Return line leak under concrete on new build

Seagar

Member
Mar 18, 2021
7
Ohio
Reaching out to see what others think about what we can/should do.

We have a new vinyl pool and it has been leaking since day 1. One leak has been isolated to a return line. The line is flex pvc from the pad up until the wall where it has two 90 degree fittings and connects to the wall fitting. The leak detection company says they cannot hear the leak at the wall and have been unable to pinpoint the location. So, the leak is somewhere under our concrete deck.

The concrete is colored with a buff wash finish.

The pool builder wants to plug the return (we have 2 others). His other option is to cut holes in the concrete to find and fix the leak.
There's a hole in the liner, too, so builder will replace that and can just block off the return like it was never there (if we choose that).

In the picture below:
green circles=returns that work
blue rectangle=skimmers
red circle and line=leaking return and line
green line=able to pressure test this portion of the line and it is ok

The pool is 44'x22'. The concrete deck is 7' on the bottom and 7'-22' on the right (where loungers are pictured).
Pool walls are a composite from OnlyAlpha.
There is a bench running the length of the wall with the 2 skimmers and its nice to turn on the heater and sit in front of the return(s).

Any advice on other options or what we should do? Obviously not at all happy about a leak in a brand new build and want it fixed, but also don't want odd concrete cut-outs that likely will not match the rest of the deck.

Thx!


Untitled.jpg
 

TX2OBX

Silver Supporter
Nov 26, 2021
175
OBX NC
Pool Size
12000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-9)
Are the lines run independently to the equipment pad? If not I dont see how plugging the return marked in red will stop the leak if that same line is supplying the return next to it. Build pics if you have any could verify this.

If thats not the case and it does fix the problem, I sympathize being a new pool and would be annoyed having to do without, but I also dont see the reason for two being so close together. Unless its placed lower on the pool wall then the rest for deep end circulation? I had a vinyl pool like this.
 
  • Like
Reactions: HermanTX

ajw22

0
Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
40,078
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Flex PVC, yuck.

Your pool will work fine without that red return.

When @Casey had a problem with her flex PVC to a skimmer she trenched around the concrete and then under the deck to connect to it with new hard PVC pipe....

 
  • Like
Reactions: Casey

Casey

0
TFP Expert
Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 16, 2007
12,789
SW PA
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Jandy Aquapure 1400
That's a bad spot to have a leaky pipe. To actually get to it would be difficult without cutting into the concrete. I'm not sure of the distance from that return to the middle lounger if it would be possible to tunnel under the deck to run a new line and bring it out around the perimeter of the decking like I did with my main suction line. You're going to create a weakness in the decking if you go that route and with how big of an area it is, it'd be very dangerous becauseof how far you have to dig down and basically tunnel and then backfill everything. It's not going to be easy. If you do decide you can't live without the return... Maybe consider cutting a 3ft wide section from the faulty return to the edge of the concrete where the loungers are and have it dug out, cut the pipe, replace the whole return and run schedule 40 to the outter perimeter, back to the pump. Refill with gravel and put in the same color pavers that are in the patio to tie it all in so it looks intentional. It would definitely be easier than digging under the concrete and safer. The line under the concrete would be a dead line. I hope this makes sense.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JohnnyUtah

Seagar

Member
Mar 18, 2021
7
Ohio
Thanks everyone for the replies!
@TX2OBX - All 3 returns come together at a 3-1 union outside of the concrete and then a single line goes to the equipment pad. So, I have been able to isolate the single "red" return and verify that it leaks. It's not shown in the drawing, but we have a sitting bench running then length of the wall where the two returns are. Idea was you could sit there with the return on your back, but as we're finding now with cooler weather it's nice to turn the heat on and sit in front of the return.

@ajw22 - Why yuck on the flex pvc? I thought it would be better b/c it would not crack as the ground shifted.

@Casey - We have been so fixated on finding and fixing the leak, I had no considered running a new line. The concrete where the loungers are is 22', so not able to trench under. Interesting idea, though, about cutting the 3' wide section of concrete and filling with pavers to look intentional. My drawing is not quite exact, though, because we have 3 Laminars along that wall, too, and the middle laminar is centered. The leaky return is about 7' from center (going away from the non-leaky return). Might be tricky to get it to look good, but something to think about.

Has anyone tried spreading/pulling glue/sealant along the inside of flex pvc?
 

ajw22

0
Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
40,078
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
@ajw22 - Why yuck on the flex pvc? I thought it would be better b/c it would not crack as the ground shifted.
Flex is terrible for the pool owner that has to live with the pool. Flex will not take the pressure rigid PVC will. It is easier to puncture and it can kink.

Rigid PVC does not crack due to ground shifting. The pipes and pool all move with the ground.

Flex PVC kinks and clogs due to movement and tree roots growing around it. See pics below.

Has anyone tried spreading/pulling glue/sealant along the inside of flex pvc?

I think that will just fully clog flex PVC. Flex PVC is not smooth on the inside or outside.

Flex_PVC_Hose_Kink.jpg


Flex_PVC_Pool_Pipe_Collapse.jpg
 
  • Wow
Reactions: JohnnyUtah

Casey

0
TFP Expert
Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 16, 2007
12,789
SW PA
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Jandy Aquapure 1400
I would never build another pool with flex. I requested sch 40 and he rolled out that and I said why? He said it was good enough. It wasn't! I was forced to replace with sch 40 9 months into pool ownership. It compressed, shifted and kinked somewhere under my slide/ tanning ledge. For days, I thought that a toy was obstructing my flow. I wished it was a toy because it was so much work to fix and fix right. I did not think in a million years I'd be replacing it so soon after install. I had only been running my pool for 3 1/2 months. My return lines are still flex pipe. I'm not having any issues with them but who knows down the road. I do know it will be a nightmare to fix when the time comes. If one goes down, I will just fix all of them. I wish builders would stop using it. I believe, after everything, that the flex pipe and my Jandy pump could not work well together and it was cavitaing during the vacuum process of the pool. Then the end all be sll was my skimmer basket filling with floating toys and it finished off the compression of the already kinked line.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JohnnyUtah

Seagar

Member
Mar 18, 2021
7
Ohio
Yikes! Those pics make me cringe.

I’m not happy about it, but leaning towards just blocking off the leaking return. PB said he’ll put something in writing about covering costs to fix a return if one fails in the future (since I’d only have 2 going forward). He’s also going to be covering maintaining the pool for awhile (nbr of years now defined yet) because of this and all the other issues we’ve had.
 

Casey

0
TFP Expert
Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 16, 2007
12,789
SW PA
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Jandy Aquapure 1400
Yikes! Those pics make me cringe.

I’m not happy about it, but leaning towards just blocking off the leaking return. PB said he’ll put something in writing about covering costs to fix a return if one fails in the future (since I’d only have 2 going forward). He’s also going to be covering maintaining the pool for awhile (nbr of years now defined yet) because of this and all the other issues we’ve had.
I can assure you that nobody will care for your pool like you will. I would never let someone care for my investment other than myself.
 
Thread Status
Hello , This is an inactive thread. Any new postings here are unlikely to be seen or responded to by other members. You will get much more visibility by Starting A New Thread