It’s not the most common problem, but it is one of the scariest and the hardest to pin down. A spa or swimming pool leak can happen for several reasons. And some are harder to solve than others. However, the first step in fixing a swimming pool leak is just determining that the pool is, in fact, leaking. That can be more challenging than it may sound. Even a pool in good condition may experience shifts in water levels based on evaporation or splashout. Leaks can also be very gradual, so you may not even notice the change. But ignoring a leak can lead to increased utility bills and worse damage to your pool or spa.
Discovering a Swimming Pool Leak
In some cases, the first sign that there is a problem is the rapid change in your pool or spa’s water level. In that case, it is pretty clear that something is wrong. But other times, the change may be gradual and hard to notice. That’s why it’s important to include some leak detection strategies in your regular maintenance routine.
The easiest way to notice if there is a swimming pool leak is by checking the water level regularly. In many jurisdictions, commercial pools are required to have water-level gauges.
If you notice the water level changing, walk around your swimming pool and carefully inspect for any noticeable cracks. Also, check all the fittings and pipes that you can access to see if any water is getting out.
One telltale sign of a leak is a patch of grass near your pool that is greener than the surrounding area. Overly fertile patches often indicate an underground leak that is providing extra water for the grass above.
Regular Monitoring for Swimming Pool Leaks
Every two or three pool maintenance sessions—about once a week—take a walk around all of your exposed pool equipment. The first place to check for leaks is around the exposed plumbing of your pool. Look around your pump, your heater, and all the pipes. Pay special attention to pipe fittings and joints. Feel the pipe fittings to see if they feel wet to the touch. Also, keep an eye out for rust marks or corrosion that could indicate the presence of water. Check the area underneath and around your pool equipment and pipes for signs of water. Look for overgrown vegetation or spongey patches of ground.
Leaks also tend to happen in places that are difficult to access, so detecting and repairing them can be tricky. Here’s how leaks are detected by swimming pool service professionals in Atlanta, like The Pool Butler:
Professional Swimming Pool Leak Detection
If you think you have a leak but are unsuccessful in locating it, call The Pool Butler. A swimming pool professional from The Pool Butler can use special equipment, such as cameras and microphones, to find the swimming pool leak. They may also use dyes to check the flow of water within your pool or spa to see if any water is exiting directly from the pool.
Leaks can cause a number of issues, so it is important not to ignore a potential leak. Just like a leaky faucet or pipe in your home, a leak in a swimming pool or spa that starts small may not stay small. Often, small leaks become big leaks. When that happens, the damage and the repair become more costly and time-consuming.
Detecting Spa Leaks
Spa leaks can be especially hard to locate, but they are usually caused by faulty seals and broken connections in the piping. Swimming pool professionals like The Pool Butler use state of the art equipment to find the leaks, but they can also use something simple like food coloring in the water.
Separating Evaporation from Leaks
During the warm summer months—and even on cool but sunny winter days—your pool can lose water to evaporation. You can use a pool cover to minimize evaporation, but as long as your pool is open, some water will evaporate. Splashout is also a non-leak source of water loss. So even if your pool is not leaking, you will need to add water from time to time.
If you’re not sure if the water you are losing is due to a leak of just natural evaporation, you can try the bucket test. To perform the bucket test, you will need a 5-gallon bucket. Place the bucket on the second step of your swimming pool entrance so that it is partially submerged. Fill the bucket with water until it is level with the pool water around it. Turn off your pool pump and wait 24 hours.
After 24 hours, check if the water level in the bucket is still equal to the swimming pool. If the swimming pool water level is lower than the water level in the bucket, then the pool is losing water to a swimming pool leak in addition to evaporation.
If the water level remains equal, but you still think you have a leak, repeat the test with the pump on. After 24 hours, if the water level drops faster when the pump is on, the leak is likely in your plumbing.
You can also keep checking the water level for any rapid changes. A good idea is to mark the water level with a water-resistant writing utensil and check after 24 hours. If the water has gone down a quarter of an inch or more, then there’s a good chance you have a leak.
Never Ignore a Leak
When it comes to leaks, the most important thing is identifying that there’s a problem as soon as possible. That’s why every pool owner should have their water level checked regularly. If you feel comfortable doing it yourself, check at least once a week. Keep notes so you can compare week to week. If you want professional help, a Pool Butler professional can check your water level as part of a regular maintenance schedule.
Even if you check the water level yourself, when you suspect that there’s a leak you need professional help. Call a swimming pool professional like The Pool Butler right away. You need to fix the leak before the problem gets even bigger and more expensive.
It is always a good idea to have your pool inspected by a professional. The Pool Butler offers pool inspection and maintenance services in Atlanta. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, contact us online or call us at 770-439-2644.