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Patching Leaks in Wrinkled Vinyl

Wrinkles in vinyl liners are a common place to find leaks, but are much more challenging to repair than flat tears or holes. There are several products and techniques that can be used depending on conditions of the leak and wrinkle.

wrinkled vinyl liner

The best case option is to be able to pull the wrinkle flat before patching. Once the liner is flat it can be repaired with Boxer Glue and a vinyl patch or Leakmaster Peel & Stick Vinyl Patches. If the hole is quite large, we recommend filling it with Leakmaster Flexible Sealer before patching as an extra layer of security.

If the wrinkle can’t be pulled out, Flexible Sealer works well on its own. Once you squeeze it out onto the hole, it can be pushed down and spread with your finger to fill in the cavity of the wrinkle. Flexible Sealer will stretch and move with the liner so it lasts longer than more rigid repair materials.

If the liner has become thin or frail and it seems as though the hole or cut will continue to spread, Leakmaster Pool Glue provides an aggressive bond to vinyl and is strong enough to keep the vinyl from pulling farther apart. Pool Glue is only available in white, so it is best used with lighter liners or when aesthetics aren’t as important.

leakmaster pool glue on vinyl


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.

Common Skimmer Repair Solutions

Skimmers are one of the more complex plumbing components in the pool and when they leak many contractors default to suggesting a full replacement. But if you have the right repair materials you can offer repair options that will save your customers this big expense and build their trust in you for future jobs. We’ve outlined repair solutions for some of the most common skimmer leaks below.

Mouth

On concrete pools, epoxy putty is a versatile option for repairing small cracks where the skimmer mouth meets the shell of the pool. Leakmaster Quick Set or Pool Repair putties are a cost-effective, convenient choice, while the color selection and workability of A+B Putty makes a good choice when aesthetics is especially important.  Putty is so inexpensive that many leak detectors include putty repair as part of the detection cost.  It is, however, a somewhat temporary repair and may have to be replaced seasonally.

A more permanent solution for skimmer mouth issues is to use a foam injection process to seal the cracks and fill voids around the skimmer body.  Closed cell urethane foam fills and stabilizes voids around the skimmer body to make sure that further damage doesn’t occur while also sealing leaks around the mouth. Our complete Crack Repair Starter Kit includes everything you need to to do a skimmer injection plus tools to expand into concrete crack injection, or our Skimmer Injection Kit provides the materials you need to inject 2-3 skimmers without an investment in the more expensive tools needed for crack injection.

Throat

For a cracked fitting or pipe within the first six inches from the bottom of the skimmer bowl, the Skimmer Saver is a unique and easy option. Part of the popular Fitting Saver line, this device allows water to bypass the cracked area of the plumbing while still maintaining regular circulatory function. It can be used as a permanent repair or as a temporary solution until another repair can be done.

Bowl/Body

Due to movement in the ground around the pool, skimmer bowls are especially susceptible to cracks that can be particularly challenging to repair. Leakmaster Pool Glue  provides a versatile solution. The two-part glue hardens like an epoxy putty but is much more adhesive, meaning it will be able to weather the movement of the pool without coming loose. While it’s able to seal smaller cracks on its own, it can also be used with fiberglass mesh strips for extra reinforcement on large cracks. Check out this video to see how the repair is done.


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.

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.

 

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: Leakalyzer Saves Callback

Type of Pool:

Vinyl / Indoor

Equipment Used:

LeakTrac  2400, Leakalyzer, Dye

Situation:

Customer told us that pool leaked down to 1” above the skimmer pretty quickly, then seemed to hold at that level.

Solution:

When we arrived at the job site we started our Leakalyzer test with the pump on which confirmed the water loss. After turning the pump off and marking the current test, we could see that the slope of the line continued to be the same as during the pump off test.  Because of this we suspected a shell leak. Our observations of the pool equipment and plumbing system validated that the plumbing didn’t appear to be the problem.

Since a shell leak was suspected we began systematically dye testing the pool from the deck. By doing so we were able to find a crack in the skimmer bowl at the same level the customer indicated the pool water level held at. The size of the crack seemed consistent with what the customer and Leakalyzer indicated the water loss would be.

We then patched the skimmer with the Leakmaster Pool Glue Kit, which is adheres very well to the skimmer bowl and works underwater.  After the patch we ran another Leakalyzer test to verify that the pool had stopped leaking. Although not as much as the first time, the test still showed water loss that was more than estimated evaporation.

With additional dye testing we quickly found another small leak in opposite skimmer. That leak was patched with Quick Set Putty.

We ran yet another Leakalyzer test and found the pool was losing less water than before, but still losing.

We finished checking fittings and gaskets with dye and then pulled out the LeakTrac. The LeakTrac was able to pinpoint one hole in the liner and eliminate the rest of the liner as a suspect area. Leakmaster Flexible Sealer and Leakmaster Peel and Stick Vinyl Pool Patches were used to patch the leak in the vinyl liner.

The water level was a little too turbulent after patching to get a great Leakalyzer test, but we spoke with the customer one week later and pool was not losing water.

Learnings:

  • The Leakalyzer helped us make sure all the leaks were found before leaving the job, instead of just finding the first one
  • Dye testing is really fast and effective
  • Gathering good information from the customer shortened the leak detection process

Case Study: Fill Pool to Find Leaks

Type of Pool: Concrete, no spa, 400 sq. feet

Equipment Used: Dye, Leakalyzer

Situation:

No information was provided prior to arriving at the job site, but when we arrived the water level was down to bottom of the skimmers and the customer confirmed that the water leaked down to that point and then stopped. A Leakalyzer test confirmed the water level had settled and was not dropping any farther. We established some suspect areas then put a hose in to fill the pool back up while we headed to our next job. We came back later once the water level was back up to finish the leak detection.

Solution:

When we returned to the job site, we confirmed the pool was indeed leaking with the Leakalyzer, then started to dye test the suspected areas along where the water line had settled. Not all suspected areas drew dye when the water level was raised, but we did locate two leaks in the corners where grout was gone from the tile line. We repaired the leaking areas with Quick Set Putty, then confirmed that the leaking areas were no longer drawing dye and that the pool water level had stabilized with the Leakalyzer.

Learnings:

  1. It’s extremely helpful to know if the water level stops dropping at a certain point.
  2. Pool water level needs to be at normal operating level to efficiently locate leaks.
  3. Some leak detections are very straight forward!
  4. Job also led to a sale of upgrades in pool filter.

Trade Shows and Retail Products

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.

Anderson Manufacturing at the International Pool Spa and Patio Show.
Anderson Manufacturing at the International Pool Spa and Patio Show.

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:

  1. Leak Locating Dye
    Florescent Dye Tester
    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.
  2. Leakmaster Quick Set Putty
    Quick Set Putty
    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.
  3. Vinyl Pool Patches
    vinyl-patches-sm
    Peel and stick patches work above and below water.  Patch fast and effective.  Works in cold water.
  4. New Leakmaster Pool Glue – Stop by the booth this year to get more details on the new Leakmaster underwater all pool glue.

We have lots of retail and repair items available. Make sure read the article to prepare for the show and plan to stop by our booth!

 


Leaking Return Fittings – A Common Problem

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.

Common Leaks in Return Fittings
Common Leaks in Return Fittings

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 Saver has 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.

Fitting Saver Seals

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?


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