Finding Leaks

Finding leaks can be tough to locate, but they can be found.

Here’s some information that will be helpful regarding finding and repairing leaks in a pool circulation system (including the skimmer(s), fittings, valves, equipment and plumbing and the vessel itself.  It includes concrete or fiberglass monolithic pools, concrete floor with stainless steel, all steel or fiberglass wall pools or vinyl liner pools.

To save on expensive testing costs, through process of elimination, you may choose to take the following steps

First:  At the equipment check the plumbing manifold including the valves, filter, pump and heater.  The gaskets and o-rings inside the ball valves, unions or plugs can fail allowing water to drip.  Of course, that would usually be a small leak.  If the filter is equipped with a dial-a-port (multi port) or slide valve the gasket inside can deteriorate causing it to discharge water through the backwash line.  For heated pools, the heat exchanger could also be the source.  If deteriorated as a result of improper water chemistry it may leak.  Some are replaceable parts that need to be inspected and maintained regularly.  When these items leak the ground will be wet in those areas which may alert you to the location of the leak.  A Brighton Pools technician can be scheduled to replace these items.

Next step:  Allow the pool water level to drop until it stops, then you’ll know where the leak is.  If it stops at the bottom of the skimmer throat, in concrete pools it could be where the tile grout meets the skimmer, in vinyl pools the skimmer faceplate gasket may be failing.  Under the skimmer basket are two suction ports.  Usually one is connected to the suction plumbing line, while the other should be plugged or piped to an equalizer line.  Check to see if one is plugged.  If not, plug the one thats not connected to the suction line. It could be in the skimmer body itself, a wall or floor return, or underwater light.  These are all places where it likely will be found.  The main drain(s) is also a typical suspect.  It could be in its suction line, sump, or some main drains that have built-in spring-loaded hydrostatic relief plugs that can fail to cause the pool to leak.

IMPORTANT: In vinyl liner pools it’s critical to not allow the water level to get too low.  Always maintain 18” on top of the shallow-end floor.  This will help protect the liner and structural pool walls. In concrete or some fiberglass pools as the water level lowers, the hydrostatic relief plugs should be opened or by other means (even drilling several holes in the pool floor) the hydrostatic water pressure should be relieved.  This will help to keep the pool in the ground.

We can provide our diving services for an inspection to find the leak whether it’s caused by a crack, a hole, a seam, cut in a vinyl liner, a dialectical weld in a PVC membrane or a caulked seam in a fiberglass wall.  Our diver can test for plumbing leaks as well.  It may be possible to repair the same day or we’ll schedule our crew to make the repairs.  Our dive and patch service is $1,249.

If the water loss is faster with the pump running, it’s in the return line. If it only leaks when the pump is off and there is air constantly returning to the pool when the pump is running, it’s in the suction plumbing.  We can provide an estimate for any plumbing repair.  Replacing the entire plumbing line usually ranges $3,500. to $5,500. depending on distance from the pool to the equipment and concrete or paver deck work.

Brighton Pools® – Bel Air, Maryland

We provide services to pressure test plumbing systems as well. Price ranging $799. to $1,699. depending on the complexity.

In concrete pools, (that are not freshly plastered) our suggestion is to allow it to drop until it stops or continues below the light.  If that’s the case it is probably in the main drain as that’s usually the only other fitting below the waterline at that point unless there are floor returns.

In vinyl liner or fiberglass pools, monitor it closely as it lowers to 24” above the shallow-end floor.  If it continues to drop, allow it to lower no more than 18” above the floor.  If it continues to drop it’s most likely in the liner, fiberglass or main drain.  Refill and clean the pool.  We can schedule our diving technician to find the leak and patch it or plug the drain(s).

Do not allow diving into a non-diving pool or if the water level in the pool is not at the normal operating level.  Listed below are a few great resources to help understand how to avoid accidents in and around the pool and spa:

  • Centers For Disease Control
  • Pool & Hot Tub Alliance
  • Water Quality and Health Council