Suction side leak, what to do??

cateng

Active member
May 30, 2007
36
Western KY
#1
I did the bucket test and I am pretty sure I have a suction side leak. I am leaking about an inch every 24 hours that the pump is not running. It is not leaking with the pump running. I also have air in my return lines.
Has anyone ever used any type of leak stop? Does it work, and if so what is the best?
If I have to dig down to the lines I will have to tear out the floor of my pump house/tiki bar and cut out my concrete around the edge of the pool. This will not be a easy or cheap task.
Does anyone have any suggestions? Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
 

duraleigh

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#2
cateng said:
I did the bucket test and I am pretty sure I have a suction side leak. I am leaking about an inch every 24 hours that the pump is not running. It is not leaking with the pump running. I also have air in my return lines.
Has anyone ever used any type of leak stop? Does it work, and if so what is the best?
If I have to dig down to the lines I will have to tear out the floor of my pump house/tiki bar and cut out my concrete around the edge of the pool. This will not be a easy or cheap task.
Does anyone have any suggestions? Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
cat,

1. Leak stop won't get it...you'll have to find the source.

2. It is only rarely in the lines...you'll probably find it above ground somewhere.

3. I'm not sure your leak is suction side...that would typically act in reverse of your description....i.e. only leak when the pump was off

4. Tell us a little more about the air in the returns...pump running? Lot's of air? does it ever stop?, etc.

5. Tiki bars, especially if they contain adult beverages, are not to be harmed in any way!!!! Regardless of how bad the leak gets...(insert big smiley)
 

cateng

Active member
May 30, 2007
36
Western KY
#3
It is only leaking when the pump is off. My thinking is that means suction side leak. When the pump is on, the suction side is under vacume, thus no water should leak and air will be sucked through the suspected leaking source then out through the jets.
There is quite a bit of air in the return lines when I first turn the pump on. Sometimes it stops, sometimes it doesn't. It seems to help if I backwash it for a while, then turn the pump on.
I noticed there is a small crack in the skimmer at the bottom. I am not sure if it goes all the way through or not but I will try to fix that before I do anything to the Tiki Bar. Yes, I agree the Tiki Bar should be spared at all cost.
 

duraleigh

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#4
Well, I'm very sorry that I can't read what you s-o-o clearly wrote. I apologize you had to explain it to me twice and, of course, your logic is good....I think it's suction side as well.

The very clear majority of the time, they are found above ground as they tend to be somewhat self sealing underground.

I suspect the bubbles in the return lines are variable depending on how long the pump is off. Air will slowly replace the water in the filter while the pump is off and then will be forced back into the pool when you turn the pump on.

The crack in the skimmer doesn't seem to be the source as that water would not leave your pool....i.e. you wouldn't see the water loss.
 

cateng

Active member
May 30, 2007
36
Western KY
#5
OK, with the skimmer, I wasn't sure about the internal workings. I had my doubts if that was the source. It sounds like my only choice is to start digging and busting concrete unless there are any other suggestions. There is no obvious wet spots above ground. There is only a short section of flex hose that is above ground and it is not leaking there that I can see. Then there is a section under ground about 8 ft, partially under Tiki Bar and partially under concrete.

Thanks,
Martin
 

duraleigh

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#6
Well, the flex pipe is another clue. Quite a few instances of them not holding up as well as hard PVC for whatever reason I'm not sure but that seems to be the case. My guess is it seems so easy to do, that the installation is a little more careless.

I would exhaust all other possibilities before I dug. Could you allow the water to drain down to where it stops leaking? That'll take some careful pool management (algae) but it might be helpful in identifying the level where the leak is.
 

waste

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Mar 29, 2007
4,160
Coastalish 'down easter'
#8
Hey Martin :wave:

Sorry you are having this problem :( !

Any chance of posting in a sig line the info asked for here? It really helps us get a better idea of what might be going on with your pool!

Duraliegh is doing a great job helping you figure out what's going on (and in trying to preserve the sacred Tiki bar 8) ) You can plug the suction line overnight to also help insure that it's the source (though it certainly sounds like a suction side leak) Are there air bubbles in the pump after it's been running for a few hours? (I think Dave's right about the initial air in the return streams being caused by the water in the filter draining back down - but if it's a suction leak, you'll saturate the ground around the leak and it won't show up as air in the system until the ground around the leak drys out)

One last thought - any chance you have termites? (they will chew right through flex PVC, not out of hunger, they are just single minded on getting to the next Tiki bar :wink: )

Good luck with finding the source and getting it fixed!
 

cateng

Active member
May 30, 2007
36
Western KY
#9
OK, I pluged the suction line last night. It still leaked which really surprised me. I guess now I will take the water level below the skimmer and see what happens. If it still leaks what is the next step. If there is a leak in the vinyl cover wouldnt that show up with the pump running also or will there be enough vacume to prevent it.
MP
 

cateng

Active member
May 30, 2007
36
Western KY
#10
I dropped the water level below the skimmer and it is still leaking. Any suggestions as to how to proceed? Is there anything else I can do to narrow it down or do I go ahead and call someone? Summer vacation may be cancelled!!

MP
 

duraleigh

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#11
Correct me if I'm wrong but that should eliminate the circulatory system as the source....implying the leak is in your liner.

Looking back, I don't think you have posted what type of pool you have. Liner? How about main drain?
 

cateng

Active member
May 30, 2007
36
Western KY
#14
Sorry, I keep forgetting to attach my sig. Well I guess it has to be one of three things now, the vinyl liner, main drain, or around the return jets. I will let the water drop below the return jets to see if it stops then. If so, then the leak must be around the return jets, because if you consider what I have described earlier and if my logic is correct it should not be in the return lines, right? If it turns out that it is not in the return, is there anything you can do to point the blame at the main drain? Also, if it is the liner, how do you find it? By the way, I dont have any underwater lights or anything.

MP
 

duraleigh

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#17
What I'm really trying hard to envision is a circumstance where running the pump would stop the leak (and that leak not be visible)......I'm hung up on that and think it's key to finding the problem.

I suppose if it stops leaking when the level gets to the returns, the return fittings could be damaged but that's a new situation to me.
 

cateng

Active member
May 30, 2007
36
Western KY
#18
OK I plugged the return lines last night. Still leaking. Maybe not as much, but it was hard to get an accurate reading because it rained last night. I took into account the amount of rain that was in my rain gauge. So that leaves two culprits, main drain or vinyl liner. Is there any way to plug the main drain to eliminate that?

MP
 

tcpiii

Active member
Feb 24, 2008
44
Charlotte NC
#19
If you have an extra piece of vinyl, you can put it over the main drain and weight it down to hold it in place. If you don't have vinyl, any waterproof substance will do - even a raincoat.

Coty
 

cateng

Active member
May 30, 2007
36
Western KY
#20
I must have been smoking something really good when I decided that the pool was only leaking when the pump was off. Nothing was making sense so I started over with the troubleshooting process. The pool was/is leaking all the time. I invested in a good set of goggles and started diving. I have found about 10 to 15 slices in the liner. They range from 1/8" to 3/4" in length and are all on the side. Almost looks like toe nail cuts. I have not had the chance to investigate but I am thinking maybe there is debree behind the liner causing this. Thanks everyone for the help. I am glad I didn't start busting concrete.

MP