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Thread: NO DIGGING Required! Fixing an underground broken return

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    NO DIGGING Required! Fixing an underground broken return

    So for a while now my brother and I have theorized a way to fix broken returns without having to dig up concrete. We tried it and it worked (for now) Here is how we did it.
    [it's actually kinda similar to how you would replace a swimming pool light]

    • Take some nylon string and some paper towels and make a plug out of the towel and tie the string to it.
      Get access to the return line near the pump and put the plug of towel into the line followed by many feet of the coiled string.
      using the winterizing blowers blow the plug of towel to the pool out the return
      now that you have the string run through the line, I then the end of the string near the pump to 2" backwash hose.
      pull on the string and draw the backwash hose through the line.
      when you finally have the backwash hose sticking out of the return line in the pool you now have to figure how to plumb it.
      In this case the return was from an aquagenie so we clamped a 1" 1/2 x 1/4" pvc pipe to the end of the backwash hose and then pulled it back through so it was snug
      then near the pump we put 2 slits on the backwash hose and flapped it over the existing pipe and clamped it

    NOTES:
    How long this will last? Who knows I'll keep an eye on the water level.
    Having an aqua genie made the process easier since I didn't have to figure out how to attach the backwash to the standard return line.
    If the backwash hose fails I will attempt to use a more rugged 2" discharge hose to resist tears
    If attempting this repair yourself you may run into complications if multiple returns share the same line; it may not work at all or you may have to sacrifice one line for another depending on if you can fish the line through.

    Let me know what you guys think!
    [attachment=0:1kl17zce]backwashpipe.jpg[/attachment:1kl17zce][attachment=1:1kl17zce]aquagenie.jpg[/attachment:1kl17zce]
    Attached Images Attached Images
    -Kevin
    X-Pert Pool Service
    x-pertpool.com
    X-Pert Pool on Facebook and @XPertPoolServic on Twitter
    22,000 gal / 16' x 32' / Vinyl / Hayward s244t /Pentair SuperFlo 1 hp

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: NO DIGGING Required! Fixing an underground broken return

    Nice idea! Too bad it wouldn't work for a main drain line... Keep us posted as you perfect your 'tubing' method.

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    Ohm_Boy's Avatar
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    Re: NO DIGGING Required! Fixing an underground broken return

    I don't know about winterizing blowers, but I can say from experience that a shop vac WILL suck a grocery bag with a poly cord tied to it through several hundred feet of conduit...

    Just sayin'.
    [center:1kpalu48]Helpful Links: Pool School | CYA/Chlorine Chart | Pool Calculator[/center:1kpalu48]

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    Re: NO DIGGING Required! Fixing an underground broken return

    I notice that this was on black poly - any elbows in the line?

    I think we all know what happens to the backwash hoses when the crimp or kink and wonder if that might happen with a 90* in the line.

    For any straight shot with no elbows nor other outlets that's a D*MMED GOOD IDEA!
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

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    Re: NO DIGGING Required! Fixing an underground broken return

    I'm not sure if there are elbows in the line, I would have to assume there is at least one beneath the skimmer unless the line is really deep and the pipe curves naturally. Anyways I've though about using a flex pvc pipe but the Internal diameter of the new pipe would probably end up being too small not to mention it was pretty difficult pulling backwash hose through the line let alone flex pvc. So far so good though the water level is holding.
    -Kevin
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    22,000 gal / 16' x 32' / Vinyl / Hayward s244t /Pentair SuperFlo 1 hp

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    Re: NO DIGGING Required! Fixing an underground broken return

    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: NO DIGGING Required! Fixing an underground broken return

    Quote Originally Posted by X-PertPool
    Having an aqua genie made the process easier since I didn't have to figure out how to attach the backwash to the standard return line.
    Great idea! I hope I can use it my situation which is:

    I have stairs at one side of the pool. The stair walls have a "hydrojet" on each wall. They are nothing more then a standard return connected to a 90% elbow. I could use the same procedure you used to get the exhaust hose up to the standard return fitting. Hopefully I can get the hose through the 90% elbow.

    I am not sure how I would fasten the exhaust hose to the inside of the standard return. Perhaps I could fit a piece of 1 1/2" pipe into the return so that it would press the exhaust hose against the wall of the 2" return. I could even drop the water level so that it was dry and apply some PVC cement to it.

    If it doesn't work, it is no big deal. I can block it off and just use the "hydrojet" on the "good" side.

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    Re: NO DIGGING Required! Fixing an underground broken return

    Great idea,I would watch those stainless steel clamps,the bands are stainless but the worm bolt is not. The one in the skimmer will rot away faster since it will be setting in chlorine all the time. But my hats off to you,it's still better then digging. If you can get 2 or 3 years out of it,just replace it!! Good Luck !!
    17,000 gal. IG pool with spillover spa, gunite/white plaster (approx15 y/o, replastered 10/2010), Filter Equipment installed 2007: Pentair CCP520 4-cartridge filter F/R 150, Pentair Mastertemp 250 Gas Heater, 3hp Pentair IntelliFlo Variable 8 Speed Inground Pump(installed 9/2011), and Proud lifetime TFP supporter!!

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    Re: NO DIGGING Required! Fixing an underground broken return

    Really great idea! Just curious whether the backwash line will hold up. Maybe we could get a 1 year update

    Don't know if you've seen this or not yet, but this company offers a product which works similar to your method, but has more of a flex pipe rather than the backwash line:
    http://pipesdownunder.com/
    18 X 36 In-Ground Vinyl Pool, Hayward 1 HP SuperPump, Hayward SP270T 350lb Sand Filter, CompuPool CPSC48 Salt Chlorine Generator, Hayward H400FDN 400 BTU Natural Gas Heater, 2 returns, 1 skimmer, No Main Drain

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    stev32k's Avatar
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    Re: NO DIGGING Required! Fixing an underground broken return

    This method is used to line pipelines that are leaking. Normally they insert a steel fish tape into the discharge end and run it to the inlet then attach a heavy rope and pull back. The heavy rope is then used to pull the liner. I've had hundreds of feet of pipe lined by this method.
    20' x 40' IG with vinyl liner volume approx. 35,000 gal.1.5 H.P. main pump, Polaris 280 cleaner W/ 3/4 H.P. booster pump
    Hayward sand filter, 3.14 sq ft, 62 gpm. Stenner 45 MPH10 chlorine feed pump. 1 micron final filter bags (home made and very effective)

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    Re: NO DIGGING Required! Fixing an underground broken return

    I am reading this thread with interest. I have a 30 yr old in ground pool that has a 45ft return line that is punctured or split. The leak is so bad, that if I plug the return inlet in the pool and turn the pump on, the pool level drops quickly and enough water collects behind the liner, that the liner will float away from the pool wall.

    So I excavated both ends of the black poly pipe thinking the leak "might" be right behind the pool return inlet. Nope. Water comes gushing in the hole I create within a couple of minutes of turning the pump on. However I suppose the leak could be anywhere from 2 ft to 20 ft away and is just percolating through the sand that quickly. So continued digging is not an option. The black poly has an I.D. of just slightly more than 1.5",

    The backwash hose idea in this thread looks interesting. Looks easy to install. Some concerns: Longevity, twisting of the floppy hose as it goes in resulting in reduced flow, and can not be used for a suction side.

    The commercial product a couple of posts back is quite (actually VERY) expensive. I received a quote and could not believe the price.

    So I went to my local hardware store to see what kind of hosing they had. To my surprise they carry a variety of pool vacuum hose and spa hose. The store has a pool vacuum hose that they can get in any length that looks heavy duty and has an O.D. of 1.5". So I purchased a 1 ft sample. The sample just fits inside the black poly. Not sure how easy pulling it through 45' of black poly would be though. Perhaps if plenty of electrician wire pull lube was applied as the hose is being pulled in...? Then figure out how to get fittings on the ends...

    Anyone try using pool vacuum hose as a fix? Longevity? What would be an appropriate pull lube that could be used (as to not deteriorate the hose)?

    Another question, when pool vacuum hoses are listed in a catalog as 1.5" or 1.25", is that I.D. or O.D.?
    18' X 36' X 4.5' vinyl oval in-ground 17K gallons, 250K BTU Pentair Master Temp NG heater, 1HP Hayward Super Pump, Hayward S200 sand filter, Hayward Pool Vac, Extreme mesh safety cover, TF-100 test kit.

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    Re: NO DIGGING Required! Fixing an underground broken return

    If you already have the line dug up near the pool I would just run a new line entirely. The basic premise of running the line inside of the line was to avoid any kind of digging.
    -Kevin
    X-Pert Pool Service
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    X-Pert Pool on Facebook and @XPertPoolServic on Twitter
    22,000 gal / 16' x 32' / Vinyl / Hayward s244t /Pentair SuperFlo 1 hp

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    Re: NO DIGGING Required! Fixing an underground broken return

    I only have the two ends exposed by light excavation. I cut a 2' X 2' hole in the concrete with a concrete saw and removed gravel to get to the end by the pool return inlet. The other end by the pump was easy to dig down to get to. The bulk of the 45 ft of black poly is under a concrete patio and could be 3 ft down or more. Also the home electrical, gas, and phone service crosses through as well. So replacing the poly line is not an option.
    18' X 36' X 4.5' vinyl oval in-ground 17K gallons, 250K BTU Pentair Master Temp NG heater, 1HP Hayward Super Pump, Hayward S200 sand filter, Hayward Pool Vac, Extreme mesh safety cover, TF-100 test kit.

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    Re: NO DIGGING Required! Fixing an underground broken return

    I found this post and realize it is a couple of years old. How is this"fix" holding up? Do you still think it is a potential fix for leaking pipes?

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    Re: NO DIGGING Required! Fixing an underground broken return

    It started leaking a few weeks after I ran the line. I just did it as an experiment. Backwash hose is too easily torn and having an aquagenie return further complicates pulling anything through the line. If I had to do it again I would use something like 2 discharge hose like you would use on a trash pump. It's like backwash hose but much more durable

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    -Kevin
    X-Pert Pool Service
    x-pertpool.com
    X-Pert Pool on Facebook and @XPertPoolServic on Twitter
    22,000 gal / 16' x 32' / Vinyl / Hayward s244t /Pentair SuperFlo 1 hp

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    Re: NO DIGGING Required! Fixing an underground broken return

    I just did this to my main drain! But with some variation and machining of pvc fittings. But it is my return lines that are leaking.

    Since my main drain is 1 1/2 flex pvc, i chose 1 1/2 backwash hose.

    I got 2- 1 1/4 pvc plugs and drilled and reamed them as much as possible and sanded the outside to fit into 1 1/2 pvc.

    I streched one end of the backwash hose, liberally applied contact cement to the reamed plug and inside of the backwash hose and put the reamed plug into the streched end of the backwash hose.

    I took a piece of 1 1/2 pvc pipe and made a collar that would slip over one of the reamed plugs while the backwash hose was contact cemented onto the end and contact cemented into place.

    Then i capped this with a rubber cap to prevent any air or water prematurely inflating this hose.

    Then i tied and duct taped clothesline rope with enough lenght to run through from the main drain at the bottom of the pool to the pump with more than enough to spare.

    I marked the rope at the assumed lenght to prevent excess into the pump strainer and put an inflated piece of plastic badg on the end that was to be fed into the main drain to aid in the pulling by the pool pump.

    I ran a pice of light rope therough the main drain with the pump on to pull the backwash hose and must have made 60 trips to the bottom to the pool and back to the pump to pull the backwash hose through. Folding the backwash hose in half lenghwise to allow its journey through to the pump. 6" per tug for a distance of 30.

    I cut the excess backwash hose inside the pump strainer access and uncapped the hose in the main drain and replaced the drain cover.

    I closed my 2 skimmer valves and only ran the main drain to stretch the backwash for the week. (Weekend warrior project). The next weekend, i cut the underground main drain pipe with extreme care to not cut the backwash hose inside( in a trench that was dug near the pumping station).

    This is where it got real tricky. I had to ream the 1 1/2 main drain pvc pipe to house the "sandwiched" backwash hose and reamed 1 1/4 plug before assembling the backwash hose and reamed plug with contact cement under tention to prevent excess hose inside the suction line that is the main drain! Tons o' fun!
    Before i reassembled the two sections of main drain plumbing, i had to ream the center stop in the 1 1/2 coupling to house the reamed 1 1/4 plug backwash hose sandwich.

    It has been 3 months and its not leaking from this location, but it is leaking from the returns from the pump.

    I will replace this line when the vinyl liner needs to be replaced and this line will be replaced with 2" pvc. . .

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