I Have A Pool Leak Question

by Sarah

We have a 23,000 gal pool salt water pool with cartridge filters and in ground cleaning system. Our skimmers do not suck. a large in floor return in the deep end sends the water back to the pump.

I have been told that possible some return also occurs through the in floor cleaners but I'm not certain about that. Our pool also has a water fall water feature. When performing our bucket test we have determined our pool only leaks when the pump is on, cleaners off, and fountains off. If we run the pump with the cleaners on or the fountains on it does not lose water. Nor does it leak when the pump is off.

We do get occasional bubbles when the cleaners first come on, or when the pump is first turned on, but the pump pressurizes well. We have found a very slow drip coming from one of the cleaner lines but I'm not sure it can explain our one inch in 24 hour loss. Plus wouldn't it be worse with the cleaners on? Can you help me identify the location or at least narrow it down a bit?

Hi Sarah. I can help to possibly narrow the area down so you're not looking everywhere, but to pinpoint it is more difficult. We'll do it through the process of understanding and elimination. I will be stating some obvious and elementary things, but it needs to be done to eliminate areas of no concern.

You have 3 areas - your pool, the suction side, and return side that could be leaking. With the pump off you did a bucket test properly and there was no leak from the pool. Normal places would be the skimmer, cracked returns, water line, and light. There was no leak so we can eliminate the pool. The suction side can also lose water, even if the pump motor is off. You can also plug the returns, skimmer and bottom drain (all openings) with the pump off. Or simply close the lines with the valve. If the water level didn't drop then we can eliminate the pool once more.

Next is the suction side with the pump motor on. This side brings water from the pool to the pump motor. I would suggest cleaning the filter, then running the pump for 24 hours using the bucket test, then looking at the filter. If it's dirty or has is slightly brown, this could indicate the leak is on the suction side. The plumbing is sucking up water, air, and dirt. Are there bubbles in the pump pot when the motor is on? This is a clear indication that you have something wrong with the suction side.

And last would be the return side, from the pump motor back to the pool. This is normally the area of concern with the pump on. I say normally, but not always. The water is under tremendous pressure and a small drip could turn into a large crack.

Then we have the obvious such as leaking equipment. Check around there for leaks.

Hope this helps


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