New Pool losing water (I think)

farmall.dude

Member
Apr 30, 2019
7
Michigan
Hi Forum!
We just finished filling our brand-new 15X30 Above Ground, Aquasport Vision 52" pool on July 31st. It seems like it's losing water...

First, some background and details about the pool. We live in Michigan, just so you know the climate. More on that later. We bought our pool in May, and it was delivered right away. For some reason, the seller doesn't install. I don't know if that's normal, guess I don't care now. So, we called their first "preferred" installer. He flat out refused to install it. Just said "I can't do it". I assumed it was because he was booked. My wife called the second guy and talked to his wife. She said, "No problem, my husband's been installing pools for 40 years. He doesn't even check out the site anymore." My wife told his wife, not less than 3 times that it was an Aluminum Slatted Aquasport pool, not a rolled steel one. To which she replied, again, "No problem!" So, installation day was scheduled for the 30th of June. Yes, almost 2 months later. In Michigan, we had an unusually WET spring and he, along with everyone else, was behind. Understandable. Along comes June 29th, the night before installation. The installer called to say "I've never installed one of those, I'm not going to do it!" I did get him to at least come level the site. The spot were the pool was going has a slope. He agreed to level the site and put the buttresses together, level them on the stones so all I'd have to do was put the ends together and level the sand. Because of the wet spring, every other installer was backed up to October. So, he and his crew of teenage boys came. He leveled the area, put the buttresses together and "Leveled" the stones. I quote level because they were far from level! As much as an inch off, some were. He also dumped all the sand in and spread it around. I borrowed a transit and re-set every stone flat and level. Of course I was fighting the sand he'd dumped in. Anyway, I finished the bottom track, got it all leveled, being careful to keep the sand as clean as possible. I then installed the bottom drains and set them to final grade, nice and level. I tamped, flattened and smoothed the whole bottom with a hand float (concrete tool for those that don't know) and a LOT of water to set it firm in place. Which, worked fantastic by the way. We installed the liner on July 28 and started filling with a garden hose. A month later than expected. I have to pat myself (and my friends who helped) on the back. It is as near to perfectly level as humanly possible and there isn't a single wrinkle in it.

So, on to my issue. On July 31st we had a truck load of water delivered to finish filling. Before the water was delivered, there was about 6" of water in it and the area around the pool was damp. I used a LOT of water working the bottom and we're basically on clay, so I didn't think too much about it. Figured it's just the water I used seeping out. It can't evaporate now that the liner is in, right? Friday (Aug 2) I back-filled about 2 inches and stomped it down with my feet. Saturday, I noticed that fresh fill was wet and it's still wet/damp all the way around. I also noticed the water level is down about 1/8-1/4 inch. I'd marked it when the water was delivered. It's been uncovered, it's been dry and temps have been in the mid 80's daytime and mid 60's at night. Could it be evaporation? I haven't done the bucket test yet, I will do this tonight when I get home. I suspect it's the main drain. I may not have tightened them enough and I think one of the screws might have stripped. I know this is highly suspicious. My question is, if it's the drain as I suspect, how do I fix it (the stripped screw)? Can I use Pool-Putty? Is there an underwater J-B-Weld I can use to re-thread? If it were metal, I'd use a heli-coil, is there such a thing for plastic?

Steps I'm planning on taking: first do the bucket test and hope it's evaporation. Next, I'll plug the main drains to make sure it's not the plumbing (that would be very bad). Next I'll use leak detection dye around the drain seals and skimmer (although I can see the skimmer isn't leaking).

Thanks for your help (in advance)!
Bruce
 

farmall.dude

Member
Apr 30, 2019
7
Michigan
Well, I have good news and bad news... The good news is, I don't believe my drains are leaking anymore. My grandson (9) was swimming yesterday and guess what he found. A HUGE hole in the liner! It's about 1" long on the bottom and the wash-out below it was not quite the size of a baseball! Dang, brand new liner too. I have no idea how it got there either. Anyway, I donned my SCUBA gear and patched it. Hopefully it will hold and solve my water loss concern. I think I'll go ahead and do the bucket test anyway. And, I'm going to go ahead and get one of those leak test dye kits too, so I can monitor the patch. (any recommendations for which one?)
Speaking of patches, I used a scrap piece I saved when I cut out the drain hole (cut down to size, a good inch larger than the hole) and some vinyl repair glue from a big box store that I had. I gobbed it up with glue, folded it in half, unfolded it over the hole and did my best to press it down flat and press the wrinkles out. That wasn't easy with the sand washed out underneath it. I used a rubber mallet to shift the sand into the washed out hole so there wasn't so much strain on the patched area. Is there a better solution for patching underwater?