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Thread: Soon to be ex-pool owner?

  1. Back To Top    #1

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    Soon to be ex-pool owner?

    Hello everyone,

    At the moment I am still hoping for some crazy solution, but I fear that stupidity just might have cost me my pool. If anyone here has some hope to offer I am really in the mood for some right now.

    The quick version is that my pool appears to be leaking and I am not yet quite sure why. It started all of a sudden last Saturday when I noticed that the water level was getting a little bit low. Sunday morning the skimmer was sucking air. After filling it back up during the day on Sunday I lost another inch or so overnight and another inch today. At the moment I am doing a bucket test to comfirm that something is wrong but I seriously doubt that evaporation can explain what I am seeing.

    This is where the stupidity comes in. On Friday I added what I thought was the last of my PH down which was in a container the likes that Walmart sells. Some of this stuff had been left by the previous owners and I had used enough of it already to know that it seemed to do what I was after. Oddly when I went to check the pool on Saturday there was a pile of white powder on the bottom of the pool, piled around the corners of the deep end. At the time I figured that was odd because that stuff never did that before, but the water was 15 degrees colder than it had been due to a recent cold snap here and I rationalized that it must have been that. I immediately vacuumed the powder up figuring that the filter would disperse it better than whatever was happening down there. Nothing else happened beyond noticing the water levels drop at the times already noted.

    ...until tonight...Thinking backwards to try to figure out an explanation for why it would start leaking I remembered the powder and so I went to find the container to see if the ingredients could possibly be agressive enough to cause some sort of damage...the empty container was not for PH down as I had thought, but instead it was CYA.

    The time that it sat on the bottom couldn't have been more than 12 hours. Is it possible that it ate through a seem or even directly through the liner or caused some sort of damage in that much time? I have seen other people post putting that stuff in their pools here and nothing about destroying the pool in the process and yet I still need an explanation for the sudden water drops. I have already read the articles about leak testing and thus the bucket test mentioned earlier is underway, but I am still trying to figure out how to do a food color test so I haven't tried that yet...

    If this thing is leaking on the deep end I am not going to be able to save this pool, I fear. At this point I am mostly looking for someone to tell me that I am crazy and CYA can't possibly cause this because I would feel a whole lot better if it was any other reason than a stupid mistake like that. Anyone?

    Oh yes, the pool is 5 years old. Prior to Saturday I was losing about 2 inches of water per month. Since Saturday I have lost quite a bit more than that amount. (For future readers that don't want to cross reference dates, today is Monday.)
    20,000g, 18' x 36' IG, Sta-Rite System:3 cart. filter.

  2. Back To Top    #2
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    Re: Soon to be ex-pool owner?

    pH down is more likely to cause damage to a vinyl liner than is CYA. I suspexct the leak and the CYA sare just coincidence. However, if you normally pour dry acid into the pool without predissolving it first in a bucket of water that could very well explain the damage to you liner.
    I suspect you have had a slow leak that just gave up the ghost.

  3. Back To Top    #3
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Soon to be ex-pool owner?

    It is worth checking to see if you still lose water when the equipment is turned off. If you don't, the leak has to be in the plumbing.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Soon to be ex-pool owner?

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    It is worth checking to see if you still lose water when the equipment is turned off. If you don't, the leak has to be in the plumbing.
    Yesterday evening I filled the pool to the mid point on the skimmer and started a bucket test. After doing my normal routine of checking the normal stuff I left it to circulate as usual then powered off the pump around 10:00pm. This morning the bucket level had not changed any amount that mattered and the pool is roughly one inch lower. I left the valves open on my plumbing as I have always done in the past when I turned it off...

    I am currently skipping the skimmer and I will allow the water level to drop below that intake because I expect it will be there by the time I get home tonight. I figure this will at least tell me if the problem is in the skimmer side of things as the water passes that point. I am just not sure what else to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by waterbear
    pH down is more likely to cause damage to a vinyl liner than is CYA. I suspexct the leak and the CYA sare just coincidence. However, if you normally pour dry acid into the pool without predissolving it first in a bucket of water that could very well explain the damage to you liner.
    I suspect you have had a slow leak that just gave up the ghost.
    That is very interesting.... shows how much damage a lack of knowledge can do. I was only following the instructions on the container where it says quite clearly to "broadcast" the substance over the deep end. I always did it that way and the cloud was always visually dispersed within the top 2 feet of water with another 6 feet to go it seemed to be doing what one would expect. Does this actually collect on the bottom even with the system circulating?

    Also it is worth noting that I hadn't added any of that stuff for a couple of weeks prior and even then it was pretty small quantities. Is it likely that the damage was almost complete and the CYA pushed it over the edge?

    Assuming for a moment that I caused that kind of leak, would there likely be any visible signs for me to focus my search? I can't see anything out of the ordinary down there but it is quite clear that I don't even know what to look for.
    20,000g, 18' x 36' IG, Sta-Rite System:3 cart. filter.

  5. Back To Top    #5
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Soon to be ex-pool owner?

    If you haven't already, read the leak detection article at Pool School.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  6. Back To Top    #6

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    Re: Soon to be ex-pool owner?

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    If you haven't already, read the leak detection article at Pool School.
    I did read that... thank you!

    The current update is actually interesting. The rate of loss is slowing. From a starting point Sunday night with the water level at the mid point mark on the skimmer, the water level dropped a bit more than an inch within 12 hours. Last night, another 12 hours later the water had dropped roughly 1/2 inch more. This morning, with yet another 12 hours passed, the water has dropped 1/4 inch further. At this point it started raining so I don't know whether we will get enough to mess up observations much but the trend appears promising.

    The water level is still roughly 1 inch above the bottom of the skimmer intake which means water is still in that part of the plumbing with just a bit less pressure than before. I am still faced with some form of plumbing leak which would be very bad, but indicators are starting to look like the leak might be around the skimmer face inside the pool. Which brings me to the point of this post. How are those things assembled? There are a series of screws that appear to hold the inside plate sealed to the vinyl, but are those things usually glued on in any way? Are they supposed to be tightened, glued or maintenanced in any way?

    I haven't done a food coloring test around there yet because of the amount of water movement in the area. Tonight I will power down the system until everything comes to a rest and try that just to know for sure, but considering the rate of loss has slowed so dramatically I am thinking that the water level must be approaching the level of the leak now. Is that logic sound?

    Oh, one other thing... the rate of loss does not appear to be affected by the pump. The pump was not running Sunday night when the most water was lost, but it was running during the day yesterday and off again last night.
    20,000g, 18' x 36' IG, Sta-Rite System:3 cart. filter.

  7. Back To Top    #7

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    Re: Soon to be ex-pool owner?

    Just an update to anyone that followed this thread and is anxiously ( ) waiting for a conclusion to the story...

    The problem turned out to be the seal behind the skimmer cover plate and I was able to fix it! . It seems that mine was constructed of some sort of cork type material that is designed (?) to disintegrate over time. I won't post any conspiracy theories here but it seems kind of fishy to me to use a product that dissolves under water as a water seal. In any case it was quite clear that water was running down the back side of the liner and off to who-knows-where because I never found any trace of it anywhere.

    To fix the problem I opted for silicone which I made sure protected the entire area around each screw and most importantly around the area just inside the skimmer face. It was here that the water was entering the skimmer area and then flowing down the backside of the faceplate and entering the liner. It would seem that waterbear's assessment that a slow leak already existed and finally gave up the ghost was correct (Thank you, waterbear! That ray of hope really helped me then because I was convinced that I was looking at a plumbing problem and untold thousands in repair potential. That would have been end-of-life for my pool.)

    Now if summer would just come back around here I could actually use my pool again!
    20,000g, 18' x 36' IG, Sta-Rite System:3 cart. filter.

  8. Back To Top    #8
    Casey's Avatar
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    Re: Soon to be ex-pool owner?

    The will come out tomorrow!

    SO glad to hear you found the leak and got it fixed. It's not fun thinking your pool is on it's last leg. I'm happy yours isn't! Hopefully, you can start enjoying it soon!
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: Soon to be ex-pool owner?

    Quote Originally Posted by Casey
    The will come out tomorrow!

    SO glad to hear you found the leak and got it fixed. It's not fun thinking your pool is on it's last leg. I'm happy yours isn't! Hopefully, you can start enjoying it soon!

    Thanks, Casey!

    We are having the strangest summer I can ever remember here. A few weeks ago we had temps in the high 90s every day for nearly two weeks. The forecast high for this Friday is 67 degrees and no rain. What is up with that? I have to say that it is nice to not have to run the air all the time, but good grief, 67?

    So yes the sun will come out but it is kind of feeble....
    20,000g, 18' x 36' IG, Sta-Rite System:3 cart. filter.

  10. Back To Top    #10
    Casey's Avatar
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    Re: Soon to be ex-pool owner?

    Don't feel bad. Our weather has been all messed up too.
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

  11. Back To Top    #11

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    Re: Soon to be ex-pool owner?

    I am certainly glad that the leak turned into being an easy fix!

    Don't worry, alot of us are in the same boat as you. I have had the windows open for the last 3 days and nights.

    Just 3 weeks ago the pool water was in the 90s and now its hovering around 71......
    18ft x 48in Round Intex Ultra frame. 6,700 gallons.

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