Deep End Drain has crack in housing causing pool to leak out over winter

Feb 14, 2019
5
Cambridge, NY
Hi all, Im hoping for some guidance on my next steps for what to do with this pool problem. After an exhausted effort to find the reason my pool is leaking, and $1000s of dollars later, we think we have located the problem. I have a BRAND NEW liner put in in April 2019. I thought my old liner was leaking after losing 3/4" of water a day over July/Aug 2018. A diver came and patched some very minor pin-prick holes up and it still leaked. So he came back that Fall before we shut the pool and plugged the main drain so we could test the lines in the Spring when we went to open. Over the winter of 2018/19 the pool continued to leak!! Even with the main drain plugged. We figured it had to be the liner since the pipes were empty of water when closing the pool. By April of 2019 when we went to install a new liner since we lost half of the water over winter. It was half way down the slope. Throughout that summer I had SOME leaking, but when I did the bucket test it seemed there was NO leaking. The leaking was sporadic. Some days it would leak, other days it wouldnt. I pushed this aside and thought it CANT be the liner because the pipes were empty when the leaking happened over the 2018/19 winter. Then we shut the pool in 2019 for winter only to open it up again on May 30th of this year to find 2 FEET OF WATER remaining in the deep end!!! Completely horrified, I phoned up the company that installed the liner and they told me to get a diver out to see if it was the liner or the lines. Diver checked the small amount of BRAND NEW liner that had water in it for any leaks (there was none, which was not surprising) and then proceeded to twice pressure test the lines for any leaks. NO LEAKS. In the drain he found 2 valves. 1 going to the lines and the other was a random valve going to nowhere (he thought it was a a hydro-static valve but then sussed it wasnt, the pool is also about 35 years, maybe 40 years old) Anyway, he plugged up this random valve that went to nowhere, thinking this could be the leak since the liner and the lines were perfectly fine. He left. For the next 2 weeks we lost 5/8" of water a day, (same amount of water we were losing before he came) so that wasnt the problem. I finally got a pool guy to come and after 23 science experiments and practical thinking, we have come to the conclusion it MUST be the drain HOUSING. He said I need a diver to fix that. 😫. So back in circles we go!! Right now, the leak has slowed down to virtually nothing. I have been sweeping pollen and dirt into the drain and it seemed to plug-up the crack or whatever, for the time being.

My question is! Is there a cap one can buy to place over the ENTIRE drain unit? Plugging the drain does not work because the water leaks out before it goes down the hole. We had it plugged by the 1st diver back in 2018 and it still leaked out that winter (yes this happened TWICE 🙄) It costs $500 bucks a pop to fill my pool up from scratch with a hose, I really dont want to drain the whole thing out to replace the drain housing until we need a new liner! JUST SPENT $4K on a new liner! Does anyone know anything about cracked main drain housing and how one can fix that? Even if its a temporary bush fix for a few years. My husband and I would love to get 5 years out of this liner before replacing it again. Any ideas or thoughts on this problem and what needs doing? Thanks so much for any advice :)

sorry for long rambling post...
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Hello and welcome to TFP! :wave: Sorry about your leak troubles and that you haven't received a reply yet. Since the water seems to leak all the way down to the deep end, I think you have confirmed the problem is indeed in that drain area. What seems odd to me though is that these divers, after numerous visits to the drain, haven't confirmed a housing leak in/around the actual drain inlet? I would think such a crack or separation of sorts would be visible or detected via a food dye test. So, let's enlist the help of @jimmythegreek to see what he thinks.

Also, is there any chance you have some photos of the drain area? Pictures speak a thousand words in cases like this.
 
Feb 14, 2019
5
Cambridge, NY
Hi! Thanks so much for writing me! So I FINALLY got my 2nd diver (the most recent one) to call me back and arrange to come this Tuesday or Wednesday. I told him all about the potential HOUSING crack in the drain he checked as opposed to the DRAIN unit itself. I think he only checked the actual drain when they were looking for leaks. Remember he saw a random valve that went to nowhere and plugged it up thinking it must be that. Of course it wasnt and we reckon now that its due to the water leaking out BEFORE it gets to the drainhole and the valves etc.. He asked me if any of the pool guys I called in last week actually saw a housing crack and I said no, we only deduced that it was the last thing in the entire multiverse that it could be. So now when he comes next week he will physically check the housing (again maybe?) and is bringing epoxy to seal it until we get a new liner and can replace the housing. I dont want to drain all my water out of my pool again, my sides already have suspicious round pushed out circles in the deep end on this brand new liner since it lost all the water over winter 😶

Im going to keep this thread updated and hopefully post a resolved notice this week. But I want to wait and see to make SURE its the housing 😀
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Something else that may be discussed is what I am assuming to be a hydrostatic valve in that drain. Since you noted an unpredictable change in water loss, it could be that the valve is opening up & closing sporadically at times to allow a water leak. Just a thought. But we'll let Jimmy get a chance to review these notes and chime in with his thoughts. But if the water level is still low and you can get a pic or two that would be great.
 

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
2,738
Morris Cnty NJ
These are tough to deal with. Nobody puts hydro valves in liner pools nowadays but way back when they came pre installed and I've seen one like that. The only sure fire repair is to drain it and concrete over the drain and patch it. That's a drain to do it right. Not what you want to hear. You should always have the stair cutout or pieces from a liner swap for issues like this hopefully you do. A bush fix would be underwater cement and patch over the drain. Have to seal off above ground plumbing. Depending on drain type it may need gasket(s) and they were never installed, wouldnt be the first time
 
Feb 14, 2019
5
Cambridge, NY
Something else that may be discussed is what I am assuming to be a hydrostatic valve in that drain. Since you noted an unpredictable change in water loss, it could be that the valve is opening up & closing sporadically at times to allow a water leak. Just a thought. But we'll let Jimmy get a chance to review these notes and chime in with his thoughts. But if the water level is still low and you can get a pic or two that would be great.
Hi!! I never ever got a notification from TFP about about all these responses! Im SO SORRY for going dead on everyone! I had no idea there were responses. I only have just come in and manually checked the site.

So I dont have a hydrostatic valve actually. The diver thought it was at first but it wasnt. (45 years experience diving he has as well) It was just a random valve going into no-man's land! So he plugged it up thinking that should solve the problem :). Sadly it still leaked!!! This is when I called out pool guys and we came to conclusion its the housing BEFORE the water get to the drain itself and that dust/dirt and small debris periodically clogs up the small hole/fracture in the housing, which makes the water stop leaking for days on end until its disturbed and the crack/hole is uncovered. Im STILL waiting for the diver to come back and fix it with epoxy. I live really far away from his work zone so I told him to come by August. I also have a 2nd diver to call incase he doesnt come back. I will deffo let everyone know what the result it. I hope thats the problem (the housing)

Thanks for the reply!
 
Feb 14, 2019
5
Cambridge, NY
These are tough to deal with. Nobody puts hydro valves in liner pools nowadays but way back when they came pre installed and I've seen one like that. The only sure fire repair is to drain it and concrete over the drain and patch it. That's a drain to do it right. Not what you want to hear. You should always have the stair cutout or pieces from a liner swap for issues like this hopefully you do. A bush fix would be underwater cement and patch over the drain. Have to seal off above ground plumbing. Depending on drain type it may need gasket(s) and they were never installed, wouldnt be the first time
thanks for the advice! (as stated in previous reply, I never got this message/reply sent to my email, so sorry Im so late to reply!!) If the pool leaks out AGAIN over winter, then in Spring this is what we will do, DEFINITELY 👍. I am so sick of this leak problem!! Im happy to cement over the drain. I actually have pieces of our liner as well. I wouldnt need to do a liner change again though?? right?