How Can I Identify a Leak in My In-Ground Swimming Pool?
Swimming pools should be watertight. Unfortunately, leaks sometimes happen. The problem is that they can be tricky to identify because so many pool components contain or are linked to water. The equipment pad, the lining, the tiles, the valves, and even the pump could have a leak that lets water seep through.
To get a picture of how much water can be lost through a leak, imagine that a pinhole leak that seems almost invisible to the eye can waste up to 1,000 gallons of water per day. So, you must identify the leak and fix the problem before your water bill goes up or you see severe damage to your swimming pool equipment and deck.
How can you identify a leak in your swimming pool, though, when it’s so tiny?
Telltale Signs of a Leak in Your Swimming Pool
How Much Water Does a Swimming Pool Naturally Lose?
Through evaporation, swimming, and splashing, it is normal for some water to be lost. Generally speaking, you should be adding about 2 inches of water per week to your swimming pool. If you realize you have been topping up too much water lately, you could be having a swimming pool leak.
The first thing to do is observe. A lot of your swimming pool equipment, such as fittings, plumbing, the pump, or your accessories could be losing water. Do a visual inspection around your swimming pool, including the deck, looking for wet areas and other signs of damage.
Do You Have Any Wet Areas around the Swimming Pool?
Do you have unusually wet, soggy, or swampy areas around the swimming pool? Does it feel like water is seeping through a crack and flowing around your swimming pool area? This could be a clear sign of a swimming pool leakage.
If your swimming pool is lined with tiles, check to see if any of them have cracks or are displaying signs of damage. Water could be leaking from the crack into the ground or around the swimming pool. Even a hair-thin crack could lead to massive water loss.
The Water Bill Has Gone up
When the water bill goes up and you realize that you have been using more gallons of water than the same season last year, then perhaps you have a leak in your swimming pool. Even the smallest leak can add up in terms of water usage in no time.
You Can’t Stabilize the Ph Level of Your Swimming Pool Water
When your water level is stable, it is easy to stabilize the pH and all the chemicals involved. When your swimming pool leaks water, however, and you have to constantly top it up, the pH goes up and down depending on the quantity of water in the swimming pool at any given time.
If you can’t stabilize the pH level despite your best efforts, then perhaps you have a water leak.
Algae Is Building up
Because of pH imbalance, you could witness algae buildup in your swimming pool. That’s what happens when the chemicals are out of balance: water is leaking through, and new water is constantly added to top it up.
The Pool Deck Is Uneven
Unless there is a structural cause for your pool deck to be uneven, you could have swimming pool water eating away at the foundation of your pool deck. This could cause the deck to sink or rise, depending on the pressure from the water building up. You should fix the problem before it becomes something far worse, like a cracked floor or wall.
How Can I Identify a Leak in My Swimming Pool?
You have a suspicion that your in-ground swimming pool is leaking water but don’t know how to locate the leak. The best way is to call Waterside Poolscapes. Our swimming pool experts will be with you to sort out the leak.
If you’d rather have a go at it yourself, you’ll need to do some detective work to determine whether you do, indeed, have a leak and discover its location.
The Bucket Test
Many pool owners do the bucket test to check the integrity of their swimming pool.
Take a 5-gallon bucket, fill it up with water, and place it on the swimming pool steps. Using a waterproof marker, mark the level of the water on the inside of the bucket. Also, mark the water level in your swimming pool.
Turn off your swimming pool equipment and wait for 24 hours, during which time you should avoid swimming. Make sure it doesn’t rain during that time, as this would skew the test results.
After 24 hours, go back to the swimming pool and see how much water has evaporated from the bucket and the swimming pool. If the water levels have dropped at the same speed and to the same level, you have no leakage. If your swimming pool level is much lower than the bucket one, then you may have a leak.
Check the Swimming Pool Equipment
Many equipment pieces are involved in your swimming pool’s proper functioning: the lining, plumbing, pipes, shell, plaster, accessories, and skimmer—just to name a few.
Turn the equipment on and off to see whether the leak continues. For example, if you turn the pump off and notice that the water continues leaking, then you have a problem that is not related to the pump. Do the same with every piece of equipment to identify the problem source.
Alternatively, turn off all equipment. If the problem stops, turn it back on one part at a time and see when it reappears.
Does the Water Stabilize at a Specific Level?
If the water stabilizes at a particular level and stops leaking, then your problem is somewhere above that water level. Perhaps it’s a crack in the tiles or the lining or some other problem above that water level. Examine the walls carefully for cracks or holes.
The Dye Test
If you see a crack and wonder whether water is seeping through, do the dye test to locate any leaks inside the swimming pool:
- First, buy some food dye.
- Turn off the swimming pool pump and wait until the water is perfectly still.
- Use a syringe to let a minuscule amount of dye drop in the water without splashing. If there is no leak, the dye will simply float on the swimming pool water surface. If there is a leak, however, then the dye will be sucked like a current toward it.
What If I Don’t Fix My Swimming Pool Leak?
Even if you don’t mind the increased water bill, you should be concerned about your pool’s structural integrity. Leaking water could undermine the pool’s foundation and cause stability and structural problems.
A water leak can also cause a short circuit that could damage the electrical components of your pump, filter, and other accessories.
Additionally, water can damage your pool deck and the surrounding pool area.
By fixing any leaks early, you ensure your pool’s long life and avoid huge expenses down the line when the damage is irreversible or very expensive.