I found the leak, Now what???

tideman

Active member
Feb 14, 2012
44
Hi TFP Friends,

I did a baqua to cholrine conversion back in April and had a fantastic and less expensive summer! The only problem that I ran into was that I was losing water...a significant amount, over 250 gallons a day while running pump. I added water throughout the summer, did a bit of troubleshooting but wasn't able to find anything significant until recently when I noticed a bit of water that was coming out from under my flagstone patio - and dug a bit to find a larger puddle with bubbles coming from the return plumbing. This is where I am at right now but wanted a bit of advice on how to proceed.

I plan to dig more around the plumbing today to try and find the location of the leak, but the weird part is that I don't think there are any fittings so it may just be leaking straight from the pvc. If this is the case, can I just cut and sharkbite the plumbing or will I need to be a bit more involved?

Anyway, I will take pictures and keep you all posted on the progress.
 

RobbieH

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 30, 2010
4,052
Dallas, TX
I would not recommend using sharkbites. They are unreliable not only in my experience but also in the experience of my plumber. It's not hard to cut and splice PVC, that's the right way to do it. Your biggest challenge is going to be making room to get the splice onto the pipe once you cut it.
 

UnderWaterVanya

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 14, 2012
2,589
Mint Hill, NC
Sharkbite is not intended for PVC per their website and this post: http://www.diychatroom.com/f7/shark-bit ... post355594

Per Sharkbite...
"SharkBite Fittings allow users to easily connect any combination of CPVC, copper, or PEX tubing."
Note that this is CPVC not PVC pipe. I'm not sure what the difference is - I know there is a chemical difference and that CPVC is rated for hot water while PVC is not - I wonder if the CPVC expands at a different rate than PVC and if that is why the CPVC is OK and PVC is not.
 

tideman

Active member
Feb 14, 2012
44
Thanks for the advice. Rained all day yesterday so I wasn't able to get any further. I'll keep everyone posted. Thanks again!
 

tideman

Active member
Feb 14, 2012
44
So I finally beat the rain today and dug down a bit more to uncover the leaky plumbing and it is quite the leak! It is more than a trickle when the pump is off and once the pump is on it starts gushing.

I am not entirely sure how to proceed and have begun the research phase. Any suggestions while I start going through the archives? Pics are attached




 

tideman

Active member
Feb 14, 2012
44
I believe it is black poly pipe based on doing a bit of research so maybe some barb fittings and hose to hose clamps are what I should use?
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
24,167
SouthWest Alabama
It looks like black poly to me too. The barbed fittings and clamps will work fine as long as you can get to some good pipe. I'd double clamp them just cause I'm like that.
 

Durk

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2007
654
New Jersey
We replumbed our suction side plumbing on our old 1946 pool with black poly in the 60's and it did fine until we tore out the pool in 2003. Double-clamps everywhere, of course. I'm guessing that split is caused by a freeze/improper winterizing. Is it the low point in the run? How far North are you?

Anyway, it's something you might want to keep in mind when closing the pool.
 

tideman

Active member
Feb 14, 2012
44
Thanks for the advice. It is the low point in the plumbing, I did blow out the lines last year to winterize but there must have still been a bit left in the low point. I am in Connecticut and although it was mild for a Connecticut winter, it was still cold enough for long enough to freeze.

I tried the repair this afternoon and unfortunately didn't have too much luck. I cut a 1 foot section out and tried the barb fittings. I got them in there by lightly torching the poly but when I fitted the clamps and opened the returns it leaked still. I am not sure if sliding the fittings into the warm poly melted the fittings a little bit but it didn't even seem close to a leakproof fit.

Is there anything I need to know about the barb fittings and clamps that I am missing? Perhaps I shouldn't have heated it up to fit?
 

Durk

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2007
654
New Jersey
I remember the guys working with black poly back in the day. The pro's back then would not use a torch but simply ball up a page of newspaper under the pipe end and set a match to it. This high-tech approach presumably provides a more uniform and less intense heat than a torch. Just thought I'd put that out there in case you ever have to do it again.

And yeah, those joints look fine. Double clamp, right? I don't know why they would leak. Pretty sure there is no way the warm poly would hurt the barb fitting. Ratchet down on the clamps and try again. They had to be pretty darn tight to take pressure. (I had some 2" barbs I undid and redid every year to winterize--I also had steel fittings--you can still get those.)

I bet that was a real pain to get in there.
 

tideman

Active member
Feb 14, 2012
44
Thanks everyone for your help - I think the problem was me not understanding properly what you all meant by double clamping. I only single clamped the first time and unfortunately was so impatient I re-cut out the section of pipe and tried again. This time I was a lot more careful with the torch to just heat up the pipe, slid in the fittings on either end of the pipe in the ground. Then I pulled up on both ends of the pipe that was underground and stuck the new section in and put some downward pressure and it was so tight that the fittings set without heating up the new pipe. I then double clamped (8 clamps total) alternating directions of the clamps. I have been running it for 2 days with no leaks!

And yes, it was a pain! But overall doable if you can find the leak.

Thanks again for everyone's help - I really appreciate it!
 

UnderWaterVanya

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 14, 2012
2,589
Mint Hill, NC
tideman said:
Thanks everyone for your help - I think the problem was me not understanding properly what you all meant by double clamping. I only single clamped the first time and unfortunately was so impatient I re-cut out the section of pipe and tried again. This time I was a lot more careful with the torch to just heat up the pipe, slid in the fittings on either end of the pipe in the ground. Then I pulled up on both ends of the pipe that was underground and stuck the new section in and put some downward pressure and it was so tight that the fittings set without heating up the new pipe. I then double clamped (8 clamps total) alternating directions of the clamps. I have been running it for 2 days with no leaks!

And yes, it was a pain! But overall doable if you can find the leak.

Thanks again for everyone's help - I really appreciate it!
Can you post a picture of the fixed section?
 

phonedave

Well-known member
May 30, 2012
742
Montville NJ
tideman said:
Thanks everyone for your help - I think the problem was me not understanding properly what you all meant by double clamping. I only single clamped the first time and unfortunately was so impatient I re-cut out the section of pipe and tried again. This time I was a lot more careful with the torch to just heat up the pipe, slid in the fittings on either end of the pipe in the ground. Then I pulled up on both ends of the pipe that was underground and stuck the new section in and put some downward pressure and it was so tight that the fittings set without heating up the new pipe. I then double clamped (8 clamps total) alternating directions of the clamps. I have been running it for 2 days with no leaks!

And yes, it was a pain! But overall doable if you can find the leak.

Thanks again for everyone's help - I really appreciate it!

The fact you say "alternating directions" makes me assume you are using "normal" screw clamps - the kind you would find at Home Depot.

If you ever have to use clamps again (and who doesn't) try using Oetiker clamps. They get crimped on using a special pair of pliers (if they run you more than $15 you paid too much) and make a much tighter seal. I use them on home brewing beer lines. If I use them in THAT important an application you know they are good. :-D

Google them, or look at them http://www.hweckhardt.com/clamps/OetikerMain.htm

-dave