Inground swimming pools naturally lose and gain water throughout the year. They lose water because of evaporation and when water gets splashed out of the pool. They gain water when it rains.
However, a swimming pool will occasionally lose water for other reasons, such as a leak. If the leak is within the pool itself, it can be repaired by pool resurfacing or replastering work. If a leak is the result of a problem in the pool’s plumbing, the repair scenario is more complicated.
Do You Know How to Spot a Leak in Your Pool?
Here are a few indicators that your pool is leaking:
- Needing to refill your swimming pool often
- The pool’s water level drops by over 1/4 inch per day (or over two inches per week)
- Visible cracks in the pool or near the decking.
- Pool tiles are cracked or look damaged.
- The ground surrounding the pool is consistently damp even if the pool has not been in use.
- The decking around the pool is shifting or sinking.
Locating the Leak
If you have noticed that your pool is losing water, your next step is to locate the leak. If the pool is losing water when your pump is off, this can indicate a leak in the pipes that provide the pool with water. By turning on the pump, a vacuum will be created with the pipes bringing water into the pool. This should reduce or stop a leak. If air bubbles are visible in the pump basket or return lines, or if there is air filling up the filter tank, the leak is likely to be located in the suction side pipes.
If the pool is losing water when the pump is turned on, a leak in the pressure-side pipes is often responsible. This scenario will typically result in wet yard areas near where the pipes return water to the pool are located. It may also be possible to view water running from the waste line.
If your swimming pool is leaking continually, it is probable the leak is located elsewhere. The leak could be due to cracks in the pool’s tile or plaster. If your pool has a vinyl liner, a tear in the vinyl may have occurred. Another possibility is a leak around the plastic skimmer. Separations can often develop between the concrete and the plastic skimmer. A space or gap around the pool’s lights may also be the source of a leak.
Some swimming pool leak detectors can confirm that your pool is losing water at a rate exceeding average rates of evaporation. There are a couple of tests you can perform on your own in order to determine if you have a leak.
- Place a 5-gallon bucket on the second step of your pool. Fill the bucket so that the water level inside is even with the water level in your pool. A weight in the bottom of the bucket may be needed in order to secure it.
- Cut two 1-inch pieces of electrical tape.
- Place the first piece on the inside of the bucket, lined up with the level of the water. Place the second piece on the exterior of the bucket, lined up with the pool’s water level.
- Turn the water pump off.
- After 24 hours, check the water levels. If the water inside the bucket and in the pool has decreased by the same amount, the pool probably does not have a leak. However, if the water level in the pool is noticeably lower than the water inside the bucket, there is a good chance you do have a leak somewhere.
The bucket test can also be conducted with the pump on to determine if the leak is in the pressure-side pipe area.
To determine if the leak is a result of a crack in the concrete or tear in the vinyl, the dye test can be performed. This test is helpful if you have determined the leak is located in the pool itself.
To perform the test:
- Obtain a bottle of food coloring or another non-toxic dye in a color that will be easily visible in the water.
- When in the area where you suspect a leak, squirt a small amount of the dye into the pool’s water.
- If a crack or tear is the source of the leak, you will be able to observe the dye moving towards it in the pool water.
While it is never advisable to empty your swimming pool of water for an extended period of time, it is possible to test for a leak in your pool by allowing it to drain. If a leak exists on the wall of the pool, the pool will cease losing water once the level of the pool is below the location of the leak. However, if the leak is located near the bottom of the wall, or along the floor, your pool could be entirely drained of water.
Pool Leak Repair
If you suspect that your swimming pool is leaking, contact Executive Blue Pools regarding our leak detection service. The source and reason for the leak will determine the cost and scope of the repair. The cost of a pool leak repair may be less than the overall expense and hassle required to continually refill a draining pool. Our staff members are knowledgeable and experienced in determining the sources of leaks and can recommend the best course of action for your particular situation.