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.
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.
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.
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.
Remember that pump on/pump off tests only provide suspicions of where the problem is. Further tests are needed for confirmation.
LeakTrac can indicate a leak in the skimmer with higher than normal intensity.
Count on your own observations, diligence and reason more than what other people tell you.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Large leaks in concrete pools can be found with a hydrophone, but it may not pick up smaller leaks.
Using the Leakalyzer throughout the job meant we were there longer finding additional leaks, but it saved us from a costly callback.
Extra effort and a job well done gets noticed and helps drive future business.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 Pool Grid Stitch, the latest innovation in concrete crack reinforcement. This new product maintains the exceptional strength of a traditional Carbon Fiber Staple, but is less expensive and features a much easier installation process.
Pool 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. When used with Fortress C400 epoxy Pool Grid Stitches are ICC building code certified.
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
ICC building code certified when used with Fortress C400 epoxy.
The Carbon Fiber Grid Stitch is available in complete 10 or 30 stitch kits.
Customer told us that pool leaked down to 1” above the skimmer pretty quickly, then seemed to hold at that level.
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.
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.
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.
It’s extremely helpful to know if the water level stops dropping at a certain point.
Pool water level needs to be at normal operating level to efficiently locate leaks.
Some leak detections are very straight forward!
Job also led to a sale of upgrades in pool filter.
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.
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?