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Thread: Cover Problems and Leak Problems

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    Cover Problems and Leak Problems

    I’ve got a couple of problems with my above ground vinyl 18’ x 36’ pool that I sure could use some advise on. I’ve had the pool for 5 summer seasons. It’s partially buried into the ground – 2 feet – and I have an oval deep end scooped out of the ground about another 3 feet. Like many others here, I’ve been through a lot – 3 seasons with the bacquacil nightmare. I’ve had a lot of tree leaf issues also.

    I’ve covered my pool every year with a solid cover, with a couple of air pillows under the cover. I live in Dallas so I don’t have ice issues in the winter. There are several oak trees over and around the periphery of my pool, so leaves, in the fall, and pollen, in the spring, collect on top of the cover if it is on, or in the pool if it is not. Typically, I’ve gotten the cover on in October, and off in early April. Outside air temperatures can go into the 80s in December and January so, no doubt, I can and do have issues with “green”, dirty water when I remove the cover.

    Part of the issue with water quality under the cover is that the cover is worn out with various small holes – I know it needs to be replaced. However, I am tired of dealing with the dirty, stinky leaf mess on top of the cover every year. In addition, it becomes very difficult to pull the cover off in the spring due to the heavy, wet leaf mass. There is enough exchange of water through the cover with the surface of the water under the cover that I can never get the leaf mass dry. I usually go through a “back-breaking” two day ordeal to reach and get enough of the debris off to be able to lift and pull the last of the cover off at one end of the pool.

    I’m not sure if I want to put a solid cover on any more. I see my options as:

    1. No cover
    2. A NEW solid cover with a mesh leaf cover on top of it
    3. A mesh leaf cover only

    I lean towards just a mesh cover, but I’m not sure if it is strong enough by itself. If I do just that I can still see using air pillows to suspend the mesh cover above the water. In any scenario I plan on draining the pool enough to shut off and dismantle the pump and filter for the winter to save on electricity costs.

    It seems most places have this leaf mesh cover:

    http://www.poolcenter.com/leaf_nets_...ool_covers.htm

    I’d love some opinions as to what seems to be the best to do.

    My next problem is I recently noticed that my water level had gone significantly down since covered in October. There is about a foot of water in the shallow end of my pool. There has been very little rain this winter. We’re anticipating a lot of rain this weekend – I decided to remove the cover hurriedly last night to avoid a buildup of water on the cover, with the added weight that would cause the sides to collapse in absence to the support of water. I wasn’t able to do my usual thorough cleaning and removal of the leaves, and right now the edges of the cover are over the side of the pool at one end with the bottom of the cover too heavy to raise out because of the collection of debris that was on top of it and now in it. That’s another matter that I’ll figure out how to tackle. At least the rain is going into the pool and not collecting on top of the cover.

    My issue is that obviously I have a leak. It seems to be going down about an inch every few days or so. At this point, the water level seems to keep going down – it seems likely that the leak is on the bottom of the pool somewhere. I had a incident with a lot of glass getting into the pool this summer, felt like I pretty much got all of it out. I didn’t seem to have an issue with the pool level going down excessively during the summer after this incident, but maybe that was not the case. The water is pretty dirty at this point. I’m not sure I have any choice but to let it continue to go down to see where it will stop. It seems like I won’t be able to do anything until I can get into the pool in the spring. The dirty-ness of the water would seem to impede locating a leak.

    Any suggestions on how I can locate this leak? The liner seems to be in pretty good shape otherwise – although I realize there’s the possibility that I might have to replace it.

    I apologize for the long-winded note. Any advise on how to tackle these issues would be greatly appreciated. Thanks…
    16x32 fiberglass pool
    1.5 hp pump
    cartridge filter
    solar heater
    Dolphin Diagnostic

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Central New York
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    504
    Where are you located? Any chance you can get into the pool to clean the bottom and look for the leak? You learned a lesson about glass objects in the pool area the hard way. I'm sorry to hear that.
    Hotrod30

    20 X 40 foot vinyl Borates and Salt Pool
    Rolachem Chlorine Feeder
    Hayward 27 inch sand filter with 80 lbs of pea gravel
    Jacuzzi Splash Pak SP55 DE filter in parallel
    Pentair VF3050 pump

  3. Back To Top    #3
    I'm in Dallas. I'll need some rubber boots, and will be getting some soon. It will take some effort to vacuum but I believe that I can figure out a way.However, first I'm concentrating on the sides. The level seemed to hold at 10" above bottom at a certain spot in the shallow end for several days. I raised the level to 14" yesterday and its held for almost 24 hours. It seems like the leak might be higher. It seems wise to try and eliminate the sides as an issue before looking at the bottom. I've got a deep end - an oval area about 4' x 4' and 3' deeper - which will be a challenge.

    My thoughts are to go for a few days and then add two to three inches at a time and see what happens. If I can see some kind of faster action on the lowering of the level, I'll look more closely for holes and try the food coloring test.

    I'm having a hard time believing that the level went down 2' to 3' over several months due to evaporation with a black cover on top. My thoughts are the hole(s) are closer to the current level rather than the original level when the cover was put on.

    Unfortunately, there were no glass objects in the area of the pool - there were some irresponsible actions by older teenagers that should have known better while I was out of town. However, I will say I went through a thorough effort to get all of the glass out of the pool, and while I'm not sure I got it all out, I feel I did a pretty good job of doing so. The water level did not seem to go down appreciably for a couple of months after the incident - except for what appeared to be normal evaporation.
    16x32 fiberglass pool
    1.5 hp pump
    cartridge filter
    solar heater
    Dolphin Diagnostic

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Central New York
    Posts
    504
    If the cover was solid plastic; then I think you can rule out evaporation. To my way of thinking, 2 to 3 feet loss in several months means the hole(s) are small.

    In putting in water, you have to balance the amount you put in to keep the side wall safe but still be able to inspect the sides around near the bottom and the bottom. Since you did put in some water, a good check around the outside for wet spots is in order. If you haven't had any rain for the last few days you could keep checking even if you can't get in the pool. Since the wall is buried up to 2 feet, that isn't an easy thing to do, but maybe alttle digging and close inspection might reveal something.

    Sorry, but that is all I can think of. Keep track of how much water you put in and how much rain falls. You are going to have to get in the pool to do a good inspection soon so keep working on getting the water clear and any stuff off the bottom. Be carefull of the rubber boots that you are going to wear in the pool. Good luck.
    Hotrod30

    20 X 40 foot vinyl Borates and Salt Pool
    Rolachem Chlorine Feeder
    Hayward 27 inch sand filter with 80 lbs of pea gravel
    Jacuzzi Splash Pak SP55 DE filter in parallel
    Pentair VF3050 pump

  5. Back To Top    #5
    If the cover was solid plastic; then I think you can rule out evaporation.
    It was solid, but was not solid. There are a lot of small holes in the cover from 5 years of use - it has not been very effective in keeping water from going through. There has been almost no rain this winter - but what little rain there has been mixed with the leaves and trash on the cover with the very small particles going though which is why the bottom is dirty. It has to be replaced unless I elect to go without it in the future.

    However, I don't think there is that much difference between the cover from last year to this year, and I didn't experience any loss last year so I still don't think evaopration is the issue.

    Be carefull of the rubber boots that you are going to wear in the pool.
    What do I need to look out for?

    I appreciate all of your helpful comments very much. Thanks ...
    16x32 fiberglass pool
    1.5 hp pump
    cartridge filter
    solar heater
    Dolphin Diagnostic

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Central New York
    Posts
    504
    On the rubber boots..... you don't want the type that has knobs or deep treads on the sole. I think I would rather see you wearing an old set of sneakers or even barefoot. Since the pool bottom is about 5 years old and probably a sand bottom, it should be hard; but be careful walking on it anyhow. If the hole(s) is on the bottom, you might find the sand is soft around it. You would be able to feel it better if you were in bare feet. It's going to take time to inspect; so just go slowly.

    Have a good patch kit ready and if you find the hole, patch it but continue looking for other holes. As long as the water level is down and you're in the pool; might as well finish looking.
    Hotrod30

    20 X 40 foot vinyl Borates and Salt Pool
    Rolachem Chlorine Feeder
    Hayward 27 inch sand filter with 80 lbs of pea gravel
    Jacuzzi Splash Pak SP55 DE filter in parallel
    Pentair VF3050 pump

  7. Back To Top    #7
    Casey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    SW PA
    Posts
    9,929
    I have an AGP and every year I go through the same thing... I always figured it was the weight of the water and leaves on the top of the cover forcing the water out of the pool where my return line hole is.

    I just had my hubby drain the cover and sure enough, my water is lower than the return line ( I drain to just below the return at the end of the season and cover)... I usually top it off when I start up the pool with no problems with water loss. That's the only thing I can figure.
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

  8. Back To Top    #8
    My situation was pretty severe. I'm not sure as to what might have happenned. I always winterize my pool and drain it to below the inlet and the return which I figure is about 39" above the pool bottom where I am measuring. When I noticed the problem, the water level was about 12" above the pool bottom. While there is the possibility that there was enough water on top of the tarp to force some water out - I don't think a significant amount to reflect my resulting condition went out this way. Also, there was not a significant amount of water on the tarp this winter in the Dallas area - we experienced drought-like conditions.

    The reason I'm not sure what might have happenned over the winter to account for that much water loss is that I've either slowly added water, or the significant rains that we've had in the last 6 weeks has filled the pool to the 27" mark. I'm not seeing any reduction in the water level, and I'm now not convinced that I have a leak.

    It could be that - as previously mentioned - that the leaks are small and the results will manafest itself over a few months. I've resolved to go ahead and finihs filling the pool, clean it, monitor it and go from there ...
    16x32 fiberglass pool
    1.5 hp pump
    cartridge filter
    solar heater
    Dolphin Diagnostic

  9. Back To Top    #9
    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD
    Posts
    37,887
    With holes in the cover it is very easy to pump water off the top of the cover and end up getting quite a bit of the pool water out as well. Or, with very dry cool weather, pool water could come up to the top of the cover and the evaporate, so you don't even need to pump to be losing significant amounts of water.
    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

  10. Back To Top    #10
    Thanks for the reply - the cover did have enough holes for water to seep through and evaporate - and it was clear and sunny plenty this winter ...
    16x32 fiberglass pool
    1.5 hp pump
    cartridge filter
    solar heater
    Dolphin Diagnostic

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