Diagnosing a pool leak can put some pool owners in over their head – it’s a fact. No matter what type of pool you own, every swimming pool naturally loses some water due to evaporation, splash-out and backwashing. However, when you find yourself watering your pool way too often, it’s cause to stop and think. If you find yourself routinely adding more than two inches of water to your pool, you may just have a pool leak, according to experts.
A pool leak is a very common problem but does require some time and effort to diagnose properly. Swimming pools are designed to be waterproof, but sealants can and do deteriorate over time. Components inside of your pool can shift, settle, or just plain wear out. It’s not uncommon for older swimming pools to have multiple leaks in multiple locations.
Early Pool Leak Detection Can Prevent Costly Repairs
Pools can leak through any of the fittings, equipment, plumbing, or even the pool shell itself. Neglecting to fix a pool leak can cause incredible damage in both inground and above ground pools. Pool leaks are serious business and can actually compromise the sub structure of the pool itself. It’s not common for a leak to systematically wash away the backfill which supports the pool walls and deck.
Diagnosing a Pool Leak is a Specialty Service for Pool Contractors
The process of identifying and diagnosing pool leaks come and how to fix them is a highly specialized area in the pool industry. While many pool service technicians may specialize in cleaning and maintaining pools, only a portion actually specialize in leak detection. You need specialized equipment and training to properly perform a leak inspection.
Pool Leaks Can Cost Homeowners Thousands
A pool leak can ultimately result in a slew of bills and repairs if not addressed quickly. One thing homeowners notice right away is a surge in their water or electric bill. Rising utility costs could suggest the need for a repair elsewhere in your home, but your pool should be towards the top of your list of things to look into. If you do have a pool leak, the surge should be obvious and significantly higher than the general spike in utility costs seen throughout pool season.
Just to put things in perspective, a pinhole leak can waste up to 970 gallons of water each and ever day. In terms of water consumption that is roughly four times the amount of water that an average family consumes each day.
DIY Pool Leak Detection Methods
If your swimming pool, spa, or fountain is losing half an inch of water each day, it could be due to evaporation or it very well could be a leak. Evaporation and splash out is the most likely cause of a quarter-inch to a half inch of water loss each day. Any more than that, and you may want to do the bucket test to make sure you don’t have a leak.
Leak Detection – Bucket Test
- First, start off by filling your swimming pool to it’s standard level.
- Next, fill a 5 gallon bucket with water up to 1 inch from the top.
- Submerge the bucket in the pool to a depth of about 5 inches, place it on the first or second step of the swimming pool.
- Mark the water level inside of the bucket with a magic marker as well as the water level outside the bucket.
- Return in 24 hours to compare the inside to the outside water level. If the water level outside of the bucket has substantially dropped more than the water level inside the bucket, it’s quite possible you could have a pool leak.
Using the dye method will involve using a pool leak detection kit. This method is really only effective if you have a pretty good idea of the general vicinity where the leak may be.
To perform this test, all you do is squirt the dye close to where you suspect the leak is. If the leak is there, you should notice the dye being sucked through the source of the leak. This test may require being underwater for some time. You may want to use a pair of goggles to see better. You’ll also have to stay pretty still so as not to disrupt the dye during the test.
8 Questions To Ask If You Think You Have a Pool Leak
appears to be a crack, put some pool leak test dye near it while the pump is turned off and the water is still running to check if the dye gets sucked into the crack. Underwater lights can and do leak as well. One of the most common leaks occur around the conduit that connects the light niche to the junction box.
Is the soil around the pool area damp all the time?
Do a thorough inspection of the perimeter around the pool deck and between the pool and the equipment pad. Examine the ground for moist soil and deterioration. If your pool slopes down hill, stroll around to see if there is any water weeping down the hillside.
Is the shell leaking?
Some sources of leaks are the result of structural design flaws. These types of pool leaks are the most serious type of leak and most expensive to repair. Leaks can cause settling of the pool shell. A leak can create conditions for unpredictable ground movement that is likely to produce cracks in the walls, floor, or both. In concrete pools – high slump concrete, low cement content, or poor craftsmanship and curing are all likely to generate low quality concrete that allows water to travel right through it. Thermal or shrinkage stress cracks can occur. Cold joints or weak construction joints can create leaks as well. Improperly sealed joints can create conditions for structural pool leaks as well.
Is the skimmer leaking?
The most common pool leak usually occurs in the skimmer throat at some point. The skimmer does has a tendency to move somewhat when the pool and deck expand and contract. This movement can break the sealant between the pool wall and the skimmer over time. The skimmer can be dye tested (with the pump turned off) to see if there is a leak pulling water into the cracks surrounding the skimmer opening.
Is the pool leak coming from underground plumbing?
Honestly, it’s very rare that a pool leak is going to happen in the subsurface plumbing. That’s not to say that it doesn’t happen though. From time to time a leak can occur at a pipe junction beneath the pool deck or beneath the skimmer. These types of repairs rarely necessitate having to hire a team of pool builders to dig up the entire backyard in order to find the source. The simplest approach to check if the pipes are leaking is to turn off the pump and stop all of the lines. If it continues to leak, it’s probably not the pipes. If the leaking does stop, the plugs can be removed separately to determine if the leaking resumes, though some pools only leak when the pump is running. Once a complete leak inspection has been performed, a pool plumbing pressure test on the pipes themselves can be conducted to determine if any are leaking.
If there is an underground leak, in 90% of cases a very small 3’x3′ hole in the deck can be cut to fix the break, but it’s rarely ever necessary to replace a complete run of pipe.
Is the pool leaking when the pool equipment is running?
If you find that the pool is leaking when the equipment is running, this could be a very good indication that there is a pressure-side return leak. The piping on the pressure side (after the pump) is under pressure when the filter pump is turned on. This can cause little drips to turn into spraying gushers. Checking the waste or backwash line for water that is constantly flowing can tell you if you have a leak.
One inch of pool water is equal to 500 gallons. Look for weepers where subsurface leaking is trickling downhill from the pool. Examine the yard for soft or moist places, particularly on the pool’s side where the plumbing returns water to the pool.
Does the pool leak when the pool equipment is turned off?
If the pool is leaking when the equipment is completely turned off this usually implies a suction-side leak or a problem with the plumbing itself. When the pump is turned on, air can be brought in via voids that would otherwise leak. If you have a clear lid, you usually see air bubbles in the pump basket. You’ll also observe air bubbling out of the return lines, or air repeatedly building up inside the filter tank.
Cost for Pool Leak Detection
Testing an average residential pool, including both the plumbing and the structure, typically costs $400-$500. It’s not always necessary to empty the pool in order to diagnose and repair many types of pool leaks. However, expect to pay upwards from $500 if a scuba dive is required in order to properly detect the source of the leak.
Cost of Pool Leak Inspection & Repairs
Labor and materials for most basic leak repairs typically start anywhere from $500 to $1,500, not including the expense of draining and refilling (if needed). If the problem is determined to be coming from the pipes themselves or the structure of the pool, anticipate opening up your wallet for major repair costs. The entire cost of repairing a major structural leak in the shell or in underground plumbing is determined by the severity of the damage, the location of the leak, and the difficulty of the repair work.
Pool Leak Detection Equipment
It’s not always necessary to hire a pool contractor to diagnose a leak. Use the tools the pros use for finding out where a leak is coming from in your own swimming pool.
Pops Pool Tools – Swimming Pool Pressure Tester Kit is a quality, affordable leak detection tool for the do-it-yourself homeowner. This kit allows pool owners to test their own swimming pool plumbing with the same results the pros get. This kit will confirm whether or not you have a pipe leak causing water loss or air bubbles in the filtration system. Great kit that comes with step-by-step photos and instructions that makes this tool easy to use.
Atlas Pool Leak Detection Kit – Swimming Pool Leak Dye (Yellow) Syringe & 8oz Refill Bottle – Atlas White Putty Epoxy Sealer
Now you can easily locate precise swimming pool leak locations and fix them yourself with the Atlas all-inclusive pool and hot tub leak tester kit for DIYers
- ENOUGH LEAK DYE FOR THE WHOLE POOL
- PROFESSIONAL-GRADE POOL LEAK SEALER
- STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS
FIX-A-LEAK is a blended concentrated material designed to seal leaks in virtually any material. It can be applied for leaks in the shell and works equally well in plumbing. Will seal holes 1/8″ in diameter. Will form a permanent seal. Use 1 quart per pool up to 22,000 gallons. Do not use in excess of 1 quart per 5,000 gallons of water.
- Permanent repairs to filters, PVC, skimmer boxes, inlets, jets, lighting, drains, cracks, splits or chips.
- All-Fix Premium Pool & Marine Epoxy Putty can be applied above or below the water line, or in wet environments.
- Cures Underwater! – Great For Underwater & Wet Areas Rock Hard Cure – Drill – Sand – File – Sculpt – Shape Tintable To Infinite Number Of Colors !
- All-Fix will adhere to just about any surface or material: Concrete, Tile, Plastic, Gunite, Wood, Ceramic, Metal, Stone…and just about any other material!
Featured Photo Credit: Gulfcoast Pool Pros
Pool Scouts Franchise President Michael Wagner Discusses Growth
Pool Scouts, a pool cleaning and maintenance franchise with 101 locations around the country, is riding the post-pandemic wave of pool construction, smashing revenue and franchise sales records in the process.
We had the opportunity to go one on one with Pool Scouts President Michael Wagner recently. During our conversation, we discussed their meteoric growth this year.
“A lot of this is attributed to existing franchisees just having spectacular growth years,” said Wagner. “Amidst challenging labor markets, some of our franchisees have not been able to expand as quickly,” continued Wagner. He indicated that hiring still remains a challenge in some markets but has slowly been improving.
A Look at The Numbers
Reporting big leaps in sales, numbers were up 76.3 percent year-to-date. The pool service franchise had a year-over-year revenue increase of 77.8% in Q3 2021 vs Q3 2020. In the process they have grown considerably, recruiting 20 new franchisees and 42 purchased territories. Most recently, they announced the signing of franchisee Clarence Herry in Annapolis, Maryland. Pool Scouts reached that coveted 100-unit milestone (now 101) as they begin operating in their 15th state on the map.
Defining Pool Scouts Recipe for Success
A big reason why the brand has so successfully resonated with consumers has been its effective digital marketing strategy. Wagner emphasized this has been fundamental in helping them achieve growth.
“Part of our unique special sauce as a franchise is doing a lot to get the phone to ring.”Pool Scouts – President, Michael Wagner
“We provide search engine optimization, websites, digital marketing, and PR which really affords us the opportunity to scale that for all of our franchisees.”
Taking The Guess Work Out of Marketing
Wagner says back-of-the-house operations are the driving engine. The franchise has in-house staff handling marketing for franchisees. A team of graphic designers, videographers, and marketing professionals helps drive lead generation for all of the offices.
Wagner says offering best-in-class marketing at the corporate level leaves his franchisees with more bandwidth to run their business. In a data-driven world, Wagner says using strong analytics tools like Tableau is essential in proving ROI. Consequently, he touts the Pool Scouts system with removing the guesswork from marketing and providing franchise owners better optics.
Increased brand recognition in the market has also what has been essential in propelling growth, states Wagner. “We’re really adept at getting the brand out there in the marketplace for the franchisees. We have a PR agency that we work with to tell our franchisees stories in their local market.”
Building The Right Culture
Above all, Wagner credits the culture and camaraderie of the Pool Scouts organization with being their differentiating factor. Elaborating, he explained how this has helped distinguish them from other pool franchises. “We have varied backgrounds, and we really try to assess the skillset of potential candidates to make sure that they are not only a fit from a business perspective but also from a cultural perspective,” said Wagner.
Expanding Into New Territories
Eager to expand the Pool Scouts footprint, Wagner has his sights on the horizon. While proud of the growth his team has managed to accomplish, he says they will continue to absorb market share. “We’ve added 9 new states to our franchise system this year. We’re going to be opening up in Salt Lake City, Utah, and just opened up in Boise, Idaho. We’re super excited to be in Kansas City and had a great first year in Columbus, Ohio. I see us continuing to expand robustly across multiple states.”
It’s been a big year for Pool Scouts. Due to the thousands of new pools erected during the pandemic, pool sales skyrocketed this year. With limited choices due to lockdowns, families made a concerted effort to reinvest in their backyards. Suddenly, an entire market of new pool owners needs assistance with pool service and maintenance. Wagner finds his organization well-positioned to meet increased demand for these essential services.
The stars may very well align for the type of growth Wagner is anticipating. Consumer interest in swimming pools and outdoor living continues to be white-hot. If 2022 is a repeat of last year, Pool Scouts could be looking at another year of unprecedented growth.
Listen to our entire interview with Pool Scouts – President, Michael Wagner on the Pool Magazine podcast.
Best Robot Pool Cleaners & Pool Monitors
Swimming pools are indisputably excellent sources of enjoyment and relaxation. Even so, cleaning and maintaining a pool is not a walk in the park. Pool maintenance usually consumes a lot of time and effort. Unfortunately, you can never skip pool maintenance if you want to maintain crystal clear pool water. On average, you need to clean your pool at least twice a week. Moreover, you need to ensure you have balanced water chemistry at all times. Fortunately, there is a wide range of pool cleaning equipment you can use to keep your pool in good shape. In this article, we look at the best robot pool cleaners of 2021.
2021 best robot pool cleaners
The pool filter is usually responsible for getting rid of dirt and debris in your pool. However, some particles may be too large to go through the filter. As a result, you need to use a vacuum or robotic pool cleaner to clean the pool. At present, there is a wide range of robot pool cleaners in the market. Each offers unique functionality.
There are two primary types of automatic pool cleaners; pressure cleaners and robotic cleaners. Both deliver excellent functionality. But pressure cleaners usually depend on the pool filter and pump to function. At times, they rely on a booster pump to operate. On the flip side, robotic cleaners depend on electricity to function and work independently. Also, some robotic cleaners use smart technology like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to function.
Factors to consider when buying a robotic pool cleaner
Typically, robot pool cleaners incorporate a head unit responsible for running all operations of the cleaner. You can set a robotic cleaner to work at your preferred timings during the day. Most robotic pool cleaners have floor and wall cleaning options. In addition, pool professionals usually advise getting a robotic pool cleaner that cleans the waterline. Such pool cleaners reduce the need for brushing your pool surfaces. Nevertheless, these robotic pool cleaners tend to be more expensive.
All robot pool cleaners use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi systems to function. Thus, you can easily control the robotic cleaner using a smartphone app. You can start and stop the robotic cleaner at any time. When buying a pool cleaner, always buy one with a quality debris canister. The debris canister is responsible for trapping debris in the pool. After cleaning the pool, you need to empty and remove the canister according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Another factor to consider when buying a robotic pool cleaner is the size and shape of your pool. If you have a complex pool design, buy a robotic cleaner that can navigate tough corners. Also, if your pool has steps, choose a robotic cleaner that can go up the steps.
Different types of robot pool cleaners
It is important to note that robot pool cleaners are costly. Thus, before purchasing this equipment, ensure you analyze your requirements. Even so, pool experts report that robotic pool cleaners are worth the purchase.
DOLPHIN Sigma Robotic Pool Cleaner with Bluetooth and Massive Top-Load Cartridge Filters, Ideal for Pools up to 50 Feet.
Hassle-free clean. Easy-to-use, robotic pool cleaner equipped with an anti-tangling swivel cable, allowing Sigma to move freely around large residential pools up to 50 feet with ease. Backed by a 3 year quality assurance.
This is one of the best robotic pool cleaners you can find in the market. The Polaris Alpha IQ+ incorporates a fast and straightforward installation process. Also, it does an excellent job of helping you maintain crystal clear pool water. You can find it for about $1,458.96 on Amazon
Aquabot Turbo T4RC
Another robotic pool cleaner is the Aquabot Turbo T4RC. It is lightweight and uses a series of brushes to keep the pool clean. You can find it on Amazon for as low as $1,999.
Another Polaris robotic cleaner is the Polaris 9550 Sport that goes for approximately $1299 on Amazon. This cleaner is ideal for getting rid of dirt on pool surfaces of inground pools.
Smart pool water monitors
Maintaining balanced water chemistry is essential. Currently, there are several pieces of equipment specially designed to check the pool pH, calcium hardness, and chlorine levels. Smart monitor systems do this job and send measurements to your smartphone app every day.
This smart monitor system is specially designed to stay in the pool skimmer. The WaterGuru Sense smart monitor measures the pool pH and chlorine levels. You can find it on Amazon for as low as $295.
Another smart monitor system is the cFloat. This system helps you improve water quality at all times. It goes for approximately $399 on Amazon.
Sutro Smart Pool Water Monitor
This smart monitor helps you know your pool chemistry. Also, it advises you on all the chemical adjustments you need to make. Purchasing a Sutro smart pool water monitor costs approximately $199.
Today, there is a wide range of smart pool equipment. Before purchasing any pool equipment, ensure you evaluate all your requirements.
Many Public Pools Aren’t Passing Health Inspections
Although swimming pools are excellent sources of entertainment, these spectacular features require regular maintenance. Maintaining a pool helps you attain crystal clear pool water. Indisputably, commercial or public pools require more maintenance due to frequent usage. Thus, all public pool owners should ensure their pool is safe and clean for use. As a swimmer, you have to ensure that the pool is safe for use. You can do this by checking when last the pool got inspected.
Generally, local authorities close thousands of pools that don’t meet all safety and health regulations every year. Based on previous statistics, more than 75% of public pools violated one or two safety measures issued by the state. Therefore, it is essential to keep your pool in good shape. Request for frequent inspections by your local authorities before the situation gets out of hand.
Over the years, swimming pools have become a major cause of diseases. Swimming pools often contain a harmful parasite called cryptosporidium. Cryptosporidium can survive in swimming pools even in the presence of chlorine. Luckily, there are specific techniques you can incorporate to get rid of this harmful parasite in your pool.
Removal of Cryptosporidium
One of the best ways to removing cryptosporidium is to foster maximum filtration. Nevertheless, note that you cannot get rid of these harmful parasites in one filtration. It would be best if you kept passing the pool water through the filter severally.
Also, as you do this, consider closing the pool until you filter all the water present in the pool. Ultraviolet pool sanitation systems are usually ideal in removing these harmful parasites. Conducting a pool shock also goes a long way in removing cryptosporidium.
Outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis
Cryptosporidium is the pathogen responsible for causing cryptosporidiosis. This harmful parasite is the leading cause of diarrhea connected to swimming pools. Although you can get cryptosporidiosis in other settings like farms, swimming in infected pools is common.
As public pool owners, it is essential to inform swimmers to avoid swimming if they have diarrhea. Also, swimmers should avoid swimming if they had diarrhea in the last 48 hours. Failure to do this would only lead to an increase in cryptosporidium in your pool. Advise them to come back when their symptoms stop for the safety of everyone.
Other safety measures you need to observe in the pool include:
- Advise parents to take their children to the toilet before they start swimming. Also, parents should consider giving their children frequent toilet breaks to prevent them from contaminating the pool.
- For small children, parents should use swimming diapers to prevent fecal leakages into the pool. Additionally, parents should wash their hands after changing the baby’s diapers. They should also dispose of their baby’s diapers appropriately.
- As a public pool owner, it would be best to formulate a strategy for handling fecal accidents that occur in your swimming pool.
Note that cryptosporidium is more common in shallow pools. Thus, ensure you observe maximum hygiene if you have a shallow pool. You can also reduce the risk of contamination by making sure your pool contractor observes all pool construction guidelines.
Water Main Contimation
Water companies report that at times, cryptosporidium may get into the water without their knowledge. Therefore, they advise boiling water before use or using an effective disinfectant agent to sanitize the water. If you are a pool owner, use the right sanitizing chemicals to kill all microorganisms in the pool water. Nevertheless, ensure you get advice from your water supplier on how to sanitize your pool water.
According to a previous survey done in 2013, the most cryptosporidium-contaminated swimming pools in Arizona, New York, and California were baby pools. The local authorities of the respective areas ordered the closure of these swimming pools. The most common problems were inaccurate water chemistry, less safety equipment, and low chlorine levels when inspecting these swimming pools. Note that low chlorine levels and high pH are usually connected. So, your pool might be having low chlorine levels due to high pH. A good percentage of pools violated pool safety regulations. Even worse, some of these violations were not minor.
Associate Director for Healthy Water, Michael Beach, says that these results are incredibly concerning. He says that all pool professionals should do their best to protect the public. On the flip side, swimmers should ensure the pool receives regular pool inspections from time to time.
The bottom line
It is sad to know that many public pools are not passing health inspections. As a result, most public pools are not safe for swimmers. All pool owners should ensure their pools undergo a frequent pool inspection. This way, they’ll keep their pool in good condition. Swimmers, on the other hand, should confirm whether the public pool is free from contaminants. Additionally, they should practice maximum hygiene while swimming in the pool.
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