How to find a pool leak in 24 hours by yourself

Picture of Marko M
Marko M


Pool leak can occur anywhere. Yet, before you start looking for a leak, you should rule out a few possibilities, such as evaporation or a breach in the filter system piping.

Here’s a quick guide on how to find a pool leak and how to fix it. 

How can you tell where your pool is leaking?

Before you do any testing within your pool, be sure the leak isn’t coming from your plumbing or pool equipment. Begin by inspecting the whole filter system area. This includes your pool pump, filter, heater, chlorinator, and any O-rings or connectors where water is possibly leaking. Fortunately, these leaks are simple to locate.

Yet, there is a possibility that there is a leak in an area of your plumbing that you cannot see. Leaks in broken subterranean pipes might also occur if you have an inground swimming pool. Even if you’re not sure if you have a plumbing leak, you should test your pool to ensure that you’re not losing water due to evaporation.

Does your pool have a leak or is it evaporation?

The first stage in pool leak detection is determining whether or not you are losing water due to evaporation. Then you’ll pinpoint the source of the leak. This may be accomplished using either the Bucket Test or the Ink Test.

Pool leak detection: Bucket test

This DIY method is easy to do and you likely already have all the supplies you need:

  • 5-gallon plastic bucket
  • Waterproof marker or duct tape
  1. Fill the bucket with water. Fill your empty 5-gallon bucket with water and place it on the second step of your pool. Fill the bucket with water to the same level as the pool. Mark this level inside the bucket with a marker or duct tape.
  2. Turn off the pump. Switch off the recirculating pump and any other auto-refill devices if you have them.
  3. Examine the water levels. Wait 24 hours before comparing the pool water level to the water level in the bucket. If both the pool and bucket water levels have decreased yet stay constant, your pool is losing water due to evaporation. But, if the swimming pool level has dropped below the level in the bucket, you most certainly have a leak.
  4. Repeat with the pump turned on. Repeat the test for another 24-hour period, this time with the pump turned on, to narrow down the likely cause of the leak.
  5. Examine the latest findings. If your pool’s water loss is larger while water is circulating under pressure, the leak is most likely in the filtration system or piping.

Pool leak detection: Dye test

This procedure is more difficult, but it will assist you pinpoint the exact site of the leak. You’ll need to buy a leak detector dye to mix into your pool water. It’s also a good idea to keep some waterproof tape on hand to indicate any possible leaky areas in your pool.

  1. Examine the ground and surrounding walls for moisture. If the ground is moist where it shouldn’t be, your pool is most likely leaking nearby and seeping into the earth. Continue to narrow it down as much as possible before applying the leak detector dye.Keep narrowing it down as much as possible before using the leak finder dye.
  2. Switch off the pump and any other water features. When applying the dye to assist locate the leak, make sure the water is as steady as possible. This will also aid in the detection of leaks in or around the skimmer.
  3. To locate the leak, use the pool leak detecting dye. Walk to the edge of the pool in the region where you believe the leak is. Squirt the dye into the water near the surface and the wall without touching it. If the leak is close, the dye will travel like a current towards the exaction position of the leak.
  4. Mark the patching location. Mark the location where you saw the leak detecting dye moving using waterproof tape. This will assist you in remembering where you need to fix the leak.

If you suspect your leak is at the bottom of your pool, you’ll need a pair of goggles and swim to the bottom to perform the leak finder test. But you’ll need to be as still as possible when you run the test so the dye doesn’t go everywhere.

How to fix a leak in your pool’s vinyl liner

In a vinyl liner pool, leak repair is rather simple. A well-placed, high-quality pool patch will survive for years. Nevertheless, regardless of the method you take to replace your pool’s liner, patches are only temporary. Furthermore, the larger the rip, the more likely it may snag or peel off over time.

Hence, before you attempt any repair, consider if your liner is worth patching or whether it is time to replace it entirely. The older the liner, the thinner it has gotten and the more prone it is to future spring leaks.

Also, bear in mind that the weight of your pool water is pulling on any region near the steps or near your pool’s fittings. Because they are subjected to more stress than other sections of your pool, patches there may be less likely to last in the long run.

If you do wish to patch the leak, you have three options, all of which may be utilized underwater or dry. Do not empty your pool to repair a leak. You shouldn’t have to drain any of your water to repair a leak. Excessive water removal from an above-ground pool might cause the walls to collapse. And draining a pool with a vinyl liner dries it out, leaving it brittle. Hence, unless the leak is dry and above the waterline, plan on patching the liner underwater.

Waterproof tape

This tape, like duct tape, is transparent, waterproof, and UV resistant. If you need to fix big areas, you can overlap this tape. That is the cheapest choice and the simplest to redo if you make a mistake. Nevertheless, because it peels over time, it’s better for tiny leak repairs.

Peel-and-Stick patches

These patches are constructed of genuine vinyl and are intended for use in swimming pools. Certain patches are pre-cut into circular shapes, which reduces the likelihood of peeling at the edges. They’re also cheap and simple to use: simply remove the backing and push against the leak. Nevertheless, they are best utilized on tiny rips or punctures.

Vinyl patch kit

If you need to fix a larger hole or want a more permanent solution, buy a vinyl patch kit. These kits include huge pieces of blue or transparent liner as well as special underwater vinyl glue. They are more difficult to apply, but they will stay longer than waterproof tape or peel-and-stick patches.

Pool Leak Detection
Pool leak detection | Source: Google Images

Should you get a professional help with pool leak detection?

If you’re a homeowner with an inground pool and you suspect the leak is underground in your plumbing, you’ll need to call in a pool professional to pressure test the lines for possible cracks.

Dolphin Pool Services offers leak detection services, please feel free to get in touch with us

Last articles


Share this post

Related posts

Keeping a pool clean and crystal clear involves regular maintenance, and one crucial task is cleaning the pool filter. The filter is your pool's best defense against dirt, debris, and contaminants, ensuring your water stays safe and clean....
Picture of Marko M
Marko M
There’s nothing worse than heading out for a swim only to find your pool water has turned an unsightly green. Suddenly, the inviting oasis looks more like a swamp, and the idea of diving in becomes much less...
Picture of Marko M
Marko M
Algae in your pool can be a frustrating problem. Not only does it make your pool look dirty and unappealing, but it can also be a health hazard....
Picture of Marko M
Marko M