An inground swimming pool represents the epitome of the relaxing, outdoor-oriented Central Florida lifestyle. But if you suspect that your pristine pool has a leak, it instead becomes a source of stress. A pipe leak is the type of leak that homeowners dread the most, as it evokes visions of the pool deck being torn up to replace the pipe. Just to ease your mind, the good people at In The Swim note that replacing an underground pipe seldom necessitates such a drastic action. But not knowing for sure about the source of a leak and delaying detection and repair will only make the problem worse – and ultimately more expensive to address. Or, the leak may have a different source that’s relatively easy and inexpensive to fix, and you will have worried for no good reason!
Learning the signs and typical locations of a pipe leak – as well as how to confirm a leak – will help you know when to contact our experienced professionals at Certified Leak Detection to pinpoint the leak and put you in touch with a licensed pool contractor to make the repair.
Signs That Your Pool Has a Pipe Leak
Although having a pipe leak isn’t a good situation, it does – at least – make itself evident through the following tell-tale signs, which Aquaman Leak Detection provides:
Damp spots in the yard – A damp area in the yard that does not dry out could be the result of a pipe leak. When a pipe is leaking underground, the water rises to the surface. Another indication is greener, healthier looking grass in that area. Dig a small hole to see if it immediately fills with water. If it does, a pipe leak is most likely the culprit.
Cracks in the concrete – Cracks in concrete pool decking – or even the garage – are signs of a pipe leak. Check to see if there is discoloration in the cement around the crack from water seepage.
Low water pressure – A sudden decrease in water pressure in your home plumbing typically indicates a pipe leak – although it could be a pipe in any area of your plumbing system, not necessarily the pool. This will cause a drop in water pressure at all supply areas (faucets, shower heads, etc.), not just one location. If no other indicators of a leak in the pool piping are present, you may need to call a plumber to locate and repair the leak. However, if only one area has low pressure, a clog or leak in the pipe that feeds that particular fixture may be the cause.
Mold and mildew – Have you discovered mold, mildew, or green algae on your baseboards or lower walls of your house? If your exposed indoor pipes are all secure and you have verified they are not leaking, you probably are dealing with an underground pipe leak. Along with the mold and mildew, you may also notice that the floors and carpet are damp. Again, the source may be a pipe in any location in your home’s plumbing system.
Where Leaks in Your Pool’s Plumbing System Can Occur
According to Leak Science, if your pool leaks more while your pump is on, the leak is probably in the underground plumbing. To understand how this can occur, a pool has two main plumbing systems: the suction system and the pressurized system.
The suction system (which consists of the skimmer and main drain) pulls water from the pool and brings it back to the filter. The pressurized system pumps water back to the pool after it has passed through the filter. The filtered water returns through the jet (or return) inlets – often referred to as return plumbing. For example, if the return pipes of your pool and the pool settle at different rates, there could be a leak where the return meets the pool wall. Leaks in return pipes are common.
Our blog post – “Common Causes of Pool Leaks” – identifies the various locations in which a leak can spring up. Fortunately, most are not underground.
- Leak in the main drain: This type of leak occurs around the fixture itself or the suction pipes, as well as in the hydrostatic relief valve. In the case of the hydrostatic relief valve, the leak may result from rusting, or obstruction by a rock – which prevents the valve from closing properly. This type of leak cannot be readily detected by the homeowner.
- Leak in the skimmer: Although not a pipe leak, the pool skimmer is another common cause of leaks. Skimmers in gunite pools are especially susceptible to leaks. This type of pool can develop a crack where the plastic skimmer meets the concrete pool wall. Skimmers in a vinyl liner pool can develop leaks near the faceplate and gasket – which are the first places you should check for leaks. Rust on the skimmer faceplate or vinyl liner can indicate a leak, which needs to be addressed as soon as possible to prevent rust damage to the liner and pool walls.
- Leak in the equalizer line: Leaks in equalizer pipes are one of the most likely suspects with older swimming pools. The equalizer line in the pool is a non-pressurized pipe that connects from the main drain to the underside of the skimmer. Because it is usually found in older pools, it is often left out of major renovations. Locating this type of leak is a job for our professionals.
How to Determine if a Pipe is Leaking
As we always emphasize, your pool will naturally evaporate a certain amount of water, and you’ll lose some water to splash-out or to backwash wastewater. Our website provides detailed instructions for performing DIY tests for pool leaks. Here is how you can determine whether the cause is evaporation, or a pipe leak.
Perform the bucket test – This test requires a 5-gallon bucket and a marker or painter’s tape. Turn off the system for at least 24 hours. This test is creating two surface areas of water to test the level of the water itself.
- Fill the bucket up to 3-inches from the top.
- Set the bucket on the second step if possible, making sure the water level is higher inside the bucket. This helps prevent the bucket from floating in the pool.
- Make a mark both inside and outside the bucket to indicate each water level. Make sure the pump is turned off for the measurement.
- Wait 24 hours to measure the change in water level for both marks.
If each level measures the same amount of change, you do not have a leak. If the difference on the outside of the bucket in the pool is greater than the inside of the bucket, you do have a leak. This indicates that your pool has lost more water through leaking than by evaporation.
Shut off the pump and plug the pool lines – Over the next several days, monitor water levels to check for leaks or evaporation. If the pool continues leaking, a pipe is not the source. If it stops leaking, remove the plugs individually to see when leaking continues – although some pools only leak with the pump running. If it stops near the opening of the skimmer, filtration system pipes may be the cause. If the water level stabilizes just below the lighting system, then the drainage pipes may be the source. This test usually lets us know 90% of the time if leaks are occurring in the plumbing or interior.
If after performing troubleshooting tests and being observant about conditions in and around your swimming pool you know your pool has a leak but can’t locate the source, call us! Certified Leak Detection uses technology and techniques we have developed over 20 years in business. In addition to quick detection of pool leaks, we provide industry-leading leak detection for spas and hot tubs, as well as fountains. Serving areas throughout Central Florida – including Orlando, Longwood, Lake Mary, Sanford, Kissimmee, Clermont and Winter Springs – our team is ready to answer your call. Contact us for quick, reliable service!