Need help diagnosing potential leak - is this overnight water loss normal?

deanchat

LifeTime Supporter
Feb 19, 2008
32
Tidewater, VA
Hi Everyone,

I’m trying to diagnose a potential leak. Symptoms:
- Water level drops more quickly than expected
- Area of lawn near pool (basically between pool and pump) stays wet longer than other areas
- I now pump the well-point after every rainfall beacause the liner corners aren't “sharp” - i.e. some water behind the liner. I used to do it only after a big storm.

I have bubbles in the pump basket, but that has been going on for longer than the more recent symptoms. The bubbles get worse when the water is less than 65 degrees and also get worse when the filter is dirty. The bubbles are definitely a suction-side leak (that I just can’t find) but it seems like the newer issues may be something else.

I ran the pump overnight and got a 3/8” water loss over about 14 hours, 7pm to 9am. (Pump running, Autopilot on, water is 67 degrees, air temp was 60 at start dropping to 36 overnight and back up to 60 in morning with most of the time in the 30s and 40s, overnight humidity was 35-95% with most of the time in the 80-95% range). Can night time evaporation can be noticeable if the water temp is 20-30 degrees higher than the air temp?

In any case, is this normal water loss or does this indicate a return (pressure side) leak?

Correction: Water loss is 3/16, not 3/8 -- reading a ruler when upside down can be a challenge :)

Thanks!
Dean
 

deanchat

LifeTime Supporter
Feb 19, 2008
32
Tidewater, VA
Pool lost only 1/16" during the day yesterday (sunny, low 80s, humidity in the 20s). Ran a bucket test overnight with the pump off this time. Air temp in the 50s, humidity 70-80%, water temp 68. No discernible difference between bucket and pool loss (both about 1/16"). Will run a pump on bucket test next.
 

Chncdafied

In The Industry
Dec 1, 2015
17
Converse
Plug off what you think is leaking and then monitor the water level, if you plug the line that's leaking it will stop draining. Then it's time to find it. A very common place is under the bottom of the skimmer. Look for cracks in your deck, crack around your skimmer could be an indicater.

Oh ya if you can plug off all your suction lines fill your pump up (if it's above Water level) and see if your water drains down to the pool. You've basically isolated that leak to the volume of water only in the plumbing, so a small leak will show up quickly.

Sent from my SM-N900T using Tapatalk
 

deanchat

LifeTime Supporter
Feb 19, 2008
32
Tidewater, VA
Okay, multiple bucket tests over the past few days show (within my measurement accuracy) the bucket and pool losing the same amount of water, from 1/16 to 3/16 per day. That doesn't rule out a small leak but it's a good sign. Wet area in the yard must be getting water from somewhere and the pump basket bubbles aren't imaginary. Thanks to Chncdafied for the ideas about how to isolate a potential small leak!

-Dean
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2014
35,857
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
Pool Size
17888
Surface
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Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
Dean, also keep in mind (if you didn't know already) that "if" that wet area was attributable to the pool and not just underground water movement or drainage, then it would most-likely be from the pressure side because as long as the pump is running, it's unlikely you would lose water from a suction line unless the pump was turned off. If you turn-off the pump, then yes you could lose water from the suction line. While running, it would explain some increased air bubbles or drop in the pump strainer basket. You might also try (if possible) to isolate your returns (skimmer versus drains). Perhaps leave the bottom returns off for a day or so (if possible) and see if that effects the bubbles. Then switch to bottom returns only to see if there's any difference.
 

deanchat

LifeTime Supporter
Feb 19, 2008
32
Tidewater, VA
Thanks TX Splash, my thinking is pretty much along the same lines. I am entertaining the idea the a suction-side leak causes the bubbles when pump is on and could let some water slowly leak when the pump is off. This theory might also explain how I get metal deposits even though my pool is filled with metal-free city water but my sprinkler system uses well water with iron (my idea is that a suction side leak could suck in some iron laden water that was used to water the lawn).

I can sort of isolate things, my setup is odd... I have a single skimmer which is the only source for the pump/filter. I have no drains. I have two pop-up bottom returns (controlled by a single valve at the pump) and a single step-jet (controlled by a valve). Not sure if I could run the system via step-jet as the only return (too much pressure for a single small return?)

Thanks!
Dean
 

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