What is a Swimming Pool Leak Detection?

October 25, 2011

Pool owners have no cause to worry anymore because there are now niche businesses that specialize in pool leak detection. Because of their knowledge and experience in their specialized field, they are more than competent to identify pool leak problems, both above or in ground. But notwithstanding the availability of professionals, there are some simple pool leak detection techniques that a pool owner could do by himself or he could have done on his behalf by any member of the household.

One such pool leak detection method is the Bucket or Evaporation Test.  This basically consists of filling a bucket with pool water and comparing the rate of water loss in both the pool and bucket.  The bucket is placed on the first or second step of the pool to ensure that the variables have the same water conditions.  Then, initial water levels of the pool and the bucket are marked.  After 24 hours, the water levels are compared with the initial markings as guide. There is a possible leak in the pool if its water level becomes lower than the water inside the bucket. On the other hand, if the water levels remain to be the same, then water loss would most probably be caused by evaporation.

The Bucket Test also helps in identifying how much water the pool is losing, if indeed there is a leak.  This will give the professionals an idea on the gravity of damage, should resorting to them becomes necessary.  In order to have a good estimate on the amount of leak, the following equation would be helpful:  Pool water loss – bucket water loss = inches of water loss (to convert into gallons = inches x .62). The result is then multiplied to the pool’s surface area.  It must be noted that the results of the Bucket Test pool leak detection may not be that accurate and may vary from time to time due to weather conditions.

Another test is the Pump On-Pump Off Test.  For pool leak detection, the pool owner must conduct a bucket test when the pool pump is on; and another one when it is off.  This will help identify where the suspect leak could be found.  For example:  If water loss (pump on) is greater than water loss (pump off) = Pressure side plumbing leak; If water loss (pump on) is less than water loss (pump off) = Suction side or drain/skimmer plumbing leaks;  If water loss (pump on) = water loss (pump off) = the likelihood of the leak being in the pool shell (although plumbing leaks cannot be completely ruled out).

These are just two of several pool leak detection methods.  Others like the Dye Test and the Pressure Test are best left to the experts who are properly manned and equipped.  But before anything else, the owner has to be observant of some overt signs and symptoms of a pool liner leak.  Some of these include the sudden drop of the pool’s water level, which is faster than normal; algae growth or other water quality concerns; structural or deck damage such as cracks and loose tiles; dirt being blown into the pool through the pump; and soggy soil around the pool and pool equipment.  As pool owner, aside from water bills to worry about, non-observance of the early signs of pool leaks would make swimming pool leak detection and repairs harder and more expensive.

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