Finding a leak in your pool can be difficult, time consuming and expensive. Swimming pool leaks can be very elusive to find, even for seasoned industry professionals. That’s why there are companies that specialize only in detecting pool leaks.
Here are some tips on how you can find a leak in your swimming pool yourself.
How to Know When You Have a Leak
The first thing to do is to figure out if the pool is actually leaking or if the water is merely evaporating. The rate of evaporation for your pool will be based on:
- Your geographic location
- Ambient temperature
- Water temperature
- Direct sunlight
- Cross winds
- Whether or not you use a solar blanket cover at night
A bucket test will allow you to measure the rate of water loss in your pool as opposed to the rate of evaporation. To do this test you will need an open top container such as a plastic juice pitcher. Put rocks in the bottom of the container and sit it on a stair or ladder step so that part of the container is below water level and part is above the water level. Then add water to the container until the water inside the container is exactly the same as the water level in the pool.
If the water level in the pool is always the same as the water level in the container, you don’t have a leak; the water loss is due to evaporation. If it rains during the bucket test, your test results will be compromised.
Check for Signs of Damage
If you discover that evaporation isn’t the cause of the pool’s water loss, the next step is to check the pool for signs of damage. Any part of your pool showing signs of damage or wear is suspect when looking for pool leaks because they cause damage to surrounding structures.
For example, if a pool deck is sinking or has cracks in it, it’s a sign of a potential leak. Rust forming around skimmer and return ports, holes in your liner that have been patched, cracks in the pool floor and broken fittings should be noted and closely inspected to see if they are the cause of the leak or a symptom of a leak in location nearby.
Leak detection with dye is often not definitive, but it’s a great tool and an easy test that pool owners have at their disposal. The idea is to release a small amount of dye in the immediate area where a leak is suspected. The pool circulation system must be turned off and there should be little or no wind to cause movement in the pool water.
Release a steady stream of dye into the area surrounding the suspected leak. If a leak is present, you’ll be able to see the dye being pulled out of the pool through the leak. Dye testing works well around flanges such as lights, steps, skimmers and returns where you are able to get close enough to release the dye and monitor its movement in the water. Dye testers can’t point to a pool leak unless you have a lot of water loss