Authored by Lee Wright in Home Repair
Published on 11-16-2009
If it seems like you have to add water to the pool too often there are some steps you can take to check for pool leaks. Although pools also lose water from evaporation and excessive splashing a continuous loss of water level may indicate a leak somewhere in the system. There is a simple test to tell if water loss is from evaporation. If evaporation does appear to be the problem there are several methods to find the source of a pool leak.
Depending on the temperature and humidity levels where you live, evaporation can account for a few inches of water loss per week. A “bucket test” can determine if water loss is due to evaporation. Fill a large wide mouth container with pool water. Place the container on something in the pool and adjust the amount of water, so the level in the container is the same as the level in the pool. The container can be placed on a pool step or a step ladder at the shallow end. The bucket should be in the pool so the water temperatures are the same. If after a few days of not using the pool, the water level in the bucket still matches the water level in the pool, then water loss is due to evaporation. If the water level in the pool is lower that the water level in the bucket, then there is a leak somewhere in the pool system.
The first step to find the leak is to fill the pool to the proper level and mark the water level with a piece of duct tape. Run the filter system for 12 to 24 hours and then measure the amount of water loss. Fill the pool back to the proper level and wait the same amount of time with the filter system turned off. Measure the level of water loss again. If the water loss is greater while the filter system is running the leak is in the pressure side pool plumbing system. If the water loss is greater while the filter system in not running then the leak is in the vacuum side of the system. If the water loss is equal with the filter system running and not running, then there is leak in the structure of the pool.
For pressure side plumbing leaks check the filter system, the backwash line connection, and the gaskets and seals on the pump hardware for any obvious leaks. If you are not familiar with the pump mechanism and pool hardware it is better to consult a professional repair service. For vacuum side plumbing leaks the lines need to be tested. Although you can try and find the leak yourself, it involves digging up the lines until you find the leak. It is probably better to call professional pool repair company that will have leak detection equipment to pinpoint the leak.
You may able to find and repair a leak in the structure of the pool yourself. Turn off the pump and wait an hour. Pour some food coloring around any obvious possible leak points such as the drains, lights, returns, skimmer fittings, or stair joints. If a leak is present the dye will be drawn towards the leak and you can patch the leak. Many patching materials can be used under water and are easy to use and apply. After applying a patch be sure and leave the pump system off until patch has had enough time to cure. Always retest with food coloring after the patch has cured and continue to retest the problem spot periodically.
If you do not find the leak at any of the most obvious points, visually inspect the interior surface of the pool for any sign of cracks. If you don’t want to closely examine the whole interior to find a leak, then it is best to call a professional repair company. You should not ignore a pool leak. Even if the water loss is minor, the leak will eventually get worse and be harder and more expensive to fix.
Constantly adding water to keep a pool filled can be the sign of a leak. You may be able to find and repair a pool leak with some careful testing and simple repairs. If you cannot find the leak yourself or are not comfortable with do-it-yourself repairs it is best to consult a professional pool repair service. A pool leak should not be ignored.