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Pool leak bucket test results in......Help me interpret

Pool leak bucket test results in......Help me interpret

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  #1  
Old 09-06-14, 01:50 PM
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Pool leak bucket test results in......Help me interpret

15K gallons in 16x32 in-ground pool. Pad shows no leaks. Backwash line dry.

9/4 turned off pump and set bucket on step. Marked outside of bucket. Filled bucket close to top and marked inside of bucket. Pool pump on at 12 noon for 24 hours. Outside temp 85 deg.

9/5 12 noon. Pump shut off. Outside temp 75 deg. Pool level down 3/4 inch. Bucket level down 1/2 inch.

9/5 12 noon. Re-marked outside of bucket and refilled bucket close to top and marked inside of bucket. Pool pump off

9/6 12 noon. Pump still off. Outside 78 deg. Pool level down one inch. Bucket down 1/4 inch.

Since the pool lost more water when OFF, does that tell me there is NOT a leak in the PVC lines?

If I am correct, my plan is to drop the water level below the skimmer, light and eyeball returns....and do the 24 hour bucket test again. Both pump running and off. This could tell me if the bottom main drain needs caulk or if the ladder going into the pool bottom needs caulk.

Any comments or help would be appreciated.
 
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  #2  
Old 09-07-14, 08:32 AM
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I interpret your test as saying the leak IS in the PVC suction line. When the pump is running, it's creating a vacuum, or low pressure in the suction line, slowing down the leak. If the light or ladder were leaking, there would be NO difference whether the pump were running or not.
 
  #3  
Old 09-09-14, 09:33 AM
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Thanks Dr. Spa......I decided to lower the pool level below the skimmer and look for missing caulk or grout. That is what a local pool guy told me is the most likely....especially since last winter here in southern OR was COLD and even tho we ran the pool 24x7..... 1/4 to 1/2 inch ice would form. I would break it up, but I don't know if it loosened grout, tiles or what. Some more inspection of the skimmer is needed.

On 9/6 and part of 9/7 I ran the pool pump for 24 hours. Shut pump off 9/7, 9/8 and still off today. I checked the pool level..it dropped 2- 1/2 inches..and the bucket level dropped 3/4 inch.

What does that tell you (or any others reading this) ?

After 2-4 hours the pool level should have dropped enough for me to inspect skimmer. BTW, the pool light ring has a gap on the top about 1/2 inch. Can't remember if that is for prying off or if some caulk fell out. Whadda you think ? I am a bit dense about pools and don't know if the light inside should be waterproof or if water is OK.
 
  #4  
Old 09-09-14, 10:23 PM
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I'm not sure what you're doing with the bucket.

You had the pool open all year ? When it was freezing did you have the pump running continuously ?

The light is in a wet niche. There is a gap around the lens. The conduit that feeds the niche is usually filled with water up to pool water level.

2-1/2" is a lot of water in two days.
Have you lowered it below the skimmers ? Did it continue to drop when below the skimmers ?
 
  #5  
Old 09-10-14, 01:06 PM
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PJmax: Bucket test is standard procedure per the articles I have read.

Yes, pool was open all year and pump ran 24x7....but ice would still form, 1/4" to 1/2"

Yes, I dropped the pool level below the skimmer yesterday and started another 24 hour bucket test with pump off.

Result was both the pool and bucket water level went down about 1/4 inch. I did peek inside the skimmer and saw a crack in the plaster or grout on both sides, about one or two inches. Got some A and B epoxy putty and will force some in the cracks and see what's what.

Re the pool light. When I refill the pool and test for leak....I have read that the conduit that goes thru the light should have caulk plugging that hole. If I continue to see a leak, than I guess the light should come out and the conduit hole inspected. Sound right?

Thank you
 
  #6  
Old 09-10-14, 05:43 PM
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No... that's a wet niche light and the conduit is not sealed. The opposite end from the light should terminate above pool water level in a deck electrical box.

The water level was below the skimmers and still dropping ?
That would eliminate the skimmers.
 
  #7  
Old 09-10-14, 09:47 PM
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The bucket test is to eliminate for evaporation. Since the bucket is known not to leak, any water loss in it is due to evaporation. The pool will lose the same amount to evaporation.
 
  #8  
Old 09-10-14, 09:57 PM
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Thanks for the explanation.

In this case.....
If the water leak was slight then the bucket test would be meaningful but were talking about 2-1/2" in two days.
 
  #9  
Old 09-11-14, 08:51 AM
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I did another 12 hour bucket test yesterday night and this am. Pump off. Skimmer dry.

Pool went down one inch
Bucket went one 1/2 inch.

DRAT ! So now I am pumping more water out of the pool and will expose eyeball returns and the Polaris fitting...and maybe even lower to expose light. Will keep you posted.

My reading is that the skimmer was a large leak and something else is a smaller leak.
 
  #10  
Old 09-13-14, 01:46 PM
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Had a licensed pool contractor/builder over for a visit. He saw the skimmer was cracked in three places. Worse, he saw what I have seen and did not register: Rust on the pool floor where the hand rail goes in. He put some reagant close to the rust and it was sucked into the floor at the rail.

He advises to take out the rail....drain pool about 80% to expose rust and jackhammer down. He thinks water is rusting the pool's rebar. After cleaning out.....use an expanding concrete (forgot name) to seal up.....and replaster.

Sound reasonable ?
 
  #11  
Old 09-20-14, 03:09 PM
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Had another pool contractor over. He wanted to use a core drill to do the rail removal. Any thoughts on this approach?
 
  #12  
Old 09-20-14, 06:44 PM
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Core drilling will probably be much neater but more costly. That's the way I'd go.
Unfortunately you'll be needing to drain the pool almost completely.

I opted for a railing that wasn't installed thru the concrete.

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And then since I didn't want to jack hammer up the patio.... I purchased a PVC one. A stainless one needs to be bonded in the deck.
 
  #13  
Old 10-02-14, 08:20 AM
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Deed is done. Pool drained 100%. Relief holes drilled in bottom as there was no hydrostatic relief valve. Everything capped off and pressure tested. No leaks. Rail is gone. Contractor jack hammered down to rebar and cut out rusted pieces. Filled with hydraulic cement and replastered. Skimmer was patched in 3 places. 2-part Deck-O-Seal was applied between patio and coping. DE grids pulled and cleaned. Two people, 22 man hours = $1079.00, parts and labor.
 
  #14  
Old 08-18-15, 02:48 PM
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UPDATE......

I noticed the pool was still losing more water than evaporation would account for. So....I ran the pool motor on LOW SPEED for 15 days, using the bucket test method. It lost about 1/4 inch per day. The same as evaporation in the bucket. The last 5 days, the level was below the skimmer.

With the pool motor OFF for 15 days, I lost 3/8 to 1/2 inch per day, for 10 days. Bucket evaporation still 1/4 inch per day. The last 5 days, water was below the skimmer and the pool loss dropped to 1/4 inch per day.

I am really a dunce but the test tells me (I think) that the problem is in the suction line (skimmer, main drain). Sound right? Guess water loss could also be thru the tile lines around the pool and into the skimmer. Right ? I heard about tapping the tiles but not sure what a solid or hollow sound would tell me.

Guess another water pressure test would be helpful ?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
 
  #15  
Old 08-18-15, 06:55 PM
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Welcome back. I've joined the leaking pool club. I'm fairly certain my leak is in the return side as it only loses water when the pump is running.

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/po...ound-pool.html

A hollow sound would tell you that there is a void behind the tile. I've had that problem. The tile gets removed and then the area behind the tile gets recemented. Really, in order for that to be a major leaker you would need to have a lot of missing grout.

If the problem was in the skimmer area then it would lose water until the level gets to just below the skimmer and then the water level would hold there. Does yours keep dropping below that point ?

On my pool.... I have good PVC valves that shut off the shallow and deep suction lines at the filter. I could plug my skimmers and drains like I was winterizing to check for pressure loss by charging the lines with air. I can't do that on my return side as there is no valve at the filter for the return line..... yet.
 
  #16  
Old 08-18-15, 10:18 PM
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Hi PJ......After the water level drops below the skimmer, it stops dropping....except for the 1/4 inch per 24 hours, due to evaporation. (Same as the bucket loss).

I did a cursory tile/grout inspection last year. Now I will do a detailed inspection. There may be a pool contractor coming here this week to fix things.
 
  #17  
Old 08-18-15, 10:42 PM
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It could be right in the skimmer box itself. Mine is a round molded plastic box installed in the cement. I had a crack at the shallow end one but was able to fix it easily.

I've never tried the bucket evaporation test here as the daily water loss was almost unnoticeable.
 
  #18  
Old 09-01-15, 08:42 PM
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UPDATE.....LEAK FIXED. Pool contractor who was here last year, finally came back last week and saw some cracks in the skimmer (that I did not see). He spent 20-30 minutes patching with a two part epoxy putty. I did a 24 hour bucket test for 8 days: 4 with pump running and 4 with pump off.

Pool went down about 1/4" per day in both modes. The same as bucket evaporation.
 
  #19  
Old 09-01-15, 11:41 PM
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Awesome news. Thanks for letting us know the outcome.
 
  #20  
Old 09-21-15, 08:18 AM
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ONE LAST QUESTION, please. This is a 12,000 gallon pool. If I am losing 1/4 inch in 24 hours, due to evaporation.......how many gallons is that ?
 
  #21  
Old 09-21-15, 08:41 AM
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That figure is based on many things. Size is an easy measurement but depth is variable.

Length x Width x Average Depth x 7.5 = Total gallons
If you have a shallow end and a deep end.... you add the depth of both and divide by two for average depth.

For example...
A 16x32 pool with an average depth of 4' should be around 15,400 gallons.
I took 15,400 and divided by 48" which is 320 gallons per inch. 320 divided by a 1/4" is 80 gallons.

You can take 12,000 and divide by average depth for gallons per inch. Then divide by 1/4.
12,000 divided by 48 is 250 gallons per inch. Divided by 1/4 is about 60 gallons.


I don't know much more accurate you can get.
If you have city water service you could check the meter for the amount of water needed for a refill.
 
  #22  
Old 09-21-15, 12:20 PM
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OK, thank you again. I think I will measure my incoming water flow (10 gal/min +/-), mark the pool and stop when it is filled one inch. Or....I could run water for one hour and see how much the pool level went up.

Or...I could brew some hemlock tea...and put all of us out of our misery.
 
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