by Sean Griffin, June 05, 2009
Your pool water can easily become an escape artist eluding you at every turn. Fixing a leak on your pool is next to impossible when you cannot determine where you are losing water. Depending on the size of your leak you can attempt to use fix-a-leak, designed to fill voids up to 1/8 of an inch. If you are dealing with a larger leak you will have to locate and repair. Technical instruments can be used to help you find your leak, in most cases it is not practical for the homeowner to attempt beacause the required tools are not accessible. Pool companies can be very costly especially when spending a great deal of time trying to find a leak. There are several companies who specialize in locating leaks and in some cases prove to be a little cheaper.
The first step in locating leak is to gather information. Click on this link and check out this troubleshooting guide provided by Anderson Leak Company . After making your observations and using some of your detective skills you should be able to determine if you have a leak in plumbing/equipment loop. At this point a pressure test will be helpful in determining which plumbling line and exactly where the leak is occuring within that line. The proper fittings and adapters will be required to pressurize line with air and water and a listening device will locate air bubbles squeezing out of line.
First perform a water test so you can observe any drop in pressure. If plumbing line remains pressurized for two minutes it is safe to assume your leak is elsewhere and perform a test on another isolated plumbing line. Never put more than 20 psi on any plumbing line. If the line loses pressure, recheck all plugs to confirm result. Once you have pinpointed the plumbing line suspected of leaking you will introduce air (Nitrogen is ideal) to the line and use a listening device to hear bubbling or gurgling . You will need to follow the path of the plumbing untill you are directly above escaping air to determine where you will need to unearth buried line.
A geophone can be used for underground sounds as well as a seismac sensor. You can also fill suspected line with helium and use a gas sensor. The gas is escaping at the same point the water is and and can be located with a sensor that will light up and indicate a gas reading.Take a look at a guidline by Anderson Leak Company for an in depth look at troubleshooting for pressure testing.
Structural leaks can be identified using dye to visual inspect water flow leaving the pool. If you suspect a leak you can apply a ribbon of dye with syringe and watch to see if it is drawn out from area.
Vinyl lined pools can be very troublesome. The entire surface area of a pool is a potential leak and a leak can be caused by a hole the size of a pinpoint. Sometimes it is necessary to obtain scuba diving gear so you can go along the pool surface trying to locate any hole. Sometimes there can be multiple leaks which can increase time of repair. Another option is using a electrical pulse system which will send a small voltage through the water that will attempt to find a ground. A sensor is used to locate the electrical current leaving the water giving you the exact spot the current (electrical and water current) is exiting pool.
Many of these leak detecting products can be a little expensive. For one time use it may or may not be practical to purchase leak finding equipment. Take into consideration the complexity of possible leak as well as local rates before undergoing repair. If you are located within the United States or Canada you can enter zip code to get a referral of a reputable leak detection company in your area that has a good track record. Click on this link to enter your zip code http://www.poolleak.info/search_pro.php.
If you attempt locating a leak yourself ~ have patience and Happy Hunting!