Swimming Pool Leaks – Effects, Causes, Detection, and Repair

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Regardless of what shape or size you wish your swimming pool to have, it is a costly investment, which is meant to last you years on end. Therefore, it is natural for you to insist on keeping it in perfect shape, so you could benefit from having it installed. However, there might be a time when, inevitably, you’ll have to face one of the worst enemy of pools – not black algae, but leaks. When this situation arises, you have to take prompt action, and fix it as soon as possible. The following article will help you detect leaks and their causes, as well as make you aware of their effects and how you can repair them.

What Causes Leaks?

  • Old age. Depending on what type of pool you own, it will present signs of wearing as the time passes. While vinyl and marble-lined basins are the quickest to give in to time, concrete too can sustain damage. Even more, plumbing is also highly susceptible to tearing due to old age, so you should keep an eye on it as well.
  • Earthquakes. Any ground movement or tremor can be a cause of a leak since the earth itself will be rearranged into a new shape. Small-scale earthquakes shouldn’t be an issue, as even the most ‘fragile’ pool construction is made to last. Large-scale tremors, though, are a different problem, so it is recommended to check how your pool’s shell fares after the danger had passed. Also, keep an eye on the plumbing as well, since it too can be affected.
  • Faulty workmanship. Cheap materials offer cheap solutions to a long-time dream. If the construction materials used to craft your pool are of lower quality, the test of time will highlight the issue, as the pool won’t last too long. While it is not guaranteed that by using expensive materials the result will have a higher-quality, it will surely last longer.
Depending on the material it is crafted from (concrete, fiberglass, or vinyl – to name a few) the fissure might be more obvious, therefore easier to detect and repair.

Unpleasant Leak Effects

The consequences of leaks are, contrary to their causes, quite easy to pinpoint. They will also serve as a warning that something isn’t right with your pool. What you might notice first is how the environment around the pool changes. The ground is suddenly constantly wet, while all the earthy ground you have nearby, be it grass or flowers becomes a muddy swamp. This bears hazardous-level consequences as inattentive people might slip and hurt themselves. Even more, this might affect the overall landscape, causing serious damage to the house itself, as it might cause landslides – depending on the location and terrain structure.

Another effect will be easily felt in the increased of the water and electric bill. Since the water leaks away from the pool, it will require a higher amount to keep the overall level steady, therefore the bill will go higher. Even more, the pump and filter will require lengthier utilization, meaning a higher electricity bill. Although you might not consider pool leaks as the main cause for these expense increases, it should act as a warning bell to carefully check the pool’s status.

Direct damage to the pool is another outcome that might appear. Visible cracks in the shell can easily alert you of the damage that had taken place. Lining can easily get worn out with time, so it might tear off and cause a leak. Even concrete – though considered one of the sturdiest materials to craft a pool from – might present fissures in time. However, the damage might not be as visible as you might think. Fissures and cracks can appear in places you least expect them to, like the water jets in your pool, or the lightbulbs, which in turn leads to their faulty operation.

Last but not least, the plumbing system can also be affected. Depending on the water composition and chemicals, forcing the pipes to come in direct contact with it through a long period results in corrosion and early deterioration. No matter how resistant the pipes are, when subjected to strong chemicals and acids, they will give in. This, in turn, will lead to substantial damage as well as higher-cost repairs.

How to Detect Them?

Although you might not be able to deal with them on your own, depending on their severity, identifying them in the early stages is highly important. This will give you a chance of salvaging the remaining systems and equipment before fatal damage can occur. So, what you should keep an eye out for are the following:

  1. Displaced or loosen lining and tiles
  2. Direct gaps or fissures in the basin
  3. Faulty underwater lights
  4. Standing water near the pool zone
  5. Unnatural muddy areas around the pool
  6. Rust and corrosion near the skimmer and drains
  7. Noisier working-sounds from the pump and skimmer
  8. Increased electricity and water bills
  9. Algae formation right after shock-treatment

Additionally, if you’re suspecting a crack has appeared into the basin, yet you’re unsure, you can test it out with a food dye. Take your favorite food coloring, preferably red so you can see it, go into the water, and open the package right near the fissure. If the fissure is indeed there, the dye will be easily absorbed and the water will remain clean. If, however, there’s no leak, the coloring will disperse in water. Since it is food coloring it has no harmful effects on your health, and you can easily redress the water chemistry if it had unbalanced it.

A second test you can do to check for invisible leaks is to utilize a bucket. Fill it with water and place it on the basin steps so the rim of the bucket and the water level would be at the same height. Don’t place it lower or higher on the steps, as the test will be invalid. Wait at least 24 hours and after the time is up, return to the scene. Check how the water level fairs. If the water in the basin has a lower level than the water in the bucket, it means that the basin is losing water from somewhere.

Repair and Patch It Up!

Once you detect leaks, it is important to call for professional help, since more often than not, it will require a specialist to repair them. However, depending on their severity, you can administer immediate repairs, to patch them up and prevent them from getting larger or spreading around.

  • To fit leaks that appear near the plates, tiles, jets or lights, a silicone gel is more than enough to prevent the creak from getting larger.
  • If your skimmer is the problem, and corrosion around it has given it away, once again silicone can come in handy.
  • Plumbing problems, however, require professional help, as they will, unfortunately, require replacing.
  • If the main drain is the problem, you can turn it off for the moment, and change it as soon as possible

Even if you’ve repaired the problem, you should still call for professional assistance, as they have more experience with pools in general and can provide more insight on what requires to be replaced first. Although it might be pricy to replace the broken unit, for your safety it is an investment you shouldn’t shy away from making.

Final Thoughts

All in all, leaks are never pleasant, and while they might not occur right away, you might have the unpleasant experience of having to face them sometime. While the situation is not at all pleasant, it does have solutions, if you manage to identify the problems in their early stages and act accordingly. Call for professional help before the situation gets out of control and the problem will be quickly addressed.

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