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