As a swimming pool owner, you have a convenient place to escape, exercise and enjoy with your friends and family. But just like owning a car, house or boat, you can preserve the quality and longevity of your pool with routine and preventative maintenance, like pool leak detection.
The good news is that pool leaks don’t have to mean the end of your pool. By catching a pool leak early, you can avoid worsening damage that needs costly repairs. The key is understanding the early signs of pool leak detection.
What Causes a Swimming Pool Leak?
Unfortunately, it is common for swimming pools to develop leaks over time. Some pool leaks are easy to find and cost little to repair, while others can require special equipment and are more expensive to address. Either way, it is helpful to know what can potentially cause a pool leak.
Pool leaks can be the result of a variety of reasons, including:
- Improper pool winterization
- Settling of soil around the pool
- UV degradation of the pool plumbing
- Pool equipment pad issues
How to Start Your Pool Leak Detection Search
Besides just higher than normal water bills, there are a couple of indicators that you may have a pool leak. If you’re needing to fill your pool more often or the landscaping surrounding your pool is constantly saturated, it’s probably time to check for pool leaks.
If you suspect you do have a pool leak, one of the simplest ways to verify your suspicions is to do a bucket test. To complete a pool leak detection bucket test, follow these steps:
- Turn off your pump and autofill (if you have one).
- Place a 5-gallon bucket on one of the steps leading into the pool and fill the bucket with water, so it is filled up to the same level as the pool water.
- Mark the inside of the bucket’s top water level with a permanent marker or duct tape and then leave it alone for 24 hours.
- After you return, if the water level in the pool is lower than the water level in the bucket, you know your pool is leaking. Keep in mind that a pool will generally lose a one-quarter inch of water per day from evaporation.
To understand how bad a pool leak is, you can use this simple equation:
Pool Length (Feet) x Pool Width (Feet) x 0.625 x Water Loss (Inches/Day)
= Total Gallons of Water Lost
For example, if your pool is 20 x 40 feet and you have lost 2 inches of water in 24 hours, then your water loss calculation would look like this:
20’ x 40’ x 0.625 x 2” = 1,000 Gallons of water lost per day
How To Tell Where Your Pool Is Leaking
Now that you’ve confirmed you have a pool leak, it’s time to locate the source so it can be repaired. Pool leaks in the equipment pad are common and easy to find because they usually leave behind drips or puddles of water. Pool leaks in skimmer boxes and drain sumps are also common and can be determined by performing a dye test. You can use the phenol red pH indicator reagent from your pool test kit as the dye for this process.
To complete a pool leak dye test, follow these steps:
- Turn off your pool circulation equipment.
- Squirt the dye around the edges of your pool’s skimmer and drain sumps.
- Watch to see if the dye stays in the water or is drawn to a corner, some other part of the skimmer or drain sump to indicate where your pool leak is.
If you cannot locate your pool leak through drips, puddles or a dye test, you may have a leak in your underground pool plumbing system that’ll require a pool leak detection company to find. A pool leak detection professional can isolate and pressurize your pool’s plumbing system and use ultrasonic equipment to locate the leak.
How To Fix a Leaking Pool
The final step to address a pool leak and get you back in the water is to repair it. Once you’ve located your pool leak source, contact a qualified pool service company or contractor to perform the required repairs.
Moving forward, it’s important to remember that leaks can also occur from cracks in the pool shell, grout joints and caulk lines. In areas with high water tables, many pools have main drain sumps with hydrostatic relief valves (HRV) that let groundwater in drained pools to avoid built-up pressure. HRVs are spring-loaded and sometimes catch pebbles or other debris, preventing them from sealing water out completely. Plumbing repairs and water loss can be expensive, so properly winterizing your pool and get regular professional inspecting is crucial.
Want to be ready to close your pool for winter and avoid any future problems? Read our blog, “Winter is Coming: How to Close Your Pool”.
Looking for a chlorine alternative for your pool during chlorine shortages? To learn why Clear Comfort’s AOP pool system is the industry’s easiest way to get the best and healthiest water with drinking-water chlorine levels, click here.