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How to Find a Leak In A Pool

Leaking pool water is not only an increase in water consumption but also many other unpleasant consequences. That’s why it’s important to find and fix it quickly. But it can seem like a complicated and stressful process. To help you there is this simple guide.
pool

If your pool leaks, you’re not only getting increased water consumption, but you could also be facing much bigger problems. For example:

  1. Water seeping into the ground causes weakness and instability in the ground
  2. Water exposure to pipes can corrode and damage them
  3. Algae growth due to the disturbed chemical balance
  4. Water loss below the suction line can damage the entire pumping system

So to prevent serious consequences and costs, it’s important to fix leaks in pool  at the first sign of them. 

When you suspect your pool is leaking, inspect the pool and determine if you can’t fix it yourself. But if not, don’t put off contacting a professional.

Solving a pool leak problem can be complicated, so we’ve created this simple guide to help you do just that.

Simple Guide How to Help Solve a Pool Leak

Step 1: Does the pool really leak? 

It’s natural for a pool to lose some water through splashing, filter backwashing, wind, and evaporation. But if your pool regularly loses ½ to 1 inch of water per day, you probably leak. It is very important to measure and observe water level changes over a day or two to determine if evaporation or spillage is causing the changes.

A regular loss of ½ to 1 inch of water per day almost guarantees that your pool leaks.

To check if evaporation is the cause of the leak or not, you can use a very simple trick the bucket test.

The bucket test

To do this, you take a 5-gallon bucket and fill it with pool water. Then you submerge it in water so that the water level in it matches the water level in the pool. Turn off the pump and leave the bucket in the water for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, check the results:

  1. If the water level in the bucket is higher than the pool level, there is still a leak and you should go to step 2.
  2. If the water level in the bucket and the pool are the same, evaporation is the cause and there are ways to reduce it (read below).
The bucket test

How to slow evaporation in pool

Do not underestimate evaporation, especially if you live in a hot climate or get a lot of direct sunlight in your pool. It’s worth noting that significant evaporation can occur not only during the day but also at night, especially if the pool temperature is higher than the air temperature.

On average, a typical pool loses about a quarter-inch to two inches of water per week. That is 10,000 to 20,000 gallons a year — enough to fill a second pool!

You can’t completely prevent water loss, but you can slightly reduce evaporation. To do this:

  • Use a pool cover after you’ve finished working in the pool
  • Avoid decorative water features (like waterfalls)
  • Turn off the heating system when the pool is not in use (warm water evaporates faster)
How to slow evaporation in pool

Step 2: Check the most likely sources of leakage in pool

To make it easier to find, it’s worth knowing about the most common causes of leaks.

Causes of pool leaks

  • Plumbing in the pool. They can be quite fragile, so these fittings need to be securely fastened. Any movement can cause a leak in both the piping and the pool enclosure.
  • Surface deterioration. The surface can form cracks due to loose fittings or tiles, from hitting heavy or sharp objects, ground movement, poor design, freeze-thaw cycles, or it can simply be due to the age of the materials.
  • Fittings. These are anything that goes through the pool enclosure, such as nozzles, skimmers, and lights. Connections can be loose or damaged, especially near the pool pump. The pump itself might be leaking.

It is easy to check the electrical and plumbing systems for leaks. Look at the electrical conduits from the pool lights for moisture or leaks. There should be no water on the wires, if there is, it is better to call a specialist to determine the exact location of the leak and fix it.

If the cause is not found there, you can use another simple method to find leaks — the food dye method. 

How to Find a Leak In A Pool

The food dye method

Apply a few drops of bright food coloring where you suspect a leak. This will allow you to see where the water is leaking into the cracks if there are any. Continue to place food coloring around the pool until you find the leak.

Pay special attention to the areas around the fixtures, such as the return, drain, lights, and skimmer neck.

To do this test correctly, the water should be as calm as possible. The filtration system should be turned off and all pool equipment and accessories, such as vacuums, should be removed before the test.

Depending on the cause of the leak, you may be able to repair it yourself, or, in the case of more complex problems such as pump failure, you may need professional service.

Step 3: If the leak is not found

If you can’t find a leak, it’s helpful to establish the size of the leak. Depending on that, you’ll have two options.

  1. If your pool is losing more than 2 inches of water per day, it’s better sooner to contact a trusted professional to find the leak.
  2. If your pool is losing 1 to 2 inches of water per day (not counting evaporation), you can use leak sealant.

A leak sealant is an emulsion containing a special chemical. It remains liquid in water, but once the water seeps through the hole and comes into contact with air, it forms a solid substance. Microscopic layers of this substance overlap to form a clot and seal small holes, cracks and voids up to 1/8 inch wide.

Read our Guide on How to Properly Use a Leak Sealer here.

 If the leak is not found

Summary

Leaking pool water is not only an increase in your water bill but also some other unpleasant consequences. As soon as you start noticing a regular drop in the water level, find the leak and fix it. 

But first, thanks to a bucket test, make sure the drop in the water level is due to evaporation. 

If there is still a leak, but the source is not found, contact a professional. Or if the water loss is less than 2 inches per day, you can use a sealant.

FAQ

💧 What is normal pool water loss?

It is natural for a pool to lose water due to splashing, backwash filters, wind, and evaporation. But if your pool regularly loses ½ to 1 inch of water per day, you probably leak.

💦 How do I know if my pool is leaking?

мIt is very important to measure and observe the changes in your water level over a day or two. To determine if evaporation or leakage is causing these changes, use the bucket method.

👀 How do I know where my pool is leaking?

The easiest and most effective way to find leaks is with food coloring. This will allow you to see where water is leaking into cracks if any.

❓ Does fix a leak for pools work?

The sealant works if your pool loses 1 to 2 inches of water per day and seals small holes, cracks, and voids up to 1/8 inch wide.

✨ How does the sealant work?

Leak sealant is an emulsion that forms a solid substance when it comes into contact with air. Microscopic layers of this substance overlap to form a solid clot.

🧹 How to use the sealant?

It’s important to follow a series of consistent steps when working with sealant. Read our complete guide to proper sealant use here.

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