump is on, then you would have a leak in the spa return line. But it also sounds like you have an air leak on the suction side as well because of the air in the basket. When the pump is off, that could also leak water back out.

    Pool Mode:

    In this mode, you said that you also detected a leak. Is there any air in the pump basket in this mode? Do you see any air out of the returns in this mode?

    Even if you cannot turn off the spa spillover in pool mode, it might still be useful to run in pool mode to make sure that you have a leak on that side. This would eliminate the pool and spillover return lines as a problem.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Daily water loss of 3/16" with filter on

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985
    I'm still a little confused about your setup. Does the spa spillover actually return into the spa or is it a fake as you mentioned earlier and just dump into the pool? Also, which line did you see the bubbles, the spa mode return line or the spa spillover return line (unless it is a fake which means the bubbles came out of the spa mode return line)?
    When the "filter pump" is ON, the spa spills over into the pool -- over a 1 foot wide flat spout, straight into the pool. It is the pool overflow that is fake and goes nowhere.

    When the "spa" was ON, and all circulation was to and from the spa, not to the pool at all, I saw bubbles in the filter pump basket -- a LOT of bubbles. I could hear bubbles in the line as it exited the ground and I could hear bubbles coming up the tube where the blower sits. Those bubbles passed through the pump and the filter (I could open the top valve and clear some of them but they kept comming) and the bubbles were retruned to the spa, since all water in that configuration was returned to the spa.

    SPA Mode:

    If you are losing water while in spa mode and the pump is on, then you would have a leak in the spa return line. But it also sounds like you have an air leak on the suction side as well because of the air in the basket. When the pump is off, that could also leak water back out.
    So, it still could be one leak, not two, or must it be two? If there is only a leak on the suction side, it would let air into the spa return as I see. And then when that valve is closed and no water returns from the bottom of the spa to the pump filter, that leak could then let water out -- since it is under positive pressure then, with anything from a few inches to several feet of water pressure instead of negative pressure from suction.

    But, what you are saying is that if I lose water while in spa mode then there must be a leak in the spa return line -- lose water = return (or structure), gain air = suction. Hmm, and, a bad checkvalve could still be involved if that was leaking water back to the pool when in spa mode, pretending to be a spa return line leak.

    Pool Mode:

    In this mode, you said that you also detected a leak. Is there any air in the pump basket in this mode? Do you see any air out of the returns in this mode?
    No air in the pump basket in this mode. No air in the returns in this mode.

    Even if you cannot turn off the spa spillover in pool mode, it might still be useful to run in pool mode to make sure that you have a leak on that side. This would eliminate the pool and spillover return lines as a problem.
    The "pool + spillover" return line...I don't see it.

    I cannot eliminate the spa suction line (off bottom of spa) as a leak source in "pool" mode since it is still hydraulically connected to the spa even if the valve is closed over at the equipment pad. In "pool mode" there is still flow into the spa and there is still water inside the return lines below ground, all the way to the valve over at the equipment pad. That leak would still be going but with a few inches less pressure against it.

    The pool does not leak when all systems are off, but the spa does. About 1/4" in the spa lost in 12 hours with the system off. When the pool is on, with circulation through the spa, the loss is much more. And when the spa is on by itself, the loss is much more. I know that in pool mode I lose 3/16" from the entire pool in 6 hours with water going to the Polaris and its pump as well as returning to pool and the spa which spills into the pool. (oh, I never did eliminate the cleaner did I?)

    Yeah, I see it I think, there needs to be a leak in the return to the spa as well. Or the spa vessel which includes the the suction line all the way to the valve.

    Well, by next Friday I will have some answers. $350 to American Leak Detection to test every item in the system. If there are multiple leaks, we will know when they are done.

    Meanwhile, I think I have a bone to pick with the companies I paid to do inspections when I bought the house. The pool inspector should have noticed the bubbles in the spa when the blower was off and seen that this was at minimum a leak on the spa suction. And I also pressed the house inspector as to whether the weepy mud at the driveway indicated water problems. He missed 2 sprinkler breaks in addition to what seems to be massive water loss from the pool. Now the big question is -- how long has this water loss been going onand when it is fixed, will my house settle as the clay dries out?
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

  15. Back To Top    #15

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    Re: Daily water loss of 3/16" with filter on

    The bubbles in the spa are probably due to the venturi action in the spa jets. It's sucking air in via the blower line. Many do this. I don't think the air you're seeing is a result ofthe problem.

    From what I have read though, it sounds like the spa return line has a leak.
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
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    Re: Daily water loss of 3/16" with filter on

    American Leak Detection tested all the lines and says there is no leak. They found a tinsy tiny leak in the waterfall, but I have not had the waterfall on for days and whether it was on or off seemed to make no difference to the water lost from the pool.

    Their guy said that perhaps the spa return lines have some flexible tubing that has gotten pinched by a tree, so that cavitation would cause the bubbles. After he did the pressure test, I ran the spa and there were almost no bubbles at all. So, that theory may work, in that the pressure test could have unbent the kink for awhile.

    But, the water loss still remains. I was to do a bucket test after he left on Friday, but big winds blew the bucket over. By Monday afternoon the pool had dropped from the 1/2" below the bottom of overflow grate, to 1 1/2 " below after running hte whole pool for 6 hours each day without the waterfall. The bucket set up for only about 20 hours had a tiny difference between the inside and outside levels, hard to say the measurement. The returns were blowing bubbles since the skimmers were hardly under water, so I had to add an hours worth of water.

    The neighbor tells me that after they replastered their pool they never have to add water now. Rain keeps up with evaporation I guess. So.... if all the lines are good, could the plaster itself be leaking water?

    Anona
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Daily water loss of 3/16" with filter on

    American Leak Detection is normally very good at what they do. If they say there isn't a leak then there usually isn't a leak. Evaporation can be substantial and it can be significantly different between pools on adjoining properties, depending on wind and sun patterns.

    It sounds like it is time to go back and do a very careful bucket test, with and without the pump running, and try to get a handle on just how much of your water loss is evaporation and how much could be a leak.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Daily water loss of 3/16" with filter on

    Quote Originally Posted by anonapersona
    The neighbor tells me that after they replastered their pool they never have to add water now. Rain keeps up with evaporation I guess. So.... if all the lines are good, could the plaster itself be leaking water?
    They normally test the surface of the pool. Did you see the guy walking around with headphones on and a wand in the water?

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Re: Daily water loss of 3/16" with filter on

    Quote Originally Posted by spishex
    They normally test the surface of the pool. Did you see the guy walking around with headphones on and a wand in the water?
    I was not here when he arrived. So I don't know what he did. When I arrived he was face down over the edge of the spa looking at the border of the spa, then he drained the spa and pulled the outlet covers to test those lines.

    He did say that if I thought I was still losing water, they can return with a "computer" that will tell in 15 minutes how much water I am losing. Not sure if that is part of the $400 I paid already. I called them Mon to tell them it is still losing water. The guy on the phone said he would talk to the guy who did the testing, but I have not heard back yet.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    Re: Daily water loss of 3/16" with filter on

    Well, I have not thoroughly read this thread so I may be off base. A 3/16" water loss in a Texas pool does not seem alarmingly abnormal. Do you have visible signs of the loss? Is the ground wet, etc.?
    Dave S. - Forum owner
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