This simple to use kit enables you to quickly determine if a section of plumbing is leaking. Block off all but one opening of the line to be tested with the one-sized-fits-all cones that friction fit into any pipe or fitting up to 2”. In the remaining opening use the cone with a hole through it. Now dye test just outside this hole . . . if there is a leak in the line, dye will be visibly drawn into the hole. Use to test returns, jet lines, floor cleaning systems, spa therapy jets and double bottom drains.
Six total cones, including the one with the hole, nest conveniently into a compact stack.
Available from Anderson Manufacturing Company at their website www.leaktools.com or call 800-348-1316
When it comes those tough underground plumbing leaks, electronic listening devices are the backbone of the leak detection industry. While there are other methods the most reliable and consistent method is to make a noise at the leak with pressurized air escaping into water saturated soil, then listen for where the noise is coming from. This noise can sometimes be picked up by just an open ear but often a listening device is needed to help amplify the sound and filter out other noises to focus in on leak sound and pinpoint location.
Choosing the right listening device for your company is an important decision. When researching a product purchase, similar to listening for a leak, there can be a lot of “noise” to sift through. Here at Anderson Manufacturing we have combined research and testing with the experience of hundreds of pool leak detection professionals to find and keep the best option for a swimming pool leak listening device.
While there are many factors to think about such as cost, dependability and service after the sale. There are also some more technical criteria to consider when looking at purchasing a swimming pool leak listening device. Since listening devices range from your standard geophones to sophisticated technology here are some tips for what criteria to look at.
Important criteria to consider when comparing listening devices:
Sensitivity – how well the device amplifies sounds from the transmitting material
Frequency Range – how broadly the device can hear all the sounds created by a leak
Filtering – how effectively the device can filter out background noise enabling you to focus on a leak sound
The standard ground microphones that come with Fisher’s XLT17 and the XLT30H listening devices, use piezoelectric microphones because these are known to be the best type of microphone to use in situations where sounds are being picked up from liquids or solids. Virtually every company that makes serious equipment for locating underground plumbing leaks for municipal work incorporates piezoelectric technology. Accessing the technological knowledge of those who have experience in this area is one reason we have chosen to work with Fisher and utilize their products. This type of equipment requires more specialized expertise than standard microphone amplification (that used for music/voice etc.).
In practice you will find that sensitivity by itself however is not the only important performance criteria. Most any device will be able to amplify a sound to the point that it will hurt your ears. What’s more important is hearing the right sound and distinguishing it from background noise. That’s where the other two important criteria come into play.
Both pressurized underground plumbing leaks and static shell leaks in the pool make noises in a wide range of frequencies depending on a variety of conditions. We like to think of the sounds a leak makes in the same way we do instruments in an orchestra. You want to be able to hear everything from the shrillest piccolo to the deepest tuba. Although every leak is different, as general rule underground plumbing leaks make sounds in the lower frequency ranges while static leaks in the shell of the pool are in the higher range. If your listening device doesn’t pick up sounds at the top or bottom of this range you will be missing the fullness of the sound a leak makes or you may miss it altogether. Both the Fisher XLT17 and XLT30H pick up sounds in a frequency range of 20Hz to 6000Hz. In addition, the XLT30H includes a switch that enables the unit to work effectively both when sounds are in the low range (for underground leaks picked up by the Bigfoot microphone) and the higher ranges (for underwater leaks picked up by the hydrophone).
The final performance criteria, and what we consider to be the most important for swimming pool applications, is an area where Fisher devices particularly shine over all others we have researched. A listening devices filter allows you to specifically highlight (or eliminate) a specific range of sounds. Consider for instance that we only wanted to hear the violins in the orchestra of leak sounds we imagined above. Filtering is important because the devices are so sensitive that we will likely hear other sounds around the pool (it always seems as though the next door neighbor want to mow their grass when you’re trying to find a leak!). The filter helps us zero in on the leak sound without being distracted by the background noise. Additionally, different ranges of sound behave differently underground or underwater. Low frequency sounds travel much further than high frequency sounds. By selecting high frequency sounds once a leak sound has been identified the frequency filter can help in pinpointing leaks to a small area.
Fisher devices provide a wide range of filtering options to address most any scenario. The Band Pass filter allows selection of a narrow band of frequency anywhere in the range of sound. The Hi Pass filter focuses high frequency sounds providing adjustment of the low end of this range. The Low Pass filter does the opposite – focusing on the low end and providing an adjustable high end.. The XLT30H also includes a Notch Filter that allows the elimination of a specific frequency range (for instance to minimize the “hum” of a nearby air-conditioner) and can be used at the same time as the other filters.
Another noise minimizing feature available on Fisher devices is especially important when the unit is used for listening to pipes in the ground. The Bigfoot muffler utilized by Fisher to minimize outside noises transmitted through the air is the best we’ve seen. This rubber boot deadens outside noises preventing them from reaching the sensitive piezoelectric microphone which makes direct contact with the pool deck or ground through a heavy aluminum foot.
Ultimately, we are convinced, that Fisher Listening Devices as sold by Anderson Manufacturing Co. are the most technologically advanced, well rounded tool for all types of swimming pool acoustical leak location They have been continually improved through the years and currently represent the best package for addressing pool leak problems in both the plumbing and shell. We back our belief with the evidence of thousands of successful customers and a satisfaction guarantee that promises your money back if you are not satisfied with their performance.
If you have made it this far through this you have taken in a lot of information, hopefully it has been helpful in making decisions that will affect your leak detection success. Remember you can always call and talk through the buying process or for technical help regarding a leak or leak detection equipment. Thanks for reading!
Trade show season is here and to help you get ready for it Aqua Magazine put out an article titled Tips for a Better Trade Show. We couldn’t help but notice the nice picture of Anderson Manufacturing’s Lance Anderson in the booth talking over retail products with a customer.
In the post Ted Lawrence highlights tips from good notetaking to beating the traffic. Much of his article, however, was directed towards finding new products. While lots of our time, energy and promotion is spent on the leak detection equipment side of things we have many innovative and time tested leak detection and repair products that make great retail intems. Here is a highlight of a few retail items that you could sell to customers or stock your service crews with:
This dye tester is a crucial tool in leak detection both for the experienced leak detection crew or the homeowner that wants to try to locate themselves. It is a low cost but high value product that can move on a retail floor. Try the new florescent if you haven’t used it before.
Fast Curing, two part epoxy in a convenient single stick format. Quick set putty is great for cracked skimmers, cracked in the pool shell and has thousands of applications outside of the pool as well making it a desirable purchase.
We often get asked from current users of LeakTrac 2100 or 2200 units about the differences in the new LeakTrac 2400. The new device operates in a very familiar way yet offers a number of advantages which are the result the more robust, energy efficient, and feature rich digital circuitry.
Here’s what’s new:
1. Touch pad controls will reduce problems related to corrosion build-up on knob contacts.
2. Digitally controlled speaker enables pitch variation as well as click rate variation when you’re zeroing in on a leak. In addition to helping to pinpoint problems this feature also enable you to perform Jimi Hendrix-like LeakTrac solos when the audience demands.
3. The new unit uses a more robust and conventional wireless frequency (2.4 Ghz) for communication between the Booster and the SPU. This change will be especially important to our international customers who can now be assured that the unit conforms to international wireless standards.
4. The Power requirement of the Booster has been reduced from sixteen to eight AA batteries. These batteries can be more easily changed with brass knobs on the bottom of the unit rather than the screws on older units that were prone to stripping.
5. The SPU now uses 2 AA batteries which can be easily replaced by opening a snap-on access panel. No more awkward dis-assembly of the entire unit in order to replace batteries. One supply of AA batteries will keep you prepared to replenish both the Booster and the SPU.
Overall the LT400 provides the same accurate and dependable results our customers have come to rely on over the last 20 years to help build their leak detection businesses and find leaks in vinyl liners.
Even though we stay busy making, selling and servicing equipment and supplies for the trade we make sure to regularly get into the field and find leaks to stay sharp and test products. Just recently we were called by a local pool professional who had a customer with an elusive leak and a long history of water loss in their pool. Two companies had been out before us with no success so we knew we were in for a challenge.
Background information from the customer:
Water Loss dates back several years
New liner installed last summer. Light was abandoned.
Customer was suspicious of steps but said it had been thoroughly dye tested with no results.
Was losing at least an inch per day and pool owner revealed it had lost 3/4″ in the 14 hours prior to our visit.
Previous companies had done pressure tests and everything passed as leak free.
The first task for us was to gather our own information so the Leakalyzer was set up promptly upon arrival. The Leakalyzer is able to measure water loss to the 10,000th of an inch. It quickly (5 mins) confirmed that we were losing an inch or more of water per day. The initial test was done with the pump on – the way the pool was when we arrived. We then did another test with the pump off. The leak was consistent regardless of whether the pump was running or not. Since we were losing an inch or more per day we knew we were looking for a significant leak. Our calculations brought us to around a quart per minute.
The next step was to dye test the fitting and stair gaskets then get the LeakTrac going. A Quick 10 minute sweep of the pool with The LeakTrac confirmed there were no leaks in the new liner. All the gaskets passed their dye tests.
Even though a pressure test had been performed by others we wanted to do our own to make sure. We had a hunch it was the main drain line so we started there and did an air lock test. It held right at 4.5 pounds of pressure (generated from 8 feet of water column). We then tested the skimmer and return lines and they held pressure too.
Now with all the lines plugged the Leakalyzer was still showing us that the pool was loosing over an inch per day. The leak seemed be someplace other than the plumbing and the liner.
We decided at that point to check with the LeakTrac one more time before getting into the pool to dye test the main drain. As we more thoroughly swept the pool one return was screaming louder than the others. The return in the stairs. This shouldn’t be since the stair return doesn’t have screws penetrating through the fitting and it currently had a nylon plug in it eliminating any distracting connection to ground through the equipment. We shouldn’t be getting a signal here but we were. The signal was not around the fitting but right next to the plug.
A dye test confirmed that water was escaping right past the plug that was sealing the threads.
We needed a mirror to fully see the problem when the plug was removed. Inside the top of the fitting was a small crack that was pulling a lot of dye.
The customer was happy we had finally found the problem.
Quick Notes / reminders from the job:
Following a systematic process of elimination helped zero in on the problem.
Leakalyzer helped us understand the true nature of the problem and confirm we stopped the leak once fixed.
LeakTrac helped us confirm the liner was OK and pinpointed the leak at the stair fitting.
“I make sure to come to this one every year.”
“Such a good refresher and I always pick up new tips.”
“This class is why I come to the Atlantic City show.”
Anderson Manufacturing’s Leak Detection Seminar, one of Aqua Magazines Top Picks, lives up to its hype once again as hundreds turn out for the Leak Detection seminar put on by Lance Anderson in Atlantic City. The capacity crowd listened to Lance and a panel of experts discuss the importance of leak detection basics and answered questions on the intricacies of leak detection.
With over 110 years of leak detection experience on the panel, the three experts provided solutions to tricky problems and tricks for locating and fixing common leaks. Throughout the 3 hour seminar Lance and all three panel experts talked about a systematic approach of applying the fundamentals of leak detection to be the most effective and efficient way to perform leak detection.
The importance of pressure testing in the overall leak detection process was highlighted several times. Pressure Testing continues to be an crucial component to underground plumbing leaks. Overall it was nice to hear the experts on the panel and many in the crowd validate our leak detection process and confirm the value of our products:
Bruce Roach an experienced diver talked about how liner leaks are more elusive than ever with the newer liner designs making the LeakTrac an even more valuable tool. He also had a nice marking tool rigged up on his probe to circle the leaks.
John Stinemire shared how he uses the hydrophone along side his Fisher Listening Device to listen along the pool wall to hear plumbing lines that run along side the pool edge. When pressurized these leaks can make a clear sound into the pool. John also talked about the Leakalyzer and its value in confirming all leaks have been found and not just a leak, especially in concrete pools.
Steve White highlighted how you can “save a customer thousands and gain a customer for life” by using the Stair Foam Kit to firm up and repair their existing steps rather than replacing them.
Overall it was a good day as we “brushed up on the basics” and shared the tips and tricks for tackling the toughest leaks.
Any one who has built or serviced pools for any length of time knows that pools can move in relation to the surrounding soil. Since the underground plumbing is held in place by the soil this movement frequently causes leaks at or near return fittings where the plumbing is integrated with the pool structures. A simple pressure test and/or dye test can often confirm where the problem is, but the solution to the fix is far from simple.
Historically there have been two methods of repair.
The first and most effective method is to replace the broken fitting or pipe. This method can be quite extensive due to digging through the concrete deck. Whether it is the high cost or an interest in preserving the aesthetics of a decorative deck, customers often are looking for an alternative solution.
Patching the crack in the fitting, has historically been the alternative to the extensive replacement option. This far less expensive solution would consist of patching the leak from the inside of the fitting or pipe with an epoxy or glue. H20 Glue, and Quickset Putty would be common products used due to their adhesive nature and ability to be applied underwater. Applying patch material comes with its own set of challenges and has varied results, but can still be an effective solution, especially with improved quality of patch products now available.
There is now another option to this problem and after its first year on the market the Fitting Saverhas been very well received. The Fitting Saver provides a long term solution that installs in minutes. The Fitting Saver slides into a broken fitting and creates a seal in both the 1 ½” threads of the fitting and the 1 ½” pipe beyond the break. A ¾” open pipe extends through the seals enabling water to pass through the repaired fitting when the pool is put back into service. The repair can be completed in minutes and provides a semi-permanent solution that eliminates the need for immediate fitting replacement.
In many areas of the country with expansive soils or ground freezing winters the forces that caused a crack in the first place don’t go away. The tension that caused the crack in the first place will often cause a patch to come loose or even a replacement fitting to crack again. The unique design of the fitting saver handles this challenge since the rubber seals provide some flexibility and will maintain a seal even with some movement.
The Fitting Saver comes in a Short (4″) version and an Extended (14″) version. It also comes with a decorative cover for a finishing look. This new innovative product is a slick solution to the common problem of a leaking return fitting. Click Here for product video.
Return fittings are, and will continue to be, a source for leaks and an opportunity to service your customer. Finding the right solution for your customer depends on several variables only you can determine. Now you have another option.
How many broken fittings do you come across each year? Which solution do you tend to recommend?
For over 15 years this luxury pool located in downtown St. Paul, MN was left unused due to extensive leak issues that affected tenants three floors below the pool. This pool is located a top a luxury condominium tower and was completely drained due to the water damage it was causing. The pool is a beautiful 24 ft. X 44 ft. pool with “scum-gutter” skimmer system, but for the past few years tenets have grown angry that this relaxing spot has been completely unused.
Numerous easy to locate leaks were found and repaired. However, the skimmer system continued to leak aggressively when water was added to bring the water level above where the skimmer met the edge of the concrete pool. This leak was because the precast skimmer blocks that sat on the poured concrete pool had gaskets that deteriorated over time.
Quality Pools of Minnesota used Leakmaster™ Injection Foam from the Crack Repair Starter Kit to repair the leaks that extended around the perimeter of the pool. This product was chosen specifically because of its expandable nature. Injection Foam will expand 20 to 30 times its volume and force itself into all sorts of small cracks sealing them off from the backside of the pool. This closed cell foam is water proof and would help seal behind the gasket in spots that were not visible from the pool. This added waterproofing was extremely important due to the condo units below.
Small injection holes where drilled at apx. 1 foot intervals through the skimmer blocks. Injection ports where than attached to the surface using Leakmaster™ Peel-and-Seal Surface Seal Epoxy. Over 5 cases of foam was then injected through these ports to fill and seal the void beneath the blocks. Here are a few pictures that demonstrate how the non-water penetrating foam sealed even the smallest and most elusive of holes.
Small hole between skimmer and concrete pool
A series of large and small holes
Another elusive small hole
After injecting the foam and allowing it to set up, the injection ports were removed leaving little residue since the Seal-n-Peal product can be cleaned off with a putty knife.
After the foam residue was skimmed off the water’s surface, and a few cosmetic touches were made to the joint between block and wall this pool was back in use, saving the owner thousands of dollars in concrete repairs.
The following are common signs that your customer’s pool may have a leak, and investigation may be in order:
You notice standing water near the pool or equipment pad. Visual inspection of the equipment may turn up something simple like a faulty O-ring. If you notice soft, mushy spots or uneven grass around the pool area, an underground plumbing leak may well be the cause.
The pool or spa is losing more than 1/4″ of water per day. The rate of evaporation varies from location to location, depending on the relative humidity, wind, air temperature, water temperature and other weather factors. But in warm summer months in certain climates, over 1/2″ per day could be lost to evaporation. If your customer has children playing in the pool, splash-out should also be considered. A simple bucket test can confirm leak suspicions.
Abnormal water consumption. If your pool customers operate an automatic fill device, they should be cautioned to watch their water bills for high consumption. If they notice the fill device is constantly running, investigation for a leak should begin.
Extraordinary algae growth or discoloration of the water. This indicates an imbalance in the water chemistry which can occur when new untreated water is added to the pool.
Fluctuating chemical consumption. When water leaks out of a pool, it carries dissolved chemicals with it. These will need to be replaced constantly to make up for the loss.
Loose or failing tiles, or cracking of the cement pool deck. Because the surrounding ground is becoming unsettled by the presence of excess water, a leak is certainly possible.
The pool is settling into the ground. This is indicated by cracks or gaps in the bond beam.
Mysterious gurgling sounds. When something sounds amiss, there’s usually a good reason to investigate the source.
Water corrosion at pump or around pipes is a sure sign of a leak.
Damaged tile or cracks are a sign of a leak and potential water loss
Soggy soil around underground plumbing lines is another good sign of a leak.
For a more exhaustive presentation on gathering leak information check out the slide show below:
Regardless of whether the leak is suspected to be in the plumbing or the structure of the pool, a pressure test should be done to provide confirmation of which parts of the pool are leaking, and which can be eliminated as suspected leak areas. This is important not only because it saves time in later leak location steps, but also because it allows the technician to provide the pool owner with the assurance that leaks have been found and fixed are isolated to the pool.
To do a pressure test, closed test plugsare used to block off all but one of the exposed openings of a section of plumbing. A pressure induction system is put in the remaining opening (usually at the equipment). Water is then induced into the line through the Pressure Tester and the system is brought up to no higher than 20 PSI. A pressure drop indicates a leak. A line that holds pressure can be eliminated as a potential leak area.
(Above is a video on how to pressure test)
While a pressure test of an entire plumbing system may be adequate in situations where a structural leak is suspected, individual sections of plumbing should be tested if a plumbing leak is suspected. Valves at the equipment can often be used to isolate these sections as they are tested first. Do so by testing from the equipment to the closed valves to see if they hold pressure (illustrated below).
Water is used for this isolation pressure test because it does not compress under pressure and as a result gives more accurate and quick results. Water is also advantageous for this test because if test pressures get higher that a safe level, plugs that pop out under water pressure will not fly from the openings as a dangerously as those that pop out under air pressure.
Accept no compromises when it comes to the sealing effectiveness of your test plugs. Tapered plugs have tendency to pop out under test pressures wasting valuable time and putting anybody in the area of the tapered plug at risk of injury. Plugs with straight-sided rubber and large corrosive resistant hardware allow for extra sealing area, easy expansion, and ultimately more accurate results.
Your pressure induction system should allow for easy access to a variety of different plumbing openings and allow the introduction of either water or air (for later leak location steps) into the plumbing. A system utilizing various sizes of open stem plugs, which can be quick-connected to the pressure tester, provides the ability to do this without having to cut lines or jerry-rig fittings. A pressure tester should include a 0-30 PSI gauge, hook ups for a garden hose and air line, a valve to control these and block off the system, as well as a means of releasing pressure from a line that has been tested but does not leak.
For additional information and a comprehensive step by step slideshow on pressure testing click below: