Find Your Pool Leak

| Sunday, February 12, 2012
By Mike Dennis

We love Texas but in doing so, there are some things we just have to learn to deal with. One of those big things is how much the ground shifts! I don't know what other states have this issue, but here it can cause some real problems to homes, swimming pools, driveways and anything solid.

Hot Summers especially can cause major problems with the soil, which translates to problems with any hard surface or structure. Anywhere you drive you can see long cracks in the side walks and roads. Patios and decks are not spared, nor are swimming pools. There is nothing more omenous than a long crack down the middle of a swimming pool. You might be surprised how many such cracks I have tested and have resulted to not be leaking at all though!

Pool leaks are a big concern for most pool owners. If you are a pool owner, how can you know if your pool is leaking? Especially in the Summer, when pool evaporation dramatically increases, how can you know if the increase in water loss is due to evaporation or a real problem? If you ever lose more than half an inch of water in a your pool in a 24 hour period, you can be pretty sure that you have a problem. You can lose a lot less, however, and still have a leak. If you are pretty familiar with your pool and are confident that you are filling it much more often than ever before or if your water bills are growing more than they should, you might have a leak.

First, figuring out if you have a leak is a simple task. If you have a 5 gallon bucket, you can do it. We call this the "bucket test." If you look it up on youtube, you'll find videos showing you how to do it. The concept is simple: you place water in a 5 gallon bucket, and place it on the top step inside your pool, in the water. You then mark the water level inside the bucket and the water level outside the bucket (the pool level).

Then, check it again in 24 hours. If the water on the outside of the bucket (the pool level) has fallen more than the water on the inside of the bucket, then you have a leak. It is also a good idea to run the test one day with the equipment off and another day with the equipment running on its normal schedule.

If you lose more water with the equipment running, it is often a break in one of your return (jet) lines. If you lose less with the equipment running, it is often a leak in one of your suction (skimmer or main drain) lines. If it loses the same either way, it is often structural (a crack).

At the very least, this approach will allow you to know if you need to take a further step or not. If the bucket test shows you are not losing any water, there's nothing you need to do. If you are losing water, you can take the next step to trying to find the leak.

If you do have a leak, there are more resources online that might help you to locate the leak yourself. Sometimes, it might take a professional though. Speaking for the professional leak detection community, I can tell you that sometimes even for us, it can be a daunting task to find a leak! Good luck!

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