By Marcelle Dibrell
In an effort to maximize the number of services performed, some pool care professionals are expanding their repertoire of activities to include leak detection and repair.
The technicians are equipped with everything from a simple dye test kit with an assortment of pressure testing plugs to sophisticated visual inspection as well as electronic listening and even infrared sensing devices.
What was before a job strictly for professional leak locators has sometimes become an aspect of the job of the pool and spa service technician.
That’s because despite the increasing number of firms that specialize in leak detection, the pool service professional remains the first line of defense when it comes to identifying and locating leaks.
Knowing how to determine whether a pool is losing water due to evaporation or because of a true leak can help save customers hundreds of dollars.
Damage from a leak can affect not only the pool, but everything around it. Water leaking from a pool can destroy the deck surrounding it. As water leaks out of cracks, and the concrete surrounding the pool settles, the concrete becomes cracked itself.
Settling concrete can further lead to cracks in the tile that runs around the pool, causing the tile to pop out.
Water loss from a leak can be significant, and a leak that goes undetected can be pricy, indeed.
In these days of environmentally conscious or government-mandated water conservation, replacing the water lost from a leak will get expensive. In an average-sized pool, a 1-inch drop in the water level corresponds to approximately 300 gallons of water.
Pool leaks are pretty common; according to leak locating professionals, one out of every 20 pools in the country has a leak. But when a pinhole crack is losing almost 1,000 gallons per day, or almost 30,000 gallons of water per month, and considering the number of pools in the country, a little math will make the average conservationist cringe.
An astronomical water bill is often the first sign that a pool has a leak. But if, somehow, the bill escapes the attention of the pool owner, there are other symptoms that the pool technician can be on the look-out for.
Obviously, visible cracks in the pool shell may be an indication of a leak. Loose or falling tiles may be another sign. If there are cracks in the pool deck, it may be a sign that the concrete is settling in constantly soggy soil from a leak. A more subtle signs of a leak could also include changes in the chemical demand.
Identifying a leak and determining its location is a step-by-step process that begins with ascertaining true water loss and then narrowing the options down to finding the exact location.
This issue will look at the steps taken to identify whether a leak is present, tracking the leak to its source, and finally fixing the leak.
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