The DIY Guide To Fixing Swimming Pool Leaks At Skimmer, Lights, Liner and Pipes

The DIY Guide To Fixing Swimming Pool Leaks At Skimmer, Lights, Liner and Pipes

How To Fix Pool Plumbing Leaks

From Swimming Pool Steve

Pool Leaks, especially plumbing leaks, can be a surreptitious waster of money.  Usually, losing water slowly is a difficult thing to identify, and can be an even more difficult thing to repair.  Over time, losing small amounts of water can add up to real money.  This post from Swimming Pool Steve presents a thorough treatise on how to identify leaks, and how to go about fixing the leaks oneself.  The repairs covered in this post include threaded pipe repairs, pump leaks, filter leaks, heater leaks and skimmer and plumbing line leaks. 

Here is an excerpt from the post:

How To Fix Pool Plumbing Leaks

Pool plumbing leaks, specifically leaks in the plumbing of the pool equipment, should not be fixed with epoxy. Epoxy seems to be the first thing that pool owners turn to when they discover a small leak from the plumbing fittings of their pool equipment. Epoxy is almost never the right choice to use for fixing leaks in pool plumbing systems.

Sometimes a leak on the equipment pad can be an indication that something has failed such as a crack in the filter tank (which would be dangerous) or a crack in the wet end manifold of the pool pump. If these are broken then you will need to replace the equipment. Attempting to patch pressurized equipment, especially the filter tank, with epoxy is not a good idea at best and a dangerous proposition at worst. In most cases however the leak will not be from the equipment directly but instead from the pipe connections to the equipment.

Threaded Pipe Fitting Leaks

Most commonly pool equipment that is leaking will be leaking from a threaded pipe fitting connection that has failed. This happens very often due to the day to day interaction with the pool equipment. Depending on the type of thread sealant that you have on the threaded connection you can inadvertently break the seal which will cause a leak that can not be fixed without taking the fitting off and replumbing it with a new application of thread sealant.

Silicone – Silicone thread sealant is a great choice for connecting pool equipment with threads. It is easy to work with and will almost always create a leak free connection provided that you use 100% silicone and not latex caulk. If you use this product you must let it set before turning the plumbing system back on or you can cause a leak to form. More commonly, during day to day use, or during winterization of the equipment, you can accidentally move the pipe connected to the threaded fitting. If the threaded fitting gets moved after the silicone has set then it will break the seal and begin to drip. Applying more silicone will not resolve this problem – you must unthread the fitting and apply a fresh layer of silicone and reinstall into the equipment.

Teflon tape – Also known as thread sealant tape is a stand alone option for threaded pipe connections or can be used in addition to silicone. The advantage of thread sealant tape is that if a leak develops at the threaded connection you may have the option to tighten the connection a small amount more which should resolve the leak. This would be one of the reasons to have unions installed into your plumbing – without a union you will not likely be able to tighten the fitting any further since the pipe is connected to something on the other end. If this is the case you will need to cut into the system and tighten the fitting. When reconnecting the pipe that you cut consider adding in a PVC union instead of a PVC coupling. In the future if this becomes a problem again then you can simply spin open the union, thread the connection a little tighter, and close the union. When choosing teflon tape as a thread sealant be sure to use the thinner material as opposed to gas line thread sealant tape which can work, but has a much higher chance of cracking the plastic manifold that you are threading into. A skilled hand can use gas tape but be sure to not over-tighten!

Pipe dope – If you use a petroleum based pipe dope thread sealant then you are at risk of breaking your pool equipment. Since pipe dope expands as it ages, as well as deteriorates PVC and ABS plastics, this can very likely cause a failure of your pool equipment since most is made from resin or plastic. You should never choose pipe dope for connecting pool equipment unless it is a teflon based pipe dope.

The best method to eliminate leaks on your first attempt is to use both teflon tape as well as 100% silicone. Apply three or four wraps of teflon tape to the male threads, in the correct direction, and then apply a liberal amount of silicone overtop of this. Thread the fitting in hand tight plus 1/2 a turn with a suitable wrench and let it set for 24 hours

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