Do it yourself swimming pool leak detection. First when performing your own swimming pool leak detection you must enable patience. Water loss in your swimming pool can become frustrating, incur costly water bills and swimming pool leak detection by a pool company is quite expensive. So where do you start? Well first you should know that a pool should lose approximately 1″ a week to the sun from evaporation. About 1/8″ per day. If kids are splashing and swimming all day that is a different story. Water loss can be caused by a faulty liner, a hole in a vinyl liner, gaskets in your pool not sealing, faulty plumbing, pump gaskets, filter gaskets, cracked underground light condo-it, freeze damage and many other scenarios. I always start with the easiest steps. First, where is your water level stopping. If it’s right below the skimmer, then that’s your culprit. If it’s right below the jets then that’s your culprit. If it’s halfway down the light, then that’s the light condo-it (read down below). But don’t ever let your water loss when trial & erroring this go below 4″ of water in your shallow end. You will lose the liners seed and it will shrink. Many times when I get a call for a leaky pool it is the muti-port valve internal spider gasket on the filter. It becomes compromised over time from chemicals, salt and the elements and starts letting water out through the waste line because it’s not sealing the ports correctly. Check your waste line and see if water is trickling out of the waste line. If it’s hard plumbed into the ground then check your waste line sight glass. On a vinyl liner pool you should start by evaluating your liners condition. Age, wear, chemical stains, patches are some factors and if you may have drain and cleaned your pool then shrinkage might be the factor contributing to water loss. First and foremost, don’t ever drain your vinyl liner pool as the liner will shrink and never seed properly again like it’s original fit. Your problem may be that you simply need a new liner.
The average life of a liner is 8 years. I personally have seen an individual get 24 years out of a 20 mil. thick liner and I have seen an individual get 3 years out of a 30 mil. thick liner. Diagnostics are much easier with a clean pool. I have seen where a leaf was sucked into a hole in the liner and stopped the water loss. The homeowner was sure that the leak had to be at their present water level and searched for 2 days until calling us. We moved the leaf and shot some dye and it sucked right in the hole. Some things to look for on the liner when looking for a leak is a divot or washed out area. It helps to wear goggles and look closer under water. It’s good to shoot little dye (red ortho used in testing pool water works well) or you can purchase a dye test kit from your local pool store. Check your seals including the stair gaskets, light gasket, skimmer gaskets, return/jet gaskets and your bottom drain gaskets. You will see the dye get sucked in instead of floating next to where you inject it. If you rule out the fact that you may need a new liner or don’t have a puncture or hole in your newer liner the you need to move on to some home remedy diagnostics. Plug all of your lines. most pool require 1 1/2″ threaded plugs to seal the lines. It’s reassuring to put a little teflon tape on the threads so you know they will not leak. Wait overnight and see if the level dropped? If not then you know your liner and gaskets are holding water. Next, remove just the skimmer plug(s) and wait overnight once again. Repeat this step with any other lines and you should figure which line is leaking if any? Bare in mind that the return/jets are usually spliced or teed underground so if they leak you won’t know which it is without sound testing (professionally done) while the pool is running. If no signs of leaky pipes are found then you now know that the leak is above the water line and it’s time to look into a professional pressure test. Call a professional swimming pool leak detection company. If all looks good in your personal diagnostics then check your light condo-it. Behind the light (remove one holder screw to remove light) you will see where the wire goes into the underground condo-it. Water sits in the condo-it so in freezing temps the condo-it can crack underground creating water loss. Embed some two part underwater epoxy (JB water Weld at Home Depot) around the wire deep into the condo-it and it will rule out that scenario. Remember that the smallest physical leak that you spot can create visible water loss over time. What may look like a trickle can cause a huge water loss over time and a hefty water bill. Visit us at www.merodynamicpools.com or call us at 770-720-9905 for any swimming pool leak detection or pool repair related help that you may need. For gunite or concrete swimming pool leak detection or any of your resurfacing needs visit: www.alisonpoolsinc.com or www.oceanbluepoolsllc.com