How To Locate And Fix A Pool Leak


The lifestyle of a fluid is to flow. At least that is one of the reasons why we are attracted to it.  But sometimes the pool water becomes more venturesome and seeks an outlet in its bid to find freedom. A keen eye on the pool’s depth gauge, though, can enlighten you on the presence of a pool leak.

Knowing the actual location of the leak is crucial as it helps you fix it in time and get back to using your pool. In this article, we will show you how to find a leak in an above ground pool and in-ground pool. We will also show you how to fix the leak. 

Why Does It Leak?

Pool owners know that in the long run, leak detection and subsequent fixing is better than allowing that water to be on the rerun, because it saves them on chemical use, and reduces the strain on the pump.

Whether your pool is structured with concrete, shotcrete, vinyl, or fiberglass shells, a crack can widen to impact heavily the stability of the pool.  Before the crack widens to cause buckling in other areas of the pond, you might like to think about mending the crack, as compared to constructing another pool later

A hanging pool will have the risk of generating unimaginable catastrophes. You really can’t imagine a situation where a leak from a high-pressured hose suddenly whisks away from its attachment, and lash out at people like an anaconda, penetrating their intestines, and whipping their brains out.

Usually, pool fittings like the gaskets, sealing washers in valves, pumps, filters, skimmers, and pool heaters have their sell-by-dates. The threading on pipes may give way, or rot, due to normal wear.

In whichever way it occurred, when you are faced with a leak, a fast and long-lasting remedy has to be initiated. We have prepared a pool leak detection guide for you, to show you how to find leaks in above ground pool or in-ground pool and fix the leak effectively and on time. Let’s dive right in!

A Leak, Rain, or Fancy?

You can locate a leak by following the following simple steps.

  1. Get a bucket and fill it with water
  2. Mark the level of the water in the bucket.
  3. Put it at the shallow end of the pool.
  4. Mark the level of the pool water on the bucket.
  5. Compare the two levels after 24 hours.

If the two levels have changed with equal margins, the loss is due to evaporation.

If the level of the water in the bucket has changed with a larger margin, there was rain last night. However, if that of the water in the pond has changed with a larger margin, the pool is leaking.

How to Locate a Leak in An In-Ground Pool

You will require diving equipment to spot a leak in the pool. For proper pool leak detection, you need some accessories like goggles, flippers, good gloves and a snorkel, a comfortable drysuit, or a wetsuit at the minimum. You will also require a leak detection dye that follows the flow of water to isolate a leak. Here is how to go about it:

  1. Check on the above water areas of the pond for evidence of a leak, like wetness or cracks.
  2. Check all around the skimmer, filter, pump, and drain inlet; especially around the three-way valve, seals, washers, and covers, for signs of dripping or wetness.
  3. Switch off the recirculating pump.
  4. If no crack or puncture is visible, get ready to dive.
  5. Flip in your scuba diving gear and a wetsuit or a dry suit.
  6. Slip in the detection dye in the pocket of your wetsuit.
  7. Locate possible areas where the leak may be coming from on the wall and in the ground liner.
  8. For each of the location identified, do the following:
  • Reduce water movement at the suspected point to a minimum.
  • Get the detection dye and streak out a few drops near the location. If there is a leak, the colored dye will move toward it.
  • Repeat for all suspected locations until you locate the leak (or leaks).
  1. Swim back to the surface.

How to Fix a Leak in an In-Ground Pool

Now that you have identified the location of the leak, you can choose to repair it yourself or call for some backup. Look for a plumber, who offers the services of leak repair in pools, near you, if you find there is no time for the DIY.

If you are adventurous, you can attempt to patch up the fiberglass, or plaster out your concrete wall or floor, to stop the leaking pool.

An in-ground pool requires more of your effort because you cannot access its outer walls. Therefore, it is hard to detect where the leak is, as compared to an above-ground tank where a simple check on the walls and the ground can enable a pool leak detection.

Fixing A Leak on A Plaster, Shotcrete, or Concrete Pool

To fix any of the above pools, assemble the following material and equipment.

  • A DIY assembly kit with a paring chisel, a wire brush, and a trowel. You can add a bottle of hypochlorite bleach, about two 50 ml syringes.
  • Diving gears
  • Pool patch material
  • Pool putty
  • Plaster
  • Underwater repair epoxy resin
  • Underwater epoxy hardener
  • A piece of cloth
  • Wetsuit or drysuit

A Step by Step Guide

  1. Read the instructions on the epoxy hardener and resin before use.
  2. Shove in the wire brush, chisel, and bleach into your wetsuit.
  3. Using a syringe, suck out equal quantities of epoxy resin and epoxy hardener.
  4. Put them in your wetsuit pocket.
  5. Dive into the area of the pool where the leak is located.
  6. Dip the wipe cloth into the bleach and wipe off the area of the leak.
  7. Widen the crack, slightly using a pairing chisel.
  8. Using a wire brush, scrape off the algae that will have accumulated.
  9. Apply both the epoxy hardener and the resin onto the crack.
  10. Apply light pressure to seal out air from the crack.
  11. Scrape off any excess bonding agent using a cloth.
  12. Resurface.

Fixing a Leak in a Fiberglass Pool

Fiberglass-lined pools need to be drained before repair. You will require the following to succeed.

  • A disc sander
  • Brush cleaner
  • Trowel
  • Bucket
  • Acetone
  • Polyester resin and polyester filler

Step by Step Guide

  1. Switch off the recirculating pump and drain the pool a day before the fixing.
  2. Assemble all the material and equipment you need.
  3. Sand around the crack to remove loose chaffing and sand.
  4. Dip a brush cleaner into acetone and wipe the area.
  5. Using a trowel, mix the polyester resin and filler in a bucket, using a ratio of 1:3 by volume.
  6. Apply the polyester mixture to the crack area, and allow it to fill the crack.
  7. Let bonding occur for at least one hour.
  8. Collect your tools and material and get out of the pond.
  9. Refill the pond and turn on the recirculating pump.

How to Find A Leak in An Above Ground Pool

Above-ground pools, just like in-ground pools, do suffer from leaks. If you are new to finding leaks on an above-ground pool, the entire process may be complicated for you. However, with a step by step guide, things should be much easier. 

In this section, we will show you how to find a leak in an above ground pool. Once you learn how to find a leak in an Intex pool, we will go ahead and show you how to fix the leak. 

Check the Equipment First 

When finding a leak in your above ground pool, you must check your pool’s equipment first. A common mistake that people who are learning how to find a leak in the above ground pool makes is checking the pool inside first.

The hardest place to find a leak is somewhere in the vinyl liner. Hence, to avoid frustrations, be sure to check the equipment first by following the steps below:

  • Clean the Equipment Area 

If the pool filter or pump area is overgrown or cluttered, clean it first. Pull out the weeds and store the outdoor items, pool toys, mulch/rocks away from the equipment. 

  • Turn the Pump On 

Some leaks tend to leak more when the pool pump is on. Since it will be much easier to see the bigger leaks, you will want to turn the pump on. 

  • Check for Wetness Signs 

The water is wet. It stands to reason that any wetness signs are the best indicators of a possible leak. 

  • Look Closely at Everything 

What we mean by this is that you need to get down on your knees and hands and look at the fittings, lids, hoses, and all other components for drips. Have a dry swim towel with you just in case something happens to be questionable. Wipe the area dry and check for new signs of wetness. 

  • Inspect the Skimmer and the Return At the Pool Wall 

The return and the pool skimmer box are 2 common areas for leaks. Since water travels down due to gravity, look directly under the skimmer box and return for signs of leaking. If you are not sure, use the towel to dry the component and then check for wetness again. 

Check the Vinyl Liner

If the steps above did not help you locate the leak, you will have to check the vinyl pool liner. Below, we will show you how to find leaks in the above ground pool liner. Keep in mind that this task may not be the easiest – you will need some patience to find the leak: 

  • Inspect the Pool Bottom Inside While Standing Outside

Before you inspect the bottom, you will need to turn the pump off and allow the water to get completely still. This will allow you to see the bottom clearly. 

Most above ground pools have earth or sand-based coving. When a leak exists in the liner, water usually leaks somewhere underneath your pool. In most cases – but not all – the leaking water will travel through the earth/sand bottom leaving small valleys in a bottom that was once flat. The washed away areas under the pool are visible and can tell you where a leak is on the liner. 

  • Check the Pool Outside 

While still outside your pool, check the outside bottom of the pool. If you are learning how to find a leak in an Intex pool and the outside bottom is covered, dig around the wall to expose the bottom track. Look for signs of excessive wetness close to your pool – this will be a sign of a leak. 

  • Get in the Pool 

However, before getting in, clean your above-ground pool and vacuum it. You will be looking for a small hole in your above ground pool liner – hence, dirt and leaves sitting at the bottom can make it tougher to locate. 

Have a good dive mask or goggles and an applicator filled with dye or food coloring. It would also be nice to have a free diver’s weight belt to keep you down in the water. Before getting in, the pool pump should be off. 

A hole can be anywhere in the liner, but the majority of the time it will be bottom close to the walls of the pool. Before you can learn how to find a leak in an above ground pool at the bottom, you will need to put on your mask, take a deep breath and swim to the bottom, getting up-close and personal with the pool liner. 

Inspect any small valleys and divots available at the bottom. If you see what might look like a hole, shoot some of the dye you have in your applicator and see if it draws in the hole. If it does, you have just found the leak. 

If you do not find leaks on the pool liner’s bottom, check around the pool where the wall meets the pool’s bottom. Finally, check the pool wall, starting from the bottom and moving towards the pool top. 

How to Fix a Leak in Above Ground Pool 

Now that you know how to find a leak in above ground pool, the next thing you may want to know is how to fix the leak. If you noticed a leak on the fittings, a simple tightening of valves, replacing bolts and nuts, can do the trick.

If, however, you noticed a leak in the vinyl liner, you will need to follow the steps below to fix it: 

The Necessary Tools

  • A DIY assembly kit that has a paring chisel, a wire brush, and a trowel. You can throw in a bottle of your favorite hypochlorite bleach.
  • Diving gear
  • The suitable pool patch material
  • Pool putty
  • Plaster
  • A piece of cloth
  • Wetsuit or drysuit

Step by Step Guide

  1. Shove in the bleach, chisel, and wire brush into your wetsuit.
  2. Dive into the area where you located the leak.
  3. Wipe off the area using a wipe cloth dipped into the bleach.
  4. Widen the crack slightly using a pairing chisel.
  5. Scrape off the algae that will have accumulated using a wire brush.
  6. Resurface to prepare the bonding agent.
  7. Mix equal parts of pool putty and plaster to mortar consistency.
  8. Take balls of the bonding agent you just prepared down and push them into the crack.
  9. Plaster them flat using a trowel.
  10. Resurface.
  11. Switch the recirculating pump on.
  12. Alternatively, buying a suitable pool patch will solve the hassle of preparing a bonding agent. There is a wide variety of vinyl patches in the market today that you could get for your vinyl liner.

Points to Ponder About When Doing A DIY

  1. Professional technicians, work with a variety of tools to make their work more efficient. Make sure you are using the right tools for the job and if you can’t get them, seek the help of a professional.
  2. Technician fees may add to your cost of making amendments in your pond, but at the end of the day, you are looking for the long-term enjoyment of your pond.  Unless you are comfortable with repairing leaks after every two years, make sure that your DIY is worth the hassle.
  3. When handling toxic materials like acetone or any other hardware chemicals, wear protective clothing, ensure that there is adequate ventilation, and always read instructions before starting the task.

Plugging the Leak on Your Money

Are you having constant repairs on leakages and rusted fittings? Pocket draining, aren’t they? It’s about time you pulled yourself up and stopped that drain. Here are a few tips to ensuring that your pool is not a money guzzler.

  • Enclose fittings that are easy to access. Also, the lights, stationary skimmers, pumps, and valves should be safe from kicks, throws, push, and knocks from elated visitors.
  • Hang enough signage in proper locations.
  • Provide barriers to access to the area where the fragile accessories like filters and pumps are located.
  • When purchasing accessories, make sure to choose fittings that have hydrostatic relief plugs. Such fittings redirect excess leaked water, back into the pool.
  • Some owners place pressure gauges in the inlet and outlets of the pool to compare pressure differences between two points. It is important to have such gauges as pressure differences can be used to detect a leak on time and therefore fix it before it gets worse.


Q: How Can I Tell Where My Pool Is Leaking?


To tell where a vinyl-lined pool is leaking, check to see if it’s squishy – this suggests a leak at the bottom of the liner. Wherever you suspect a leak, place a few drops of dye or food coloring. If a hole is available, it should draw in the dye/food coloring.

Q: Why is My Above Ground Pool Losing Water?


If the leak is in the equipment, tightening of valves, replacing bolts and nuts, can do the trick. If the leak is on the vinyl liner, you may need to use a vinyl patch to fix the leak – in this article, we have the steps you need to follow.

Q: How Do You Find A Hole in the Bottom of an Intex Pool?


The main causes of water loss in above ground pools are holes in the liner, splashing out, evaporation, and filter leaks. Pool covers can help you eliminate water loss via evaporation. Learning how to find leak in above ground pool and how to fix it should help you eliminate water loss via leakage.

Q: Are Pool Leaks Covered by Homeowners Insurance?


Homeowners Insurance only takes care of pool leaks caused by covered perils. Examples of covered perils include windstorms and fire. This is because home insurance does not pay for damage resulting from tear and wear or lack of proper maintenance.

Q: How Much Does It Cost to Fix A Pool Leak?


The cost of fixing a pool leak starts at $100 and moves upwards with the average cost being $560. Larger pools tend to cost more considering that they often require professional service.

Q: What Is A Suction Side Leak in A Pool?


Suction side leaks usually happen anywhere from the pump to the skimmer – all the PVC connections, valves, and joints in between these areas can have this leak. In the case of a bad suction side air leak, the pump won’t be able to suck water, only air. Suction side leaks starve the pump for water – this leads to various issues, including pump overheating.

Globo Surf Overview

You can locate a pool leak with little effort, especially if you have an above ground pool. To fix a leak, seek the help of a skilled plumber, who is trained in proper pool leak detection and fixing.

Pool owners with enough swimming and diving techniques can reduce the cost of repairing pool leaks, and avoid unnecessary risks later. We hope that the information provided in this guide will help you locate that leak and fix it before it gets out of control. It will help you create the right environment for your pool leak episodes and give you a pond you can cherish. Consequently, you will enjoy the benefits of your pool without the hassles of constant maintenance.

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Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!