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Introducing the Carbon Fiber Grid Stitch – The Latest Innovation in Crack Reinforcement

Concrete crack repair can be a daunting task – between the high cost of repair materials and the large time investment, it’s important to make sure you’re using the best products and processes to get the job done right. To help you do just that, we’re introducing the new Carbon Fiber Grid Stitch, the latest innovation in concrete crack reinforcement.  This new product maintains the exceptional strength of a traditional Carbon Fiber Staple, but features a much easier installation process.

Carbon Fiber Grid Stitches are designed to add value and strength to concrete crack repairs by distributing load beyond the fault. The stitches are comprised of high tensile strength carbon fiber and molded into a unique grid-like, woven formation. This grid design allows for the epoxy to move through the stitch, providing a superior bond with the staple epoxy. These time-saving stitches install perpendicularly into a single saw cut, eliminating the need for chiseling away material from the staple bed and drilling extra holes.

Key Features:

  • Grid structure provides exceptional adhesion with epoxy
  • No drilling or chiseling, just one simple cut
  • Provides a strong fix for a low cost
  • Can be cut to a shorter length for use on curved surfaces
  • For use with Leakmaster Staple Epoxy

The Carbon Fiber Grid Stitch is available for individual purchase, or as complete 15 or 30 staple kits.


Case Study: Multiple Leaks Don’t Have To Mean Multiple Trips

Type of Pool:

Vinyl In-ground

Equipment Used:

Leakalyzer, Dye

Situation:

Customer reported that the pool was losing water and had a light leak patched a year ago. It was a smaller pool with no deep end.

Solution:

Ran a Leakalyzer test upon arrival which showed a water loss of about ½” per day. Since we knew the light was a suspect area, we checked it right away with the Light Tester dome and it drew dye. After jumping in the pool and opening up the light we were able to pinpoint the leak between the light conduit and light niche with dye. At that point, the family showed up wanting to swim since it was a hot day. Since we had already found and fixed a leak we skipped the final Leakalyzer test… of course we got a call back one week later to let us know that the pool was still losing water.

What could have been a quick job turned into a second trip. The second time at the pool we were able to find a liner leak and a skimmer bowl leak with more thorough investigation. We made sure to run our final Leakalyzer test the second time around after fixing the leaks and didn’t get any further call backs. It’s a good reminder that just because you find one leak doesn’t mean you’ve found them all!

Learnings:

  1. Must be thorough in leak detection! Short cuts can lead to more time spent in the long run.
  2. The Leakalyzer is a crucial tool in multiple leak situations.
  3. When scheduling, make sure the customer understands they can’t swim in the pool during the leak detection!

Leakalyzer Tip: Use Pool Cover to Eliminate Evaporation

While evaporation rate for your area can be estimated using our Evaporation Index tool, you can eliminate evaporation all together by running a Leakalyzer test with the cover closed.  This can be especially helpful in times when evaporation rates are really high in order to avoid confusing readings.  If the cover rests on the pool water in any areas it will need to be completely dry, since the water evaporating off of the top of the cover could skew results.

leakalyzer in pool with cover on


Case Study: Thin Ground Probes are Necessary for Deep Leaks

Type of Pool:

Vinyl / In-ground

Equipment Used:

Leakalyzer, XLT30H Bigfoot and Ground Probes, Hydrophone, Pressure Testing Kit, Dye

Situation

We received a call about a pool that had just had a new liner installed, but was still losing lots of water. The customer suspected the water loss was in the main drain line. When we arrived to the pool the Leakalyzer confirmed the reported water loss.

Solution

The main drain lines were plumbed separately up to the equipment, so we put an open plug in each of the main drains to see if they would draw dye. One line did, but the other did not. To confirm, we pressure tested the line that drew dye with water and it failed. In order to pinpoint the exact location of the leak, we then induced air into the line and began to listen with the hydrophone for a leak under the pool, but didn’t hear any significant noises. We then switched to using the Bigfoot microphone with the XLT30H to listen through the concrete around the pool and still didn’t hear anything that indicated the leak location. Only when we started using the XLT30H ground probes in the soil between the pool deck and the equipment were we able to get close enough to the leak to pick up a great noise and find the exact location of the leak.

Learnings

  1. Thin ground probe rods included with the XLT30H make it possible to get the probe deep into ground to absorb leak sound vibrations.
  2. Turning air pressure off and back on once hearing the leak location confirms the noise is the one we are making.

Pressure Testing Tip: How to Check for Leaks in the Main Drain Without Plugging the Line

While plugging the main drain is the most accurate way to pressure test the main drain line, if you want to avoid getting in the pool, it is possible to identify a problem in the upper part of this plumbing by using a technique called an Air Lock Test. This test takes advantage of the fact that the water above the main drain in the deep end of the pool produces a measurable amount of pressure that acts as a “plug” to an air filled main drain line.

After pressure testing the rest of the plumbing lines to ensure they are sound, induce air into the  equipment end  of the main drain line until you see it bubble out of the main drain. Then, close the valve on your pressure tester. Assuming the main drain is under about 9′ of water, the water column above it should provide 4 psi of pressure on the trapped air within the line. A pressure drop below 4 psi is an indication of a leak somewhere in the upper section of the plumbing. If the depth of the main drain you’re testing is different than 9′, the pressure the water puts on the air lock can be calculated at .43 psi per foot of water.

 

If there is a leak in the line in the section above the bottom of the pool, the amount of pressure loss can be used to indicate where in the line that leak is. Pressure will drop quickly until water reaches the location of the leak, at this point even though water is escaping from the leak, air will be trapped and held at a pressure representing the difference between the leak level and the water level of the pool. So, if you see that you pressure quickly drops to 2 psi, it’s likely that there’s a leak in the main drain line somewhere between 4′ – 5′ under the water level of the pool.

 

If there is a leak  in the section of the line at or above the water level of the pool, you’ll see a quick drop to 0 psi.

A leak in the section of plumbing under the pool shell will not be indicated from this test due to the fact that the air is still supporting the full column of water in the pool. So, if a leak is still suspected in the main drain line, it will have to be inspected by fully pressurizing the line with a plug in the main drain.

 


LeakTrac Tip: Sound Intensity Can Provide Clues About Leaks Outside of Vinyl Liner

While the LeakTrac is designed to specifically find leaks in vinyl liners, listening carefully to the sounds it makes can give you clues as to other issues in the pool. Since the LeakTrac locates leaks by picking up a connection to ground through the leak, it also picks up connections to ground through metal elements in the pool such as light niches or gasket screws even when they aren’t losing water. While we recommend other tools to specifically locate the leaks in these areas, a stronger signal or noise than what is expected from the LeakTrac around these areas could be a clue to your water loss problem.

Man uses LeakTrac 2400 near skimmer

As you use the LeakTrac you will become familiar with how electricity flows through the pool and what levels of intensity to expect around common ground connections such as skimmers. If you notice that the LeakTrac is giving you a stronger signal than normal at a skimmer or stair gasket, the LeakTrac could very well be reading a leak on top of the normal screw ground connection that should be investigated further. While the LeakTrac’s primary purpose will always be finding holes in vinyl liners, understanding how the science behind the equipment works and paying attention to the signals it’s giving you can increase the value you get from the tool.


Case Study: Listening Devices Pinpoint Even the Deepest Leaks

 

Equipment Used:

XLT30, Pressure Testing Kit , Leakalyzer

Situation:

The customer noticed that a lot of sand was being blown into the pool and that there were bubbles in the air filter, so a problematic skimmer line was isolated and shut off.  However, even after closing and plugging that problematic skimmer line there were still sand and bubbles being blown back into the pool.

Sand in pol from leaking skimmer return line.

Solution:

When we arrived to the pool, the skimmer line was plugged and a Leakalyzer test with the pump off showed no water loss. That made us suspect that at least the portion of the plumbing below water level was good. We then pressure tested the other two skimmer lines to confirm the whole line was good and they held pressure. The main drain was eliminated as the source of a problem without getting in the water through our Leakalyzer test that covered the plumbing below the water line and an air lock test that included the line that was above water level. Eliminating all of these other areas left us to examine the problematic skimmer line as the only potential problem. Upon further inspection, the valve used to shut off the line wasn’t holding, which explains the continued bubbles and sand in the pool even after the line was taken out of use.

To determine the specific location of the leak within the faulty skimmer line, we induced air into water saturated soil to listen with the XLT30. At first the bubbling and gurgling sound of a leak was faint, but just by turning the volume up on the XLT30 we were able to identify a distinct noise where the leak was. It was fairly easy tonarrow the leak location down to a 6’ diameter, but in order to get down to within 2’ of the leak we needed to use the advanced filtering capabilities of the XLT30. Once the high filter was turned on, there was a clear spot with the most distinct noise. As sound waves travel they get more and more muffled, so the sound will be crispest and most distinct right over the leak. The sound did fade a little as time went on, but re-saturating the soil by inducing more water into the line revitalized the sound.

The customer estimated that the skimmer line was 18” to 2’ deep, but when we cut the concrete and dug down to that level there wasn’t any moisture or pipe. To confirm we were in the right place we turned the pressure back on and still heard the leak so kept digging and finally found the broken pipe at just over 4’ deep. Before we replaced the cracked fitting we cut the pipe and pressure tested both ways to assure the rest of the line was good.

Digging in concrete deck for plumbing leak

Learnings (are there any key takeaways or learnings from how this leak was found?):

  • Combining a Leakalyzer test with an air lock test of the main drain can confirm that line is solid without getting into the pool.
  • If you notice a once strong leak noise fading, you may just need to add more water to re-saturate the soil.
  • Trust your equipment! If you’re confident you heard a leak in a specific place, you may have to dig farther than expected to find it, but it will be there.

Understanding the Winter Blow-out Process

What happens underground in the winterizing process?  By setting up a clear PVC pipe system we can visualize the process and some of the challenges to winterizing pipes.   This demonstration shows us that effectively utilizing the proper equipment and  technique for blowing out plumbing lines is crucial for consistent, successful winterization. It is important to understand the three main phases of the process:

    • Water purge phase
    • Line clear phase
    • Sealing/securing phase

In the water purge phase, the water that fills the lines is “pushed” out of the pipe and replaced with air.  Several factors are important to accomplish this part of the process effectively.  First of all, the air source you use must provide enough air pressure to counter the back pressure of the water in the pool.  When blowing out return lines this is a pretty low threshold, however when purging water from the main drain line a minimum of 4 psi of pressure must be achieved to push against the 8 feet of water in many deep ends.  The second important factor during the purge phase is the amount of water flow that can be pushed through your blow-out plugs.  The wider these plugs open under the appropriate pressure the more water you will be able to clear from the line at a fast rate.

The line clearing phase happens after most of the water has been purged from the lines but may still remain in low parts of the plumbing.  Your ability to generate a high air flow rate through the purged lines is the critical factor in successfully blowing this remaining water from these locations.  Choose an air source that delivers at least 100 cubic feet per minute (cfm) of air flow – most compressors only produce 2-5 cfm so you will need a blower.  And again, use blow-out plugs that open wide at low back pressure to assure that the blower’s power can be realized as flow through the pipes.  On return lines with more than one return branching off the main line, strong air flow to the farthest branch can be achieved by blocking the flow of cleared branches earlier in the run.

Once the lines have been cleared of water they must remain so over the course of the winter, so the plugs must effectively seal to prevent water from re-entering the plumbing from the pool.  It’s still a good idea to pour antifreeze into the cleared lines just in case undiscovered cracked fittings, damaged threads, or badly installed plugs allow some water back in.   After pouring antifreeze into the cleared line, turn the blower back on just long enough to see it blown into the pool through your blow-out plugs.  The remaining anti-freeze will settle into low spots in the plumbing  . . . just the spots that would be prone to problems if water got in.

Anderson’s Big Blue Blower and Winter Duck Plugs deliver the performance you need to assure each phase of the blow-out process is done effectively.  The blower produces enough pressure “umph” to blow-out even the deepest main drain and provides an exceptional amount of air flow to clear all low spots in plumbing.  Winter Duck Plugs open wide at low back pressures to clear lines quickly during the water purge phase and enable high air flow during the line clearing phase.  Additionally, they can be easily blocked during this clearing phase with simple office binder clips to facilitate flow to all branches of the return system.  Most importantly, over the past 10+ years, Winter Duck Plugs have proven themselves dependable at keeping water out of lines and protecting thousands of pools from winter freeze damage.

For a comparison of how  Winter Duck Plugs compare to other blow-out plugs on the market see the results of our testing here.


Popular Leak Detection Seminar to be Offered at International Show and Northeast Show

 

International Show: Thursday, November 1 from 9:15 AM to 10:30 AM

Northeast Pool and Spa Show: Thursday, January 29 from 8:30 AM to 11:45 AM

Leak Detection Seminar at Northeast Pool and Spa Show

The basics of swimming pool leak detection will be covered at two convention venues this trade show season.  Lance Anderson and Brad Madison will teach “Finding Leaks – Turn Headaches into Profits” at the 2018 International Pool, Spa, and Patio Show in Las Vegas this October.  Then, in January at the 2019 Northeast Pool and Spa Show in Atlantic City, the presentation will be given again with the addition of a panel of experts who provide another layer of in-field experience to the topic.

These can’t miss courses cover the basic procedures, techniques and tools that will turn pesky leak problems into profit making opportunities. By focusing on the underlying principles of leak detection, the seminar provides an unbiased explanation of the systematic, 3-step process that should be followed on every leak job to assure efficiency. Special attention is payed to the following topics:

  • What time-saving pieces of information are important to gather before going to the job site
  • The “Pressure Testing Principles” that explain the behavior of air and water in tested plumbing lines
  • How to pinpoint underground plumbing leaks with sonic and helium detection methods
  • How to pinpoint structural leaks in concrete, fiberglass, acrylic, and vinyl

While the seminar is geared toward those who are looking to get started with leak detection, even seasoned professionals will be able to pick up a few tips. This is also a great course to send new employees to for comprehensive training!

Attendee testimonials from previous presentations:

“This seminar made my trip worthwhile. Excellent!”

“Lance Anderson presents an excellent message – well prepared, thoughtful, and precise – his passion for the subject is appreciated.”

“An informative, well-organized approach. Excellent presentation based on research and experience.”

“The whole class will make my job easier.”

“This is the best presentation I have attended at this show in years. Well organized and thought out. Great material for a difficult problem.”

“After 25+ years in pool sales and service, I still learn something at these seminars. Keep them coming.”


Leakalyzer Tip: Portable Shade Cover

Is the hot summer sun getting in the way of your successful Leakalyzer tests? Leakalyzers perform best when their temperature remains stable throughout the duration of the test.  When exposed to the changes in radiant heat as the sun goes in and out of the clouds, the deck plate can expand and contract leading to confusing readings. We recommend setting up the Leakalyzer in a shady place whenever possible, but Mark Spatz of Florida Leak Patrol came up with a smart solution to carry shade with you wherever you go!

Mark fashioned his Leakalyzer “dog house” out of a large plastic tub that was cut to cover the deck plate and sensor capsule when set up at the pool.   The sensor rod extends up through a hole in the top.  A bucket can be placed over this rod to protect it from sunlight or the occasional unexpected stray shower.  One edge of the tub extends into the water to provide additional protection from water turbulence when the pool system is running.  Mark says he doesn’t use the cover everytime he pulls out his Leakalyzer, but that it does make his tests more accurate in certain situations.


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