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Detecting pool and hot tub leaks to prevent further damage

Paige Williams

If the pool is losing 51 mm (2 in.) or more water a week, it is likely something has gone wrong and there is a leak in the system.
If the pool is losing 51 mm (2 in.) or more water a week, it is likely something has gone wrong and there is a leak in the system.

There are lots of little quirks that come with owning a swimming pool, and one of the tricky ones is they naturally lose water. Whether through evaporation, water getting backwashed, or splashed out of the pool entirely, the water level is likely to ebb for natural reasons. Likewise, the pool gains more water through rainfall, so it should all even out well—unless there is a leak.

If the pool is losing 51 mm (2 in.) or more water a week, it is likely something has gone wrong and there is a leak in the system. Noticing these issues quickly will help one save on water costs, chemicals, and heat while preventing further damage to the pool’s structure. Similarly, the repair will prevent washing away dirt that supports the deck. While sealants are supposed to make the pool watertight, they are prone to wear and tear after some time. Seepages can be from any of the pool fittings, plumbing, or through its shell. Finding the leak is an important step to take in the beginning. After it has been located, there are different steps pool professionals can take—depending on the location of the leak—that will ensure one is taking the appropriate actions.

How to detect a pool or hot tub leak

If the pool is leaking only with the pump on, it may indicate a leak caused by the pressure-side return. This means when the filter pump is on, the plumbing pressure side is considerably under pressure. The result is opening small drips into large spraying gushers. To be sure, one should carefully check the backwash line to ensure the water is running consistently. It is crucial to check downhill where underground leakage is showing. Equally, one should also check for wet spots on the pool’s side where the pipes return water into the pool.

When the pool is leaking only with the equipment off, it indicates a suction-side leak or probably from the plumbing bringing water to the pool. One can easily see air in the pump basket, built-up air on the filter tank, and air bubbles out of the pool’s return lines. For accuracy, one should use a pencil or tape to mark the water levels. If the pool leaks all the time, it could be because of damage to the plumbing, or the pool structure could have plaster cracks or vinyl tears. Check the tile line and skimmers carefully.

Pool equipment can also cause leakages. The filter, heater, pump, and valves can cause water loss and should be thoroughly checked. Water stabilizing at a particular level could also be a sign of seepage. Water that stops at a wall step or fitting is another indicator of leakage. When one notices wet areas around the pool, one should scrutinize them to rule out leakage. Sometimes seepage can be caused by an old or faulty pool liner.

To ascertain pool/hot tub leakage, pool professionals can perform a simple bucket test to check the level of evaporation. First, place a bucket of water beside the hot tub/pool and mark both water levels inside the bucket and in the pool/hot tub. After 24 hours, check water loss in both. If the pool/hot tub loses more water than the bucket, there is a leak somewhere.

Sometimes, seepage can originate from the underground water pipes. The best way to determine if there are leaks is to shut off the plugs and the pump and see if the leakage persists.

When the leak is not noticeable and hard to find, locating it can become challenging. If the pool or hot tub is leaking, it is not worth waiting as this may cause further damage. Therefore, it is important pool experts explain the importance of professional help to homeowners. Not only do leak detection companies have the right equipment and methods to find out if and where the leak may be, they also help homeowners save time and money in the long run.

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