Leak Detection and Repair|
Your pool will naturally lose
some water to evaporation, some to splashout and some to backwash
wastewater. You may also gain water from rainfall. The rule of thumb is
that if you're routinely adding more than two inch of water to your pool
per week, you may have a leak. (that is worth spending some time and money
Pools are meant to be
watertight, of course, but sealants will deteriorate, while other parts of
your pool shift and settle, or just plain wear out. Pools can leak through
any of the fittings or accessories, plumbing or even right through the
shell. It is important to repair leaks, not only to save water, heat and
chemicals, but also to prevent undermining pool structural components, and
washing away fill dirt.
Leak detection is a highly
specialized branch of the industry.
If you suspect a leak;
look at the following things before calling for service:
- Is the pool leaking only
with the equipment on? This may indicate a pressure side (return)
leak. With the filter pump on, the plumbing on the pressure side
is...under pressure. This can open up small drips into spraying gushers.
Check the waste or backwash line for water running all the time. One
inch of your pool water can equal 500 gallons.
- Is the pool leaking only
with the equipment off? This usually indicates a suction side
leak. With the filter pump on, the plumbing on the suction side is under
vacuum; air can be drawn in through otherwise leaking voids. You may
notice air in the pump basket (if you have a clear lid), air bubbling
out of the return lines or air repeatedly built up inside the filter
tank. Use tape or a pencil to mark water levels. Is the pump basket lid
on tight with a good, lubed o-ring?
- Does the pool leak all
the time? This does not rule out leaks in the plumbing, but turns a
suspicious eye on the shell of the pool, looking for cracks in the
plaster or tears in the vinyl. Look closely at the tile line, and look
real closely inside of the skimmer's). The most common leak we
fix is a separation between the plastic skimmer and the concrete pool.
This is easily fixed with some pool putty. If you see something that
looks like a crack, drop some of your pH indicator test reagent
near it with pump shut off and water still. See if the dye is sucked
into the crack. Under water lights can and do leak. Especially the
conduit that runs from the light niche to the junction box. Filling the
opening of the conduit, in the back of the light niche with putty,
silicone or caulk is a way to fix this problem.
- Are there leaks at the
equipment pad? Look closely at the filter, pump, heater and
valves. Check the ground for moisture. Turn the pump on and off, looking
closely for spraying water when the pump is turned off.
- Does the water seem to
stabilize at any particular level? You may be able to close the skimmer
valve and allow the water level to drop below the skimmer. If it keeps
going, we can rule out the skimmer (although there can always be more
than one leak). The underwater light is a common leak source. If the
water stabilizes, dye test around this level very carefully. Look for
small debris which may have been sucked into the crack or void. This is
a good indication of a leak.
- Are there any wet areas
around the pool? Take a walk around the pool's edge, and between the
pool and the equipment pad. Check for wet soil and eroded areas.
- Is your pool a vinyl
liner? If so, there are special considerations. Look for sinkholes where
sand under the liner may have washed away. Look for tears or separations
around all fittings: skimmer, returns, cleaner line, etc. Pay close
attention to steps and corners, where the liner may be stretched more
than normal. If an animal had the misfortune to fall in your pool, you
may notice claw marks (tears) just below the water line. Spending time
under water with a mask on may be required to find a small leak in the
liner. When liners become old, they may have many pinhole leaks. There
can always be more than one leak
Unsure of your evaporation
rate? Place a bucket of water beside the pool and mark both. After 24
hours, check the loss of both. If the pool loses more, then there's a leak