Pool Leak Detection

We repair pool leaks. We find them AND fix them! No unlicensed contractors - we do it all "in-house" at Cliff's.

I think my pool is leaking, what will that cost? (Part 1)

The word "think" is not the appropriate verb; you need to "know". Because pools can lose water several ways like splash out, evaporation or yes, a leak. So before you hire a specialist to come search for a leak, you better be sure you actually have a leak.

All pools evaporate daily, some more than others. Several factors lead to the evaporation rate of any particular pool. Heated pools evaporate more. Waterfalls, cascading water and water features lead to higher evaporation. High winds, low humidity, warm days with cool nights are all leading factors to evaporation rates. There is no "standard" evaporation rate, which is why you need to know the evaporation rate for your pool before you can be sure it has a leak.

We're going to describe a very simple test that most people can perform with just normal supplies found around your house. The test must be conducted over a 24-hour period because the results will tell you how much the pool evaporates or leaks each day.

  • Bring the pool water up to the recommended level.
  • Fill a 5-gallon plastic bucket with pool water to about 3 inches from top (this simulates the wind condition across your pool).
  • Place the plastic bucket on the first or second step of the pool (this keeps the test water temperature consistent with the pool water temperature).
  • Mark the water level on the inside of the bucket with a pencil. A fine, thin, accurate straight line. This will be your evaporation rate test.
  • Shut off pool pump, allow pool water to become still, and mark the pool water level on the outside of the bucket with a pencil. A fine, thin, accurate straight line.
  • Turn the pool pump back on and allow the circulation system to operate normally during this test. If your pool has an automatic re-filling device, be sure to turn it off during this test. Any rain during this test period will compromise the test and you have to start over.
  • After 24 hours, compare the two levels. The amount the water went down inside the bucket is the evaporation rate for your pool. If the pool water (outside mark) went down the same amount as the inside mark, hooray, no leak only evaporation. If the pool water (outside mark) went down more than the inside mark you have a leak.

If you have a leak the next step is to contract for leak detection services to locate the source of the leak. Leak detection is a specialty skill requiring special tools and equipment coupled with a highly trained specialist.

I think my pool is leaking, what will that cost? (Part 2)
You've done the bucket test, now you know your pool is leaking and how much it leaks every 24 hours. What's next? Now you need to contract for "Leak Detection Service" for a specialist to come locate the source of your leak. Special underwater tools and equipment are required. Not every "pool guy" or "pool company" can offer this specialty service. It takes years of experience to master the art of locating where water is escaping from your in-ground swimming pool.

Here is a little information about pool leaks. Pool leaks are defined as either (1) static leaks or (2) pressure leaks.

  • Static Leaks are defined as water that leaks out of the concrete pool structure through cracks, fissures, holes or worn cement seals. These types of leaks are detected and verified using a dye test.
  • Pressure Leaks are further defined as ruptures or breaks in the underground pipes that connect the pool structure to the filtration system. Broken pipes are a more catastrophic failure and far more difficult to diagnose. Pressure testing is required.

The dye test for static leaks is done first as most leaks are static leaks. But if that test concludes there are no static leaks in the concrete structure, then the underground pipes must be pressure tested. Pressure testing will confirm a broken pipe and normally where the pipe is broken. The more pipes connected to your pool the more pressure testing must be done and usually anything other than a standard pool will cost more.

The cost of leak detection service is not one size fits all. Owners with spas connected to their pools pay more. The more pipes attached to a pool or spa the more pipes to pressure test. More labor equals more cost. Elaborate, in-floor, self-cleaning systems have far more underground pipe systems so expect to pay more if you have these. On average the cost for a standard sized pool leak detection service to locate the source of the leak is $450.00 while a standard sized pool with connected spa is $550.00. Expect to pay additional for in-floor, self-cleaning systems on standard sized pools.

Not all pool companies or even specialty leak detection companies can offer to repair the leak after it has been detected and verified. Cliff's Pools does. In fact, if during the static leak dye test, the leak detection specialist determines the leak can be repaired with an underwater patch, Cliff's Pools includes that patch at no charge. But, if an underground pipe has ruptured expect our leak detection specialist to quote a repair price based on the degree of difficulty. A separate contract will be required for underground pipe repairs.

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