If you suspect your pool is leaking, but aren’t sure how to check on your own, don’t panic. Below is a step-by-step guide to help determine if (and from where) your pool is leaking. This guide is intended for operators of commercial and public pools.
Make sure you’ve had your return and supply piping pressure-tested. These would need to hold at least 10 lbs of pressure for more than one hour with no loss of pressure. You can always test the pipes yourself with plugs and a standard car-tire inflator.
Once your pipes are tested use A+ B epoxy and seal the first two inches of the inlets leading back into the pipe. If your pool is already full, run this quick test: Fill to a defined point and run all the operating systems for exactly 24 hours. Measure any loss and record it. Then refill to the defined point and turn all mechanical systems off. Seal inlets and main drain with plugs (you can purchase these at a store like Lowe’s, or a plumbing supply store). If any loss is greater (even a minuscule amount) with the mechanical system operating than it is without the pumps on and plugged, you have a pipe leak. If you’re not sure, or this test seems inconclusive, repeat the test for 48 hours.
If you believe the pipes aren’t the problem, fill your pool to a defined level (we suggest 1-2 feet) and measure any loss over 24 hours. If you like, you can also fill a bucket outside near the pool and determine what small loss is caused by evaporation. If that level holds, fill another foot, wait 24 hours, measure and repeat up to the filled pool level. In this test you are looking for the Leak Zone – or where the active leak is located. Usually that much water will not make it through grout, or if it does, the Leak Zone should be easily visible. Doing a nearly-full fill test (right up to but not including the gutter or skimmers) is a must! This zone is rather notorious for issues.
If you can define a large enough 1-2 foot water level zone where the leak seems in increase, try to narrow your Leak Zone search and get within 6 inches. Examine all suspected penetrations in this zone very carefully – lights, rail anchors, vac lines, inlets, etc. Often water will leave through a shell for one of these penetrations, and they are a good place to focus your search.
Helpful hint: You can use a plastic bottle, tip applicator, and some watered food coloring to check the penetrations. While this can be done when you are doing your band definition testing, water will leave much faster if the pool is full and you test with a mask.
If you run into difficulties, we can help you detect the leak. Sometimes there is simply no question that water loss is occurring, and what you need are options for repair. Of course, we can help with that too.