Leak in liner - help!

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drfinale
Pool Newbie
Pool Newbie
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu 21 Sep, 2006 19:11

Leak in liner - help!

Postby drfinale » Sun 24 Sep, 2006 10:19

I woke up this morning to discover that I had lost a good 4 inches of water in my pool last night. I have an above-ground pool with a liner.

I noticed yesterday when I was vacuuming that there was a depression, or a sink-hole near the wall in one part of the pool. I didn't really think anything of it.

When I discovered the water loss this morning, I dug a hole at the base of the pool, right outside of where the sink-hole is. I only had to dig a few inches when I hit water. You can actually see water and sand billowing out from under the frame of the pool.

Right now, I am trying to determine if the hole is on the side or the floor of the pool. I originally assumed that it was on the floor, but wouldn't a leak on the side also come out of underneath the frame?

I marked the water line when I discovered the leak, and it seems I am losing about 1/4 inch an hour. If it eventually stops, I'll know it is a leak on the side.

Also, did the sink-hole cause the leak, or did the leak cause the sink-hole?

I "googled" for some information on fixing pool links, and discovered a product called Fix-a-Leak. It sounds like it is easy to use. Has anyone out there ever used this product to fix a leak? Does it really work?

I have posted some pictures of this disaster on my blog (drfinale dot blogspot dotcom/2006/09/leaking-pool dot html) Sometimes a picture is more telling.

Any advice offered would be greatly appreciated!!


drfinale
Pine Hill, NJ
Demons1964
Pool Care Proficient
Pool Care Proficient
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue 01 Aug, 2006 19:32
Location: Australia

Postby Demons1964 » Sun 24 Sep, 2006 20:54

You've got what I would regard as my worst nightmare!! I built my own 15' x 38' deep-end above ground pool and getting a leak in mine would bring tears to my eyes!!

Your first port of call would be determining exactly where the leak is. Try red food dye squirted near the depression, or some other color that will contrast against the pool liner. There are underwater vinyl repair kits available. Fix-a-leak sounds better for small leaks that occur under high pressure like plumbing with a solid substrate with which to adhere, not vinyl that can continue to tear. You also need to be careful of anything with an acidic cure, as that can also tear the vinyl.

You have 3 courses of action:

1) Repair the liner with an underwater repair kit, and hope the sinkhole doesn't cause any more tears.

2) Repair the liner, drain the pool, remove the liner, repair the sinkhole (including compacting the new sand), refit the liner and fill the pool. This only works if the liner is 12 months old or less.

3) Drain the pool, remove the liner, repair the sinkhole, fit new liner and fill the pool.

Pros for Option 1: Cheap and quick. If it doesn't work it hasn't cost you much money and you move on to Option 2 or 3.

Cons for Option 1: Unless you have moles present, the sinkhole would have been caused via erosion by the leak, and it is only going to get larger as more water drains away. So the problem you have now is that you need to repair the depression where water currently sits under the liner. Why? Assuming you repair the leak, the water underneath the liner will drain away, and the weight of water in the pool above that depression will probably cause another tear in the liner.
You've also got the problem of the sinkhole being right next to one of the structural uprights. Under worse case scenario the channel the steel wall sits in will buckle into the sinkhole, buckling the wall itself and the upright may collapse. I don't like your chances of repairing the sinkhole from the side of the pool; there's no way to compact sand under there with the weight of the water pressing down.

Pros for Option 2: Good chance of success if the liner is relatively new. I don't recommend you drain the pool through the existing tear as the damage under the liner will only get worse. Remember it only takes one sharp stone to tear the liner again. Hire a submersible pump. That will give you a great idea of the amount of damage underneath the liner, and with the right repair will avoid any more underground damage in that immediate area in the future.

Cons for Option 2: Will cost money for the pump and water, and a bit of work by yourself. There's no guarantee the liner won't tear on reinstallation either: the 12 months guide is only that - a guide. If it tears again you'll have to buy a new liner.

Pros for Option 3: If done properly will guarantee to fix the leak and prevent any future damage. If your liner is any more than 5 years old it will be due for replacement soon anyway. Note that Option 3 is the usual recommendation within the industry for a torn liner.

Cons for Option 3: Lots of money and labour.

Your choice will depend on budget. Let us know how you go. I've bookmarked your blog to see how you get on.
drfinale
Pool Newbie
Pool Newbie
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu 21 Sep, 2006 19:11

Postby drfinale » Sat 14 Oct, 2006 08:18

Demons1964, thank you for your reply. I've been busy and haven't been at my computer for a while, but I'll give an update...

I located the hole in the liner: it was right by the sinkhole. I purchased a liner repair kit that could be used under water. I dove into the cold september water and patched it, and for right now, it seems to have worked.

I am concerned about the long-term effects of the sinkhole being there, and I am hoping that another leak doesn't develop.

I have already winterized the pool, but still plan on monitoring the water level over the winter, just to make sure it isn't losing anymore.

Keeping my fingers crossed...
drfinale

Pine Hill, NJ
Guest

Leak in liner - help!

Postby Guest » Thu 29 Jul, 2010 08:29

How did this turn out?

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