Does my pool have a leak?
How Do I know, if my pool has a leak?
Your pool, like all swimming pools, will lose some water. The reasons for this loss of water are varied but may be due to; evaporation, some to splash-out and some to backwash wastewater or the pool could be leaking. Obviously your pool also gains water from rainfall. A rule of thumb is that if you're regularly adding more than 25-50mm of water to your pool per week, you may have a leak. If you are uncertain about how much may be due to evaporation only, try the bucket test. The importance of repairing leaks is not only restricted to; saving water, heat, and chemicals, but a leak may also undermine your pool structure and wash away the back fill behind a fibreglass shell resulting in the potential for major damage.
The bucket test:
Fill a bucket with water from the pool and set it on the steps of your pool with the top of the bucket above water level. Make sure the level in the bucket corresponds with the pool water level. Use some tape or a pencil to mark the pool water level. This will keep the water in the bucket the same temperature as the pool. If you have a dog that drinks from the pool, keep this in mind when placing the bucket, or try to prevent this. Do not backwash during the test period. Now, compare the water loss between the bucket and your pool over a period of several days, the longer the better. Assuming that your bucket doesn't have a hole in it, and if you see a greater loss in the pool than in the bucket, you have a leak!
Where is the leak?
Pool leak repairs may require a pool professional. Having said this, it does not automatically follow that it will be expensive or that you are not in a position to minimise the costs. If you suspect that your pool is leaking reduce the potential costs and assist your pool professional by checking the following:
Is the pool leaking only with the pump is on?
This may indicate a pool leak on the return line. The first thing to check in this case is to see that there is no water dripping from your backwash pipe while the pump is running. A Leak of this nature would indicate a problem at the Multi Port valve of the filter. If this is not the problem, then drop some of your pH indicator test reagent near the aimflow jet, with your pump shut off and the water still. See if the dye is sucked into the aimflow. If dye is sucked in consistently over at least 20 � 30 seconds, then this is likely where the leak is.
Is the pool leaking only with the pump off?
This usually indicates a pool leak on the suction line. With the filter pump on, the plumbing on the suction side is under vacuum. Air can be drawn in through otherwise leaking points. You may notice air in the pump basket (if you have a clear lid), air bubbling out of the return aim flows, or a pool cleaner that is sluggish or often stops for no apparent reason. Check the pump basket lid is on tight with a good, clean o-ring, just to be sure. These symptoms after you check the pump lid o-ring would indicate a suction line leak.
Does the pool leak all the time?
This situation won�t eliminate the possibility of leaks in the pipe work, but it does get one to start considering the pool shell as a possibility. Look for cracks in the plaster or tears in the vinyl. Look closely at the tile line and look real closely inside of the skimmer box / weir. Avery common leak is a separation between the plastic skimmer and the concrete pool. If you see something that looks like a crack, drop some of your pH indicator test reagent near it with your pump shut off and water still. See if the dye is sucked into the crack. Under water lights can and do leak as well. Contact your pool professional for suitable products to seal the leak until permanent repairs can be undertaken if necessary.
Are there leaks at the pump / filter installation?
Look closely at the filter, pump, heater, and valves. Check the ground for moisture. Turn the pump on and off looking closely for spraying water when the pump is turned off.
Does the pool water level always drop to the same point without going further?
You may be able to switch the pump off and allow the water level to drop below the skimmer. If it keeps going, we can rule out the skimmer (although there can always be more than one leak). The underwater light is a common leak source. Where the water level stops, do a dye test around the pool on this level very carefully. Look for small debris which may have been sucked into the crack or void. This is a good indication of a leak.
Are there any wet areas around the pool?
Take a walk around the pool's edge and between the pool and the equipment. Check for wet soil and eroded areas.
For pool leaks in a vinyl pool there are special considerations. Look out for our blog on this subject in the future.
Prices for leak detection and repair will vary widely. Of course, these costs will be lower if you can identify the leak to your pool professional saving the time of all the tests. Higher prices will obviously be charged for below ground work, and remember you pool professional like you will not be able to tell if more than one leak exists. Many pools leak in more than one area so monitoring after repairs is important.