The ins and outs of dealing with pool leaks
Have you noticed that your pool seems to be losing water on a regular basis and wondering if maybe you have a leak? Detecting a leak can be a pool leak can sometimes be a tricky proposition, especially if your pool is being used a lot during the warmer months.
So what are the signs you have a pool leak? There are 2 primary indicators:
- Regular loss of more than ¼” water level in the pool
- Problems maintaining consistent chemical levels in the pool
Judging water loss – what is “normal”?
It’s the middle of summer here in south Louisiana, and there is always the chance this water loss could be due to heavy usage of the pool and lots of people getting in and out as well as splashing around. Water loss also naturally occurs due to evaporation especially in the summer.
So as a “rule of thumb”, if you live in southern Louisiana you can expect daily water loss of up to ¼” due to splash out and evaporation during the summer months when you are using the pool most often.
What is “normal” will vary
Some pools will lose more water than others due simply to design factors. For instance, a pool with a water feature such as a fountain or waterfall is going to lose more water simply due to evaporation.
After all, if you are running water over hot rocks or spraying it into 95 degree air, accelerated evaporation rates are almost guaranteed.
Consider the example of a sprinkler on the lawn. If you run it during the middle of the day the lawn doesn’t get as wet because some of the water evaporates in the air, or when it hits the hot surface of the lawn. The same things happen with fountains and waterfalls in your pool – thus causing water levels to drop naturally.
The water bucket test
One test can try on your own is the “water bucket” test. Simply fill a bucket with water from your swimming pool and place it on a step in your pool with the top of the bucket being slightly above the water level. If the pool water drops at a faster rate than the bucket then you may well be dealing with a pool leak.
Finding potential leaks
Pool leaks will generally occur in one of two places:
- In the plumbing
- In the structure or shell of the pool
Tips for detecting leaks in the plumbing:
- look for any drips or damp spots around the pool (even small drips can be an issue)
- inspect your pumps and filter system for leaks
- test water levels with pumps running and off
- check for air leaks from skimmers to main drains
Tips for detecting leaks in the pool housing:
- Warning – it can be very hard to detect small leaks!
- Look for the obvious – cracks in the plaster
- Squeeze food coloring near suspected cracks
- Inspect the area where the skimmer and housing become separated as this is where leaks are most commonly found
Important – get professional help if you think you have a leak
Upon considering the factors we have discussed here, if you suspect you may still have a pool leak, it’s time to skip the “DIY” internet searching and call a professional. Companies like Pleasure Pools have special equipment that is required to detect leaks and pressure test your pipes and filtration system. Without this equipment, it can be very difficult to accurately diagnose and fix a leak without making the problem worse by causing additional damage.