A pool leak isn’t typically an easy-to-find issue but they most commonly occur in corners, at the tile line, near pipe openings, around lighting or at the throat of the skimmer.

What causes a pool leak to occur?

There are several reasons leaks appear depending on the type of swimming pool:

Leaks in concrete pools

Concrete pools are considered the most durable, however, issues can still arise. Inferior pool maintenance can allow the surface to degrade. Cracks can appear in the surface due to loose fittings or tiles, or as a result of the impact from heavy and sharp objects.

Leaks in fibreglass pools

The lifespan of fibreglass pools can be well over 25 years, so if leaks are appearing it could simply be down to age. Cracks in the pool’s surface could be caused by poor handling in the installation process or in the plumbing when the surrounding sand becomes saturated.

Leaks in vinyl pools

It’s not uncommon for tears in vinyl pools to occur causing a leak. These can be caused by sharp or hard objects hitting the surface or simply due to age. Fortunately, a hole or rip in a vinyl liner isn’t an expensive fix.

Other causes of pool leaks are:

1. Accidental hits in construction;

2. Equipment problem;

3. Change in temperature;

4. Imbalance in pool chemicals;

5. Age.

How to detect if you have a pool leak?

If your water level is dropping, you’ll need to establish whether you have a leak or it is simply due to evaporation or excess spillage. There are several clues that you can look for to detect whether you’re dealing with a pool leak:

1. Cracks or loose pool tiles on the surface or surrounding area;

2. Compromised water quality or algae growth;

3. Chemical imbalance;

4. The presence or overgrowth of tree roots;

5. Wet terrain surrounding the pool or its plumbing.

Locating a pool leak

If you suspect a leak, getting onto fixing it immediately is crucial. Below we list a few ways you can determine whether or not your pool is leaking.

Test 1.

The first step is to check whether your water level is dropping due to evaporation. The bucket test is a quick, inexpensive and effective way to answer this. To carry out this test, fill a bucket with water and place it on the second step of your pool. With a sharpie, mark the inside and outside water lines.

Allow the bucket to sit for at least 24 hours and avoid using the pool during this time. If after this time you notice that the pool water is significantly lower than the bucket’s watermark, evaporation is not the cause and a leak is more likely.

Test 2.

After thoroughly cleaning your pool, inspect the surface for small cracks and tap your tiles gently to see if any are loose or fall off. Spray any suspected areas with food dye. If the dye gets sucked in, there’s likely to be a crack that’s the cause of the leak. If the dye swirls around, the falling water level could be caused by one of the other reasons.

If you still don’t have answers, the next step is to speak with a professional plumber or an experienced pool maintenance team to test for a leak with pressure testing equipment.

Feature image: Chalford® Limestone pool by Kate Bell Design