Troubleshooting a Leak in Plumbing

thephatp

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2018
105
Austin, TX
Yesterday, I noticed my pump was quite loud, and I discovered there were bubbles in my pump filter, as well as in the valves in the line, and some of the pipes were shaking vigorously. I turned off the pump and the water level in the pump was quite low. I heard sounds as if water was continuing to drain. Thus, I believe I have a leak somewhere in my plumbing.

Previously, I noted a leak at my skimmer, but I believe that is only with my stone. However, I wanted to mention it to keep it in mind.

Below is a pic of my plumbing. I filled up the pump filter, turned it on and let it fill up with water. Most of the bubbles were gone, but they came back. When I turned it off, one of the valves started draining water (see red circled backflow valve).
Pool_Plumbing--Full_View_Valve_red.jpg

If this started draining immediately, could it be that the leak is in this component?

What is the best way to start troubleshooting?

I checked the rubber gasket around the list of the pump, but looking to know if there is a good methodical way to narrow down where the problem might be, rather than randomly taking things apart.

Thanks in advance!
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
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Jun 22, 2014
33,842
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
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If this started draining immediately, could it be that the leak is in this component?
Yes. You can remove the top of that valve by removing those 8 screws. There is at least one small O-ring inside, maybe another seal. Inspect to make sure there is nothing stuck in there, that the seals are in good shape, and that the handle O-ring has some pool silicone lube. Make sure it is not leaking anymore either when the system is on or off.

Same goes for any component on that pad. You may not see water actively squirt outwards, but air can still get pull inwards, so you have to really check closely at each joint and part. Air getting IN the system is indicative of a suction side leak anywhere from the pump backwards to the pool skimmer.
 
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thephatp

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2018
105
Austin, TX
Yes. You can remove the top of that valve by removing those 8 screws. There is at least one small O-ring inside, maybe another seal. Inspect to make sure there is nothing stuck in there, that the seals are in good shape, and that the handle O-ring has some pool silicone lube. Make sure it is not leaking anymore either when the system is on or off.

I have this silicone lube, as recommend by a pool guy a year or so ago. Is that sufficient? At that time, he found a crack in the top, which he repaired with something. If I find a crack, what do you recommend I try sealing/fixing it with?

Texas Splash said:
Same goes for any component on that pad. You may not see water actively squirt outwards, but air can still get pull inwards, so you have to really check closely at each joint and part. Air getting IN the system is indicative of a suction side leak anywhere from the pump backwards to the pool skimmer.

I know how to find gas leaks or drip leaks, but not suction leaks per se. If it's not clearly a problem with the lid or the o-rings, do you have any recommendations on how to find where the leak is happening? Maybe dyed water around pipe seals?

Thanks for the help!
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2014
33,842
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
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17888
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Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
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CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
The Magic Lube you have is just fine. But if the valve itself is cracked, it will need to be replaced. Either the top portion or the entire fixture.

For suction side leaks, please refer to the link below and let us know if you still have questions. We'll be happy to help.

 
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1poolman1

In The Industry
Jul 14, 2014
205
Sacramento
I have this silicone lube, as recommend by a pool guy a year or so ago. Is that sufficient? At that time, he found a crack in the top, which he repaired with something. If I find a crack, what do you recommend I try sealing/fixing it with?



I know how to find gas leaks or drip leaks, but not suction leaks per se. If it's not clearly a problem with the lid or the o-rings, do you have any recommendations on how to find where the leak is happening? Maybe dyed water around pipe seals?

Thanks for the help!
If the lid to your check valve is cracked replace it. The assemblies are available online. For example:Check Valve Cover Assembly Flapper Spring Seal Kit Replacement For Jandy 7056 | eBay.
Be sure to use a small amount of lubricant on the "O" ring. Do not use a power tool to replace the 8 screws. It is very easy to crack the valve body doing so. I have never seen a successful repair of any Jandy valve lid.
 
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thephatp

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2018
105
Austin, TX
If the lid to your check valve is cracked replace it. The assemblies are available online. For example:Check Valve Cover Assembly Flapper Spring Seal Kit Replacement For Jandy 7056 | eBay.
Be sure to use a small amount of lubricant on the "O" ring. Do not use a power tool to replace the 8 screws. It is very easy to crack the valve body doing so. I have never seen a successful repair of any Jandy valve lid.

Good reminder on the screws, thanks!

The Magic Lube you have is just fine. But if the valve itself is cracked, it will need to be replaced. Either the top portion or the entire fixture.

For suction side leaks, please refer to the link below and let us know if you still have questions. We'll be happy to help.

Thanks for the reference!

I've isolated it to Spa side only, which I take as not a good sign. When on the Pool side, it clears out the air and operates normally. However, when on the Spa side, it immediately starts filling with air, and relatively quickly IMHO.

This tells me the leak isn't at the pump, and it isn't at the check valve.

What are the chances it's a problem with automated valve on only one side/angel of the valve?

If it's not the automated valve, that means it's likely in the ground, or at the spa itself. :( I did try the test in the guide provided of pouring water over the joint exposed at the automated valve, but it didn't seem to make a difference.
 

thephatp

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2018
105
Austin, TX
OK, maybe I spoke too soon. I ran the pump on the pool side for about 6 hours yesterday, with no air accumulation (at least that I could tell), and I turned it off just before bed.

However, when I went out to check this afternoon, it turns out the filter was void of water, so it drained out of filter somehow. I'm not quite sure what this means. Does it imply there is something else wrong in the system as well, on the return side? Or could it mean that there is a very small leak at the automated valve when turned to pool, but then a much larger leak when the automated valve is turned to pool?
 

Rancho Cost-a-Lotta

Silver Supporter
Apr 10, 2018
2,492
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
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Salt Water Generator
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CircuPool RJ-45
If you're not seeing bubbles when the pump is running (after priming), but the plumbing drains when the pump is off, the leak is likely on the pressure side. Your plumbing is designed to hold pressure when the pump is off. If there's a leak in the system with the pump off, air will be sucked into the plumbing and water will drain into the pool. When the pump restarts, it will purge the air from the plumbing (shaking pipe and making noise) and run normally.

You described a water leak at the check valve. This same water leak will suck air when the pump is off. The same thing happens when you open the air bleeder on the filter when the pump is off. If you listen closely, you should be able to hear the air being sucked into the plumbing with the pump off.
 

Rancho Cost-a-Lotta

Silver Supporter
Apr 10, 2018
2,492
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Pool Size
18735
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45
I reread your post, and it sounds like water is just flowing through the check valve when the plumbing is off as opposed to leaking water externally. If that's the case, my advice still holds true. The check valve is designed to stop water flow from the pool back towards the heater. It will still allow water to drain to the pool.
 

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thephatp

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2018
105
Austin, TX
If you're not seeing bubbles when the pump is running (after priming), but the plumbing drains when the pump is off, the leak is likely on the pressure side. Your plumbing is designed to hold pressure when the pump is off. If there's a leak in the system with the pump off, air will be sucked into the plumbing and water will drain into the pool. When the pump restarts, it will purge the air from the plumbing (shaking pipe and making noise) and run normally.
I reread your post, and it sounds like water is just flowing through the check valve when the plumbing is off as opposed to leaking water externally. If that's the case, my advice still holds true. The check valve is designed to stop water flow from the pool back towards the heater. It will still allow water to drain to the pool.

The shaking pipe and noise is what alerted me to the problem. This definitely happens when the pump starts after sitting overnight. So, I'm wondering if I have 2 problems.

If the filter was void of water when the system was off, that means there is still air getting into the plumbing somewhere. Most likely somewhere on the equipment pad.

I was thinking the same thing after seeing the pump drained the next day.

Yesterday, the problem was on the Spa side. What I mean by that is when the automated value was turned to Spa suction, the bubbles were introduced. But when I turned it to Pool suction, the bubbles were cleared out.

However, here's an interesting new twist. I went out today and saw the opposite happen. Now, turning the automated valve to Pool suction introduced bubbles, but turning it to Spa suction cleared them out.

I took a video to show what is happening. This really makes me think the problem could be with the automated valve, or with the o-ring inside. Thoughts?
 

tstex

Silver Supporter
Aug 28, 2012
1,946
Houston, TX
When troubleshooting leaks on the pressure side [after the pump], water will usually leak out from this side, and of course, all the plumbing is is full of water. On the suction side, air comes into the plumbing. SOProcedure is to use soap sprayed on a pressure side gas/air, to determine if you have an inconspicuous leak by showing bubbles expanding. If you have a suction side leak, but spraying real soapy water, you can see the bubbles be sucked or removed quickly...

At automated valve going switching from Pool to Spa [and reverse], you could have sucked something in there and it's lodged. Turn off filter pump [or service mode] and take that valve apart and inspect it, the o-ring, etc. When re-assembling, make sure you lube the o-ring. When tightening, alternate the torque in a 180 degree pattern. This assures even/flat reassembly

Post back what you find
 

thephatp

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2018
105
Austin, TX
A few updates to provide here.

First, I removed the actuator and removed the diverter to inspect it. Seems a little worn, but nothing obvious. I ordered a replacement diverter, which I'll try out soon.

Second, I confirmed that the check valve shown in the video was, in fact, leaking, so I've fixed that. Now, very few bubbles show up at all. I ran it for about 6 hours on high, and no new air was introduced. I then let it sit overnight for about 12 hours, and no new air was introduced!

Now, one thing that really has me baffled. As I said, diverter looked OK, and running it on high for 6 hours was fine, and not operating for 12 hours was fine. However, running on a low speed for about 4 hours introduced air. It wasn't a ton, but the water in the pump filter was about 1" below the top. When I turned the pump on high, it quickly purged the air and went back to no bubbles and no new air introduced.

Any thoughts on why air would accumulate in the filter only on low (1300) RPM but not at high speeds, and not at rest?
 

tstex

Silver Supporter
Aug 28, 2012
1,946
Houston, TX
"Any thoughts on why air would accumulate in the filter only on low (1300) RPM but not at high speeds, and not at rest?"

No worries, your air in the pump basket at lower RPM's is normal. This is bc the pump does not pull [or suck] as hard at lower RPM's and thus air replaces that small vol/area. Also, another factor impacting the vol of amt in the pump basket is determined by how far your pump is from the pool: the closer, the less air; the farther, more air. If fact, you could create an inverse RPM to Air in the pump basket chart: The lower the RPM, the > the vol of water all the way to the highest needed RPM to displace all of the air to zero. Of course, any speed above that would be zero air too. Variables would be size of pump, distance of pump from pool and height above or below of pump relative to height of pool....once you install your new diverter, you'll be good to go for X months w no problems....