leaking pipe

Pool Leaks

- Help! My Pool’s leaking!

We get dozens of calls like this every year and the good news for the beleaguered pool-owner is that most suspected leaks turn out not to be leaks at all

Leaks are not uncommon but happily there is quite a lot you can do to diagnose the water-loss for yourself (DIY) without incurring an unnecessary call-out fee

The commonest leak is from the Rotary Valve gasket: -  

  • Check for a trickle of water whilst the pump is running 
  • Undo the screw-in sight glass jar on the Rotary Valve or simply check the far end of the waste pipe where it meets the drains
  • A steady drip from a worn Rotary Valve gasket can cost you a lot of water in a season - it’s much cheaper to replace the gasket or Rotary Valve, or to install a valve on the waste pipe
  • Keep the Waste Valve closed at all times unless you are back-washing, rinsing the filter or draining your pool
  • That way, even if the Rotary Valve gasket is leaking, no water can be lost to the drains

Evaporation

A hot summer day, coupled with a breeze across the surface of the pool, can easily evaporate 25mm (1”) of water in 24 hours so you need to make sure that your reduced water level is not due to evaporation

(The solution to excess evaporation of pool-water is to fit a pool-cover. You will also benefit from a longer swimming season and a cleaner pool - and a pool that needs less of those expensive chemicals to keep it sanitized)

Here's how to check if your 'leak' is really down to evaporation: -

  • Half-fill a plastic or rubber (non-metallic) container with pool water and put a brick or some similar heavy object in the bottom
  • Mark the waterline on the inside of the container
  • Stand the container at the side of the pool in a place where it will receive full sunlight all day
  • Mark the pool wall or steps at the waterline - use a pencil for this - and leave the pool unused for a day or two
  • Check the water levels
  • If both levels have gone down by the same amount the loss is due to evaporationDog drinking from bucket
  • If the pool level has gone down more than the bucket you may have a leak
  • This method works for both indoor and outdoor pools, and it doesn't matter if it rains
  • If the bucket level has gone down more than the pool level it means that your dog has been drinking out of the bucket. . . .

If you still think you have a leak - carry out further testing

  • Measure the water loss with the pump/filter on for 24 hours and note the result
  • Next, measure the water loss with the pump off for 24 hours and note the result
  • If the leak is faster when the pump is running the leak is on the pressure side of the circulation system - i.e. between the pump and the return jets
  • A sure indicator that this is the case is if you get a small amount of soil washed into the pool from the jets when the pump first starts up
  • If the leak gets worse when the pump is off, it is likely that the leak is somewhere on the suction side of the system – i.e. between the skimmers/bottom drain/vacuum socket and the pump
  • If there is no change in the rate of leakage it's more likely that the leak is somewhere in the pool shell
  • If you think you have a leak on the pressure side of the circulation system, and you have a vinyl liner, check that water is not getting behind the liner at the return-inlet fittings because if the gasket is damaged, water can sometimes get past and behind the liner

Pipe-work

If tests indicate that there may be a leak on the pipe-work, you’ll need to get a leak-detection expert in to pressure-test the system to discover where the leak is

Some companies trace leaks with electronic equipment and whilst they may appear to be expensive they can save time and work by identifying the exact point of leakage

It is necessary to dig for and expose the pipe to repair the defects; so pinpointing the exact spot may be cheaper in the long run

 

If you think that the leak is somewhere on the shell

Whether it’s a liner, PVC or a concrete pool, it is often best to simply check and adjust pH, and then Superchlorinate, turn off the circulation system, and let the water level keep falling until it stops

When the water stops falling; the leak is likely to be somewhere along the level of the current waterline

If the water level cuts across a pool fitting (Jet, Skimmer, Vacuum Point, light fitting, etc.), - that fitting is immediately your main suspect but if the pool has a vinyl liner you will need to carefully check the liner all along the final water line for tiny holes

An inexpensive leak-tracing stain liquid can be made from a plastic drinks bottle, the type that has a nozzle on the cap, filled with tap-water mixed with writing ink or food colouring

  • Gently squeeze a small quantity of the liquid in the close vicinity of the suspected fitting, vsible crack or damaged liner
  • If there is a leak in this area you will observe the stain liquid being drawn away by the current
  • There is no permanent staining of the water when using this leak-finding stain because the chlorine bleaches it out almost immediately

Incidentally, there are now several ‘Radweld’ or 'K Seal' (Radiator Sealers) products for pools

They are not cheap but are very effective for small to medium leaks and most pool shops stock one or more brands

Follow the instructions very carefully and ensure that the Rotary Valve is set to ‘Recirculate’ when the product is applied

Failure to  set to ‘Recirculate’  will mean that all the channels in the filter will be sealed up; yes, it really is that good!

 

We supply all plant and equipment featured on this website. All our work is Guaranteed; Parts and Labour

For free and unbiased advice, a site visit or no-obligation Quotation*, please make initial enquiries by email. Tell us a little about your pool problem and include a daytime phone number. Thanks, we look forward to meeting you soon

Note: - Please contact our recommended pool professionals for supply and installation of all pool-related services: - 

Andalusia and the Costa del Sol - Pool Safety SpainPool Safety Spain

Nerja area - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

*We only offer Quotations: - a fixed, agreed price that cannot, and will not, be increased. We do not give 'estimates', as an estimate offers the client no guarantee of final price

Share this website with other Pool Owners and Users,  encourage them to read about Pool Safety, learn CPR and help them to save lives, time and money. Please help us to make every pool a safer place - by sharing this information we can cut the number of pool accidents and deaths.  Please also see our FacebookFacebook page

Ken Walker - MyPoolGuru©

Closing the Pool

Winterising - preparing the Pool for Winter

If you have not winterised your pool before, now is your chance to save some money!

'Winterising', in this sense, means to prepare the pool for the winter

By following the instructions below you will be able to turn the pump, and any other electrically operated pool-equipment, 'off' for the whole of the winter except for a monthly application of 

pH reducer if required 

This has a few added benefits other than the obvious reductions in utility and chemical bills. Winterising chemicals are approx. €40.00 for the entire winter but this cost is more than offset by savings on electricity. The average private pool owner will be about €70 better off by winterising the pool. (And you won't have to clean it every week)

An average private pool will use roughly 20m³ of water to back-wash the filter over a winter - but nothing at all if the pool is winterised!

If your PumpChlorinator, Filter, etc. are running for only half of the year then the equipment is likely to last for twice as many years, saving lots of money!

How to Winterise your pool

  • Remove the summer pool-cover, clean it, rinse it, dry it thoroughly and store it in a dry place
  • Clean the pool and adjust the pH if required - but do not add Chlorine* see note below
  • Place one cube of Jolly Gel in the pump basket and run the filter for 24 hours

           Note:-  Using Jolly Gel in this way will ensure that the water and the filter begin their winter 'hibernation' in the best possible condition; greatly               reducing the chance of an expensive disaster.

  • The following day, clean the pump pre-filter basket and thoroughly clean the filter by carrying out an extra-long backwash - see full instructions below: -
  • Close the 'Skimmer' and 'Jets' valve, open the 'Bottom Drain' and 'Waste' valves, turn the rotary valve to 'Backwash'
  • Turn the pump on and backwash the filter continuously until the water level has dropped to 15cm (6") below the entrance to the skimmers, rinse the filter, then close the 'Waste' valve. The winter rains will re-fill the pool and reduce Total Dissolved Solids
  • Don’t drop the level more than this because, if the natural water table is high, this could present structural hazards
  • Add a proprietary winterising treatment. These treatments are designed to inhibit algae growth and minimise the risk of mineral staining (Winterising fluid is a mixture of Ammonia and Copper Sulphate). In Spain it is called Invernador and is available at every pool-shop and most ferreterias. TIP: - Don't buy a cheap winteriser. Get a good brand
  • Open the 'Jets', 'Bottom Drain' and 'Waste' valves, turn the rotary valve to 'Circulate' and turn the pump on to mix the solution into the pool water
  • If there is a possibility of frost, drain the water from the filter, pump, pool-heater and pipe-work.
  • Grease any exposed metal surfaces with silicone grease, lithium grease or Vaseline.
  • Valves that are above the water level should be left open; those below should be closed and protected against frost damage
  • Remove ladders, diving boards and summer covers, toys, floats etc., clean them and store them away
  • Switch off the electricity supply to the pool equipment at the Control Box
  • Turn the electrical breakers off or remove the fuses and store them in the Control Box so that you will be able to find them next Spring or when you need to run the pump to adjust pH
  • If frost is a possibility, float one or two weighted polythene containers or coca-cola bottles in the pool to absorb the expansion of ice
  • Remove leaves from the cover or the pool throughout the winter period
  • Check the pH and the appearance of the water each month during the winter, especially as spring approaches or if the winter is mild.  Remedy as required and note everything you do to the pool in your Logbook

*Do not add Chlorine during the winter because it will destroy some of the ammonia in the winterising fluid

We supply all plant and equipment featured on this website: -

Andalusia and the Costa del Sol - Pool Safety SpainPool Safety Spain

Nerja area - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

All our work is Guaranteed; Parts and Labour

For free and unbiased advice, a site visit or no-obligation Quotation*, please make initial enquiries by email. Tell us a little about your pool problem and include a daytime phone number. Thanks, we look forward to meeting you soon

 

*We only offer Quotations: - a fixed, agreed price that cannot, and will not, be increased. We do not give 'estimates', as an estimate offers the client no guarantee of final price

Share this website with other Pool Owners and Users,  encourage them to read about Pool Safety, learn CPR and help them to save lives, time and money. Please help us to make every pool a safer place - by sharing this information we can cut the number of pool accidents and deaths.  Please also see our FacebookFacebook page

Ken Walker - MyPoolGuru©

Opening the Pool

Spring is here - getting the pool ready

If you have not opened up your own pool before, and you are in any doubt as what to do, our advice is to call in your local pool centre/service engineer to do the job for you.  Ask him what he or she is doing and why.  Then you might learn how to do it for yourself next year and save some  money

Opening a pool is not difficult, however, and if you want to Do-It-Yourself, this is how you do it 

  • Remove surface water and debris from the Winter Cover before taking it off and cleaning it thoroughly
  • Using a leaf net or rake, remove as much rubbish and debris from the pool as possible and clean any tide marks on the pool walls
  • Make sure all electrical connections are free of damp or condensation - call in an electrician if you are in any doubt about what you are doing
  • Re-set the breakers, or replace the fuses, and set the timer clock to the right time of day and correct operating period of 4 hours twice a day
  • Check there are no obstructions to drains, outlets and the pump strainer basket
  • Top up the water to 100mm / 4") above the normal level
  • Set the Rotary Valve to ‘Recirculate’ and then turn on the pump and check that the skimmers and drains are all working - don’t worry if the water from the circulation is discoloured initially
  • Set the Rotary Valve to 'Waste' and vacuum the bottom of the pool, then backwash and rinse the filter
  • Now run the pump on ‘Recirculate’ for a couple of hours; this will collect any remaining debris in a few spots on the floor of the pool
  • Vacuum the collected debris to ‘Waste’
  • Remember to remove the pool-cover until Chlorine levels have returned to normal
  • Check and adjust the pH; get it as near as possible to 7.4
  • Place 1 crushed and 1 whole Tricloro tablet per 50m³ (13,000 US Gallons) of pool water in the skimmer basket or chlorine feeder
  • Place one cube of Jolly GelJolly Gel per 60m³ of pool volume in the pump basket - not in the skimmer basket. (Using Jolly Gel may seem an unnecessary expense but  it more than pays for itself and will clean the water 5 times faster - and keep it that way!)
  • Set all valves and switches toFiltration and run the pump for 24 hours
  • Backwash the filter and then return to your normal filtration timings - 2 x 4 hours daily.

We supply all plant and equipment featured on this website. All our work is Guaranteed; Parts and Labour

For free and unbiased advice, a site visit or no-obligation Quotation*, please make initial enquiries by email. Tell us a little about your pool problem and include a daytime phone number. Thanks, we look forward to meeting you soon

Note: - Please contact our recommended pool professionals for supply and installation of all pool-related services: - 

Andalusia and the Costa del Sol - Pool Safety SpainPool Safety Spain

Nerja area - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

*We only offer Quotations: - a fixed, agreed price that cannot, and will not, be increased. We do not give 'estimates', as an estimate offers the client no guarantee of final price

Share this website with other Pool Owners and Users,  encourage them to read about Pool Safety, learn CPR and help them to save lives, time and money. Please help us to make every pool a safer place - by sharing this information we can cut the number of pool accidents and deaths.  Please also see our FacebookFacebook page

Ken Walker - MyPoolGuru©

empty pool

Seasonal Maintenance

- essential money-saving advice

  • Pool plant and equipment requires more in-depth maintenance on a periodic basis
  • This preventative maintenance helps to extend the life of the equipment and thereby saves you money
  • If you can learn how to do these seasonal jobs yourself you'll save a lot more money

Pump Room

  • Don’t clutter it up with empty chemicals containers, broken pool-toys, punctured inflatable rafts, that wrecked lawn-mower that we both know you're never going to repair and suchlike; clean them out and tidy the area

Tip: - The best time to clean up in this area is the winter when you're not using the pool. It's more comfortable to be crouched in what laughingly calls itself 'the pool room' in cooler weather, for one thing, but it also means that everything will be ready for the following season.

One Minute Rant: - Why are pool-rooms so small? Why build a pool that needs a 2.5 meter-long telescopic pole to clean it and then expect to get that pole into a 'room' that's a 1.5 meter cube with a door that opens into the room . . . full of pump, filter, control box, any other kit the builder could jemmy in, and sometimes a feral cat with 10 kittens. It's true about the kittens.

This is also a true story (as are they all).  I went once to do some small works to a pool near to Gibraltar; 2 or 3 hours at the most. The property was a big old bungalow about 30 years old. As a part of the work I had to change the filter media so I asked where to find the pump-room. The householder pointed to a rusty metal gate about 80cm (30") high, shrouded in shrubbery, and said, 'I think it's in there, or so my husband says,' she replied..!' 

Whatever; the door led to the foundations of the house,with a headroom of about a meter (39") and, right in the far corner, sure enough, was an old sand-filter. To get there I had to crawl from one corner of the house to the other, through he accumulated detritus of 30 years. In the dark, of course; no light bulb in the fitting.

To further complicate things, the pump on-off switch was just inside the gate, which I hadn't noticed on the way in, of course, and I was working alone. So, back and forth on my knees for several hours with old sand out, new media in, pump on, pump off, light bulb blown again, hot and sweaty, you name it.  It was like being on the abandoned film set for 'Being John Malkovitch' (Horror Version). 

OK, I feel a bit better for that but if you're planning to build a pool pool; think ahead a little about the size of the pool-room, where you're going to keep those tools and chemicals away from kids, pets and the sun. The off season is a great time to build some proper facilities around the pool like a bar, a bathroom, some seating and barbecue area (not too close with that, please), a shady terrace with cool tiled floors or warm timber decking. Just an idea!

 

Pipe-work etc.

  • Clean the equipment in your pump room with a damp cloth to remove dust
  • Clean the floor, wash out and safely dispose of any empty chemical containers
  • Do not use solvents of any kind

Sand-Filter

  • Change the filter media every 4 years
  • For greatly improved filtration use Zeolite instead of sand; Zeolite also lasts much longer - around 7 years

DE Filter

Thoroughly clean the grids when operating pressure rises by 8-10psi above start-up pressure, i.e. the pressure that is indicated with new, or newly-cleaned, grids so the filter will not turn sour over the winter and it's fresh for when you open the pool

Cartridge Filter

Thoroughly clean the cartridge so it will not turn sour over the winter and it's fresh for when you open the pool

Pump

Renew the pump strainer basket if it shows any signs of cracking or wear, or has lost its’ handle

Valves

  • Ensure all Valves operate smoothly and easily
  • Some valves can be taken apart and lubricated
  • The newer PVC Valves do not require lubrication

Heater

  • Clean leaves/insects from the air-intake and ensure the heater operates properly
  • It's usually better to have the heater serviced by a professional the first time - then you can learn how to do it for yourself

Automatic cleaner

Check for wear and worn parts of an Automatic Pool Cleaner - replace as needed

Salt System

Remove the cell of the Saltwater Chlorinator and inspect for scale

Immerse the plates of the cell in 10% solution of Hydrochloric Acid to remove the scale if required

Poolside

Skimmers

  • Examine skimmer lids and renew if there are any signs of cracking – it’s much cheaper (and far less painful!) than suffering a broken ankle
  • You might be surprised to learn that thousands of people injure themselves every year by falling through a cracked skimmer lid and it's all too easy to ruin your summer that way!
  • Clean the insides of the skimmer bodies with a proprietary PVC cleaner
  • Renew the skimmer basket if it shows any signs of cracking or wear

Pool Coping or Pool Surround

Jet-wash the surround, remove any tiny weeds that have invaded the surround and fill any cracks

If the coping is stained, lightly acid-wash to bring the surface back to a new-looking finish

Mosaic Tiles

Replace any missing or cracked tiles and repair the grouting

Waterline

Clean tide-marks and any lime-scale with a 10% solution of Hydrochloric (Muriatic) Acid/water, which can be rinsed off into the pool

Always add acid to water: NEVER add water to acid

Plaster

Pool plaster may require periodic cleaning but our advice is to call in a professional to carry out this work as it must be done quickly (the pool should not be empty for longer than 3 days to avoid severe flaking of the plaster), using Chlorine or acid

Main Drain Grille

Inspect the grille and replace if it is even slightly cracked; install a new one every 4 years

Jets, vacuum point, filler, etc.

Inspect all these fittings annually, check for lime-scale

They can often be cleaned with a 10% solution of  Hydrochloric (Muriatic) Acid/water; if not - buy new ones

Always add acid to water: NEVER add water to acid 

 

We supply all plant and equipment featured on this website. All our work is Guaranteed; Parts and Labour

For free and unbiased advice, a site visit or no-obligation Quotation*, please make initial enquiries by email. Tell us a little about your pool problem and include a daytime phone number. Thanks, we look forward to meeting you soon

Note: - Please contact our recommended pool professionals for supply and installation of all pool-related services: - 

 

Andalusia and the Costa del Sol - Pool Safety SpainPool Safety Spain

Nerja area - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

*We only offer Quotations: - a fixed, agreed price that cannot, and will not, be increased. We do not give 'estimates', as an estimate offers the client no guarantee of final price

Share this website with other Pool Owners and Users,  encourage them to read about Pool Safety, learn CPR and help them to save lives, time and money. Please help us to make every pool a safer place - by sharing this information we can cut the number of pool accidents and deaths.  Please also see our FacebookFacebook page

Ken Walker - MyPoolGuru©