The most common leak in pool equipment is found at the pump seal–the weakest link in your pool’s system. Why? The pump seal is one of the few wear-points in your system–meaning that when the motor comes on and runs 8 to 10 hours a day, the pump seal wears down and degrades itself just by the friction
of the carbon on ceramic.
Now, include improper water chemistry, and that pump seal’s life takes a dive. If this leak continues, it will eventually ruin your motor’s bearings and burn out the motor’s windings. Now we’re swimming in high repair and replacement costs.
How do you know when you have a pump seal leak? It’s easy to detect. Look for water or dampness where the motor bolts on to the pump. Severe pump leaks will show calcium build up, or your motor will make a high whining sound–like the sound you will make when you get that $400 repair bill.
What can you do to prevent this? First, there is a life expectancy on every pump seal. You can, however, extend this life with proper water chemistry. Meaning, if your pool water is acidic (below 6.8 ppm) the acid water will attack the pump seal. Conversely, if your pool water is alkaline (pH over 8.0 ppm, total alkalinity over 140 ppm) the alkaline water will grind away at the pump seal.
The next most likely leak in pool equipment is anything that is metal. When you have two dissimilar metals plumbed together chances are a leak will occur. This can also be a water chemistry issue, but is usually attributed to electrolysis.
Where will you find two dissimilar metals plumbed? Check for galvanized pipe from the heater attached to copper plumbing. The only cure is to replumb to all copper or copper and plastic.
Leaks are also common in your pool’s heat exchanger. About 80% of a heat exchanger leak is mismanaged pool water chemistry. However, other reasons for leaks here are:
1) If you have an off-line chlorinator, be sure that the return line from the chlorinator is plumbed after the heater. The reason is that tablet-form chlorine is acidic.
2)Also be sure there are check valves on your chlorinator so that when the pumps shuts off the chlorine is held in the lines and does not return to the heater.
3) Check for dissimilar metals at the heater’s plumbing inlet and outlet.
4) High TDS (over 3500 ppm) will scour the inside of the heat exchanger and thin out the exchanger’s copper tubes, to the point of creating a leak.
So everytime your pool repair dude drives by in his or her shiny new sports car, make a note to go check your swimming pool’s water chemistry so that you can enjoy your pool as you thought you would when the pool was just a dream.
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