Spotting the Leak

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Let’s face it, pools are going to leak. Whether it be from a construction defect, a poorly executed remodel, bad plumbing, environmental factors or the equipment simply getting old…. most service companies will end up dealing with a leaking pool in their route at some point.

The problem is most leaks are subtle and hard to detect. Not only that but there’s a legal precedent that has been set which finds the regular service company is, at minimum, partially responsible for identifying a leak (or the potential for one) and taking steps to prevent property damage as a result of said leak.

Most service companies don’t specialize in leak detection and the majority don’t have a C-53 pool contractor and/or C-36 plumbing contractor license required to perform the repairs. It’s a double whammy…financially responsible for damage that isn’t part of your agreed service contract and no additional revenues coming from identifying/fixing the leak.

On the flip side of that coin, being able to identify this problem and provide a solution before it turns into a nightmare for that homeowner will build significant value in you service. You’ll earn a loyal account for life.

Don’t skip the easy stuff, keep a diligent eye out on each visit:

  • Observe the equipment while it’s running, any leaks?
  • Turn off the equipment and walk around the pool to check if any leaks through the wall.
  • Anything unusual like leaves stuck to the wall, cracks in the deck that travel further down into the tile or patches from previous work?
  • Does the water seem to be abnormally low as you return week to week?


We’re not talking about much time to hit the basics, it mainly boils down to being observant while on site. If you’re seeing the potential for a leak, run a quick test like Mike the owner at Leakfinders, Inc suggests below:

Here is an easy way to tell if your customer’s pool is losing water or simply evaporating. This is also a good way to determine whether or not your customer has a defective check valve and/or 3-way valve that is causing an elevated spa to drain into the pool overnight. In order to determine if a homeowner’s pool is leaking water, (which would definitely cause a problem with water balancing, salt levels and conditioner levels), is to perform a static bucket test, with the equipment off for 48 hours.

Following are step by step instructions how to determine if any of the above problems exist in your customer’s pool.

  1. Shut off any auto fill
  2. Scope of water from pool (be sure that the bucket has the same temperature water as the pool) to 5-gallon bucket
  3. Place bucket in same sunlight exposure as pool but in area where animals cannot drink water and throw off the test.
  4. Use duct tape to precisely mark levels on the bucket, pool and spa.
  5. 48 hours later check the all three levels. Remember that we are using the bucket as a bench mark for normal evaporation.
  6. If the pool, spa and bucket have the same amount of water loss there probably is not a leak.
  7. If the pool level is higher than the bucket, the spa water is down and is an elevated spa. There is probably an issue with the check valves.
  8. If the pool and spa are the same elevation and the pool and spa lost more water than the bucket then you most likely have a leak.

After determining that there is in fact having a water loss issue, then pick up the phone and call Leakfinders, Inc. to diagnose your issue and provide you with an estimate to repair at 800-834-1094.

Mike Ulibarri, Leakfinders, Inc. Connect with us on Facebook!

You don’t need to be an expert to identify a leak, just keep a watchful eye and perform simple tests like this when your gut tells you something is off.


Pat Grignon

Vice President

California Pool Association

(916) 503-6359