Five Areas Of Your Pool That Are Prone To Leaking

Spread the love

Five Areas Of Your Pool That Are Prone To Leaking

If you’re a happy Central Florida pool owner, one thing can make you very unhappy – a leak! While you may not be a gloom-and-doom type always expecting the worst, being aware of areas of your pool that could develop a leak will help you spot trouble signs early, while they’re still relatively easy (and less expensive) to repair. Here are five of the most common:

1. Pool Light Leaks

Pool lights are seldom thought about – especially during the day. But you may be surprised to learn that they’re particularly vulnerable to leaking. According to Rob Cox – web content developer at In The Swim – inground swimming pool lights are prone to leakage from the conduit, which is the pipe that carries the light cord from the lamp to the junction box. Pool light conduit is ¾” or 1″ gray PVC pipe running under the deck.

Because the point where the pipe connects to the light niche is not sealed, water can enter the pipe. In some cases, the conduit can be cracked during deck placement, or from shifting soils or sliding slabs. Pool expert Swimming Pool Steve explains further:

“Another major problem relates to changes in the composition of the electrical cord itself over time. The cord for pool lights tends to take on water and swell in size over time and this changes the way that the cord fits into the electrical conduit. If there was something temporary like silicone used to seal the wire in the conduit (don’t use silicone, definitely not the right product for this job) then changes in the light cord likely broke the weak seal that the silicone had once made and now the water readily leaks past the silicone blob in your light.”

How to recognize a pool light leak – If you’ve noticed your pool’s water level has dropped, check to see if it’s dropped to the level around the top of the light. The water level may be below the skimmer bottom or the return line, but if it stopped leaking when it reached the light, then that is an indication the pool light is the cause.

To confirm the leak, Cox recommends continuing to operate the pool on main drain only (close or plug the skimmers), and allow the pool water level to drop. “If the water level seems to stabilize at the level of the light, or more precisely, just a few inches below the top of the light – you may have a conduit leak. To be certain, you can add a few inches of water and shut off the pump, plugging the skimmers, returns and the main drain pipes, and any other pool plumbing lines, with expansion plugs.

Our blog post – “Is Your Pool Light Leaking?” explains this type of leak in greater detail – including additional troubleshooting tips, and why repairs should be left to a professional. Hint: Water and electricity don’t mix!

2. Pool Skimmer Leaks

The pool skimmer is the workhorse of the pool, quietly doing its job of filtering dirt, insects, leaves and small twigs from the water’s surface before they’re able to sink to the bottom. Depending upon its size and shape, a residential pool may have one or two skimmers. Ironically, the skimmer is so efficient that you might not suspect it’s the source of a pool leak!

However, when you take a good look at the skimmer, you can see the potential for trouble. All types of inground pools are susceptible. Concrete (gunite) pools can develop a crack where the plastic skimmer meets the concrete pool wall. Vinyl liner and fiberglass pools can develop leaks near the faceplate and gasket.

How to recognize a pool skimmer leak – Fortunately, a skimmer leak is relatively easy to detect. In vinyl liner and fiberglass pools, check the afore-mentioned faceplate and gasket first. Rust on the skimmer faceplate or vinyl liner can indicate a leak. In his article for In the Swim, Davy Merino emphasizes that should this be the case, it needs to be addressed quickly, as rust can damage the vinyl liner and pool walls. Also, vinyl liner pool skimmers can leak due to a loose faceplate.

For all types in inground pools, the most obvious sign is that the water level drops below the skimmer and stays there. To locate the source of the leak, shut off the pool pump and pour a few drops of red food coloring around the skimmer. You should see the coloring flow into the skimmer. If it flows into the seams around the skimmer, the skimmer is the source of the leak. Take note of where along the seam the coloring is flowing into, as this is the area to be repaired. If you’re fortunate, tightening the faceplate may solve the issue.

Our blog post – “Is Your Pool Skimmer Leaking?” – covers this topic in greater detail, including instructions for making DIY repairs.

3. Pool Pump Leaks

Sometimes, it’s hard to tell whether your pool is losing water due to evaporation or a leak. While you may indulge in wishful thinking and hope the former is the cause, finding out for sure is essential in preventing damage and expensive (or more expensive) repair. By the way, it’s common for pools to lose from 1/8″ to 1/4″ of water per day due to evaporation.

Leaks originating in the pool pump are especially insidious. The pump circulates water, keeping it clean and helping to maintain a healthy environment for swimming. As INYOpools puts it, “In order for a swimming pool to be free from algae and other harmful contaminants, the pool must have a working filter. However, without a pump, your filtering system will not work and your pool will get too dirty to use.”

How to recognize a pool pump leak – Three of the most common places for a pool pump to leak are on the suction side, on the pressure side and on the shaft seal.

To tell if you have a suction side leak, look at the water inside the pump while it’s running. If you see bubbles, it means air could be getting into the system through a leak on the supply side. The areas to inspect are as follow:

Pump strainer lid – Can have sealing issues that can cause a leak.

Pipes and valves – These can crack, causing a leak.

Strainer basket drain plug – If the O-ring is bad, the strainer basket drain plug can let air in. Check the O-ring for wear and tear, and replace if needed.

On the pressure side, most leaks are water leaks. If there is no leak on the suction side, check for pressure side leaks. The areas to inspect are as follow:

Impeller – Can get damaged due to debris, causing the pump to leak; can also be worn out and need replacing.

Housing O-ring or gasket – There is a seal between the pump housing and the motor, which can crack or wear out, causing a leak.

Discharge pipe – The discharge pipe fitting can come off, causing the pump to leak.

Pump housing – If there are no issues with the fittings or pipes coming out of the pump, check the pump itself. Hairline cracks in the pump housing can occur even in a new pump. Check the pump housing for cracks. If you see a crack, buy a new one.

As for the shaft seal, this is between the pump motor and the impeller. It keeps the water out of the pump. When the seal fails, water can enter and result in motor failure. Look for the following, and call a pool repair professional immediately:

  • A puddle of water below the pump under the motor connection point.
  • Water damage in the adjoining area.
  • Unusual noise from the motor, suggestive of a bearing motor problem.

Our blog post – “Does Your Pool Pump Have a Leak?” covers this topic in greater detail.

4. Pool Filter Leaks

Unfortunately, pool filter problems manifest in many ways. There may not be one single event that indicates trouble.

How to recognize a pool filter leak – Here are some red flags to look for.

  • The water turns cloudy – This could be due to lack of proper filtration, sanitation, or circulation and needs to be checked immediately.
  • Dirt and debris are being blown back into the pool – This indicates dirty or bad laterals, which are the small tubes in the bottom of your filter that help to catch and remove dirt and debris.
  • Pressure issues – The pressure gauge of the filter valve must read normal when the filter is running. When the filter is turned on, the valve should not read ‘0’. If the pressure is higher than normal, it means that the pool filter is dirty.
  • Loud noises – This could indicate motor problems in your filter, leading to performance issues.

Here are the most common locations for a pool filter leak:

Leaking at the inlet/outlet – If the filter is leaking at the bulkhead fittings (the fittings to which the backwash valve attaches), there are two possible solutions:

  • If the bulkhead fitting has a nut inside the tank, the filter will have to be taken apart to replace the gaskets, and the nut re-tightened.
  • If the bulkhead fitting threads into the tank itself, you may be able to tighten it from the outside. Installing new O-rings may be necessary if this doesn’t work.

Leaking multi-port valves – Usually the cause for this is the small O-rings on the multiport valve rotor becoming unseated or having debris get stuck there. Clean and reseat the O-rings; apply silicone lubricant.

Leaking at the center of the tank – If the filter is leaking at the center where the two halves come together, the filter needs to be taken apart and serviced. If there is a crack around the flange of the tank half, replace the filter.

Our blog post – “Is Your Pool Filter Leaking?” – covers this topic in greater detail.

5. Underground Pipe Leaks

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. Fortunately, such an extreme measure is seldom necessary.

How to recognize an underground 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. 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. 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.

Mold and mildew – If your house has mold, mildew, or green algae on its baseboards or lower walls, you probably are dealing with an underground pipe leak. 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.

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 works, you need to know that 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 – “Does Your Inground Pool Have a Pipe Leak?” – covers this topic in greater detail, including how to perform the bucket test.

The Take-Home Message

The cause of a pool leak can be simple or complex. 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!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.