Leaks on pools and spas are often very frustrating for the pool owner.
The first thoughts that come to mind is UNDERGROUND LEAK!
MONEY! DIGGING UP THE BACKYARD! Etc. Etc.
However, most of the time the leak is either non-existent or easily
fixed. We have selected the most commonly asked questions and
listed them below to help relieve your stress and give you some
insight. Once you take a practical approach, together, we can solve
I seem to be putting water in my pool every day. How do I know if I have a leak?
This question usually is asked in the hot season due to summer heat and high evaporation.
If you do not have any visible water leaks on your pool you can check water level by using the
You simply stand a bucket on the top step of your pool, filling it to exactly the same level inside
as the pool water level on the outside. Mark both the inner level and outer level with a pen
(magic marker). Check in 24 hours to see if both levels have dropped equally. Obviously the
bucket should not leak so you can judge the difference.
In the summer you can lose up to an inch per day if your pool is constantly in the sun. A pool
cover will help cut back on evaporation by about 75%, but remember the cover has to be left off
at least 2 days per week, or your pool will get the greenhouse effect and algae will bloom.
If you have determined that you do indeed have a leak, check for visible leaks around the pool
equipment first. Then check to see if your backwash valve is not slightly ajar leaking the water
down the drain. If you cannot locate the leak you need a reliable leak detection
company. Please read Leak Detection
How do I know when I have a leak?
A leak can happen three ways on a swimming pool. A visible water leak where you actually
see the water dripping or leaking, a leak that sucks in air, or the unseen, unknown
underground leak from the plumbing or pool shell.
It is fairly simple to recognize a visible water leak; you usually see the water dripping. But most
people do not immediately see where the water is coming from. This is best determined by
turning off the pool equipment, allowing the equipment area to dry out then turning
it back on to look for beads of water or drips.
Air leaks happen when nipples are loose or pipes are cracked on the suction side of the
pump (before the basket). They can be located on any line from the skimmer/main drain to the
pump. This type of leak can be detected by looking for air inside the pump pot-where the
pump basket is located. An air leak can cause all sorts of problems especially if it is on a
cracked line under the ground, which would turn into a water leak when the pool pump is off. A
more common location for an air leak is valves prior to the pump, nipples, or a leaking o-ring
on the lid of the pump. The only way to fix these is to replumb the pump or the plumbing in that
particular area and to change the relevant o-rings and gaskets. If an air leak remains un-
repaired it can deteriorate to a point where the pump will not prime,which could quite easily
burnout the motor.
For underground leaks it is always best to bring in a leak detection company who can pin point
the leak with special equipment. See Leak Detection above.
How often should I drain my pool and when will I know when to do it?
Every 5 years is a good rule to live by, but don’t forget that when water evaporates you are
filling the pool with more fresh. A good judge would be if you cannot manipulate the chemicals
any more, then is the time to drain. The San Diego water supply is very hard and
when the total dissolved solids gets too high, it is time to drain.
At what level should the water be maintained in our pools?
Pool water level is very important and is often overlooked by pool owners. It is best to have the
pool water half way up the skimmer opening. This way it allows the skimmer to operate the
way it should do, causing a whirlpool effect to pull floating debris into the skimmer basket. The
weir (flap) in the skimmer keeps the debris from floating back out into the pool area when the
system turns off. If you have the water level too high, which happens quite a lot during the rainy
season, the skimmer is rendered useless and debris eitherfloats on the surface or sinks to
During the fall and winter season, it is also important to empty skimmer baskets a couple of
times weekly, so that the pump gets enough water to remain primed. This is something that
we regularly do as part of your maintenance.
I overfilled my pool, how can I drain it off?
If you have a hose bib attachment on the pool equipment connect up a hose, open the faucet
and turn on the pump. You could drain off excess water by backwashing the filter. Or, you could
submerge one end of a garden hose, unroll it and put the other end at a lower point, suck the
water through and let it flow. Remember though, water is expensive and evaporation is fast
during the warmer months.
Why is it the responsibility of the pool owner to add water and not the service company?
Very simply stated, it is a liability issue. If we were to fill your pool and accidentally leave the
water running, flooding out your neighbor’s backyard or home, we would be liable. Also, when
servicing a pool, it is hard to see the bottom of the pool while water is filling because
of the light reflection on the moving water. In addition to all of these reasons, we just do not
have the time to wait for your pool to fill.
Copyright 2005 The Pool Doctor - All rights reserved