Have A Leak?
Q) Do I have a leak?
A) Normal evaporation will cause some water loss on a daily basis and most especially during our drier, windier months. What is considered normal evaporation is 1/8” of loss per day. That is on a “normal” day with very little wind. If the day/night is breezy, we can lose up to ¼” per day due to evaporation. Evaporation further increasesiIf you have a spa or fountain spillover, and or are heating. When the air is less humid, it is “looking” for water. Many companies recommend a “bucket test”, but it is difficult to do properly to reflect evaporation. The bucket would have to be put low enough in the pool for the passing air to affect the water in the bucket the same as it affects the pool water. For this reason, I prefer to mark on the tile or in the skimmer. It’s pretty simple. Mark the level and check in about 24 hours. If you lost 1/2″ or more in 24 hours, you have a detectable leak. There needs to be a certain amount of leakage (not evaporation) to be detectable or it is like “looking for a needle in a haystack”. An important thought: if you have a pool/spa combination and the spa drops, but the pool does not drop, you probably do NOT have a leak. Most likely, you have a check valve or suction valve problem. Because the spa overflow gets its water supply from the pool, the pool is where the loss will show (regardless of whether the leak is actually in the pool or the spa). Two good rules of thumb: if you are adding water during our rainy season or if you are adding water more than once a week during our dry season, you probably have a leak.
Q) Why should I bother? (aka: water is cheaper than a leak detection, right?)
A) Although leak detection is not cheap, it does save money AND prevents the problem from becoming MUCH bigger. Besides wasting water (which does cost money), it is not good ecologically and costs money in extra chemicals. But there is also something maybe even more important to think about. The water is going somewhere. Even a small slow leak can cause huge damage over time by the erosion it causes. Even more so if the leak is on the house side of the pool and close enough to cause erosion to the foundation of the house. A leak is like a dental cavity. It’s not going to get better by itself and is only going to get bigger and cause more painful problems.
Q) Will this be expensive?
A) Not necessarily. A vast majority of leaks are in or around the skimmer or light. They are easily detectable and inexpensively repaired. The majority of leaks can be detected and repaired for under $300. There are some leaks that are more expensive to repair, depending on location and time needed to repair properly. These are detected for around $300 and a proposal for the repair is given. Some leaks are underground and they can be between $600 and $1500 to repair but they are not nearly as common as leaks in the “shell” or “bowl” of the pool. Most leaks are quick, easy, and inexpensive to detect and repair.
Q) How do you find swimming pool leaks? Do you use electronics?
A) Good leak detection is a very methodical examination of the pool shell and pipes. Electronic equipment is just one of the tools in our arsenal for leak detection. We use the newest methods of leak detection (underground cameras, electronics, helium, etc), but we also dive and use dye to carefully examine the pool/spa shell. Nothing beats the visual verification of dye for leak detection. We have a set process used to more efficiently and accurately detect leaks. By being methodical, it better ensures accurate and complete detection.
Q) What is “detection without destruction”?
A) While 82% of swimming pool leaks are minor and can be detected and repaired quite easily and cheaply, some leaks are in pipes and/or under pool decks. They can be detected by electronics to within a few inches, thus avoiding cutting open a deck based on a hunch or suspicion.
Q) Is there a warranty on your detection and repair?
A) Most good leak detection companies guarantee leak detections for 30 days and repairs for 1 year. The leak detection is guaranteed for 30 days so that the homeowner will keep a watchful eye on the pool for that 30-day period. However, we are slightly flexible on this. If your pool is leaking 35 or 40 days later, we will still honor our detection. The purpose of the limit is to protect you the homeowner but also us as the “leak doctor”. It helps avoid the situation of someone calling after 6 months and 2 hurricanes and claiming the pool still leaks. This way, the burden is on the homeowner to have a watchful eye and for us to do a thorough job on the first visit. We stand behind our work, and will gladly come back if there is any issue. We are used by over 15 different pool companies and pool stores for leak detections and repairs because we are knowledgeable, dependable, and fair.