When Does Your Pool Need a Leak Detection?

Family enjoying their pool

It is natural to lose water due to evaporation from your swimming pools. Water loss from evaporation will vary depending on your location and the weather conditions. Many pool owners call us when their pool has significant water loss and they can't find a leak at the pool equipment. If you routinely lose more than two inches of water per day, it is probably more than just water evaporation. They have questions; how much water loss indicates an underground leak?, what do I need to do is I suspect an underground leak?, how do you find it and how do you fix it?

We want to take a moment to help you understand underground pool leaks and the need for leak detection services.A beach ball

Eliminate the Possibility of Simple Equipment Leaks Before Going With the Pros

  • Pool owners should regularly visually inspect their equipment and surrounding areas to catch visible leaks early on. Take note of any puddles or soggy soil, dripping pipes, changes in ground level, or increased water run-off. Some of these issues can also be caused by sprinkler systems, so if you notice these signs check your water level regularly to help isolate the issue.
  • Let us know if you can see any cracks/blemishes in your plaster or pool floor.
  • If you have a DE or sand filter (not cartridge) and want to be a little handy to possibly save yourself some money, we can walk you through how to check your “P” trap and listen for dribbling in your backwash pipe. This would indicate a leak that is leading to the sewer line and often has no indications other than water loss.

How Much Water Are You Losing in 24 Hours?

  • 1/3 of an inch or more indicates a leak. If you’re not sure, try this trick: Fill your pool to halfway up your waterline tile (the optimum water level for all pools) and place a piece of duct-tape so the bottom edge just barely touches the water. Come back 24 hours later and measure where the water line sits in association to the duct-tape. To be especially thorough, (weather permitting) have the pool equipment run 24 hours on and 24 hours off, measuring in between. This information helps determine whether the leak is in the structure or the equipment and can save you money by providing data that can eliminate unsuccessful detection techniques. (This trick is similar to the “bucket test” but with more common and fewer materials.)
  • If you have an auto-fill, you will likely notice that your water bill will raise significantly. Turn off the auto-fill before doing any tests to determine whether your pool’s water loss is a symptom of a leak.

Some Things to Know:

  • Take notice if your water level stabilizes at a particular level, this can help pinpoint your problem.
  • NEVER allow your pump to run if the water level falls below the skimmer line. This can cause air to be sucked into the pump and burn out the motor; causing costly repairs. You can close your skimmer valve and run the pump on the main drain only if you choose to watch for a stabilization level.
  • Empty or very low pools are a major hazard. Take precautions to firstly ensure no one falls in and gets hurt, especially children. Secondarily, ensure that no debris can fall in and scratch your plaster, and that your water has balanced chemicals to prevent algae/bacteria growth.

How Is a Professional Leak Detection Performed?

  • Leak detections are performed by specialists with special equipment that monitor the flow of water underground.
  • Leak detection specialists will usually close different valves to push the water flow to specific areas of the pool system.
  • Pools will leak through plumbing fittings, light fixtures, the pool shell, main drain, or even your skimmer.
  • Some leak detections will require a dye test to see where the leak may be in the shell.
  • Sensitive sound sensors and systems can locate an underground leak within close proximity but the ground density may prohibit locating the exact place

How Are Underground Leaks Repaired?

  • Not all underground leaks require you to drain your pool or expensive excavation.
  • A good pool professional will provide you with a plan to repair the leak.

ASP - America's Swimming Pool Company of Dallas provides professional underground leak detection if you suspect that you have a need. Call us (214) 740-3814 or message us from the website to discuss this further.