How To Find A Leak In A Pool | Leak Science

There’s not much a pool owner loves more than a properly functioning pool for everyone to enjoy. But maintaining your pool can be a challenge, especially if it is experiencing a troublesome leak. Even if you take good care of your pool, it is not uncommon for leaks to form from old age or rusty pipes. It’s completely normal for your pool to lose about 1/4 to 1/2 inches of water a day to evaporation. However, if you’re routinely adding more than two inches of water to your pool per week, you may have a leak. Before you call an expert, read more about how to find a leak in a pool below.

How To Find A Leak In A Pool

Signs You Have A Pool Leak

The first sign is, as mentioned, adding more than two inches of water to your pool per week. If you, your family, or guests are splashing in your pool often, this may not be enough of a cause for concern. Consider the most common signs of pool leaks before connecting with an expert:

1. Sudden increase in the water bill.

If you’re noticing a significant spike in your water bill, it’s wise to test your pool for leaks. Even the smallest hole can leak hundreds of gallons of water per week, and if gone unnoticed, it can cause significant structural damage to your pool or even your home. Keep an eye on your water bill throughout the year. It is not unusual for water bills to be higher in the summertime because of pool use and lawn maintenance. However, if you notice a sudden increase in your water bill and you haven’t made any substantial changes around the house, it could be a sign of a leak in your pool or home.

2. Standing water.

If you can notice a puddle of water near the pool and it hasn’t rained, and no one has gone swimming, this could indicate an above-ground leak. If you are standing near your pool and the grass feels mushy or uneven, this is a sign of an underground leak. Pay close attention to your pool pumps to make sure they are not dripping and causing water to pool underneath. Any sign of standing water is urgent, and you should call a professional leak detection company right away to solve the problem.

3. Fluctuating chemical levels.

Keep a close eye on the chemical levels in your pool. If you notice your chemical levels drop without explanation, this is a sign of a leak. Leaking water carries chemicals out of your pool, forcing you to add more than usual to compensate for the loss. Inevitably, it’s impossible to keep chemicals steady from one day to the next when you have a leak on your hands.

4. Algae or discolored water.

Leaks can make it difficult to maintain your pool’s chemical balance, which leads to algae growth and, eventually a green pool. If this develops quickly, that is a sign of a leak. If you take good care of your pool and it is usually clean, the sudden growth of algae can indicate a leak that you’ll need to take care of.

5. Cracks in and around your pool.

Cracks can indicate a number of things. They might indicate that the pool is settling, tree roots are heaving the soil, or there’s a leak. Fortunately, your accredited local leak repair service team can clean and fill in these cracks for you. Most cracks that form are usually just cosmetic in nature and shouldn’t cause any immediate worry. However, don’t wait too long to get them patched up. The longer you wait to repair a crack, the worse the crack can become. This can lead to leaks and lots of money spent on repairs. Be sure to check your pool deck, pool tiles, lights, and skimmers for signs of damage and cracks.

How To Find A Leak In A Pool: Method 1

If you have some experience maintaining your pool, you may feel comfortable enough to try these leak detection methods on your own. However, we always recommend hiring a professional when it comes time to locate and repair leaks. This ensures that your leak is fixed quickly and effectively so you don’t have to deal with it again in the future.

There are several areas to check if you want to know how to find a leak in a pool. First and foremost, check the obvious: the filter, heater, pump, and pipe valves. If you notice any standing water, check those areas around your pool for cracks. If the water is near pool equipment, it could be coming from the filter, heater, pump, or pipe valves. Additionally, look for separations around all the fittings, skimmers, returns, cleaner line, lights, steps, and corners. If this doesn’t apply, continue reading to learn how to find a leak in a pool.

The bucket test (in 3 steps)

What you’ll need:
  • A 5-gallon bucket
  • A permanent marker (or tape)


Step 1

Place the bucket on the second step of your pool and fill the bucket with water to match the pool’s water level. Use the marker or tape to mark where the water line is on the inside of the bucket.

Step 2

Turn off the pump or any auto-refilling device you may have.

Step 3

In 24 hours, come back to check the water level of the pool. If the pool water and the water inside the bucket have gone down but remain level, you are losing water to evaporation. However, if the pool water is lower than the bucket water, indicates a leak in your pool.

To have more accurate results, repeat the test once or even two more times to be certain of a leak, and this time with the pump on.

How To Find A Leak In A Pool: Method 2

The Dye Test

If you are unable to conduct the bucket test, there is another method for how to find a leak in a pool using dye. Here’s what you’ll need:
  • Goggles
  • A snorkel
  • Leak finder dye (or red food coloring)

Step 1

Let the pool drain. If the pool stops draining, the leak is somewhere along the top of the pool. If the pool ends up draining to the bottom, the leak is at the bottom of your pool. In case your water drains to the bottom, you will need to add water in order for this test to work accurately.

*WARNING* Do not entirely drain a vinyl liner pool. The air causes the vinyl liner to shrivel up and crack! If you suspect you have a leak in your vinyl liner pool, call a professional!

Step 2

Now that you know the area of the leak, check the ground or the walls for wetness. Once you have an idea where the leak could be, jump in the pool and begin step 3.

Step 3

Be careful not to disturb the water, and go to the area where you believe the leak might be. Using your goggles and snorkel, slowly move through the water to either the wall of your pool or the bottom and squirt the dye. If you’ve found the area of the leak, the dye will move toward the leak itself.

Finding A Pool Leak - What To Do Next

Many leaks are not detectable using the suggestions above. It’s important to call a professional if you suspect you have a leak in or around your pool. Professional leak detection and restoration companies have state-of-the-art technology that can locate leaks accurately and efficiently. These professionals have the training and expertise to repair without major disruption as well.

If you’re thinking you have a leak, save yourself the headache and contact Leak Science today.


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