Pool Remodel leads to leak. Seeking solutions

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
13,068
#21
If the air line ties into the jets, that's what I would suspect for the leak.

If you can plug the jets and put about 10 psi on the lines, you should be able to verify if the lines are leaking.

If you use air, you should be able to hear bubbles by listening to the deck or coping to locate the leak. It should be really obvious.

The air line typically ties into the top of the spa jet body.

So, I suspect that that's what got damaged during the remodel.

Plug the jets and the return line and remove the blower.

Pressurize with air to about 5 psi where the blower was connected, then listen to the coping above each jet and I suspect that you will hear the leak.

Do you have a picture of the damaged concrete before they restored it?

Did they drill into the old concrete to try to install rebar?

Did you check the damaged concrete to see if they went into the plumbing?

Do you have a close up picture of the return jet or do you know the model number of the return jet assembly?
 
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eric99gt

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 14, 2009
164
Houston, TX
#22
Already ruled that out. Both the pool company’s plumber and a separate leak detection company found the lines held all pressure. The 2nd time the leak detection company came out they identified each return was leaking, using dye, around the fitting where it penetrates the wall.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
13,068
#23
Ok, if that's all it is, they should be able to fix it pretty easily.

Are they sure that the return body is not cracked?
 
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eric99gt

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 14, 2009
164
Houston, TX
#24
Not exactly sure what you mean by return body. If it’s in reference to the fitting the eyeballs screw in to they said that all looks good. They tried once to fix it already and failed (earlier post about drilling hole, injecting hydraulic cement). Seems to have slowed the leak some but it’s still there.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
13,068
#25
I'm not convinced that the lines are ok. If it was just the leak around the fittings, it would be fixed by the patches already done.

I suspect that the air line was damaged when the concrete was damaged.

I would get a second opinion on the lines from a different person pressure testing both lines.
 
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eric99gt

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 14, 2009
164
Houston, TX
#26
Appreciate the help. That was the first guess from the pool builder as well but after to two passed tests they gave up on that one. Along with the additional findings on the due test. I witnessed the pressure test both times and it sure seemed to be holding pressure. Also as a note everywhere they drilled a hole under each fitting the water just poured out of the hole. Clearly indicating water in the shell
 
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eric99gt

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 14, 2009
164
Houston, TX
#27
As for the concrete heres the best pictures I have of the repair work there. It’s hard to tell but looks like all of the repair was done above the spa waterline. Can’t see anything related to the air line.
 

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JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
13,068
#28
If it were just around the fittings, grouting should have fixed it. I think that the jet body or the lines are damaged.

Did the air and water lines get tested or just the water line?

Was the blower removed?

If it's leaking from the inside of the spa, a simple dye test should easily find the leak.

Basically, you just get some dye in a baby oral syringe and squirt it near any suspected leak.

If it's leaking, the dye will get sucked in.

You can use food coloring for dye.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
13,068
#29
Is the water level stopping below the tile but above the returns?

If it's leaking at the returns, it will leak down to the returns.

If it's leaking through the shell, it's going to be where the water stops.

Let the water level drop to where it stops and then look for any holes. Refill and dye test any holes.

If the dye doesn't get sucked in, it's not leaking.

If it's not in the shell, it's in the plumbing. Probably the air line.
 
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eric99gt

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 14, 2009
164
Houston, TX
#30
Probably a lot going on here but as we stand now:

-Pressure testing of all lines performed and passed. No idea if they isolated the air line but assume they would have as this was the pool builders original thought as to what was wrong. If it was the air line wouldn't it also only leak when water is flowing in to the spa? If that's the case can rule this out as it's leaking even without the spa receiving water. (Also what do we mean when we say jet bodies? I assumed the returns on the spa are the same setup as the pool, i.e. pipe, female thread, eye. It looks that way to me).
- I was told that the leak detection company found the leak at each fitting where it penetrated the wall using dye. Assuming this is right
-Water level also seems to match this. Water drains down to/just below the returns and then seems to slow/stop
-They've tried to repair this once already using the previously mentioned drill hole under each return, hydro cement (water poured out of holes when drilled). Leak still persists but seems a bit less (i.e. extent of water outside of shell not as great)

This has been like a 4 month process to this point. I even said I'd eat some of the cost as I honestly didn't want him to flake and walk away. So frustrating.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
13,068
#31
It depends on what type of fitting the spa jet body is.

If you have something like that, water can leak out the air lines even when the water flow is off because water will fill the lines to the level of the water in the spa.

Earlier, you said that the water was stopping above the returns.

If it's leaking around the fittings from the pool side, you should be able to verify easily with a dye test.

Go to the supermarket and ask the pharmacist for a baby oral syringe. They will probably give you one free or you can buy one for about $1. Then get some food coloring and put it in the syringe. Unscrew the eyeballs and go around each fitting where it meets the wall and squirt a tiny amount of dye to see if it gets sucked in.

Also when I let the water drop it stops well above the returns.

Interesting enough it was actually a cracked wall fitting...
If the wall fittings are cracked, how did it pass a pressure test? A cracked fitting would leak pressure.

Who determined that the fittings were cracked?

Can they see the cracks?

If you lower the water level below the returns and remove the eyeballs, you should be able to look into the fittings to see if they are cracked and to see what type they are.

Do you know how the air line ties into the returns?

Can you verify that the air line was tested?
 
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eric99gt

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 14, 2009
164
Houston, TX
#32
My spa returns look nothing like that. They look like standard returns. Same as what's in the pool.

May help to list out steps to date as some of that info is out of date/wrong based on further testing/feedback:

1. Pool contractors plumber pressure tested lines and found no issue. This was based on the assumption that you had that the air line was damaged.
2. Pool contractor hired leak detection company. Pressure tests fails. Reported cracked fitting and pipe. Later found to be incorrect.
3. Pool contractor plumber once again comes out to review. Pressure tests again. Passes. Finds that the threads on the fitting where the leak detection company reported the crack were a bit mangled and were likely not holding pressure there. Reports back to leak detection company.
4. Leak detection company again. Pressure test again. Passes. Agree with plumber that it's not a cracked wall fitting and original finding was incorrect. Proceed with dye test and find leak at each wall fitting on spa side.
5. Pool contractor tries to repair per previously described method of drilling hole under each wall fitting and injecting hydraulic cement. Leak still persists

I'll try and reconfirm their test by doing a dye test of my own. I'm at the point where I think the diagnosis of leak around each wall fitting is correct. If so though why did the repair they attempted not fix this? Was it the right way to go about it? Maybe they could now try drilling a hole at top of each fitting and inject again?
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
13,068
#33
The whole idea of injecting anything doesn't make sense.

Injection only makes sense if they're trying to patch a leak inside the wall, which means the wall fitting or lines are leaking.

If the leak is through the shell at the fitting, you should be able to see a gap or crack. A dye test should show the leak at the gap or crack.

Patching the gap or crack should be sufficient to stop the leak.

I would want to see a dye test suck in dye at the fitting before I believe it. I don't think that it's at the fittings. If it was, simple surface patching would stop the leak.

In my opinion, it's probably in the lines.

If you can't verify a leak at the fittings by watching dye get sucked in, I would pressure check the air and water lines again with the water below the returns to make sure that the plugs are not leaking.

Do you know how the air line is tied into the return lines?

Maybe drain below the returns and look inside the fittings with a flashlight to look for a crack.
 
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eric99gt

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 14, 2009
164
Houston, TX
#34
No idea how the air lines tie in. I did look inside the one fitting with a plumbers camera and saw no cracks. Every pressure test done to this point has been done with the spa drained.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
13,068
#35
Are there any cracks or gaps around the return fittings?

If yes, do a dye test to see if there is a leak.

If no, the leak is probably in the lines.
 
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eric99gt

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 14, 2009
164
Houston, TX
#36
Still working this if anyone is interested. Been 2+ weeks and still hasn't come out. I'm at the point now where I'm thinking I may just hire someone else to fix and send him the bill. If he refuses to pay, lawyer up. Probably would have done this already if it wasn't for the availability of someone to repair the ecofinish after the leak is fixed....

On another note, just to ensure I know what I'm talking about, is it possible I don't have an air line or jets in the spa? I have an air blower at the equipment pad and what looks like just normal pvc and a female threaded fitting in the spa returns.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
13,068
#37
When you turn the blower on, where does the air come out?

If it comes out of the returns, it has to be tied in somewhere.
 
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eric99gt

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 14, 2009
164
Houston, TX
#38
Air comes out the returns as is to be expected :). Guess my question was couldn't it just tied in somewhere other than at the spa? Back at the equipment pad or something.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
13,068
#39
If you don't see it tied in at the equipment pad, then it's tied in somewhere else.

Typically, the air line goes to the spa and ties into the returns at a special jet fitting.

If the air line goes under ground, it's going to get water in it.

In my opinion, if you use air pressure on the return and air lines, you will be able to confirm the leak and probably hear it at the spa.

Can you get a picture looking into a return with the eyeball removed?
 
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eric99gt

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 14, 2009
164
Houston, TX
#40
Out of town for a few weeks but I'll get a picture of the inside of the return. Also will try to run down where the blower may tie in. Agree the air line will have water in it but thinking if it's tied in outside of the spa we can eliminate damage to the air line as a potential leak path.


**Edited**

Found and old picture of my pad. Looks like the blower line just runs unground so won't be able to find where it ties in. Will work on that picture on the return

pad.jpg