It’s the last thing you want to tackle, but you suspect your pool might have a leak. It’s tempting to ignore the problem. But the sooner you get to it, the less work it will be. Repairing a leak will save water, energy to heat the water, and chemicals. More importantly, a leak can damage the pool structure and wash away dirt that supports the deck and walls of the pool.

Keep in mind, though, that water loss doesn’t always mean a leak. Your pool will lose water from normal evaporation and splashing, so those are the first things to look into when you begin your pool leak detection efforts.

In this article, we’ve broken down how to find a pool leak yourself, saving you even more money on your pool maintenance. 


Pool Leak Detection 101: What Is Normal Water Loss?

The water level in your swimming pool will naturally fall due to normal evaporation and splashing and it can rise from rainfall. But how do you know what is considered “normal” water loss? This is your first task in how to know if you have a pool leak.

Less than two inches of water loss in a week is considered normal. You can attribute that to normal pool usage or evaporation. If the water level has gone down more than two inches, you have a loss worth investigating.

Pools leak for a variety of reasons. Fittings, sealants, plumbing, and accessories can deteriorate. The shell itself can develop leaks. Keep in mind that your pool shifts and settles over time and depending on the age of the pool, it may simply be wearing out. Don’t panic, though! Most leaks turn out to be minor issues that you can repair yourself with minimal time and money.

If you feel certain the water loss isn’t from normal evaporation or splash-out, the next question you probably have is exactly how to find a leak in your pool. Keep reading to find out!


Common Signs of a Leaking Pool


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Aside from noticeable water loss, there are some other common red flags that you may have a leak. It may sound obvious to say, but pool owners can often catch leaks before they become major issues by simply paying attention. Check your swimming pool daily with a visual inspection of the pool area, including all the equipment and the yard.

Maintaining a pool is best done with the attitude that you DO need to look for problems consistently!

Here are some other signs you may have a problem with leaks:

Cracks or Falling Tiles

Excess water will cause the surrounding ground to become unsettled. This is when tile cracks or the cement walls crack, causing leaks.


Wet Spots in Yard

Mushy spots in the grass or uneven grass growth may signal a plumbing leak. Erosion begins and the landscape shifts and sinks. None of this is good for the stability of a pool.


Higher Than Normal Water Bills

Autofills can keep the water level stable while hiding a leak. If your energy bill increases for no apparent reason, check for a leak.


Water Under Pool Equipment

Your visual inspection will spot this early. Standing water around the pump or pipes is never good.


Air or Dirt Blown Into the Pool

Often accompanied by unusual gurgling sounds, air and dirt can be sucked into leaks and then blown back into the pool through the returns.


Algae Growth

You work hard at not having algae in your pool. But new untreated water added to the pool because it’s losing water leads to more chemical consumption and algae growth. It’s frustrating to continue to treat the water and still have discoloration, cloudiness, or algae. A leak may be working against you.


How to Find a Leak in a Pool Yourself

Now, if you have determined that a leak is probably causing your pool’s water loss, there are various ways to locate it. One of those is the dye test: 

Using the Dye Test for Pool Leak Detection


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The dye test is a very effective method for pinpointing leaks in a pool. First, check for wet areas around the pool. These would be the obvious places to focus on more closely. Keep in mind there may be more than one leak, so make note of all the potential trouble spots.

The pump and any other water features need to be turned off so that the water is still. Add some leak detection dye to the trouble spots you have identified. A leak will pull the dye toward it like a current. Mark spots where this happens so you know where you need to patch a leak when you’re done with the dye. This may involve working underwater, so remember to wear goggles to protect your eyes.

Keep in mind that working around water and electrical wiring can be dangerous. Once you have gotten this far, you may decide it’s time to get some additional instruction and advice from a professional. 

Pool School Videos was developed for this reason: Our videos and customized guidance can lead you through DIY care for your swimming pool, based on our years of experience, and advise you on all safety issues beforehand. 


DIY Leak Detection Can Be Easy

Water loss in your swimming pool can be a normal occurrence caused by evaporation and splash-out. But when it’s more than that, identifying leaks should be the main priority. The good thing is, leak detection is, in fact, something you can usually handle yourself. There are several causes but all leaks need to be fixed as quickly as possible in order to protect your pool from lasting damage.

Depending on the leak, it may be something you can fix yourself. But, even if you have to call in a pool leak repair professional, at least you have a better idea of exactly what is going on.

You can become the DIY master of your swimming pool with the help of Pool School Videos! The Pool Doctor, Mike Steele, has over 30 years of experience as a pool maintenance professional. He has created these 20 online, self-paced videos that make DIY pool maintenance easier, cheaper, and more effective. Once you buy Pool School Videos, you can watch them whenever you want and as many times as necessary.

The videos provide easy-to-follow information on how to properly take care of your pool unlike you’ll find anywhere else. You’ll be able to spend more time relaxing in your pool instead of using up all your time trying to maintain it. 

With your purchase of Pool School Videos, you also become a member of the private Facebook group. This is where you can ask any specific questions that you may have and get a personal response with customized guidance within 24 hours!

Preview our top 5 videos to get a sneak peek and then get started on leveling up your pool maintenance efforts with Pool School Videos today!