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It’s normal for pools to lose some water naturally through evaporation, splashing, and backwashing. But is your pool losing too much water? A leak in your pool can do more than simply drive up your water bills. If neglected for too long, it can cause damage to other elements like your liner, piping, and surrounding landscaping.

Check out these four tips for finding and fixing the leak in your pool:

1.     Check Obvious Problems First

Common issues can include:

  • Leaks at or near your equipment. Make sure you take a close look at the pump, filter, pipe valves, and heater.
  • Areas around your pool wetter than they should be. Be on the lookout for ground moisture, eroding areas, wet soil, or unusually healthy grass (compared to areas around it).
  • A damaged vinyl liner. Inspect for separations and tears around corners, steps, fittings, returns, skimmers, lines, and lights.

2.     Confirm There’s a Leak in Your Pool

If you suspect you’re dealing with a leak, do the bucket test to find out for certain:

  • Fill your pool to its normal level.
  • Fill a bucket 3/4 full with water.
  • Place the bucket in the pool (either on the stairs or tied to the ladder).
  • Mark the water level of the pool and the bucket.
  • Check the levels 24 hours later. If the pool has dropped more than the bucket, you have water loss (and potentially a leak) on your hands.

To measure the difference in losses between the pool and the bucket, use this formula:

  • Amount of water lost in inches × .62 × pool surface in square feet = loss in gallons (1 gallon = 3.785 litres)

Make sure you keep track of all the information you’ve just gathered: how much water you should expect your pool to lose over a 24 hour period (the amount of water lost in the bucket), how much the water level actually dropped, and the difference between those two numbers. This is important data to communicate with a pool service technician, and you’ll need some of it during the next step of the leak detection process.

3.     Find out Where the Leak Is Located

After you know there is a leak, you need to find out where it’s coming from – whether the “shell” (liner, stairs, etc.) or piping:

  • Fill your pool to its normal operating level and mark that using a piece of tape.
  • Turn off the system and remove your jets.
  • Install winterizing plugs in the skimmer and jets.
  • Check the water level after 24 hours. If it hasn’t dropped at all (except for the expected evaporation you determined during your bucket test), the leak is in the piping. If the water has continued to go down, the problem is in the shell.

At this stage, it’s time for you to call a pool service professional to discuss your options.

4.     Work with a Pool Services Company to Fix the Leak

After you’ve confirmed your pool has a leak and identified a likely location, contact a pool service company to properly isolate it and perform any necessary repairs.

Techniques they might use to locate the leak precisely include:

  • Pressure Testing
  • Electronic Leak Detection
  • Diving

Keep in mind that the costs of repair will vary depending on a range of factors including ease of access to the leak, the nature of it, and the age of your vinyl liner. A pool service technician will discuss these factors with you, ensuring you find a solution that helps your pool look and perform its best for seasons to come.

Dave Warren

About Dave Warren

Dave Warren has been the president of Total Tech Pools & Leisure for more than 25 years, successfully developing the business into a one-stop pool shop. He is a Past President and currently serves as Secretary of the Pool and Hot Tub Council of Canada. He also serves on the Retail Council for APSP and is Chairman of the Retail Education Task Force. Additionally, he is a founding member of WAPSA (World Alliance of pool and Spa Associations) formed in Cologne, Germany in 2017. Dave believes in giving to those in need both locally and abroad, which is why Total Tech donates to a variety of charities, largely focusing on children and animals.