Having a pool in your backyard can offer endless entertainment and relaxation. However, maintaining it can sometimes be a challenge, especially if you’re dealing with unwanted leaks. We know firsthand because we had a leak in one of our previous pools. If you’ve noticed a drop in your pool’s water level or are suspecting a leak, you’re likely asking yourself, “How do I find a leak in a pool?” Look no further, as we delve into a step-by-step guide on identifying and addressing pool leaks.
1. Confirming the Leak: The Bucket Test
Before launching a full-scale investigation, make sure that you’re indeed dealing with a leak. Pools can lose water due to natural evaporation or activities like splashing.
- Fill a bucket three-quarters full of water and place it on a pool step.
- Mark the water level inside the bucket and the pool’s water level outside the bucket.
- Wait 24 hours. If the pool’s water level decreases more than the bucket’s, you’re likely dealing with a leak.
2. Inspect Your Pool Equipment
Leaks often originate from the pool equipment. Regularly check the pump, filter, heater, and pipe valves. Moist spots or areas with excessive water can hint at a leak.
3. Examine the Pool’s Shell
Concrete or Gunite Pools:
Cracks can develop in concrete pools. To detect them:
- Turn off the pool’s circulation.
- Allow the water to settle.
- Slowly squeeze food coloring near suspected leak areas.
- Watch if the dye is drawn out – this can pinpoint the leak location.
Tears or punctures can occur in vinyl liners. The food coloring trick works here too. Also, pay extra attention to areas where the liner attaches to steps or other features.
Fiberglass pools are durable, but over time they can develop hairline cracks or blisters known as “osmotic bubbles.” Examine the pool’s surface for any irregularities. If you find any, especially around fittings or steps, you might be onto a leak source.
4. The Surrounding Landscape Speaks
Often, the land around your pool can reveal a lot. Patches of grass that are greener than others or areas that are consistently wet might indicate a leak. Tracking these wet pathways can lead you to the leak’s origin.
5. Light and Returns
The places where lighting fixtures or return jets are installed can be susceptible to leaks. Inspect the seals and fittings in these areas.
6. Skimmer and Main Drain
Leaks can also form around the skimmer and main drain. For this, a visual check for cracks or separations can help, along with the dye test for more precise detection.
7. Dive into Professional Tools
If your own investigations prove fruitless, consider tools like underwater listening devices, pressure testing kits, and professional dye tests. These are often more precise but might require expertise to use effectively.
8. When in Doubt, Call the Experts
Sometimes, the best approach is to call in the cavalry. Pool maintenance professionals have years of experience and specialized equipment to detect even the most challenging leaks.