Dread washes over you like the water that used to be in your pool the moment you realize there might be a leak. Is there a leak? How did it happen? When did it happen? And the scariest question, how much will it cost to repair it?
This is a common problem that plagues many concrete pool owners. Leak repairs can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars, so it's important to know the details associated with them.
Concrete pools are made to last decades, and with good care and maintenance, they can. However, there are three major leaks that affect concrete pools:
A structural leak is a leak in the structure of the vessel itself. For concrete pools, this most likely means a crack or fissure in the pool shell, which must be repaired immediately.
Structural leaks typically occur when there is a crack in the pool's shell. These structural cracks are often caused by:
A fitting is any penetration through the pool shell. Think things like lights, skimmers, and even jets. And because concrete pools are not watertight, the opportunity for leaks is higher.
The cavity of the pool is mainly plumbing, and when a fitting is inserted, builders simply pack in plaster around it, leaving those areas vulnerable to leaks. For example, if areas around railings or tiles are loosely fitted, leaks are more probable.
Plumbing in a pool can be fickle. Correct installation is critical because if it moves at all, it can leak. This means that the plumbing needs to be secured during installation. If it's held down with straps or run all the way to the ground, you can rest easy that your plumbing will not move.
Plumbing leaks are caused by the movement of the system. Settling in the ground, for example, can cause systems to move, creating a leak in the plumbing. Corrosion is another issue that may cause a swimming pool's plumbing system to leak.
The process of concrete pool leak detection can be fairly transparent if you know what to look for. For example, if you are experiencing any of the following, you likely have a leak:
If you know you have a leak but want to be sure of the location, grab some food colouring and squeeze it near the cracked area. If there is a leak, you'll likely see the food colouring get sucked into the crack. The same applies to areas around fittings (main drain, return, and lights) and also the mouth of the skimmer.
Place a 5-gallon bucket on the second step of your pool. Fill it to match the water level in your pool. Turn off the pump and check the levels in 24 hours. If the water in the bucket is higher than the water surrounding it, you probably have a leak.
Once you've determined that you have a leak, the next step is to repair it.