Pool Trouble

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    Jul 03, 2012 10:47 AM GMT
    I just moved into a new place (as a roommate) with a pool in the back yard. The water level drops about 4-5inches a day. The pool is in full sun and the liner is not broken.

    Is this amount of evaporation normal? The pool is about 36ft x 14ft.

    Is there anyway to keep the water level up, a easy to remove cover or anything?

    I can do wonders with a yard, but a pool I don't have a clue about!
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    Jul 03, 2012 11:07 AM GMT
    There's an equation you can use to figure out the evaporation rate, but I'm too lazy to google it.
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    Jul 03, 2012 11:53 AM GMT
    TheCelticFury saidPool Trouble

    Sounds Divine.
    34xgdhv.jpg

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    Jul 03, 2012 12:01 PM GMT
    There are four Leslies Swimming Pool supply stores in North Carolina. Call them, or do a walk in with your questions to a manager. They will help you with qualified knowledge and experience.
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    Jul 03, 2012 12:16 PM GMT
    TheCelticFury saidI just moved into a new place (as a roommate) with a pool in the back yard. The water level drops about 4-5inches a day. The pool is in full sun and the liner is not broken.

    Is this amount of evaporation normal? The pool is about 36ft x 14ft.

    Is there anyway to keep the water level up, a easy to remove cover or anything?

    I can do wonders with a yard, but a pool I don't have a clue about!

    4-5 inches a day is not evaporation, the water is somehow draining.

    A filtration valve may be open that should be shut, allowing water to drain away when it should instead be recirculating through the filtration system. Keep the filter pump turned off and see if the water still drops. A pool service company will know the correct positions for the valves. Fiddling with them yourself may damage the system.

    Also, if there's a drain at the bottom of the pool, cover it with some heavy gauge flexible plastic (a deflated beach ball can work) to see if there's water flowing out. Do this with someone else present, to make sure you aren't caught by the suction if the drain cover is flush with the pool bottom.

    There could be a crack in the pipe beneath, which is a serious problem, as the leaking water will wash out the soil underneath the pool bottom, leading to structural failure. A reason to investigate this immediately.
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    Jul 03, 2012 12:34 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    TheCelticFury saidI just moved into a new place (as a roommate) with a pool in the back yard. The water level drops about 4-5inches a day. The pool is in full sun and the liner is not broken.

    Is this amount of evaporation normal? The pool is about 36ft x 14ft.

    Is there anyway to keep the water level up, a easy to remove cover or anything?

    I can do wonders with a yard, but a pool I don't have a clue about!

    4-5 inches a day is not evaporation, the water is somehow draining.

    A filtration valve may be open that should be shut, allowing water to drain away when it should instead be recirculating through the filtration system. Keep the filter pump turned off and see if the water still drops. A pool service company will know the correct positions for the valves. Fiddling with them yourself may damage the system.

    Also, if there's a drain at the bottom of the pool, cover it with some heavy gauge flexible plastic (a deflated beach ball can work) to see if there's water flowing out. Do this with someone else present, to make sure you aren't caught by the suction if the drain cover is flush with the pool bottom.

    There could be a crack in the pipe beneath, which is a serious problem, as the leaking water will wash out the soil underneath the pool bottom, leading to structural failure. A reason to investigate this immediately.


    +This

    You can get a blanket to cover the pool and stop evaporation, but I wouldnt expect more than 1/2-1 inch evaporation a day - unless you're having extreme gusty dry winds.

    AD's right - there's probably a seal or valve that's not seated right where water's leaking out. Try running the pump manually during the day and looking for a wet patch or obvious leak form.

    Ensure the skimmer box never gets exposed to sucking in air or you can burn out the pump - if it gets to that level - turn off the Pump at the fusebox!
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    Jul 03, 2012 12:59 PM GMT
    sc69 saidAD's right - there's probably a seal or valve that's not seated right where water's leaking out. Try running the pump manually during the day and looking for a wet patch or obvious leak form.

    Ensure the skimmer box never gets exposed to sucking in air or you can burn out the pump - if it gets to that level - turn off the Pump at the fusebox!

    Because many pool bottoms are below the level of the city sewer lines, they can't use a gravity drain system. Instead, the water is lifted to surface level by the filter pump, a drainage valve is turned, and the water is directed down into the sewer.

    This is the valve that may be mistakenly cracked open, allowing water to escape to the sewer whenever the filter pump turns on (most are on automatic timers). A siphoning action may also have begun, allowing continuous water flow even with the pump off, though that's not too common, since many systems have a siphon break.

    It's also not a good idea to let the pool water level remain too low for extended periods. The walls of many residential pools are not very strong, relying upon the pressure of the contained water to keep the walls supported against the soil. Left empty or near-empty, the pool walls may begin to buckle inwards from the surrounding ground pressure and eventually fail. (I've been assuming this is an in-ground pool because of its size)

    The mention of a liner suggests the pool may be of this weaker form of residential construction, rather than heavy reinforced concrete. Maintaining full water level is even more critical with this type.

    If this is an above-ground pool (and some are this large, especially the custom built) and the ground is not wet around it, then definitely look for a problem with the filtration system valves, and check for a faulty drainage valve (usually plumbed to the sewer with this capacity pool), located at the bottom of a wall. Again, you can place an object over the drain on the pool inside wall to see if there's any water flowing.
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    Jul 03, 2012 1:08 PM GMT
    You already said your liner is broken. Take Arts & Sc69's advice to save paying someone, but if still not solved call Leslies and ask them to send out a technician since you don't have a clue about pools. They can trouble shoot over the phone too if you call an Aboveground Leslies store. Goodluck.
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    Jul 03, 2012 1:14 PM GMT
    guyathome74 saidYou already said your liner is broken.

    He wrote: "The pool is in full sun and the liner is not broken." [My emphasis]

    But I agree with you that he should contact a pool service company in any case, since I doubt this is evaporation, but an actual problem from some of the possible causes we've listed here. And who knows, maybe the liner really is torn, but he hasn't found the break yet. It could be at a corner where the wall meets the bottom. The simplest detection method is to squirt small amounts of non-staining dye in the suspected areas. More sophisticated methods can include sensitive hydrophones that listen for the escaping water.

    Even if it's something as simple as a misdirected or faulty drain valve, only a trained specialist should initially touch them, to avoid damaging the filtration system. Then the residents can be instructed what valves they can operate, and for what routine purposes, like manually draining off excess rain water, if the system doesn't do it automatically.

    Or it could be a hydrostatic valve, used to equalize pressure. Located at the bottom of some in-ground pools, it's recommended they be replaced every 5 years, but often aren't when owners maintain their own pools. Hydrostatic valve failure can account for this leak, and will also undermine the pool from below, so it should be repaired ASAP.
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    Jul 03, 2012 2:01 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    guyathome74 saidYou already said your liner is broken.

    He wrote: "The pool is in full sun and the liner is not broken." [My emphasis]

    But I agree with you that he should contact a pool service company in any case, since I doubt this is evaporation, but an actual problem from some of the possible causes we've listed here. And who knows, maybe the liner really is torn, but he hasn't found the break yet. It could be at a corner where the wall meets the bottom. The simplest detection method is to squirt small amounts of non-staining dye in the suspected areas. More sophisticated methods can include sensitive hydrophones that listen for the escaping water.

    Even if it's something as simple as a misdirected or faulty drain valve, only a trained specialist should initially touch them, to avoid damaging the filtration system. Then the residents can be instructed what valves they can operate, and for what routine purposes, like manually draining off excess rain water, if the system doesn't do it automatically.

    Or it could be a hydrostatic valve, used to equalize pressure. Located at the bottom of some in-ground pools, it's recommended they be replaced every 5 years, but often aren't when owners maintain their own pools. Hydrostatic valve failure can account for this leak, and will also undermine the pool from below, and should be repaired ASAP.


    damn sorry I misread. On side note, you know a lot about pools. I do too. have a certification in pools. Just dont like giving advice since its been so long since i was in that field.
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    Jul 03, 2012 2:11 PM GMT
    guyathome74 saiddamn sorry I misread. On side note, you know a lot about pools. I do too. have a certification in pools. Just dont like giving advice since its been so long since i was in that field.

    I assumed you misread, no big deal. I am not pool certified like you, though some guys here claim I'm certifiable. LOL!

    No, I only know what I picked up from maintaining my own pools, and helping other family members & friends with pools, and also the common condo pool here. I had to learn the valve system to lower the water level in advance of a hurricane, or other storms bringing heavy rain amounts. (We have a ground water drainage problem around the pool area, that can cause some first-floor units to flood. We've got plans for creating more active drainage, but probably not completed until after hurricane season due to funding. We don't want pool overflow to add to the problem)
  • alliedguy

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    Jul 03, 2012 4:01 PM GMT
    I just had to have one of the return lines for my pool replaced. It had a 4" split in it and I was losing almost an inch of water a day. Unfortunately, it was right in the middle of my paver patio, so all that got ripped up. All totalled: $1400. Kind of a sucky way to spend that much money, but there is no option!!!
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    Jul 03, 2012 4:11 PM GMT
    Agree that you have a leak somewhere, unfortunately.

    I would not rely on anyone at Leslie's for advice. They will just try to sell you expensive, useless (or worse yet, harmful) pool chemicals. Find a nice local pool company for repairs, etc., and learn how to take care of pool chemistry yourself (not that you asked, but I'm telling anyway).

    Go to the forums at troublefreepool.com and poolforum.com to learn about pool chemistry. It's easy. And the easiest way to do it is NOT the way that pool stores would tell you.
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    Jul 03, 2012 4:39 PM GMT
    Leslies managers and creditable technicans know pool problems and have trained technicians that go to homes to find out whats wrong with your pool, your equipment, your plumbing .etc. If all fails they'll tell you to get a construction team or a contractor if thats needed. Mom and pop places are helpful too for information, products and contacts, but any company is going to try and promote their own products which are not useless as someone mentioned. Pool problems need to be diagnosed. Leslies has over 600 stores and has been in busines for over 40 years. Go to books and websites to learn chemisty and stuff, but I wouldn't do any big repairing on my own if I didn't have the skills and experience.
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    Jul 03, 2012 6:07 PM GMT
    guyathome74 said any company is going to try and promote their own products which are not useless as someone mentioned


    Sorry, but 90% of the stuff they try to sell you at the pool store is complete crap.

    All you need to keep your pool clear is:

    (1) Bleach (for chlorination);
    (2) Borax (to raise pH);
    (3) Baking soda (to raise total alkalinity); and
    (4) Muriatic acid (to lower pH); and
    (5) A good test kit.

    Lowering total alkalinity is a bit more complicated, involving lowering the pH to between 7.0 and 7.2 and aerating until it rises a bit, then repeating, as needed.

    You may need calcium at startup. You will also need stabilizer (cyanuric acid) at startup, but the crap tabs that the pool stores will try to sell you to chlorinate your pool are also in large part made of stabilizer. Using them regularly will quickly raise the CyA levels way over range and severely limit the usefulness of chlorine as a sanitizer, which leads to a green algaeatic mess.

    NEVER NEVER NEVER use anything other than more chlorine (bleach, probably the simplest, "shock" being just another word for chlorine/chlorinate) to clear out an algae bloom. Most people underestimate the level to which chlorine needs to be raised/kept to get rid of algae but shock shock shock and filter is by far the best way. Other products either won't work and/or will leave you with all kinds of residues you really don't want in your pool.

    If you do it right, you'll never get an algae bloom at all. I've had two pools for a total of about 8 years and have only had algae once.

    Again, use the forums and stickies at troublefreepool.com and poolforum.com. They also have very helpful forums on pool repairs, construction, equipment, etc.

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    Jul 03, 2012 7:04 PM GMT
    Thanks for all the helpful advice guys, I will begin to look into it all today and let my roommate (house owner) know all of this later today. I've have thought there was a problem but he just put it up to evaporation and didn't really know where the problem could be if there is one.

    The pool chemistry is fine, and something I can take care of in my sleep since I've have dealt with that before.

    Is there a easy to remove pool liner that we could use as a cover. We have a great "off season" liner but something for while we use the pool would be great!