What to do and where to look to find the leak
A typical pool will lose 1/8” to ¼” of water each day due to evaporation, anything more than that could possibly be a leak.
There are a couple ways to measure water loss in the pool. The best way is to fill a bucket to the brim with pool water and place it on the steps or the sunniest side of the pool. Mark the outside and check it 24 hours later. This test must be conducted with the pump on, then again with it off, to be sure. You can also mark the water level of the pool at the skimmer using a piece of tape or a waterproof utensil and check it 24 hours later. If it’s more than ¼ inch gone, you’ve probably got a leak.
How to locate the source of the leak
If you do believe you have a leak, the next step is to find out where it’s coming from. Check every nook and cranny: all the equipment, the filter, the pump, the heater, the pipe valves, etc. You’ll want to check the ground for moisture and the surrounding area around the pool for any wet spots. If you have a vinyl pool, check for tears or separations on every square inch. You want to be as thorough as possible in order to determine if you do indeed have a leak and find out where it’s coming from.
Pay attention to these points of interest in particular during your examination.
- The skimmer or filtration system: Is the water stopping at the bottom of the skimmer opening? The leak is likely in the skimmer or filtration system, including the pipes. Are there air bubbles in the return line’s water when the pump is running? That means there’s probably a leak in the suction side of the filtration system. If the pool loses more water while the pump is running, then it’s in the plumbing.
- The light: Does the water stop at the light? It’s probable the leak is at the light housing.
Fixing a leak in your pool
Some leaks, such as those in the skimmer, can be fixed using pool putty.
Liners can be patched with a vinyl liner patch kit. Others, however, such as those in your pool lights, are more difficult, and might require a professional hand.
However, in some cases you may not be able to fix – or even find – a leak, and if that happens you’ll want to call in for reinforcements. Pool maintenance professionals can locate and repair any leaks and it’s definitely worth the few dollars spent to know you’ve had a surefire solution for the issue.