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Pool - Spa Leak Detection

Locating the leak, with minimal damage, is the goal.
 
The Pool and Spa Informational Website
askalanaquestion.com

Locating and Fixing Pool and Spa Leaks.
 

 
 

Scroll down to browse through some archived SWIMMING POOL questions and answers.  Please click the Pool Topics Link, on top of every page, to access a complete listing of Pool Problem subjects, an alphabetized Website Table of Contents, Pool Equipment Information, About Alan Biographic Material and a Pool Glossary. Use the other links to access additional subject information. More information about some new and unique products, for pools and spas, can be found by visiting The Website Store. You'll never know what you'll find and that's always fun. Be better prepared and avoid costly problems!

 
Fix A Leak is available in pool and spa sizes. Fix A Leak for pools and spas. Boxer Adhesives pool and Vinyl Repair Products.
BorderLines adhesive borders for creating a new waterline. Torque-Lock Concrete Crack Repair System.
Pool Art Graphic Mosaic Mats, for all types of pools. 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. This product has been sealing leaks, for more than 30 years. Pool Mosaic Decals, for all types of pools.

Click any image for more product and ordering information.

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How to 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 Leaking Pool Problems Page, Leaking Spa Problems Page, Fix A Leak Directions Page or The Fix A Leak Store, as a source of problem-solving information.  Scroll down the page and click on the linked keywords, catch phrases or images, in the archived answers below, to access additional information, on that topic or product.

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▼     Helpful, Problem-Solving Information, in a question and answer format.     ▼

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.

Carl, 1/28/2014


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, 1/29/2014


Possible 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 7/13/2013


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, 7/14/2013


Spa Leak Detection?

I have a built in spa and I am losing at least one inch daily. Any suggestions?

Larry G., 12/12/2011


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, 12/12/2011

 
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 helpful.

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 your help.

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
Liquid MetalTrap

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 Liquid 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 subject.
 
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
Fix A Leak for pools and spas. 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
Fix A Leak is available in pool and spa sizes. 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 Leak?

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.

Fred, 2/14/2005
The Circulator boosts pool circulaion.
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 Pool Leak?

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 3/15/2010


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 gro
und pool would have exposed lines and aFix A Leak for pools and spas. 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. Fix 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, 3/15/2010

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