Is Your Swimming Pool Leaking

Is Your Swimming Pool Leaking

Do you have a leaking pool?  Often, winter is a great time to check your pool to determine if it is leaking.  A watertight shell will not lower during the winter.  If your water level is lowering, it may be an indication of a faulty vessel.  The concrete may be cracked, liner or fiberglass leaking through it’s shell, through a gasket seal or concrete pools through an expansion joint, light nitches, etc.  Whatever the reason, Not having water in a pool that is supposed to have water can have some costly repercussions.

We typically ask our customers to perform two tests when they suspect their pool is leaking.  The first is a pump on / pump off test.  With this test, we have them raise their pool to an optimal operating point.  We then have them mark the pool, turn the pump on for 24 hours and check to see if the water level has dropped.  If it has, we ask them to mark the point to within 1/16” of how much water has been lost.  Pools can leak due to evaporation, so just because it leaks is no big deal, we will discuss a process here next to determine how much water loss is not due to evaporation.  Part two of the pump on / pump off test however is to again, raise the water level up to the optional operating point again and then turning the pump off for 24 hours.  Again, mark the water level with losses to the nearest 1/16”.  If a shell looses water when the pump is on vs. off, the leak is likely in plumbing. When the plumbing is under pressure, obviously, more water is lost when water is being pushed out of plumbing.  For instance, if you take a pitcher of water and poke a hole in it on the bottom, water will come out of it at a steady stream.  If we put the lid on that pitcher and blow into it and force that water towards the bottom, the water will come out much faster. If a shell is leaking however, it doesn’t matter if the pump is running or not.  The pool will leak the same amount because it is the structure leaking (a light nitch, light conduit, expansion joint, liner seam, etc).

The other type of test we have customers perform often is a “bucket test”.  In a bucket test, we can determine how much a pool leaks taking evaporation into consideration.  If we take a bucket that we know isn’t leaking and fill that to within an inch of its top and place it on the top step of the pool, it is in a very similar atmosphere as the pool itself.  If we mark our pool water level and our bucket level, run the pool for 24 hours and then our bucket for instance looses 1/2” of water, we can assume that 1/2” was due to evaporation, because we know that there was no hole in that bucket and no place that water could’ve gone to except to the atmosphere.  If our pool lost 1” however, we know that 1/2 of this loss was due to evaporation and 1/2 was due to a leak.

Bi-State employs the finest in leak detection equipment from ultra-sonic leak detection equipment to ground detection systems, dye testers, cameras, dry suits, SCUBA units, etc. Your pool, behind your house is likely your second highest investment you have made.  Protecting it and providing routine maintenance is what we do best.  From coping, tile, plaster, vinyl liner replacement, covers, water features, renovations, etc, we know pools!  Keep an eye on your water level this winter.  If you notice water loss, please contact us.  In addition keeping pH adjusted properly throughout the winter is just as important to your surface as it is during the summer.  Happy Swimming!