Swimming Pool Leak detection. How do I know if my pool is leaking?


Podcast Transcript

How do you know your pool is leaking? This podcast will tell you how.

Welcome to the Pool Doctor of the Palm Beaches online podcast, with your hosts Holly Colasurdo and Elizabeth Varian.

Elizabeth Varian :   Hey, everybody. It’s Elizabeth Varian here, Pool Doctor of the Palm Beaches podcast. I have Holly on the other line. How are you doing, Holly?

Holly Colasurdo : Hello. Good.

Elizabeth Varian :  Still on vacation up north, right?

Holly Colasurdo : Oh, yes, but kind of getting anxious to get back home and get back in the swing of things.

Elizabeth Varian:  Yes.

Holly Colasurdo:  Creature of habit.

Elizabeth Varian:  Vacations are great, but they do have to come to an end so we can get back to life.

Holly Colasurdo: They have their time limits. Yes, yes.

Elizabeth Varian:  We just want to jump right in today and get our podcast started, because this is a topic I think everybody really, really needs to pay attention to.

Holly Colasurdo:  Right.

Elizabeth Varian:  Anyone with a pool. What we’re talking about is leak detection, and how do I know if my pool is leaking.

Holly Colasurdo: Right.

Elizabeth Varian:  The blatantly obvious question is how do we know if we have a leak or not?

Holly Colasurdo:  Oh, my gosh. It can be scary. You see your pool every day, just like your pool service technician does, and if you’re going out there in the mornings and you’re thinking, “You know what? This doesn’t look right. My water level seems to have dropped pretty quickly.” There is a water line there where everybody gets used to where their water is. You can tell, and sometimes when it gets a little dirty, that’s where the dirt hangs around, your normal water line. But if it falls below that or seems to look like a little more than normal, there might be a question that you have a leak in your pool.

Don’t get me wrong. The pool naturally loses some water to evaporation and time, especially in the really, really hot summer months, so don’t freak out. When it’s too much, that’s when you have an issue. Also, is your water bill a little higher, because you’re probably adding a little more water, thinking you need to do that on your own. Sometimes algae can grow because of the increase in added chemicals that your pool tech is having to add or you’re adding on your own. Those are all, all major signs of a pool leak. Some are more serious than others. The first thing I always tell people is they can do a bucket test. They simply can do a-

Elizabeth Varian: A bucket test?

Holly Colasurdo:  A bucket test. That’s when you put a bucket in the water on the first step of the pool. Those are simple things that you can do, but it’s an accurate test to see if your pool is really leaking.

Elizabeth Varian: What are you looking for when you put the bucket in? Is the bucket full of water? Is it to weighing it down?

Holly Colasurdo: You can fill a five-gallon bucket water until it’s two-thirds from the top. You set that bucket on the first or second step of the pool. Make sure it’s stable. Make sure it’s in the pool at least six inches or more. You can use a permanent marker. Mark the water level inside the bucket. Shut off the pool pump and turn off auto-fill. Then you can use a dark permanent marker and mark the pool water level on the outside of the bucket as well. Don’t swim or use the pool for just the next 24 hours. After that, if the pool water outside of the bucket, the outside of the mark that you made, goes down more than the bucket’s inside water level, there is a leak.

Elizabeth Varian: Okay, I see. You’re using the outside of the bucket to mark where the water level is when you put it in the water, and then you wait 24 hours. You put it in, and you compare it to the mark from the day before to see if it’s gone down dramatically or not. If it has, that’s probably the time to call your pool guy.

Holly Colasurdo: Right. A quarter inch is normal. That’s just evaporation. Anything more than that … Again, know your pool.

Elizabeth Varian: That’s great. That really helps give you an idea. You’re not questioning and wondering and keeping yourself awake at night thinking, “Oh. Leak detection. How can I get someone out here quickly?” You can at least do something for peace of mind. If they find that they’ve had a dramatic drop, how do they figure out where is the leak, because there’s possibly multiple locations, right?

Holly Colasurdo: Right. There can be many locations. A lot of places that you want to look for … Again, you know your pool, especially if it’s older, then you’ve got more of a chance of … If you’re seeing little puddles of water around the pool or in the yard, it’s going to be more than likely an underground plumbing leak. You can have structural damage, cracks that settle into the … When the pool settles or the deck settles, it can cause underground leaks. If they’re left unrepaired, they can just quickly become so serious.

Look around your pool equipment. That’s the first place I would go. Your filter, your pump, your heater. If it looks like there’s water that’s leaking around any of those guys, that’s a place to look as well. You have to look inside the pool. You’ve got to dive in with your mask. You can use dyes and squirt on little cracks, and if they move, that’s kind of a leak, but those are all things that are just … I think it’s a little overwhelming to the average consumer to do that themselves. Again, if it’s obvious-

Elizabeth Varian: Which leads to our next question is can I fix it myself?

Holly Colasurdo:  Sometimes you can, if it’s near the suction areas, and you can use an epoxy. You have to go to the pool store and ask them those questions. You just don’t want to take a chance, because like I said, some are easy to find and fix yourself, but if you have a qualified and experienced pool leak professional, that is the best, because leaks can really cause a lot of damage and cost a lot of money in repairs. Some are smaller, like I said, than others, and some are not, and pool professionals can usually find them within an hour or two.

Elizabeth Varian:  Oh, nice.

Holly Colasurdo:  Yeah. You just don’t want to take a chance.

Elizabeth Varian:  When they come out and they detect it, obviously there’s various, so you can’t give us pricing, because there’s so many fixes. Are we looking at you have to fix this right away because it’s an enormous undertaking? Could cause ground problems or anything like that, or is it something that’s going to be so overtly expensive, we need to save up for it?

Holly Colasurdo:  Yeah. They’ll let you know. It’s not inexpensive to have them come out, but it’s so well worth it, because even if it’s something they can repair on the spot, there’s no added charge. That’s included in the charge of just them coming out. But they can temporarily fix it, and that’s fine. It’s not going to be a forever fix. They can just patch it, but they’ll let you know that. If it’s something that’s major, they’ll still definitely let you know that as well, and they’ll let you know that it’s major. This is what it’s going to cost. It’s always going to be up to the client. They’re not going to do any work without their authorization, but it’s just always best to have it done correctly than not, because pools, they’ve got a mind of their own.

Elizabeth Varian: Yes, yes, and they don’t always tell you what they’re thinking or doing.

Holly Colasurdo: No. But you’re in your pool more than anyone, and you know your pool better than anyone, just like you know your children better than anyone. You see them every day. You’re with them every day. Your pool tech’s there every week or twice a week, and they can tell you things as well. In the office when they come in and the tech says, “Mrs. Smith’s pool is leaking. I know, because I’ve had to add so many more chemicals over the last month, and it’s getting expensive for this client. We’re charging them for adding more chemicals.” Sometimes clients think that that’s just maybe because it’s rained, and sometimes that can happen, too, in the rainy months.

Our techs know because they’re there every day, and if they have to keep adding more than normal, they’ll call the office and say, “Call Mrs. Smith. We think she probably has a leak.” They’re our first indication. They’re our first eyes. Or if they think there’s a lot of algae in the pool, maybe the client calls and says, “The pool tech’s not cleaning the pool very well,” and we’re just like, “Well, let’s do a little investigating, because our pool techs do a great job. Are you getting excess algae? Does the water level look lower than normal? Are you adding water without telling us?” Sometimes we’ll see a hose in the pool and-

Elizabeth Varian: Mess the balance up.

Holly Colasurdo:  Yeah, and we’ll know that they’re adding chemicals. Well, if we add chemicals on cleaning day, on Monday, and they come in on a weekend, and the water’s low, and they add chemicals, well, we’re not back out that weekend. We’re back out your next cleaning day the next week, and it’s thrown off the whole balance of chemicals, which really throws everything off. Again, they see algae and think, “Oh, Geez. They’re not doing their job.” Well, it’s a leak, more than likely. 99.9%, it’s always a leak, whether big or small. I can tell you that a hole just the size of a pencil tip can result in hundreds of gallons of water loss per day. Don’t think that it’s just … Oh, well, that’s just tiny. It’s important. The tinier, the more important.

Elizabeth Varian: Keep that water in the pool. And it gets costly. If you’re adding water all the time, your water bill is going to definitely skyrocket …

Holly Colasurdo: It’s a major sign.

Elizabeth Varian:  .. so it is definitely better to get it done.

Holly Colasurdo:  A lot of fact-finding.

Elizabeth Varian: Well, do you have anything else you’d like to share about the leak detection topic?

Holly Colasurdo: The leak detection, the bucket test. If you really want to go and look at a video on how to do the bucket test … Because I know it’s a lot of words and a lot of put your marker here and there and put your water in the bucket … you can go to Americanleakdetection.com and look it up there. Or just google bucket test, and it will tell you exactly how to do it.

Elizabeth Varian:  Definitely if you can, get a professional out there so that they can find out where the leak is once you discover if you have one or not.

Holly Colasurdo:  Right, right.

Elizabeth Varian: If you’re obviously with Pool Doctor, as you mentioned, they’re out there weekly looking. They’re going to possibly give you a heads up, “Hey, we’re noticing something.” Definitely don’t put it off. Pay attention. If your tech says, “We’re noticing a great change,” it’s not like you’re going to do that just to gouge them and get more money.

Holly Colasurdo: No, no.

Elizabeth Varian:  You’re actually letting them know so they can get this fixed and not have any issues whatsoever. Now, if you are-

Holly Colasurdo:  Yeah. It’s ultimately their decision, but we definitely want to try to educate our customers as much as we can on the responsibilities of being a pool owner. It’s not just all fun and games. It’s serious stuff when it comes to leaks or mishaps with the pool. It’s important to always listen to your pool professional, especially a company that’s been doing it. It’s what they do all the time. That’s what they live, eat, and breathe.

Elizabeth Varian: Yeah, and especially if they’re out there.

Holly Colasurdo:   When they tell you something is wrong, they know.

Elizabeth Varian:   Wonderful. Well, this was very informative. I’m thinking I’m going to get a bucket and go out and test things.

Holly Colasurdo: A bucket. Is your pool leaking?

Elizabeth Varian: If you do think you have a leak and you’re in the South Florida area in the Palm Beach County and Martin County area out to Wellington, give Pool Doctor of Palm Beaches a call. Their number is (561) 203-0270. Holly, even though you are on vacation, you’re a trooper. You were wonderful and very informative, as always. Thank you so much for calling in …

Holly Colasurdo: You’re welcome.

Elizabeth Varian:  … and sharing this information.

Holly Colasurdo: You’re welcome.

Elizabeth Varian:  If you’re listening, give the Pool Doctors of Palm Beaches a call or check them out online at poolspalmbeaches … E-S … dot com, and we will talk to you next time. Bye.

Holly Colasurdo:  Thank you. Bye.

Thank you for listening to our monthly podcast. Be sure to contact Pool Doctor of the Palm Beaches for your South Florida pool needs.

 Call (561) 203-0270 or visit us online at www.poolspalmbeaches.com.


Florida Licensed

FL State License Pool & Spa Contractor CPC1458452

Pool Doctor of the Palm Beaches
1408 North Killian Dr., Suite 103
West Palm Beach, FL 33403

Phone: (561) 203-0270
Fax: (561) 537-7151

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South Florida Cities: Lake Worth, Boynton Beach, Wellington, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, North Palm Beach, Jupiter, and Tequesta

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