When you have a pool in your backyard, you’re bound to deal with some moisture on the deck and in other areas close to the pool—especially if you have kids who like to see how large of a splash they can make when jumping in the water. Of course, splashing and natural evaporation will also gradually decrease your pool’s water level, so you’ll need to add water every once in a while as well. Because of these factors, many pool owners don’t recognize when their pool has a leak. How can you tell that you need pool leak repair in Stockton, CA? Keep reading to learn five common signs to look for, as well as a few tests you can use to help you out.
Rising Water Bill
Having a pool in your backyard will always add to your water bill. As we stated above, you will need to add water to it on a regular basis to keep water levels steady. But how often is too often when it comes to adding water to your pool? While there’s no exact answer to that, it’s still important to pay attention to just how often you’re filling up the pool. If you notice you’re doing it more and more often, and your water bill is rising higher and higher as a result, it may be because you have a leak in your pool’s system or structure.
If your kids’ cannonballs are splashing onto the lawn, then you might have a good reason for the wet landscaping around your pool. However, if you know that their watery antics aren’t reaching that far from the pool’s edge, then puddles in your landscaping can be a sign of an underground leak in your pool system. Cracks in the structure or underground pipes can create puddles of standing water, or cause your grass to feel soft and mushy. These are good indicators that you have a leak in your pool or some other underground waterline, and you need to contact a leak detection company as soon as you can.
Low Chemical Levels
Maintaining proper chemical levels in your pool is not as easy as it sounds. Most pool owners will need to check their water’s chemical levels at least once a week and add additional chemicals to the water as needed based on the test results. As water leaks out of your pool and you add more untreated water to it, you’ll notice that the chemical levels are low much more consistently. So, even if you haven’t noticed a rise in your water bill—or if you did and chalked it up to your kids taking longer showers—consistently low chemical levels can alert you to the fact that your water is seeping out of your pool somewhere.
Of course, low chemical levels can trigger another warning sign that something is wrong with your pool: algae growth. All those chemicals you add to the water help to keep it clean and safe for swimming in. When those chemicals are unbalanced, it usually doesn’t take long for algae to begin growing on the pool’s walls. This will be subtle at first, and look like a fine greenish-yellow powder that can easily be brushed off the walls; however, over time, it can create a dangerous environment for swimming in. If you notice that your water is starting to look a little green as a result of consistently low chemical levels, a leak in the system may be the true root of this problem.
Cracking Walls and Masonry
When moisture seeps into the soil around your pool, it can cause nearby structures to shift and settle, which leads to cracks in the concrete. These cracks can appear not only in your pool’s concrete structure, but in driveways, patios, sidewalks, and other nearby concrete structures. You may even notice decorative tiles on your pool are starting to fall off. This is all caused by that shifting in the soil caused by excessive moisture, and it can lead to very costly damage. Although these symptoms are harder to link directly to a leak in California because of frequent earthquake ground movement, pay close attention to defects in your exterior pool/spa walls and for mineral deposits in retaining walls. It’s important that you deal with these kinds of problems quickly to prevent tens of thousands of dollars in concrete repairs.
How to Find a Pool Leak
So if you suspect a pool leak, how can you test to make sure it’s actually a leak and not a different problem altogether? Here are a couple of tests you can try:
- The Bucket Test – Place a 5-gallon bucket on the second step of your pool and weigh it down with something heavy, yet non-absorbant (For example: bricks would naturally absorb moisture). Fill it with water until the water level inside the bucket matches your pool’s water level. Mark the water line inside and around the bucket, and turn off the pool circulation and auto-fill if your unit has that option.. Wait a few days, then check both water lines again. If they remain level, your pool is not leaking, since evaporation would impact the water in the bucket and in the pool equally. If the water around the bucket is now lower, then you likely have a leak.
- The Dye Test – If you notice visible cracks in your pool’s structure, you might think these are the cause of your pool leaks; however, some visible cracking is just surface damage and won’t lead to leaks at all. To test this, grab some goggles, a snorkel, and a bottle of red food coloring. Place a few drops of food coloring in the water in front of the cracks you suspect of leaking and watch closely, being careful not to disturb the water. If the red dye appears to flow into the crack, then you’ve found the leak; if it swirls away, the crack is likely not causing any water to leak out of the pool.
We also recommend shutting off the water at the house and checking for meter movement. This will at least determine if the leak is inside or outside. While this won’t tell someone if the pool is leaking (could be the main line or irrigation), it will rule out an interior pressurized plumbing leak. See our website DIY section under Shutoff Valves.
Your best bet for finding a pool leak is to contact a leak detection expert. At Central Valley Bullseye Leak Detection, we are highly experienced in all forms of residential water leak detection in Stockton, CA. We can find the leak in your pool or spa quickly and help you get the repairs you need. Call now to schedule an inspection and fix your pool leak before it causes costly damage to your property.