Finding a swimming pool leak

Finding a leak in a swimming pool.

If you suspect your swimming pool is leaking there are a number of steps you could take to locate the leak(s). You can request  a pool survey, but first try these step by step approaches below These will eliminate some of the suspects in finding where the pool is losing water from.leaking swimming pool

  1. First fill the pool up to the usual level and place a mark on the wall to where the level is.
  2. Take note of the time and leave for 24 hours, then measure from the mark down to the water level and make a note.
  3. Calculate the length x width of the swimming pool x the depth measurement of water loss that you noted.
  4. This will  give you the volume of water in cubic metres (or cubic feet if you prefer) that the pool has lost over 24 hours.
  5. Further calculation will work out how many litres or gallons per hour the pool is losing water.
  6. Take a close look for any holes or tears in the liner fabric.leaking liner pool
  7. If it’s a concrete pool, look for tiles or mosaics that have come loose off the wall or from the pool floor in places.
  8. Can you see any cracks in the walls or the floor of the swimming pool?
  9. A crack in the rendering could potentially be where the water is leaking from and further investigation may be needed to determine the extent of possible damage to the pools shell.
  10. Look carefully at your roman end or pool steps, there may be slight cracks on the treads or the rises so have a good look all over the sides of the steps.
  11. Sometimes pool skimmers crack due to poor maintenance, frost damage or general old age and deterioration.New pool liner
  12. Check the returns for signs of ware.
  13. Main drains and underwater lights are obviously more difficult to get at to check for leaks, so unless you know what to do, this is best left to an expert to determine if there a leak around these fittings.
  14. In concrete pools, it is often either a breakdown of materials of poor workmanship that causes the leak, i.e.  Not sealing around the inlets, the skimmers and main drains correctly. Check around hand rails as well.
  15. Inspect around the filter, pool pump, valves, multi-ports, and filter lid, pipes, and the connections.
  16. Sometimes a gasket fails leading to water leaking from the connection.
  17. Look over the heat ex changers, and pool heater these can corroded.

    Pool filter leaking
    Water accumulating around the bottom of a pool filter
  18. For other clues check underneath the fittings for wetness, look for puddles of water.If we are fortunate to have weeks of hot weather or you have an indoor pool use the bucket test.

Shotcrete and Gunite pools are notorious for leaks.

If constructed incorrectly the structure will eventually breakdown and become nothing more than soggy paper cup.

This is because the water has seeped through the finished lining, be it tile or render and has aggravated the matrix of the concrete breaking down the bonds that hold the shell together.

As opposed to liner pools, concrete swimming pools are built with reinforced concrete walls and flooring, several coats of waterproof render covering the shell, followed by

Cracks in niche letting water escape and gasket failure
Cracks in light niche letting water escape and gasket failure

tile-bands and marble type render finish, or covered with mosaics or tiles which are fixed on with waterproof adhesive and grouted. The plumbing system is installed during the construction process and that is the finished product.

When a concrete pool “shell” begins to leak, it’s usually in more than one section of the pool  and there may be unseen underlying problem with the construction itself.

Swimming pool leaking
Checking a swimming pool for leaks

Patching and re-rendering the swimming pool  is not always a good idea and you may be throwing good money away. The only answer apart from fibre glassing the pool is to line the shell with a heavy duty 1.5mm thick vinyl liner with a felt underlay. These types of liners have 10 year guarantee.

For help in locating and finding leaks and possible swimming pool renovations, plus more informationabout leaking pools, or if you are about to purchase a property with a swimming pool and require  a swimming pool survey contact John Cox TnISPE. Covering most areas from London Gloucester Oxfordshire Bath Bristol Herefordshire to  Cardiff Swansea and West Wales

0789 2208 3001.   Mobile website

or  better still send an email  here stating the problem

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Locating your swimming pool in your garden (ii)

Swimming pool location (Part II) Rough guide to construction method and accessories 

Once you know what size and shape of the swimming pool you want, decide what construction method to use.

The pool construction methods:

  • A vinyl pool liner fitted into a concrete block and rendered shell.Maintaining swimming pools
  • The construction of a concrete waterproof pool shell where the cement rendered surfaces are then tiled all over or with mosaics and special marble and cement render.
  • Or a one-piece swimming pool sometimes called a Swim-spa.

The next stage is to carefully choose the location where you want your swimming pool installed.

  1. Do you want it near or away from the house?
  2. in the open or undercover?

    swimming pool location
    This pool has hinged ladders so the automatic cover can close over the pool
  3. In a barn or a garage?
  4. Some pools have been installed in basements and on purposely strengthened flat roofs.

so a swimming pool may be installed just about anywhere  it is permissible.

Add to the size of the swimming pool enough room to walk around the pool. The walkway and lounging areas are usually about 3ft to 6ft wide, and much more on at the shallow end of the pool, allowing for tables chairs, room to move and mingle, barbecue, loungers, maybe a pool slide and so on and easy access for maintenance.

You may need to allow for a plant room where the filter, heater and pump is to be housed. Some pool owners locate the pool plant in their garage or already have a shed ready.

Do you need somewhere to shower especially before you get into a pool, so consider a changing room and also storage lockers for safety equipment, pool toys, loungers and games, a secured, tamper proof container for pool chemical storage?pool lounger
Regarding indoor pools allow for environmental control systems these are the dehumidifiers of the swimming pool building.

Obstructions must be considered before selecting a final pool site. These could include underground services like phone and electric cables, gas lines, septic tanks and drainage, Wells, trees, and overhead power lines. Underground obstruction and utilities should be located before excavation begins. Utility companies will usually locate underground pipes and cables that are located on your property for you. If any of these underground services are unavoidable, a compromise must be reached in where the pool is to be located, keep in mind labour and material costs of moving or replacing services and obstructions.

Which type of heating do you require? Heat pumps are favoured at the moment and these are “air source” heat pumps where the heat pump is relying on the ambient air temperature to get the pool up nice and warm. Ground source heat pumps are more capable of supplying heat to your pool nearly all year round, as the heat is taken from the ground is a constant temperature of around 10°C all the time.

Other accessories to consider are

  1. Walk in  steps like a Roman end.
  2. Underwater lights.
  3. A pool slide.
  4. A counter current to swim against.
  5. Automatic chemical dosing.
  6. Pool cleaner.
  7. Solar covers to trap the suns energy.
  8. Winter cover when closing down in the cold season.
  9. Enclosures so you may swim all year round whatever the weather.

There are many things to consider when locating your swimming pool in your garden. Remember with swimming pools as with everything brand new accept there will come a time where some repairs and possible renovations may be needed.

I have survey swimming pools in many areas of Wales and England including Gloucestershire Monmouthshire  Oxfordshire Cardiff Swansea Hereforshire Oxfordshire London Bath Bristol and Somerset. Mobile website

John Cox TnISPE

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Swimming pool location (i)

Where would you locate your swimming pool? (Assuming you want an outdoor pool and not an indoor pool).

Begin with deciding the size of your swimming pool,  and then pick the spot where you would prefer your swimming pool to be installed. (This is likely to change as future decisions are made along the way).swimming pool location and excavation

  1. Allow enough room to walk around the pool and for outdoor furniture.
  2. Allow for a plant room and maybe a changing room, storage lockers for safety equipment, pool toys and games.
  3. Have a secure tamper-proof container for pool chemical storage. and pool maintenance and repair equipment
  4. For Indoor pools allow for environmental control systems.

Obstructions to excavation and construction must be considered before selecting a final pool site. This is the responsibility of the customer to find out where the obstructions (if any) are located, and decide the next step with the swimming pool builder.

locating the swimming pool
Undiscovered services
  1. The obstruction  may include underground wires, gas lines, septic tanks and drainage, water wells, running springs and streams, plumbing, trees, and overhead power lines.
  2. Underground obstruction and utilities should be located before excavation begins.
  3. Utility companies will usually locate underground pipes and cables that are located on your property for a charge to you.
  4. If various obstructions are unavoidable, a compromise can be reached, but keep in mind labour and material costs of moving or replacing obstructions.
  5. Choose an avenue of least resistance for the sake of practicality and economy.
  6. Trees and foliage are another consideration for the pool location, unfortunately trees and pools do not make good bedfellows, so location of the pool needs to be away from trees.

These stages of pool construction are usually straightforward as opposes to say building a house or an extension. However. there are many parts of this process to be aware of, for example:

Trees and swimming pools
Trees and swimming pools
  1. Do you know what is beneath your feet?
  2. .Ground conditions for your swimming pool installation is very diverse in parts of Monmouthshire Gloucestershire Herefordshire and the Bristol, in fact everywhere in the UK there can be anything beneath your feet from rock or sand to clay, old infill sites, underground springs or high water tables, Whatever the subsoil is, there is a method for dealing with most of these obstacles
  3. A high water table is a major factor to consider when installing a pool. It may be practical to raise the finished pool level to avoid later problem associated with a high water table other options are land drainage and submersible pumps.
  4. Proper pool orientation will take advantage of sunny days for comfortable swimming condition and decrease heating costs. Prevailing wind direction should also be noted for the position of the pool skimmer and returns .

Under “Permitted Development rights” you can build a swimming pool within your garden, provided that the total area covered by the pool does not exceed 50%?of the area of the garden. However you will need planning permission for a swimming pool if: (Check with your area planning dept  as the planning laws may have changed since going to press).

Trees and swimming pools
Trees and swimming pools
  1. The swimming pool is located beyond the side elevation of the property and faces the highway
  2. Is within 2m of a boundary, the maximum height of any structure is greater than 2.5m.
  3. If the pool is located on a site where the property is a listed building, in conservation areas, national parks, ANOB, The Broads, World heritage sites.
  4. The structure has a veranda, balcony or raised platform.

If you are in any doubt about permission to build a swimming pool contact your local planning authority.

John Cox TnISPE Call 079 2208 3001
For information about swimming pool surveys click here. I cover a good part of Wales including Cardiff, Cowbridge, Bridgend, Swansea, Pembroke, and back to Monmouth, across the boarders to England into Herefordshire Gloucestershire,  plus I carry out complete swimming pool renovations and pool repairs and concrete pool liner conversions with onsite lining in Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Hertforshire, London, Kent, Essex , Surrey, Hampshire. Mobile website

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