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Understanding “No Water Loss” Leakalyzer Tests

While Leakalyzer tests that show water loss are extremely valuable for more efficiently locating leaks, using the Leakalyzer to identify when no water loss is happening is just as valuable.  One of the biggest wastes of time for a leak detector is trying to find a leak that doesn’t exist. But, leaks aren’t the only factors that cause a change in water level, and homeowners can be quick to call for help without considering the other factors that may be at play. In these situations the Leakalyzer can help confirm if in fact the pool is leaking before starting work. Or, once a leak has been found and repaired, a no water loss test can confirm that your repair is holding and that no other leaks are present.

Even though it seems like reading these tests should be straight forward, the Leakalyzer is so sensitive that minuscule changes in water level that are smoothed out during a water loss test show up more significantly on a no water loss test, making the trend harder to identify. The spikes that show up on the graph in these situations don’t mean it’s a bad test, they just show that the Leakalyzer is being extremely accurate. Because of the movement in pools, the water level is constantly going up and down slightly. Remember, the Leakalyzer is able to measure water level changes down to the 10,000th of an inch (the size of a red blood cell!), so you’ll see these tiny changes on your graph.

When looking at the graph, the ability to identify trends is the key to effective use and interpretation. You’re trying to look past the up and down spikes to identify if as a whole they are trending flat or downward. For instance, if you are 10 or 15 minutes into the test and still consistently spiking on either side of zero or the evaporation mark it is most likely a no water loss situation. However, if the test is going up and down but both the highs and the lows are consistently getting lower there is most likely a leak.

Another aspect to watch is the scale of the graph.  The scale automatically adjusts based on the measurements that the Leakalyzer is recording. Sometimes when the pool isn’t losing water, the ups and downs on the graph can look drastic, but the scale of the graph is still at 0 to 30. This makes for very dramatic spikes with very little actual change in the water level.  Zooming out to a 120 or 240 scale causes those spikes to look more realistic, and will help identify a flat line trend.  Remember, a measurement of 100 on the scale is only equal to the thickness of a sheet of paper! Take a look at the below graphs to understand how the scale affects no water loss tests.


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.

Tip: Use Leakalyzer Tests to Check for Light Leaks

As a leak detector, you’re always looking for ways to creatively isolate and test different pool elements to make your jobs more efficient. So, if you’ve already got a pool light covered to run the LeakTrac, try this tip to determine if the light is leaking using the Leakalyzer.

Once you arrive to the job and before setting up your LeakTrac, run a Leakalyzer test to establish what the baseline leak is. Then, once your LeakTrac is set up and the light cover is on, run a second test while you’re doing a scan with the LeakTrac. If the test shows less of a loss or no loss, you know to remove the light cover and investigate the light further.

Check out the below Leakalyzer reports to see how this technique worked on a recent job. Even if you don’t have a LeakTrac, the light cover can be purchased individually.

 


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.

Leakalyzer Tip: How to Edit Data in the Reporter Program

Did you know that you can crop data in the Leakalyzer reporter program to make your reports clearer and more accurate? While seeing how the graph responds to a variety of environmental factors is helpful most of the time, there may be situations where an otherwise good test goes awry. Say a diver gets in the pool toward the end of a test and causes the water level to rise, but you still want to be able to include the test in a report for the homeowner. To avoid confusion you can remove the affected data from the .TXT file before it uploads into the reporter program. Here’s how it’s done.

Below is a good, clear test but it wasn’t stopped before a diver got in the water at the end of the test to make a repair. You can see the sharp rise and drop toward the end of the test – this is the portion we want to cut out.

The same test in the Leakalyzer reporter program is below. Note that the detail information is inaccurate due to the surge when the diver was in the water.

To create a reporter file without the misleading data at the end you can cut those data points out of the .TXT the Leakalyzer creates to upload the tests.  Open the .TXT file, which should look similar to below:

Find the points that correspond with the data you don’t want on the test and simply delete and re-save.  The portion below is what was deleted from the test:

An additional 30 lines of data were also removed

Save the new text file and import the updated version into the Leakalyzer Reporter Program. This will produce a much more accurate report of the water loss in the pool.  This is what the report looks like after the data was cleaned.

The estimates for inches per day and gallons per day are now more accurate and the graph is more indicative of what was actually happening to the water level of the pool.


Time Saving Products and Tips for Leak Jobs

 

Too many leaks and not enough time? Check out this list of time-saving products and tips to help you cruise though leak jobs as efficiently as possible.

 

1. Avoid callbacks by confirming all leaks have been found and fixed with the Leakalyzer.

Leaks can be deceiving, and even though you may think you’ve found the only leak in the pool there could be other smaller ones still hiding. Avoid having to return to a job site multiple times by running a Leakalyzer test before leaving to confirm the water level is no longer dropping. This ten minute step can save you hours of time!

 

 

 
2. Use Dye Testing Cones to quickly isolate problem plumbing areas.

Dye Testing Cones are a quick way to identify the flow of water in and out of pipes before starting a full pressure test. They can also be used with the Leaklyzer to isolate the shell of the pool or different lines while running tests. While they shouldn’t be a replacement for the definitive information pressure testing can provide, they can quickly help narrow your search area.

 

 

 
3. Spend less time inspecting vinyl liners by pinpointing leaks in minutes with the LeakTrac 2400.

There is no better way to find tiny punctures and tears in vinyl liners than with the LeakTrac 2400. Over the last 25 years, LeakTrac users have saved thousands of hours that they otherwise would have spent diving and dye testing.

 

 

Man uses LeakTrac 2400 near skimmer
4. Make sure to get complete and accurate information from customers before even arriving at the job site.

Asking the right questions of pool owners can save a lot of time during the information gathering step of a leak detection and lead you to to the leak faster. Check out our blog post for a guide to how to have a conversation that will make your actual time on the job more efficient.

 

 

 
5. Choose repair materials that are versatile, convenient, and work fast.

With a cure time of only 5 minutes,  Leakmaster Quick Set Putty is a great option for when you have limited time to make a repair, but still want something durable and long-lasting. Also, check out our pre-cut, clear Vinyl Paches that come in a variety of sizes and are the thickest on the market.

 

 

 
6. Avoid the extra step of purchasing and filling SCUBA tanks by using a Super Snorkel Tankless Dive Unit.

The Super Snorkel tankless dive unit makes diving a breeze and eliminates the need for extra stops to refill bulky air tanks. As much as many of us wish it wasn’t, diving is always going to be ultimately unavoidable in performing consistently successful leak detections, so it’s worth it to have a nimble, easy dive setup to make it as pain-free as possible.

 

 

 
 

 

7. Use Anderson Manufacturing to quickly guide you to the solutions and equipment you need.

Save time by calling us to help you determine what products will work best for your specific needs instead of spending time researching on your own. We’re driven by finding the best solution for you to be effective and profitable! We are also able to ship most orders on the same day they’re placed – so you can rely on us to fulfill orders fast.

 

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.


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