Removing the mystery from basic leak detection
By Lance Anderson
Virtually everyone involved in the pool and spa industry has strong feelings on the subject of leaks, pervasive problems that will at some time or another affect every pool. It is no wonder: this is an industry that is dedicated to keeping water in attractive and functioning enclosures.
Leaks raise their ugly heads at the wrong times in a whole variety of ways and for a whole host of reasons. They can hide in fittings or cracks in the shell of the pool, behind tiles, anywhere in intricately patterned liners or in the hundreds of feet of underground plumbing snaking around the pool. With this energized and complex foundation, it’s not surprising that the task and sub-specialty of leak detection generates interest and intrigue.
Those that consistently find leaks are looked upon with a certain degree of awe for their expert status — so much so that it may appear that the skill is unattainable to the average service technician. Frequently this perception is perpetuated and exaggerated by those hoping to overestimate the value of their “secret” methods or “silver-bullet” equipment.
It is true that the best leak detectors do indeed benefit from years of experience, as well as trusted methods and specialized equipment that help them collect valuable information. But the reality is that solving these problems is primarily dependent on approaching the problem with the proper frame of mind. Those who end up being most successful, regardless of their secrets, share several common characteristics:
They approach each leak job in a disciplined systematic fashion, assuring completeness and efficiency on the job site.
They understand the basic physical principles related to the operation of the pool and the tests they perform, providing confidence in conclusions.
They appreciate and understand the capabilities and limitations of the equipment they use, ensuring an appropriate utilization of their limited resources (time, knowledge, and money).
This issue, we’ll take a look at how these traits play out in the field.
Lance Anderson has been helping swimming pool service professionals profit from leak detection for over 30 years. He is the owner of Anderson Manufacturing Company (www.leaktools.com) a supplier of specialized equipment, tools and supplies used for finding and fixing swimming pool leaks.
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