DIY Pool Leak Tests

Swimming pools naturally lose water; some splashes out, some backwashes into the filter, and some is lost to evaporation. This natural water loss is about ¼ inch per day and no more than 2 inches per week. If you are routinely adding more water than this to your pool, you have a leak. But, before you can fix the leak, you’ve got to find it. Here are a few DIY techniques for locating a swimming pool leak in Sacramento:

Step 1: Narrow your search

You’ve got basically three choices for leak locations: the return line, the suction line skimmer or the main drain line, or something in the interior of the pool like the lights or the shell. One simple test will help you narrow your search to one.

First, set up a test bucket. This will help you monitor the water level in your pool. Place a weighted bucket filled with pool water on the second pool step. The water level in the bucket should be the same as the water level outside the bucket. Mark the internal and external water levels with tape or a grease pen.

Second, run the pump for 24 hours and then mark the external water level on the bucket. This lets you know how much water the pool lost while the pump was running. Next, turn the pump off and wait 24 hours to measure the water level again. Now you know two pieces of information: how much water your pool loses with the pump on and how much water your pool loses with the pump off.

  • Water loss with pump running > Water loss with pump off = a leak in the return line
  • Water loss with pump running < Water loss with pump off = a leak in either the skimmer line or the main drain line
  • Water loss with pump running = Water loss with pump off = a leak in the interior of the pool

Now you know whether you have a structural problem or a problem with your plumbing. Call your pool repair company for plumbing leaks, but, for pool interior problems, you can do a bit more digging.

Step 2: Get Wet

If your bucket test reveals that the source of your leak is in the interior of the pool, your most likely culprits are cracks in the lining, cracks in the tile or grout, skimmer leaks, and light leaks. It’s time to put on your swimsuit, goggles, and snorkel and get a bit wet.

  • Shut off the filter
  • Grab a bottle of dye or food coloring
  • Get in the pool, trying not to make lots of waves
  • Release the dye in small bursts underwater near potential leak spots.
  • If the dye gets sucked into the crack or opening, you know you’ve found your leak.

Step 3: Make Repairs

Pool repair professionals are best equipped to make lasting, effective pool repairs. Call the experts today so you can get back to enjoying your pool.

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