Pool leaks and water loss issues not only increase your water bill but will also increase pool chemicals and balancing required for maintaining pool chemistry as well as increasing risk of equipment and surface damage or introducing damaging metals through water source.
Do I have a leak in my pool?
Some pool leaks or water loss may not be obvious and perhaps you are not sure if there is in fact a leak present. Daily evaporation rates and splash out of pool water (if applicable) must be taken in account particularly in warmer climates or pools in full sun. A daily evaporation rate of 6mm per day is around average in Queensland.
This is how it works – Fill a bucket with water to about 3cm to the top and place on a step in your pool. With the pool pump off, mark on the bucket or measure (from fixed point) both water levels. Resume normal operation for 24 hours, then compare the two levels. The measured amount lost inside the bucket is the evaporation rate. If the water level dropped measurably more in the pool than in the bucket, there is excess water loss and almost certainly a leak present.
How to find a pool leak
Most leaks are easily found and rectified, though if you have decided not to call a professional then it is important check for all safety hazards before proceeding.
Inspect and test of all visible operating equipment and plumbing as this is the most common area of pool leaks, particularly when installed below pool water level.
Closely inspect pool surfacing, skimmer box and features for cracks, holes or movement. Pressure testing or the use of dye in tracing water loss and testing hydrostatic valves can also be implemented in detecting underground leaks. Wet or soggy patches of garden or drainage may also help identify such leaks.
Other information, such as when water loss started to occur, if water loss increases during operation, has there been recent works on or around pool and further pool history are helpful indicators for detecting leaks and providing solutions.
How do I fix a pool leak?
Now you have detected the pool leak you can perform the relevant leak repair method. When repairing leaks in plumbing and pool equipment it is important to ensure items are fully replaced where possible and not just patched up. A patch up job over leaking plumbing or equipment is only going to be a temporary solution.
Most water loss issues and leaks can be rectified without draining or dropping pool water levels. Check for existing valves in pool equipment and plumbing which may be useful to isolate areas in need of repair. Isolation or pressure testing plugs may also be required for sufficient repairs.
Leaks in pool walls, floors or other underground areas can also be repaired without draining pool levels. Depending on the pool surface type and nature of damage, leak repair products are available which can be applied underwater. Other methods, such as excavation may also be required in some instances and as with all technical leak repairs we recommend these be carried out by an industry professional.
How to drain your pool
Stop! Do not drain your pool unless absolutely necessary. A pool can be damaged or even collapse when empty. Structural load, ground weight and water tables can all exert load and pressure with major damage possible. Surfacing can also become damaged or stained if the a pool remains empty for long periods, in some cases finished surfacing can break away from the pool shell.
Experienced pool repairers or builders should always by entrusted for such tasks and if pool draining has been advised then this may be a useful period to remove stubborn surface stains and carry out other resurfacing or renovation works.
Some pools are easily drained through existing pool plumbing and waste functions. Others may require the use of a submersible pump and hose, which you can get from most hire companies. Remember you need to adhere to your local council laws regarding waste water. For example some councils may allow waste water to enter sewer and others may require water to be pumped into a water truck for disposal or treatment.
It is important to carry out repairs as soon as possible, because the risk of pool damage increases the longer a pool is empty. Once repairs and applicable testing is completed the pool can be refilled, ensuring that source water is suitable and balanced to recommended levels. Finally it is essential that a pool maintenance program, adapted to include inspection of repairs and operating equipment is regularly conducted along with other necessary maintenance procedures.