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Is My Swimming Pool Leaking?

Posted by Debbie S on

For many years I was in the leak detection business with my late husband.  We started detecting leaks in homes, businesses and swimming pools.  Soon we eliminated the businesses and homes and gave our focus strictly  to swimming pools.  So how do you know if your swimming pool is leaking?  Sometimes the water seems to disappear faster than other times.  1/8" - 1/4" per day is customary in the summer months.  Water WILL evaporate at a much faster rate when it is windy. 

When dealing with customers regarding leak detection I would start by asking this one question, "Is your water level dropping faster when the pump is running or is it constant with the pump on or off?"  If I got an answer that the water disappears much faster when the pump is running that usually indicated a pressure side leak, meaning the water is being pushed out one of the pipes as the water is returning to the pool from the equipment.  Notice I said "usually", nothing is for sure until you test the system.

You could be leaking around your pool filter or at a fitting near the equipment, of course these would be visible and easy for you to see.  Your skimmer could have settled just a bit from ground movement and there could be a small leak at the mouth of the skimmer, this is an easy fix....usually.  

Since evaporation can vary depending on the weather I will give you a simple test to see if you have a leak in your swimming pool.  

First: get a large bucket or medium plastic garbage can. Place the container on the top step of the pool, you will need to put water in the container to keep it from popping up, fill it to near the top.  Once the container is situated on the top step carefully mark the OUTSIDE of the bucket with a permanent marker or piece of duct tape.  This mark is indicating where the pool water is touching the outside of the container.  Now mark the INSIDE of the bucket in the same fashion, marking the water level inside the bucket.

Leave the container alone for 2-3 days, no swimming allowed during this period.  Keep your dog from drinking out of the container. Allow the pump to run its regular schedule.

After 2-3 days, or you can check daily, inspect the container and measure how much water has evaporated out of the bucket.  Now, measure how many inches you have lost on the outside of the bucket, from the mark you made to the current water level.  

If the water loss in the bucket is very close to the water loss measured on the outside of the bucket there is no potential problem.  If the water loss on the outside of the bucket is more than the inside of the bucket by more than 1/2 inch you need to proceed in having your pool tested for a leak.

Check with several companies to see what their pricing is.  You want to be sure they will do a "pressure test" on all the swimming pool plumbing, "dye test" around the return fittings and the skimmer mouth.  And make sure they have the proper, up to date equipment to locate the leak underground, usually sonar.  There may be an extra charge if they have to dive in the pool and check the main drain, which is in the bottom of the pool. 

Good luck! Let's hope there is not a swimming pool leak!!!

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Happy & Safe Swimming~