How To Find A Leak In An Above Ground Pool with just $30 of stuff!
This was sent in by our reader Yvette from Los Angeles, Posting it here with her permission!
The pool company that installed our above-ground pool charged us over $200 for a premixed liquid leak detector.
There was no way I was using that on my brand new pool so I decided to do some research on how to find the leaks myself.
After some quick research, I found out it's pretty easy and cheap! Here is what you need:
- 5 gallons of vinegar (you can get this at your grocery store or WalMart)
- A normal 9 volt battery with alligator clips attached
- 2 wire nuts (can be picked up at most hardware stores)
- Electrical tape
- A non-digital multi-meter (or digital if you prefer but they are more expensive)
Here's why this works so well:
Vinegar is an acid. Pools are made out of concrete, vinyl, and gunite (a cement like material). The combination of the vinegar with these substances creates bubbles which you can see!
Here's What You Do:
1. Pour 5 gallons of vinegar into your pool. This will kill the pump and filter, so make sure you have them turned off. You can either do this yourself or pay for a service to come out and do it (I chose the latter). Let the pool sit overnight until all of the vinegar has dissipated throughout the inside of your pool.
2. Once all of the vinegar is thoroughly mixed with your water, go ahead and hook everything back up (pump & filter) and remove any debris that may be in your skimmer basket. Make sure the pump is running correctly before proceeding to step 3!
3. Remove one side of your skimmer basket so that there are exposed wires hanging down into your pool water.
4. Attach an alligator clip from your battery to one wire. Connect the other end of that wire to the other wire that was hanging down in your pool via a wire nut (you may need two, depending on the size of your wires). Make sure there is no water touching these connections! If you prefer, you can wrap electrical tape around them if you don't trust yourself to make a good connection.
5. Take your positive lead from your battery and touch it underneath the surface of the water while holding onto both parts (positive & negative) with one hand at all times. Any place where bubbles start forming along this line is considered an area where air is escaping into your pool. You will want to mark it with a flag or something until you come back out and use your "money shot" to pinpoint where the leak is.
6. Once you know exactly where your leak is, go ahead and disconnect all of the wires under water (leave them connected on the other side). Now you can easily find out which part needs to be replaced by placing your positive lead underneath the water along with your negative lead. Anywhere there are bubbles, the air needs to escape through that part. This way you can avoid having to stress out about taking everything apart just to see what's wrong!
7. Mark any areas that need repair with a flag or something until you come back out and use your "money shot" to pinpoint where the leak is. I went ahead and marked mine after knowing this was my problem.
8. At this point, you should be able to pinpoint the specific area that needs repair.
It's time for your "money shot"!
For this step, I used my drill in order to attach a self-tapping screw into the top of my skimmer basket in order to pull out any damaged pieces or just simply tighten it back up onto the pool wall.
Once you have pulled all of the offending parts out, go ahead and seal them up with something like EternaBond or PVC cement depending on what they are made out of.
If they are not leaking anymore after testing them again underwater, then they are good! Proceed to reconnect everything back together and it has saved you money using these methods vs letting a contractor do all of the work!
I know this may not be anything new to most, but for me, it was a real learning experience.
I discovered that my pool skimmer basket was completely torn up & caving in on one end because the PO had used the wrong screws to attach it after doing some repair work.
To make matters worse, he didn't even bother sealing any of the exposed parts so they would rust out over time causing all kinds of problems.
It took me roughly 30 minutes or less to fix everything once I knew where all of my parts were located.
All in all, I saved well over $100 by doing this myself vs hiring someone else to do it for me! Hopefully, this helps else save money by being frugal!
Hope this helps you out as well if ever needed. Have a great week everyone!
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