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How to find & repair leaks in pools and plumbing

By Marcelle Dibrell

Leak detection can be one of the trickiest jobs a service technician is asked to perform, but luckily there are some handy tricks of the trade that most professionals know.  The first step, of course, is to verify that a leak does, in fact, exist.

Unless water is visibly leaking from a pipe, leak detection can sometimes be a challenge. Normal evaporation will certainly account for water loss, as will splash-out, so it’s important to correctly diagnose the problem.

Experts advise that water loss of greater than ¼ inch within a 24-hour period could be evidence of a leak, but leak detection is not always so cut and dried.

Obviously, if it’s the middle of a scorching hot summer, and the pool is getting a lot of action, water loss will be greater than at other times.  Most people understand that climate plays a big role in water evaporation rates.  However, in certain areas, water evaporation will be greater in the winter than in the summer.  In Florida, for example, the lack of humidity in the winter months leads to greater evaporation than in the summer.

It’s important to consider the pool’s location.  A pool that is on or near a lake, a golf course, or other large piece of land will evaporate faster than one that is not.

Other factors will also play a role.  One factor is the pool’s design; greater surface area will lead to higher evaporation.  Does the pool have fountains, waterfalls, or other water features that expose the water to air?  These too, will lead to increased evaporation.

Another factor is whether or not a spa is in use, especially during the winter.  Warm water and cool dry air can cause a lot of evaporation.

It’s for these reasons that diagnosing a leak is not as straight-forward as some might imagine.

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