Do you suspect that your pool has a leak? Have you noticed a larger than average drop in your in ground or above ground swimming pool‘s water level? Determining whether there truly is a leak and then locating the source of the leak can present a challenge.
If your swimming pool uses an automatic fill system that keeps the water at a constant level, you may suspect a leak if you spot any of the following situations:
- An out-of-the-ordinary increase in your water bill
- Cracks in the pool deck as a result of settling earth
- Existance of water puddles outside the pool that cannot be easily explained
- An increase in your pool chemical usage
First, turn off your pool’s automatic fill system for at least 24 hours and keep track of the water level. If the level drops significantly within that time, your suspicions may be right, and you may have a leak in your pool.
Another sign that your pool may be leaking is if there is air in your pump that is being blown into the pool. A leak in the suction side plumbing (from skimmers and main drains to equipment), may pull air into the lines where it will show up in the pump or be blown back into the pool through the returns. This condition can also be caused by an obstruction or blockage in the suction lines. Either situation requires immediate professional attention to prevent mechanical damage to your pool equipment.
Looking for Leaks
Before calling a pool leak detection professional, you can follow a few easy steps to determine if you have a pool leak and narrow the possibilities for where it is located. Here are some of the more common areas where leaks can occur:
- In and around the pool equipment (heater, filter, pump, etc.)
- At fittings (lights, returns, skimmers, etc.)
- In the liner or shell of the swimming pool
- In the pool’s underground plumbing system
Any leaks in the underground plumbing will require professional attention, but you may be able to find obvious leaks in other parts of the pool using simple visual inspection techniques.
Check for drips or other signs of moisture around the pool equipment. Also check to make sure that your multi-port valve is not positioned to allow water loss.
Underwater leaks in the pool fittings or shell can be identified with a dye test. You can make your own dye tester by using dark food coloring and a turkey baster or a plastic syringe. If using a turkey baster, slowly depress the bulb to allow a slow, steady stream of the dye to be injected into the pool. Place a small amount of dye near the suspected leak. Liquid follows the path of least resistance, so dye will be drawn out of the pool where a leak is present. Test areas where potential leaks may occur, such as cracks in the plaster or tile, and places where skimmers, return fittings, or stairs join to the pool shell. Much of this testing can be done from the pool deck; however, you will eventually have to get into the pool with a dive mask to completely inspect the pool’s structure.
Don’t feel discouraged if you are not able to find the leak; most leaks are not visibly obvious, or they may be in parts of the pool that are not accessible, such as in the underground plumbing system. A qualified pool leak professional uses specialized equipment to find leaks. This process can take as little as an hour or two, but more complicated jobs may take longer.