My Tenant's Pool has a Leak

canadianpoolman

New member
Sep 8, 2021
3
Ontario
Lesson 1: tenants are not capable of taking care of pools

I really don't know where to start with this story. I rent this house in another town (1.5 hrs away so I can't be there on a daily basis to diagnose) to a tenant who has been there for 4 years. Good tenant but new to pools. The liner was in decent condition until he moved in. I think he over chlorinated it early on which caused the wrinkles as seen in the picture.

He recently contacted me and said the pool has been dropping a lot of water for a couple weeks. It's close to pool closing/winterizing time in Ontario Canada; Question 1: should I deal with the leak before closing the pool or wait till next year? From some research I did it looks like the water helps maintain the structure of the pool over winter, and if it leaks enough, the walls could collapse. But if I wait till next year it'll buy me more time deal with this problem.

Now back to the leak. I believe step one is to determine if the leak is via equipment or pool. He said he explored the liner and didn't find any bubbles, tears, or holes (but he's not an expert). He sent me the picture of the equipment area (linked below) and has said the filter area has always been a little wet (which I agree with, the pressure gauge always leaked a bit) but doesn't think that it is causing the recent massive drops in water.

I told him to try turning off the waste discharge pipe to see if the spider gasket is bad and leaking water to through the waste. After a few days I followed up with him and and asked if it's still dropping like before and he said "Not as much but the weather has been much colder and I haven't used the pool at all." Question 2: should I ask him to turn off the pump for a few days and mark the liner's water level (or bucket test) to see if water drops?

Question 3: what's the process/cost like in hiring a professional to investigate?
I'm scared if I get someone they'll just say to replace the liner and see if it fixes the problem when it might not even be there. I'm also scared the tenant might be angling this to get a new liner.

Any help appreciated!
 

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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
29,063
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Welcome to TFP.

You are correct that the water helps support the walls in a liner pool. You don't want to let the water be too low for too long without bracing the walls.

It takes some structured tests to determine where the leak is likely to be:
  1. Holes in the liner
  2. Leak from around the fittings in the pool wall - returns, skimmers, lights
  3. Underground pipe
  4. Equipment at the pool pad
Turning the pump off for a few days can point to if the leak is from equipment or the pool. If he does that he should continue to add liquid chlorine to the pool and stir it in with the pool brush.

If you let the water drop and see what level the water stabilizes. That can tell you around what level the leak is.

 

mkolb

Well-known member
Jun 1, 2018
68
White Lake, Michigan
Lesson 1: tenants are not capable of taking care of pools

I really don't know where to start with this story. I rent this house in another town (1.5 hrs away so I can't be there on a daily basis to diagnose) to a tenant who has been there for 4 years. Good tenant but new to pools. The liner was in decent condition until he moved in. I think he over chlorinated it early on which caused the wrinkles as seen in the picture.

He recently contacted me and said the pool has been dropping a lot of water for a couple weeks. It's close to pool closing/winterizing time in Ontario Canada; Question 1: should I deal with the leak before closing the pool or wait till next year? From some research I did it looks like the water helps maintain the structure of the pool over winter, and if it leaks enough, the walls could collapse. But if I wait till next year it'll buy me more time deal with this problem.

Now back to the leak. I believe step one is to determine if the leak is via equipment or pool. He said he explored the liner and didn't find any bubbles, tears, or holes (but he's not an expert). He sent me the picture of the equipment area (linked below) and has said the filter area has always been a little wet (which I agree with, the pressure gauge always leaked a bit) but doesn't think that it is causing the recent massive drops in water.

I told him to try turning off the waste discharge pipe to see if the spider gasket is bad and leaking water to through the waste. After a few days I followed up with him and and asked if it's still dropping like before and he said "Not as much but the weather has been much colder and I haven't used the pool at all." Question 2: should I ask him to turn off the pump for a few days and mark the liner's water level (or bucket test) to see if water drops?

Question 3: what's the process/cost like in hiring a professional to investigate?
I'm scared if I get someone they'll just say to replace the liner and see if it fixes the problem when it might not even be there. I'm also scared the tenant might be angling this to get a new liner.

Any help appreciated!
Do you know if he drained the pool at one point?? I don't believe those wrinkles are from adding too much chlorine...
 
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cowboycasey

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 3, 2013
8,648
Southern OK
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool SJ-40
Welcome to TFP :)

Those wrinkles are probably from water getting behind the liner and the liner moving once the water receded.. It is hard to believe there was that much room in the liner to do that... That is probably the worst liner I have seen from water getting behind it... Was there LOTS of rain in the spring?

Water will always stop where the leak is.. with the pump off does the pool lose water? Do a bucket leak test... :)
 

cowboycasey

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 3, 2013
8,648
Southern OK
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool SJ-40
@mknauss I did not know that... Like I said above, it is usually not that bad at all when water gets under a liner... So probably not water under the liner...
 

canadianpoolman

New member
Sep 8, 2021
3
Ontario
@mknauss I did not know that... Like I said above, it is usually not that bad at all when water gets under a liner... So probably not water under the liner...
Here is some more info regarding how low pH or high chlorine can cause vinyl to absorb water and develop wrinkles: Vinyl Liner Wrinkles

How low would the PH have to be to do that to a liner?? I don't think I have ever seen a liner that bad...
The link above said research shows "vinyl immersed in 6.0 pH solutions (low) showed much larger weight and dimension gains than samples immersed in 8.0 pH solutions."
 

1Sammy

In The Industry
Jul 20, 2017
438
Windsor, Ontario. Canada
Here in the Windsor area it is $220 for a diver and a guy using the electronic sniffer. That is a flat rate and they will patch holes in the liner for that price. Before getting someone to do this you should first plug your returns and skimmer to pump lines. If the water still drops get someone like that to come out. Note that if there is water behind the liner now, you plug all lines, the water can still drop as the water behind the liner seeps out but will stop after a few days . They can dive up to freeze over. Needs to be done asap or you can be looking at permits for a pool removal.
 
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canadianpoolman

New member
Sep 8, 2021
3
Ontario
Got some pricing for leak detection in the Toronto area:

Pool Mate: $365 pump side only, $450 for liner/diver, $500 for liner/diver if cool colder than 70F
Avenue Road Pool: no time, slammed with closings
Ontario Pool Service: don't do leak detection
Swim Clean: said to call Canadian Leak Detection
Bremmer: $465 for liner/diver, $555 if cold
Stan's Pools & Yards: $275
Canadian Leak Detection: pool needs to be full and heated, $400-500 for detection plus $400 for diver to repair (but they recommend to repair it yourself), also recommended considering just getting the liner replaced
 

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