Asheville (828) 676-2764   Chattanooga (423) 892-3128   Cleveland (423) 473-1668   Knoxville (865) 694-4126   Maryville (865) 984-2301

4 Easy Steps to Test Your Pool for Leaks

At The Great Backyard, we’re here to help you keep your pool in prime condition. And that includes helping you...

Test your pool for leaks.

A lot of small cracks can be fixed with pool putty or another simple solution. Small liner holes can be repaired with a vinyl repair kit. It’s a good idea to take a thorough – and easy – look to determine if there is a problem and how bad it is.

We have years of experience in pool construction. Based on that, we’ve written up a simple checklist for you to follow. You’ll be able to see if your pool really is leaking by taking these 4 easy steps.

1. Start with the Obvious

Sometimes we can lose sight of the first step because we're already wondering how to fix the problem. So make sure you test your pool for leaks one step at a time.

  • Walk around the pool and check to see if there is moisture in the ground around the pool. Also look for areas where the ground might be sunken or softer than normal.
  • Check the equipment pad. Inspect your filter, pump, heater, and valves to see if there are any visible signs of leakage.
  • Check for other visible signs. Separation between the plastic skimmer and the concrete edges of the pool is a common problem that is easy to fix with putty. Check the light fixtures as well. Leaking light fixtures are another common, more difficult to fix leak.
  • Look for any visible cracks in the liner or pool shell. With the pump turned off and the water still, pour some of your pH Indicator Reagent into the pool near the crack. If it gets sucked out, then you have a clear sign that the crack is deep enough to lose water.
  • Check for any possible separation in the pool liner around equipment, lights, and stairs.

2. Take The Bucket Test

After you've looked for obvious signs, it's time to get scientific.

The good news is that all pools lose water due to evaporation. But it’s important to make sure that is the only thing causing your pool to lose water.

  • Turn your pool pump off and allow the water to calm.
  • Take a bucket – preferably one that holds at least five gallons. Fill it about two-thirds of the way with water and weigh it down with a brick or sand.
  • Place it on one of the stairs in your pool so about half the bucket is submerged. You'll want to position it high enough that no water can splash in.
  • Mark the bucket water level on the inside and the pool water level on the outside of the bucket.
  • Check the water levels 24 hours later. (If it rains, you'll have to repeat the test). Compare the decrease in water levels on both the inside and the outside of the bucket. Unless you used a leaky bucket, the only source of water loss for the water inside of the bucket is evaporation. If the water has gone down significantly more from the mark on the outside of the bucket, your pool water is probably leaking out as well as evaporating.

3. Turn the Pump on

Now it’s time to narrow down where the leak is coming from. Is it coming from the plumbing and filtration system or from the pool shell itself?

  • Fill your pool with water all the way to the tile or skimmer line.
  • Mark the water line on the tile or inside the skimmer shell.
  • After making sure that any autofills are turned off, turn on the pump. Leave it running for 24 hours.
  • Come back 24 hours later and check to see if the water line has gone down. Remember to keep in mind the amount of water loss from the bucket test to make sure that the water loss still seems like its more than natural evaporation.
  • If the water level is significantly lower than the level marked out 24 hours earlier (taking normal evaporation into account), then there’s a chance that your plumbing system is losing water.
  • Check the backwash line with the pump running in the filter position. If you can see that water is leaking from the backwash line, then you probably need to repair or replace the valve on your filter.

4. Now Turn the Pump Off

If the pump isn't leaking, it's time to finally narrow it down and see if the pool shell itself is the cause of the leak.

  • Fill your pool with water all the way to the tile or skimmer line.
  • Mark the water line by placing a mark on the tile or inside the skimmer shell.
  • After making certain that any autofills are turned off, turn the pump off.
  • Come back 24 hours later and check to see if the water line has gone down. Again, keep in mind the amount of water loss from the bucket test to make sure that the water loss is still more than natural evaporation.
  • If the water level has gone down significantly, then the leak is probably in your pool shell or lining. However, if the water level went down significantly more with the pump turned on, then the leak is probably in your plumbing system.

What Should I Do Next?

These simple steps should give you peace of mind that your pool is not leaking water – other than by normal evaporation. At worst, you may find some minor, visible leaks that you can fix yourself.

If you’re not certain of your ability to fix minor leaks – or if your pool is clearly leaking without showing any visible cracks – then you may need to call a pool repair professional. We’re experts in pool construction here at The Great Backyard. And we're glad to share our experience to help you determine what to do. We want pool ownership to be relaxing and enjoyable for you. Call us today for greater peace of mind!

For product updates and exclusive offers Enter your email below