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.  The delight imbued by the energetic swirls of a whirlpool in a hot tub, or the ripples from a backstroke entice us to join in the fun, to flow with the water.

But sometimes water in a pool becomes more venturesome and seeks an outlet in its bid to find freedom. A keen eye on the depth gauge in a pool, though, can enlighten you on the presence of a pool leak any time.

A leak will be indicated by a sharp drop in the water level that cannot be explained even in the presence of a recirculating pump. Knowing the actual location of the leak is crucial as it helps you fix it in time and get back to using it.

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 on 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 into their intestines, and whipping their brains out.

Usually pool fittings like the gaskets, sealing washers in valves, pumps, filters, skimmers and 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 help you locate 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.

Locating A Leak

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 dry suit, or a wetsuit at the minimum. You will also require a leak detection dye that follows the flow of water in order 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 round 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 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.

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 really is no time for the DIY.

If you are really adventurous, you can attempt to include a vinyl patch on your liner, 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 their 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 Vinyl Lined Pool Leak

Convenient DIY tools from a hardware store can make fixing a leak enjoyable, more so because you are doing it in an unfamiliar environment. Additionally, you will concentrate more and most importantly be more careful because you are all alone! Here are the tools you need to fix that leak yourself.

  • 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
  • Suitable pool patch material
  • Pool putty
  • Plaster
  • A piece of cloth
  • Wet suit or dry suit

To do a DIY

  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.

Fixing 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
  • Wet or dry suit

Doing the DIY

  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 of 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 a light pressure to seal out air from the crack.
  11. Scrape off any excess bonding agent using a cloth.
  12. Resurface.

Fixing 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

Here is what you need to do.

  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 polyester mixture to crack area, and allow it to fill the crack completely.
  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.

Fixing An Above The Ground Pool Leak

You own one of those pools hanging from the balcony and are upset by the fact that you have to bring it down? No need! An above ground pool leak can be rectified easily.

Just use the quick tips below and your pool will be just fine. But first things first, let’s locate the leak!

  • Check all the piping, filters, pump, skimmer, or the light fittings for possible leaks in order to identify the leak. A simple tightening of valves, replacing of bolts and nuts, can do the trick.

Seeking to do a simple pressure test on the pipes to check if there is a leak?

  • A pressure test can be done by “pressurizing” the pipe. This simply involves filling the pipe with water and checking for leaks. Any silicone based bonding agent can bond pipes that have splinted or been punctured by a passing driven motor.

Pool leak detection, especially on stock tanks and spool pools, is even much easier because they are located outdoor. If a spool pool is having one, however, locating the leak will involve checking the leak integrity on any other feature attached to it.

Most above the ground pools are less than 2 meters deep. You, therefore, don’t need to dive down there for inspection. In fact, with enough underwater lighting, you should be able to see the punctures, gashes, or cracks that have developed on the liner, or on the wall.

Again streaking out a leak-test dye from a syringe on a suspected location will reveal the leak.

Fixing The Leak

To fix a leak on an above ground pool, you need the following:

  • Face protection gear, which includes a snorkel and eye goggles
  • Gloves
  • Vinyl patches (for vinyl liners)
  • Epoxy hardener, and epoxy resin (for concrete and plaster pools)
  • Pool putty
  • Plaster
  • A DIY assembly kit, with a paring chisel, a wire brush, a trowel and hypochlorite bleach.

Follow the procedure used in fixing the in-ground leak of vinyl-lined pool or concrete pools with the added benefit of you having not to swim, or dive!

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 fee may add 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.

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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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!