Leak in light niche. Please help, desperate for good advice

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lhoward31
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Joined: Thu 22 Feb, 2018 15:35
My Pool: Inground pool, 16x32, 9 years old, new liner in 2015, salt water system

Leak in light niche. Please help, desperate for good advice

Postby lhoward31 » Thu 22 Feb, 2018 16:03

Hello,

I'm new here. I found this forum while researching a solution to our problem

I'm not having much luck at all, even after having a leak detection company come out, a pool company come out and talking to several other places. Plus hours of google..

A little back ground, first of all, our pool is a inground pool , 16x32, saltwater system, about 9 years old. New liner was installed in 2015.

A couple of month ago I noticed water going down rather rapidly. I would have to add water every 5 days. We decided to turn everything off and see where the leak "stops" (advice from a pool store). So we did...the water went all the way to the below the halfway point of the light. By then, it was going to be the light or the main drain, so the pool company came out and looked at the light. They said they couldn't find any problem with it and advised to get a "leak detection company out".

We called the leak detection company. They wanted the pool "full and running" before coming out, so we had to fill it up again and turned everything on. They came out and confirmed that the problem was not in the pipes, but in the light. The light niche. Even though the pool company said they couldn't see anything wrong with it. They wrote down "several screw housings cracked". They said they fixed it with epoxy and found a smaller leak in the "stair" water line threads that they also epoxied. Said the bad leak was the light housing. Said he was pretty confident he had it all fixed and that should do it.
Told us their work was guaranteed for 4 weeks and left.

After they came out we had heavy (crazy) rains for a couple of weeks, so the pool stayed full. Then it stopped raining and now I noticed...its still leaking (or leaking again?)

Called the Leak Detection company. Now they are saying that their fixes are just temporary and they don't fix light housings and there is nothing they can do. They also said we should just get a new liner (even though our is only 2 years old) and then have the new liner cover the light.

I wanted them to come our per their "warranty" to have another look and make sure about what is going on, before adding thousands more. We already paid $1000 for them to come out and for filling the pool again. They are NOT happy about coming back out and said they would, but only if we pay the "drive fee" which is $350, all over again.

So I tried to call some pool companies. They all give me different answers. None seem real eager to help. One said we have to dig up the yard and concrete and re-do the housing. And liner. And all of it.

The other said that is not true, they can "fix" it without all that. Or "cover it". But then they said they don't service our area (25 min away).

The ones that do service our area are the pool company that saw nothing wrong about the light and didn't even know there was a "rubber plug" to keep water from entering the conduit. They did say they'd gladly replace our liner, though...

The other the one that said we have to dig up everything, plus re-do the liner, etc. Neither one really impresses me.

I'm at a loss here, frustrated beyond measure. All my google searches keep coming up with nothing really helpful about HOW to replace the niche or if there are other fixes other then epoxy that didnt' seem to work.

At this point I think I'd rather just "cover" the light opening and seal it off. But I can't even find help with that.

Are there covers that would seal off that area ? Someone on Youtube spoke of a "Lexan plate" used to seal off the light opening (not having to re-do liner and use liner to cover it)

But when I google it, I can't find any info on how to do it, and using what, and our local pool stores apparently can't do anything other then replace the whole thing.

Even if I used the liner to "cover" that light niche, how ? Does it need filled? Could it cause problems ?

I want the light covered and gone. Please some help on how to do this before I loose my mind :crazy:

Here is a link to a picture of the pool. The light is below the diving board on the deep end, about halfway down the depth. The equipment is hidden behind the jasmine bush (fenced off area for pool equipment)

apologies for any grammar and/or grammatical errors, English is my second language..


Image


Teapot
Swimming Pool Superstar
Swimming Pool Superstar
Posts: 932
Joined: Tue 17 Oct, 2017 10:52
My Pool: 12 x 24 (45m3) liner pool, Triton TR60 filter with AFM glass media (Activate) and variable speed pump running 0.08HP
Location: UK

Re: Leak in light niche. Please help, desperate for good advice

Postby Teapot » Thu 22 Feb, 2018 16:26

What a bunch, Was the leak located with a leak trac? if the niche has cracked did they show you the crack? Is there any legal cover with your home insurance that you could use to get them to come back? Leak fix guaranteed for 4 weeks, that sounds like a joke. There are polymer sealants that will work underwater without draining not sure what brands you have but Sika are good. Look up Anderson for underwater leak fix products. Good luck and let us know how you get on.
lhoward31
I'm new here
I'm new here
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu 22 Feb, 2018 15:35
My Pool: Inground pool, 16x32, 9 years old, new liner in 2015, salt water system

Re: Leak in light niche. Please help, desperate for good advice

Postby lhoward31 » Fri 23 Feb, 2018 00:05

Honestly, I'm not sure how they located the leak. They were underwater (in suits) for quite a while, though. In their "report" it says that the screw housing had cracks in it and was sealed with epoxy. They did not show me the leak. I kind of wish they had made pictures. It was in the 30's when they were in the water, so I sure didn't get in ;) Since this is their line of work, I would hope they would use a good sealant, but I'm not sure what kind?

Everything with them was great until I called them back, asking about the "warranty". I never actually got to talk to the guys that came out, its always the woman who answers the phone. Was very dismissive. She finally said they would come out, but would charge us the "drive free" of $350. We paid them $750 3 weeks ago. $350 for leak detection/ repair, $350 for drive fee, $50 for "cold water fee".

If I knew that would take care of it, I would pay the $350. But between all these people and the water lost and refilled we are already over $1000 into it and I feel we are at square one and not confident about "the fix" anymore.

They and a few other pool places mention "niche replacement", "Liner replacement" etc. I am not sure how much more good money to throw after bad if in the end, we'll be forced to replace the liner and then some.

Talked to yet ANOTHER pool company in the meantime. I suppose they are the ones that originally installed our pool. We bought the house after the pool was installed, but pool was only about half a year old at that time. This pool company was harder to find, small town about 30 minutes away, no webpage. Husband remembered the name suddenly and I found them in the white pages.

The guy called me back. He seems to think it has to do with the "solder" of the old niches...the way the conduit was attached ? He said if the ph wasn't always perfect, it eats away the solder. Said the new plastic niches are better. He is confident he can fix this but wants the water below the light (sigh, where we were a few weeks ago with the other pool company..who said they couldn't find anything wrong)

I'm just at a loss. Should I pay for the leak detection company to come back, risking this won't fix anything? Should I just pay for a new liner and cover the light? Should I pay for a new liner AND have my yard torn up and a new niche put in at the same time?

Should I let the water go down past the light again, have the other guy come out, have him attempt to fix it ? And what if I add water AGAIN afterwards and it leaks AGAIN. What a nightmare..

Thank you Teapot for trying to help, I'm pulling my hair out over here..
Teapot
Swimming Pool Superstar
Swimming Pool Superstar
Posts: 932
Joined: Tue 17 Oct, 2017 10:52
My Pool: 12 x 24 (45m3) liner pool, Triton TR60 filter with AFM glass media (Activate) and variable speed pump running 0.08HP
Location: UK

Re: Leak in light niche. Please help, desperate for good advice

Postby Teapot » Fri 23 Feb, 2018 02:43

Sorry it was bed time in London. I feel your pain! The only sensible way to locate leaks in vinyl pools is with the Leak Trac, I locate a leak in a vinyl pool usually inside 30 minutes without getting my feet wet. Anyone proporting to be a leak detection company without this equipment should not be hired. in the pool with a suit on would be to watch dye disappearing into the leak and I would have filmed that to show the owner.

Back to the issue, niches are usually ABS and I prefer the Anderson flexible sealant (hybrid polymer) to epoxy for that repair.

Although it is difficult to give a 100% guarantee on this type of work. I would, if the niche won't seal, drain down the pool to the last inch or two. pop the liner out of the liner lock around the light, replace the niche and refit the liner. The liner is only two years old so will still be flexible enough to work with.

That would be additional cost to the work carried out so far but I would remove the previous cost from the bill as it wasn't successful.

If your home insurance covers it, I would be putting in case to the legal team to pursue this company. Maybe it's too cold for them, removing or partially removing a liner is warm weather work.
lhoward31
I'm new here
I'm new here
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu 22 Feb, 2018 15:35
My Pool: Inground pool, 16x32, 9 years old, new liner in 2015, salt water system

Re: Leak in light niche. Please help, desperate for good advice

Postby lhoward31 » Fri 23 Feb, 2018 11:20

Hello again,

The problem is that there are more then one company involved. The Leak company (American Leak Company) is not a Pool company per se. But they do work on pools to "discover" leaks. They also fix leaks, if they are in areas they can easily get to, meaning no excavation, etc. They have a so called 4 week warranty on their work, but I'm finding out that this is worthless, because in order to make use of it I will have to pay half of what I paid before. All over again. And no more guarantees then before, since they are now saying that fix is only "temporary".

We have a couple of pool companys near by. The pool company is what told us to let the water drain down to see where it stopped. When it stopped halfway down, right below the halfway point of the light, they cam out to check the light. Found "nothing wrong" with the light and light niche and told us to hire the Leak company to figure out where the leak is.

The Leak company wanted us to fill the pool all the way up again and get everything running, before they come out. We told them the leak has to be the light or below (main drain) since it has kept draining down to there, past the skimmer, intakes and all else. But it didn't matter, they wanted it full and running. So we filled the pool up again (quite the cost in water).

Leak company came out and determined that it was the light niche, used epoxy, and left. Now they are saying for a "real" fix, we need to go back to the Pool Company. And probably have the liner redone, either covering the light with the liner, or having the light niche replaced while the liner is being replaced.

But what pool company ? The one that said there was nothing wrong with the Light ? Doesn't make us feel confident. We only have 2 pool companies to choose from, and both say different things. The Leak company simply wants nothing to do with it anymore, now that they got paid. Unless I pay them another $350 with no guarantee it does anything at all.

Neither pool company will replace the niche without replacing the liner, they will absolutely not work with the old liner.

The pool company I spoke with late last night (pool company #3, a little further away, supposedly the one that built the pool 9 years ago..) wants me to DRAIN the pool below the light AGAIN !!! They say they can fix the niche.

So my options are as follow:

1. Pay Leak company another $350 with little to no guarantee it will do anything, and most likely having to have a pool company do more work afterwards

2. Have a pool company come out and replace the entire liner again, covering the light with the liner, not sure how that would work/look

3. Have pool company come out and replace the entire liner PLUS dig up our yard and replace the light niche, probably a new light at this point, too

4. let the pool drain below light, have that guy from pool company #3 come out and attempt to fix the niche. Fill it back up (another high water cost). Risking that the fix doesn't take and after all that expense possibly needing to do fix #2 or #3 after all.

btw. Home owners insurance doesn't cover any of this..

Had I known then what I know now I would have just replaced the dang liner, by now I almost would have had that paid for.

What I would LIKE to do and would like to find out, is there a way to just COVER the light with something (Lexan plate? Actual part??) for now? Effectively sealing the entire thing off? I don't mind not having a light. I would REALLY just like to do this, but no-one around here seems familiar with this or willing to do it. I watched a youtube video of an attempted fix on a broken niche, and they go on saying that the niche ended up to badly damaged and they just covered it with a "Lexan plate". That is exactly what I would like to do for now..but I fear that was either something they rigged up, or something that is only possible in concrete or gunite pools ?

If I could pay a couple thousand of dollars and could snap my fingers and the dang pool would be gone without destroying my yard and all of that aggravation that comes from filling one in, I would do it in a heartbeat at this point. Every year we have some expensive "something" to buy or do with the pool, and this years problem takes the cake. So done with it.

:(

Thank you for reading my rants and attempting to help. There really isn't much help with this problem out there, not online or by calling pool companies.
Teapot
Swimming Pool Superstar
Swimming Pool Superstar
Posts: 932
Joined: Tue 17 Oct, 2017 10:52
My Pool: 12 x 24 (45m3) liner pool, Triton TR60 filter with AFM glass media (Activate) and variable speed pump running 0.08HP
Location: UK

Re: Leak in light niche. Please help, desperate for good advice

Postby Teapot » Fri 23 Feb, 2018 13:12

I do understand, Absolutely no way would I allow Co No1 back anywhere near, they do not sound a professional company, just a rip off bunch.
The others that won't work with the old liner don't sound much better. They could at least say we will try but you can't sue us for trying (agreed terms). That said it's in their interest to not be able to do it without replacing the liner. I am not bragging but I have taken out liners and popped them back many times. Once to drill a hole for a new return fitting, just working carefully with a good shop vac. others to fix decayed fittings and new skimmers.

Why would your yard need excavating to replace the niche, they fit from the inside of the pool?

If I were not in the UK I would be over to help you, sorry that there are not better pool engineers where you are.

I still can't grasp why they can't form gasket seals with the modified polymer sealants, these bond so well you wouldn't need screws. They just seem to be upselling to get to what money you have left. Leaving a void behind the liner isn't clever either.

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