Pool - Spa Leak Detection
Locating the leak, with minimal damage,
Pool and Spa Informational Website
Locating and Fixing Pool and Spa Leaks.
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Locating a pool or spa leak is not always simple.
Dripping dye, into still water, can occasionally
lead to the problem. Often it requires a
professional, using detection gear, to pinpoint the
location. Sometimes, all you need is some Fix
A Leak. Click any image for Product and Ordering
detect and locate a pool leak and make the
necessary repairs? Swimming pool,
spa or hot tub leaks can be the result of
routine wear and tear, carelessness, accidents
or the effects of wintertime conditions. Not all
loss of water can be attributed to a leak.
Losses, due to evaporation, splash out or
backwashing, are normal and are expected.
Excessive water loss, more than 1/4"-1/2" daily,
should be investigated. Products are available
to help determine if there is a leak, where the
leak is located and to help seal the leak. There
are companies that specialize in pool and spa
leak detection and repair. Sometimes the leak
turns out be to in an easily accessible place
and other times it is under decking or the pool
or spa floor. In that case, it may be time for a
professional leak detection service, to help
locate the exact source and minimize any repair
damage. If problems arise, refer to the
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Problem-Solving Information, in a question and
► Major Pool Leak?
Alan, I have a concrete inground pool,
around 17000 gallons. I think? The pump went out and the
pool was sitting for about 5 days while a new one was in
transit. Upon receiving the new pump, I installed it myself.
No big deal- right? Problem is that now when the pump kicks
on it sucks about 2 and a half inches out of the pool in a
4-6 hour span. There is a small leak by the little bowl up
by the valve handle that says filter, backwash, winterize,
etc. And also a small leak by the auto chlorinator. The pump
does build up to 18-20 lbs. of pressure and the jets on the
side are putting out good pressure, and it seems the loss
only occurs when the pump is running. HELP PLEASE. Thanks.
Your pool water loss is about 1000 gallons and is probably
due to a cracked pipe or loose connection, in the return
lines (because the leak is more noticeable when the pump is
running, and is not sucking air into the pump, it is
probably in the pressure not suction side of the plumbing).
Given that this is a major pool leak, nothing short of a
proper repair is likely to solve the problem. I suggest that
you consider a pool leak detection service, to help minimize
the repair efforts, by locating the pool leak. By
pinpointing the location, excavation will be kept to a
minimum. To get a better fix on the actual pool water loss,
multiply the number of square feet of pool surface by 0.62.
Multiply this by the loss in inches and you have the gallons
of water lost. Those drips could not possibly account for
this type of water loss. Nonetheless, they should be fixed.
I hope that this information will prove helpful.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 1/29/2011
Leak Under Decking?
I have a pool leak that loses more
than an inch of water daily. Based on the aerated return
flow, it seems to be located in the return line, furthest
from my filter. I have tried several things, but nothing has
worked. The dealer thinks that it is a cracked pipe, that
resulted from poor winterizing. Given the location of the
pool leak and all of the decking that is around the pool, do
you have a suggestion that will help minimize the repair? I
don't want to have to break up more of the concrete than is
necessary. Thanks for any help.
Craig B., Eastport, NY 7/13/2012
A cracked pipe is subject to change and things could
suddenly change for the worse. I suggest that you call in a
pool leak detection professional. The right techniques make
it possible to minimize the amount of concrete or decking,
that will be involved in the repair effort. This should be
far less expensive, than approaching the location blindly.
Good luck and I hope that I have been helpful.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/14/2012
► Spa Leak
I have a built in spa and I am losing
at least one inch daily. Any suggestions?
Larry G., 12/12/2008
The spa leak could be most anywhere. First check and inspect
all connections that are accessible. Adding Fix A Leak could
help, if the leak is less that 1/8" in diameter. It is worth
a try. If the leak is due to a crack, the line might have to
be replaced or repaired. If you want to avoid digging up the
entire perimeter of the spa, to blindly look for the
problem, you might want to call in a pool-spa leak detection
professional. They use special equipment to locate the leak
and minimize the repair work. Good luck and I hope that this
information proves helpful.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 12/12/2008
► An Unseen
Hole Poked In A Liner?
We have a 24' above ground pool in
which we just installed a new liner. We noticed yesterday
that there is water leaking out on one side of the pool. The
pool is approximately 10 years old and when we replaced the
liner there were no damages to the "shell" of the pool.
Where could the leak be coming from? It looks like it is
leaking around the bottom of the shell. I didn't notice any
damage to that area either. How could the water be leaking
out in that area when there is a new liner in the pool? We
haven't finished filling up the pool yet nor re-installed
the skimmer or pump as we were wanting to resolve this
problem as quickly as we can.
Marie W., 7/23/2010
There could be bad seam. Call the dealer, as he might offer
to repair or replace. You should try locating the leak with
a concentrated dye solution. Some dealers sell this product,
which can help locate a leak. It is dripped into a still
pool and the dye traces the way to the source of the pool
leak. There are also companies that specialize in pool leak
detection, by using specialized equipment. Are you certain
that the liner is the problem? Once you locate the hole in
the liner, repair is simple. Boxer Adhesives makes a line of
vinyl repair kits and patches that you can use. They are
designed to be applied under the water, so draining the pool
will not be necessary. I hope that this information proves
Sincerely. Alan Schuster. 7/23/2010
Thank you for getting back with me. I
truly do not believe that the liner is the problem. The
water is coming out at the base of the wall of the pool.
Before we replaced the liner we noticed the same problem
with the old liner, but we replaced it because the liner was
about 10 years old and we knew that there were some torn
places in the liner. I don't understand how the water could
be leaking out unless there is a hole in the liner. I guess
I'm just assuming that since it is a new liner there would
be no holes. The ground around the pool is really saturated
and I'm at a loss at what could be the problem. Should we do
the dye test and see if maybe the seams are in fact leaking?
Marie W., 7/24/2007
A dye test makes sense. It should point to the location.
Good luck. Alan, 7/24/2007
Just wanted to let you that we think
we have found the problem. Apparently, when we put the hose
in the pool to fill it up, it hit the bottom of the pool and
poked a hole in it under the ladder. We did do the dye test
and the color just sucked right down the hole. We have it
full now, so hopefully everything is a go. That underwater
patch made the repair really easy. Thank you so much for
Marie W., 7/25/2007
► Stains And
A Leaky Pool?
I was elated to find your site. We
have a 12X24 concrete pool not quite 5 years old. We live in
central Florida. My first question is related to the stains
we are experiencing. They began as small light and dark
grayish swirls in one small section of our pool. We went to
our local pool supply store and they recommended a metal
stain remover. It did nothing and since the stains are
growing! They now cover most of the pool floor.
My second question is related to a possible pool leak. We
seem to be losing about an inch of water per day. We thought
it was due to the recent cold temperatures at night.
However, it still seems like an awful lot of water to
evaporate overnight. I've scanned the side tiles for leaks
and used food coloring to determine if there were any leaks
but nothing appeared. How can we determine if there may be a
leak elsewhere, lines, etc? Also, what is the average amount
of pool water loss we should be experiencing? Thanks very
much for anticipated help.
Kathleen, Florida, 3/27/2009
Adding a metal treatment doesn't always work. You might have
to lower the pH to approximately 6.2. Try this. Put about
1/2 pound of pH reducer powder in a white sock and drop onto
a stained area. Leave in place for 15 minutes and then move
around with the vacuum pole. If it works, the problem is
definitely a metal. You can repeat elsewhere or use a stain
removing accessory to siphon an acid solution onto the
stains. Once removed, add a dose of phosphate-free
METALTRAP, which is a true chelating agent. Thereafter, add
monthly or whenever new water is added. Refer to the
archives on "Pool Staining Problems" for more on the
Finding a pool leak isn't always simple. One inch per day is
likely to be a leak. Average pool water loss depends upon
temperature, exposure, wind speed and other variables. A
loss of 1/4"-1/2" per day would be more realistic. The leak
could be in the main drain line or the skimmer lines. A leak
in a suction line, could create aeration in the pool, but
not necessarily a pool water leak. Try this. If you would
like to confirm the extent of the leak do this: place a
plastic bucket with water on the top step of the pool,
adjust the water level to that of the pool and mark the
height of the water level, both in the bucket and in the
pool. The next day determine the water loss in the pool and
in the bucket. The loss in the bucket is due to evaporation.
If the pool lost more, that portion is due to a pool leak.
Close off the skimmer lines at the multiport valve and plug
up the skimmer intakes. If you are still losing water, the
leak is not in the skimmer lines. If it stops leaking, the
problem is in the skimmer line. There are companies that
specialize in detecting pool leaks and can help you locate
the precise source of the problem. In turn, this
minimizes the work necessary to actually reach the site of
the pool leak. A convenient, money-saving alternative that
might work on this type of problem is Fix A Leak. It is
added to the water and, as it recirculates, it starts to
form a crust, on the outside of the pool leak. In a few
days, it hardens and cures into a long-lasting seal. It is
safe for all types of pools. The filter needs to be bypassed
or set to recirculate, so it has no effect on the filter or
other equipment. It is an all mineral product - no gunk!
Good luck and I hope that I have been helpful.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/27/2009
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► A Small
Pool Leak At Best?
I have a 14 x 28 inground kidney
shape cement pool and the pool loses about a 0.25 inch of
water daily. I bought the house last year and had all the
cement in the pool redone. The pool was built in 1975 and
there is a ground drain at the bottom. The piping runs to my
garage, where the pump, filter and heater are. The heater is
very old 1977, the pump is new and so is the filter. Do you
think the cap at the bottom may be loose, so water is
draining out? Let me know what you think.
Mike M., 1/31/2005
A loss of 0.25" per day is not conclusively a pool leak.
Given normal evaporation and splash out loses, that amount
may be within normal expectations. Such a leak would be
quite small. Any leak is somewhere below the level of the
water and given the slowness, might take a considerable time
to reach the level. If you would like to confirm the extent
of the leak do this: place a plastic bucket with water on
the top step of the pool, adjust the water level to that of
the pool and mark the height of the water level, both in the
bucket and in the pool. The next day determine the pool
water loss in the pool and in the bucket. The loss in the
bucket is due to evaporation. If the pool lost more, that
portion is due to a pool leak. There are dye solutions that
might help locate the problem.
Fix A Leak might be able to
seal the pool leak. If you fail in your efforts to seal or
locate it, you should consider calling in a pool leak
detection professional. Good luck and I hope that I have
helped point you in the right direction.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 1/31/2005
► Main Drain
I found your site on a search on Google and while I was
searching for tips on fixing a leak in the drain at the
bottom the pool. Is there a way that I can do this myself or
do I have to have outside help, you think? I appreciate any
help you can offer. Thank You.
A main drain repair can be a big deal or a very big deal. It
all depends on the problem and where it is located. Fix A
Leak can be used to seal the pool leak, if it is not too
large and it not subject to expansion. If it works, great!
If not, you should consider hiring a pool leak detection
professional. Major pool leaks can cause extensive damage to
your pool, if left for too long. If the repair is going to
be expensive and/or destructive, you might consider plugging
the drain. Adding The Circulator will help to dramatically
boost the circulation and adding a
robotic pool cleaner will
act as a moving main drain. This could be a practical
alternative. Good luck and I hope that I have been helpful.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 2/14/2005
► Finding A
Alan, I have a pool leak that is
losing as much as three inches a day, and I'm confused about
where the pool leak is located. I thought the multiport
valve might be leaking into the backwash while in normal
filtration position. After five hours of filtration the pool
lost about 1/2 inch of water. The valve is very old and I
thought this may be the cause of the leak. Then I did a
drain down without running the filter. After two days the
water level dropped to the base of the skimmer opening and
stopped. However, when the water level is where it should be
I can still vacuum. So, I'm not convinced that the skimmer
has a suction leak. Any advice you could give would be
appreciated. Thank you.
Stuart S., Boulder City, Nevada 3/15/2004
It would have been helpful to know what kind of pool this
is: above ground or inground, gunite or vinyl. The problem
is not the multiport valve because there would be evidence
of water seepage that would be conclusive. My guess is that
this is an inground pool: an above ground pool would have
exposed lines and a leak is easier to find. The fact that
the water level dropped to the skimmer base, means that the
leak is due to a bad seal in the skimmer, a crack in the
skimmer, a bad line connection at the skimmer or leak in the
line from the skimmer to the filter. A leak in the return
line would produce a lot of aeration, when the filter is in
operation. The leak could also be from another point at the
height of the skimmer base. I suggest that you do the
following: Fill the pool up to the normal level and shut off
the filter. Find a pool leak-detecting dye solution at a
local pool professional store. Basically, it will direct you
to drop some dye, into the still water, and look for
evidence of a water flow. If there are steps, underwater
lights or other through the wall items, you will have to
check these as well. Sometimes, leaks are in inaccessible
location such as underground lines. If you fail to locate
the problem, I suggest that you call in a pool leak
professional, as this is a major pool leak and there are
companies that specialize in detecting leaks, using sound
detection and other equipment. There is another option.
A Leak can help you avoid those major expenses. It is added
to the pool water and as it circulates and leaks out, a
crust starts to form on the outside of the pool leak. This
cures and hardens into a long-lasting seal. It is safe to
use in all types of pools and spas too. If you are losing
less than 2-inches a day, pool leak sealer is worth trying.
I hope that I have been helpful and good luck.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/15/2004
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