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Case Studies

Case Study: LeakTrac 2400 Reduces Time In Cold Water

Type of Pool:

Vinyl

Equipment Used:

LeakTrac 2400, Leakalyzer

Situation:

We were called to help out with an outstate pool that had a pesky leak causing between 1 and 2 inches of water loss per week. This pool had an auto cover which needs to be supported for the winter so it was important that the pool shell was leak free before winterizing the pool.

Solution:

When we showed up the pool was very cold and had wrinkles everywhere, making it tough to identify suspect leak areas… the whole liner was a suspect! Once we got our initial Leakalyzer test going we immediately pulled out the LeakTrac 2400 to start scanning the liner from the deck. We quickly found a leak in the center of the pool – a place that would have taken hours and hours of cold water diving to find without the LeakTrac. The LeakTrac didn’t pick up any other leaks, so we knew the rest of the liner was good. We suited up in a dry suit and quickly patched the leak.

Once the leak was patched we ran a final Leakalyzer test to confirm the water loss had stopped. The pool owner was grateful for the peace of mind of going into the winter leak free with a supported auto cover.

The LeakTrac 2400 has made locating vinyl liner leaks so easy that these jobs tend to get overlooked as we are looking at case study content. As the water got colder this fall we were reminded how valuable this tool really is!

Highlights:

  1. The LeakTrac 2400 is an invaluable tool for locating vinyl liner leaks, especially when dealing with a wrinkled liner and cold water.
  2. Since auto covers can collapse if a pool loses water during the winter, the Leakalyzer is a great tool to give customers peace of mind that their pool is not leaking before closing it for the season.

Case Study: New Pool, Big Leak

Type of Pool:

Vinyl Liner

Equipment Used:

Leakalyzer, LeakTrac, Dye Tester Cones, Pressure Testing Equipment, Electronic Listening Device, Hydrophone, Tube Level

Situation:

We were called to examine a new build that was losing 4” of water per day. It hadn’t been leaking for the first four days that it was filled but recently started rapidly losing water. When we arrived to the pool the water level was down below the skimmers, but the skimmer bowls were still full of water – indicating that those lines were not leaking.

Solution:

Suspecting that the problem was in a plumbing line, we did a quick dye test of the returns and cleaner line with the dye testing cones, but they also were not drawing water. Our Leakalyzer test had been running during these initial observations, and indicated a loss of 3.5 inches per day. A quick scan with the LeakTrac showed no leaks in the liner, so it was time to dive down to the main drain. A dye test with the dye testing cones showed that line was the source of our water loss.

We then plugged the main drain lines while we were diving and ran a pressure test from the equipment back to the pool. The water pressure test confirmed the line was leaking, so we then started inducing air for sonic location. It took a while for the air to reach the leak, indicating that the leak wasn’t close to the equipment where the air was being induced. So, we used a hydrophone attached to our XLT30H listening device to start listening along the main drain lines where they ran close to the shell of the pool. We could hear the loud bubbling/gurgling noise of air escaping into water saturated soil near the base of the wall in the middle of the deep end.

Since the main drains were plugged we ran another Leakalyzer test to verify that the rest of the pool shell was not losing water and the main drain line was the only issue.

A main drain leak at the base of the wall is not a repair anyone wants to make, so to verify the sonic leak location we used a tube level. We attached a clear plastic tube to the end of a standard open plug in the main drain. Now, instead the leak draining water from the pool it drained the water in the tube. The tube leaked down to the level of the leak and then stopped. We colored the water in the tube with Leakmaster Fluorescent Dye to be able to clearly see the water level. The water level stopped right at the level that we had identified with the hydrophone.

The crew dug up the leaking plumbing line and found a stake had been driven through the pipe!?!

Highlights:

  1. A hydrophone with digital sound graph is helpful when listening for main drain plumbing leaks through the shell of the pool.
  2. The Leakalyzer helps verify the rest of pool isn’t leaking while pressure testing and pinpointing leaks in plumbing.
  3. A simple tube level can help verify the depth of the leak before digging. Be creative with the materials you have on hand!

Case Study: Not What We Suspected

Type of Pool:

Vinyl Liner

Equipment Used:

Leakalyzer, LeakTrac 2400, Pressure Testing Equipment, Dye, Leakmaster Pool Glue

Situation:

We were at least the second company to take on this job, so the homeowner was concerned about how we could be sure that all the leaks were found. She was also convinced that the leak was in the return side plumbing.

Solution:

We started pump on/ pump off test with the Leakalyzer and found that the pool was losing more water with the pump running. This usually tells us to suspect pressure side plumbing.

We had two techs on this job, so one tech began running a pressure test while the other ran a vinyl scan with the LeakTrac 2400.  The pressure test on the pressure side plumbing held, but the LeakTrac was getting a stronger than normal signal coming from the skimmer.  We did a quick dye check of the skimmer and  sure enough the bottom of the skimmer bowl was cracked. The movement of water in the skimmer, or possibly even a slight shift in the suction pipe when the pump was running caused more water loss.  This was a rare situation where higher water loss with the pump running wasn’t an indication of a pressure side leak.

We repaired the skimmer bowl with Leakmaster Pool Glue and fiberglass mesh, which provides a permanent repair that will be able to handle the movement of the pool as time goes on. We charged the homeowner an additional fee for this repair. Once the repair was done, a final Leakalyzer test confirmed the now repaired skimmer leak was the only leak.

Highlights:

  1. Remember that pump on/pump off tests only provide suspicions of where the problem is.  Further tests are needed for confirmation.
  2. LeakTrac can indicate a leak in the skimmer with higher than normal intensity.
  3. Count on your own observations, diligence and reason more than what other people tell you.

Case Study: A Job Done Right Pays Off

Type of Pool:

Concrete – Commercial (Apartment Complex)

Equipment Used:

Leakalyzer, Pressure Testing Equipment, Hydrophone, Dye, Dry Suit, Super Snorkel

Situation:

After opening the pool for the summer the customer noticed significant water loss and gave us a call. When we arrived to the job the Leakalyzer reported nearly 6” of water loss per day.

Solution:

The first two leaks were found right away while we were gathering information. One was clearly visible while we were inspecting a return fitting and the other was found around an equalizer line while we were scanning the pool with a hydrophone. We were able to repair both leaks with Leakmaster Pool Repair Putty.

After the initial leaks were repaired a new Leakalyzer test reported 2.35” of water loss per day. We used dye to find two more leaks – one at another return fitting and one at the tile line.

Once these leaks were repaired the Leakalyzer was still reporting a loss of 1.84” per day. So far we had found and repaired four leaks but were still losing a significant amount of water. We ran a quick pressure test to eliminate the plumbing as the source of the remaining water loss.

Finally a crack in the tile line deeper down in the pool was found and fixed getting us to a no water loss test. Five leaks found, five leaks repaired. Between the multiple Leakalyzer tests, pressure tests, electronic microphone use, extensive dye testing and even diving in freezing spring water this job was more work than most. Once it was all said and done we felt good that we didn’t just solve one of their problems and move along. The property manager was thankful and eager to get us set up as a vendor for all their properties. They even mentioned that we’d done more than other companies had ever done.

Highlights:

  1. Large leaks in concrete pools can be found with a hydrophone, but it may not pick up smaller leaks.
  2. Using the Leakalyzer throughout the job meant we were there longer finding additional leaks, but it saved us from a costly callback.
  3. Extra effort and a job well done gets noticed and helps drive future business.

Case Study: Eliminating Misleading Leak Sounds

Type of Pool:

Vinyl Liner

Equipment Used:

Leakalyzer, Pressure Testing Equipment, XLT30HHydrophoneDye

Situation:

Customer reported that the pool was leaking 1-2 inches per day and that a new liner was installed recently. When we arrived, the pool level had already dropped below the skimmers and returns.

Solution:

We ran a pump on and pump off test with the Leakalyzer and found the pool was losing slightly more water with the pump off. This indicated that we should suspect suction side plumbing. Since the pool water level was already below the skimmers we dove down to check the main drains. A dye test confirmed that the main drain line was drawing dye from both of the two main drains.

We set up our pressure testing equipment to start pinpointing the location of the leak and ran a quick pressure test with water first to confirm that what the dye was showing was accurate. Once we started inducing air and purged all the water from the line we were able to hear a good leak noise in two spots with the Hydrophone (attached to the XLT30H). The first noise was right at one of the main drain bowls and the other was in a corner of the pool. While we had the main drain lines plugged we also ran another Leakalyzer test, which verified the water loss had stopped in the pool so there was no need to run a LeakTrac on the liner or dye test the fittings, skimmers, etc.

In order to determine which noise we were hearing was actually the leak, we slid an inflatable plug 8’ into the line from the main drain bowl and re-pressure tested. The pressure test still failed, so we knew the leak had to be farther than 8’ away from the main drain bowl. With this information we decided that the place we heard noise in the corner of the pool was the leak location. Another confirming factor was that while we were inducing air, there would occasionally be a bubble that came up behind the liner to the surface of the pool. Before leaving we also ran pressure tests on skimmer and returns to verify the rest of the plumbing was good.

Learnings:

  1. Pressure testing helped us identify actual problem when the  noise was heard in multiple locations.
  2. Leakalyzer verified that pool shell was leak free, saving us time during the isolation phase.

Case Study: More than Meets the Eye

Type of Pool:

Vinyl liner

Equipment Used:

Leakalyzer, LeakTrac 2400, Dye

Situation:

The customer called us because they noticed the equipment pad was always wet, and the water level was dropping in the pool (estimated at ½” per day). They could not identify where the water was coming from, but thought the heater may be the problem.

Solution:

On arrival we ran a Leakalyzer test that showed .6” of water loss per day.

As the customer had reported, the equipment pad was very wet but we found that the heater was dry. We then lifted up the pump, which made a leak under the pump visible.

With the pump off, we then ran another Leakalyzer test that still showed .39” per day of loss, which meant that the equipment leak was only producing .21” of loss per day, so there must be an additional leak in the pool. We started examining the shell of the pool by dye testing a few areas where there had been previous repairs, but none of them drew dye. We than ran the LeakTrac 2400 which led us to two leaks in the same corner: one where a patch was leaking again, and a new hole in the liner about 6” away from the other leak. The LeakTrac 2400 could clearly differentiate between the two holes even though they were close together.

After patching the liner leaks we ran another Leakalyzer test with the pump off that showed no water loss, meaning the only leak left was the one in the pump. Not only did the Leakalyzer help us determine that there were multiple leaks in the pool, but it also confirmed that we had found all of the problems before leaving.

Learnings:

  1. Just because you find an obvious leak doesn’t mean you’ve found all of the problems at a pool – the Leakalyzer can help avoid that mistake!
  2. The LeakTrac 2400 can find multiple leaks in a pool, even if they’re close together.

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!

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.

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.

Case Study: Air Escaping From a Leak is Loud

Type of Pool:

Vinyl Liner

Equipment Used:

Leakalyzer, LeakTrac 2400, Pressure Testing Equipment, Dye

Situation:

This job started as a request for us to run a vinyl liner scan with the LeakTrac because the customer had a leak that they suspected was in the liner in a swim ledge. So, when we arrived at the pool we did a scan of the liner, which showed the suspected swim ledge wasn’t actually a problem. The LeakTrac did locate a small leak on the vinyl stairs, but this leak didn’t draw enough dye to be the source of significant water loss. We quickly patched this leak with a Leakmaster Peel and Stick Patch before moving on to do a full leak detection.

Image of Pool

Solution:

With a quick pressure test we found a skimmer line was not holding pressure. We then switched from inducing pressure with water to inducing pressure with air and heard a loud bubbling and gurgling sound  right in the skimmer bowl without even using a listening device.  The leak turned out to be a broken pipe just below the skimmer bowl.

To verify the rest of the line was good we dropped a 550 inflatable plug with an extension hose in past the leak and found the rest of the line held pressure.

A repair was scheduled for a later date, but before leaving the pool we plugged the skimmer line and ran a Leakalyzer test to confirm all leaks had been found.

Learnings:

  1. Pressure testing is a quick way to isolate a pipe leak
  2. Air escaping from leak in pipe makes a great noise for sonic location
  3. The LeakTrac not only can be used to find leaks, but also to eliminate the liner as the location of a leak if no leaks are found

 


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