OK, so last time we talked about how to confirm if you have a leak in an above ground pool using the bucket test. If you’ve confirmed what you’ve suspected for a while now – that you have a leak – you probably are asking, “What next?” “How do I track down the leak so it can be repaired and I can go back to enjoying the pool?”
First off start with what I will call the filtration and circulation system – namely the filter, pump, hoses, skimmer, return and associated fittings and clamps. Starting methodically, closely inspect the outside of the pool at the skimmer, following the system as if you were going with the flow of the water, looking closely and feeling with your fingers to see if there are any wet spots, drips, etc. If you do find a trickle or drip, don’t underestimate the effect a constant drip can have on your pool’s water level. Moving all the way along the hoses, fittings, filter, etc. fix and re-check ALL drips, especially looking to see if there is water loss where the shaft of the motor goes into the wet portion of the pump. Often a faulty pump seal will leak especially when the filter is running. Now retry the bucket test and see if you have an improvement.
If you have not found your leak in the filtration system or suspect more than one leak in the pool after performing a second bucket test, then move on to checking the pool itself, specifically the liner. First off walk around the pool during a good stretch of dry weather and look for wet spots around the circumference of the pool. Wet ground in one area outside the pool will often be leaking within just a few feet of the wet ground. You can try getting a diving mask and looking closely at the liner from the inside of the pool – a magnifying glass. A very common place for pools to have a leak is often at the spot where the ladder or steps enter the pool. This is because every time someone goes up and down on the equipment, particularly if you do not have a mat underneath the steps, there can be wear on the liner slowly damaging it. One piece of advice is that if you do not have a ladder/step mat, GET ONE! You could save yourself a lot of money and headaches with a simple Ladder Mat, starting at $12.95!
If you do find a compromised part of the liner that is relatively small (less than the size of a quarter) you can easily patch it with a glue and vinyl patch kit that works even under water. Keep in mind that finding a leak can be difficult, while patching the spot once you’ve found it is quick and easy. If you see a spot that you think may be a leaking area but cannot tell visually, try using one of the pre-loaded dye syringes that may help you pinpoint the leak. Anderson makes a handy pre-filled tester called the Leakmaster™ which uses a dark blue dye that is formulated to hold together underwater and show the source of the leak by let you see the dye exit the pool. These are relatively inexpensive (we sell at $6.95 in the store) and can be a big help.
If you’re still stumped and cannot pinpoint the source after giving it a thorough inspection, leak detection services are available, often costing $100 to $200.
Hope this helps. Keep swimming!