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Thread: Do I have a leak?

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Do I have a leak?

    Possibly have a leak in which air is coming into the plumbing, but I'm not sure. This is an older pool with old equipment. 2 floor drains, 1 skimmer, 2 returns.

    About five days ago, the water level was getting low and since the pool would be closed soon, instead of adding more water, I decided to circulate water from the two floor drains only. (Possibly my first mistake.) After I first turned the valve to "floor drain only," it seemed to be working. But then a few minutes later, I noticed that PSI went to 0 and the pump basket (I think that's what it's called) was not full of water and the filter water was getting lower. So, I turned it off, we primed it and got it working again, running off of floor drains only.

    A few days later, it rained and our water level went back up. Wanting to use the skimmer basket to collect leaves again, I (rather quickly, sorry to say) moved the valve from "drain only" to 50/50. Initially again, it seemed to be working, but upon checking the same situation had occurred -- 0 PSI, empty pump basket, filter losing water -- and no suction in the skimmer. So again, I turned off the pump, and attempted to prime and restart. The problem is, this time it seemed that the pipe coming into the pump from the floor drains would not fill up. I ran water from our hose into the pump basket for close to five minutes, and I could see water running down the pipe toward the floor drains.

    I'm not the most patient person, and I was getting worried ... so I moved the valve to "skimmer only," primed the pump, and restarted. Everything was as usual -- a few small bubbles from the returns (normal in skimmer only for this pool), normal PSI, filter and pump basket filled with water. I let it run overnight in this position.

    Today, I tried to s-l-o-w-l-y move the valve back to 50/50, but every time it gets past "skimmer only" and opens the main drain valve, it sucks the air out of the system. I've tried priming and restarting, etc. but the problem remains.

    My conclusion is that I either have a ton of air in the system between the main drains and the pump, which I'm too inexperienced to know how to fix ... or there's a leak somewhere between the main drains and the pump. I haven't done a leak test yet -- that's next on the list.

    Any ideas?
    -----------------------------------
    26000 gal, in-ground, vinyl pool
    Hayward S200 sand filter, 1 skimmer, 2 returns
    BBB since the first month! :-)

  2. Back To Top    #2

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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    Re: Do I have a leak?

    Good morning,

    Are you turning your valves with the pump running? If so, turn the pump off before changing any valve positions and see if that solves the issue.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  3. Back To Top    #3

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    Re: Do I have a leak?

    Yes, I was turning the valve with the pump running ... and I will be careful not to move it with the pump running in the future.

    But now I have a situation on my hands. I can't currently run the pump in the 50/50 position because when I do, it drains all the water out of the pump basket and filter, and I'm worried that I'll fry the pump. I can run it in "skimmer only," (as if I was vacuuming), and the pump basket/filter stay filled. But I also can't run it in "floor drain only," because again all the water drains out of the pump basket and filter.

    I'm going to try pouring water over the various pump parts while the valve is in the "skimmer only" position to see if I can detect a leak. If that doesn't work, it looks like I'll have to call the pool store to help me figure out how to either re-prime the pump or find the leak.
    -----------------------------------
    26000 gal, in-ground, vinyl pool
    Hayward S200 sand filter, 1 skimmer, 2 returns
    BBB since the first month! :-)

  4. Back To Top    #4

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    Re: Do I have a leak?

    If you maintain prime on skimmer only, look for a leak on the main drain side of the plumbing, you'll have to have the valve for the drain open slightly (just enough so that you can see the air coming in without loosing prime) Pour water on any suspect fitting or joint and watch to see if the bubbles lessen or totally stop. It would be best to have a garden hose 'trickling' so you can keep a constant flow of water where you're checking until you can see if the bubbles are stopping. It also helps to cup your hand under the pipe so that the water puddles there, in case the leak is on the bottom side of the line.

    Another method which sometimes can work is to open the valve to 100% drain at the same time killing power to the pump, the resulting back-pressure will sometimes cause a squirt of water out of the leak.

    Just to be complete, it may be a problem underground Or an obstruction in the line (which I think is less likely).

    I hope you can figure it out and get it fixed soon!
    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!)

  5. Back To Top    #5

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    Re: Do I have a leak?

    Well, that was just amazing.

    I turned off the pump, which had been running on "skimmer only." With the pump off, I turned the valve to 50/50. I then ran water from the garden hose over a crack in a tightening ring around the clear pipe going to the floor drains (which has been there all summer, I think) ... and while the water was running, I turned on the pump. I expected to see water spurting as the leak forced the water out. But instead, the pipe to the floor drains instantly filled with water and now the whole system is running perfectly with the valve at 50/50.

    You folks are geniuses.

    The strange thing is that I'm pretty sure that crack has been there all summer, but never caused a problem until AFTER I turned the valve to "floor drains only," then tried to turn it back to 50/50 that it became a problem. (Over the summer, we used the "floor drains only" function only one other time, and didn't have a problem.) My guess is that a small crack became a big crack the last time we ran it on "floor drain," with all that pressure going through that pipe. And that's why it suddenly couldn't overcome the air flowing into the system. But I don't really know ...

    The other funny thing is that I can't detect any dripping at the cracked point. Did it seal itself up somehow, or is the waterflow going against the crack, or ???

    Anyway, I'm happy now, except that we'll have to pay the pool store to replace that tightening ring ... but it shouldn't be too expensive, since they're coming out to close the pool anyway.

    Thank you, thank you, thank YOU!!
    -----------------------------------
    26000 gal, in-ground, vinyl pool
    Hayward S200 sand filter, 1 skimmer, 2 returns
    BBB since the first month! :-)

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Join Date
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    Re: Do I have a leak?

    Glad to have been of help

    On the suction side of the pipe any leaks will show as air in the pump (the suction of the pump draws air into them as opposed to letting water out)

    The cracked union nut may have let a negligible amount of air in before and you just didn't notice it. The pool dudes will have to cut the pipe to remove the cracked nut and then couple it back together - It'll take 15 minutes, 5 to cut and replace and 10 for the glue to set enough so they can test the fix 8) I imagine all you'll have to pay for is the parts they use.

    By the by -- if I'm a genius, this is not proof of it :P 20 years of doing this stuff have taught me a few things

    Again, I hope this solves the problem and you have a great winter!
    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!)

  7. Back To Top    #7
    fofa's Avatar
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    Sep 2008
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    Re: Do I have a leak?

    Interesting.
    I have a Hayward pump. For the first 4 years I was replacing the O-ring in the pump strainer cover like monthly (at $15.00 a pop it was getting expensive). Then Hayward came out with a recall and a new cover that had a rubber gasket instead of the O-Ring. Nice.
    Now the one thing about this setup is when the pump shuts off, there is a small spray of water from around the strainer cover. Never seemed to be an issue until hurricane Ike. Only thing I can think of about Ike is the pool didn't run for 16 days (no power). Now every so often, it seems a piece of debris in the strainer, when it does this spray thing, can get caught in between the gasket and pump basket sealing edge. This causes a slow air leak that drains the pump basket. Not a problem either in the past, but now the pump does not seem to want to self prime when it happens. I usually find this out about 7 or 8 in the morning after the pump has been running since 2 AM. I have to remove the strainer cover, rinse it with a hose, then it self primes. Seems the addition of water magically seals the gasket. I know, you think rinsing the debris out does it, but mostly it is something like a small dried up blasde of grass, or something that would not normally be big enough to make a difference.
    Anyway the short of it is maybe by running water on your "crack" it fixed your problem.
    But what happens when it dries out all the way again?
    30,000 Gallons, Hayward C5030 cartridge filter, IG, Plaster, SWG

  8. Back To Top    #8

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    Re: Do I have a leak?

    Good point. Maybe the water is saturating and swelling the gaskets so they hold a seal?

    In my case, it's not a problem as long as the pipe between the pump and the floor drains stays filled with water. But I'm pretty sure that I need to have it repaired, since there is a visible crack in the ring that tightens around the pipe, that will probably only get worse with time ... but it's good to know that I can pour water over it and the leak magically seals for a while!

    In your case, I wonder if something damaged the gasket during the hurricane, so that it now dries out incredibly fast. Maybe replacing that gasket would solve your problem?
    -----------------------------------
    26000 gal, in-ground, vinyl pool
    Hayward S200 sand filter, 1 skimmer, 2 returns
    BBB since the first month! :-)

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