How to Fix a Leak in an Above Ground Pool

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Unfortunately above ground pools do leak. Leaks can be due to age, wear, damage – all sorts of things. This guide will help you to first determine if you actually have a leak in your pool, then find it, and finally repair it.

Fortunately, the fix to your leaking above ground pool may not be as hard as you think.

It just comes down to 1) Determining if the pool is really leaking 2) Finding the Leak and 3) Fixing it!

How to Know if Your Pool Liner Has a Leak

If your above ground pool is loosing water or you’re noticing a gradually dropping water level – it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a cause for alarm. It’s perfectly normal for water in your pool to evaporate. This can be accelerated by extra hot temperatures or constant winds. If your pool is only losing a little bit of water of a longer period of time, there’s probably nothing to worry about.

However, if your above ground pool is loosing more than an inch every couple of days, you probably have a leak somewhere.

There’s only a few places where your above ground pool can leak:

  • The liner.
  • Hose fittings.
  • Pump/filter.

Determining where to look first is not all that difficult. As a general rule of thumb, you can assume that your pool liner has a hole or tear and is leaking if:

  • You experience rapid water loss. At least an inch or more every day.
  • You notice wetness around the pool’s base.

If your pool is losing only an inch or less of water every few days, you may want to start by inspecting your filter, pump, and hose fittings.

The equipment that comes with above ground pool kits online has a reputation for breaking down.

Check around the hose connections for leaks. Run the filter and pump and watch to see if they leak. You’ll want to invest in a new setup if it is your pump and filter.

When the leak is happening at the hose fittings, you can try tightening them or replacing the clamps. If the hose itself is worn, you should replace the hose altogether.

How to Find a Leak in an Above Ground Pool Liner

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If you’ve determined that it’s your liner that has a leak, these simple steps will help you track it down so you can fix it.

Here’s what you’ll probably need to find the leak in your liner:

  • Goggles.
  • Swimsuit.
  • Dark food dye.
  • Pool cleaning equipment. (Vacuum, skimmer, brush, etc.)

Find the Leak

To find the leak in your above ground pool liner:

  1. First, you’ll need to thoroughly clean the pool.
    • Run the filter, run the vacuum, skim the top, and brush the bottom and walls.
    • A clean pool with make locating the hole much easier.
  2. Next, take a slow walk around all sides of your pool.
    • Run your hand from top to bottom.
    • Pay special attention to any seams.
  3.  When you can’t find the leak from the outside, you’ll need to get in the pool.
    • Put on your goggles, take a deep breath, and work your way up and down from one side the pool to the other.
    • You’ll be feeling around for any suction and looking for any tiny pinholes, which will appear a little black dots in the liner.
  4. If you’re having trouble, you can squirt some food dye towards what you think may be the hole.
    • If the food dye is sucked through and disappears, you’ve found your culprit.
  5. When you still can’t find the leak, you can allow the pool to leak out until it stops.
    • Once the water stops going down, you’ll know the hole is somewhere above the water line.
    • Use this only as a last ditch effort as an above ground pool without enough water is prone to damage.
  6. When you’ve found the leak, be sure to mark it so you don’t have to hunt for it again!

Once you’ve located your hole, you’re ready to start fixing the leak.

How to Fix a Leak in an Above Ground Pool Liner

With your the above ground pool’s leak located, you’ll need the following to fix your leak:

  • Scissors or box cutter.
  • Liner vinyl
    • Cut off an extra piece if you have an overlap pool liner or visit your local pool store for a sample piece.
    • The patch kit vinyls don’t always hold that well.
  • Heavy duty vinyl liner glue.
    • Look for a glue that can be applied underwater, that way you won’t need to drain the pool any further.

Fix the Leak

With your materials at hand, you’re ready to fix your above ground pool’s leak. To begin:

  • Cut a round piece of vinyl liner an inch or two larger than the hole.
    • Make sure it’s round to reduce the risk of edges coming loose or getting caught on something and releasing the leak again.
  • Apply vinyl glue all over the backside of the patch and fold it in half as you enter the water.
  • You’ll want to patch the liner hole from the inside not the outside.
    • Get in the pool with you folded and glued patch, hold your breath and swim to the leak.
  • Unfold the patch and smooth the glue side down over the hole, holding it there for 10 to 20 seconds – or as long a recommended by the manufacturer.
  • If you’re draining the pool to fix the leak, the same process applies (aside from the swimming and holding your breath that is.)
  • Keep an eye on the patch to make sure it is holding.
  • That’s it, your pool liner is fixed!

One of the keys to a successful leak fix is using quality liner vinyl and quality liner glue. Check online or with your local pool store. Again, the materials included in most patch kits are not that useful.

If you can’t fix the leak, or you discover another leak has formed, or your liner is pretty old – it’s probably time for a new liner.

What Happens if You Don’t Fix the Leak in Your Above Ground Pool?

Trying to decide whether or not to fix that leaky pool liner? Hopefully this section will convince you to do so.

The proper amount of water in an above ground pool is crucial to its longevity. Uneven or too low a water level can cause your above ground pool to sag inwards until something breaks.

Additionally the water helps protect the liner itself. Vinyl liners that are exposed to direct sunlight and air for too long will eventually before brittle and begin to crack.

If you think you can skirt the issue by continually filling your pool, you’re fighting a losing battle. Every time you fill you pool, you’re altering the chemical ratios – likely creating a more friendly environment for algae and bacteria. Health concerns aside, your water bill is going to be pretty high if you’re constantly filling your pool.

Preventing a leak in your above ground swimming pool comes down to regular maintenance and cleaning.

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