Is your swimming pool leaking? It’s important to fix the problem as soon as possible. Signs of a pool leak include high water bills, standing water near the pool, unbalanced chemical levels, and discolored water. The first place to look for a pool leak is around the skimmers. After all, this is the most likely place for leaks to develop.
Why Do Pool Skimmers Leak?
In-ground gunite pools can develop cracks where the plastic skimmer meets the pool’s concrete wall. The likelihood of this happening depends on how the skimmers were installed.
The first method is the most leak-proof. It involves placing the skimmers into the steel frame that comprises the pool wall. The installer then encapsulates the skimmers in a massive block of concrete.
The second method, while more prone to leaking, is the most common way to install skimmers. Instead of encapsulating them in the concrete, the installer leaves notches in the pool wall where the skimmers will go. Once the gunite is complete, the installer “pegs” the skimmers to the wall by drilling holes into the concrete behind them. Rebar creates a form around the skimmers, and hydraulic cement is poured into place to hold the skimmers to the pool wall.
The problem with this pegging method is that shifting soil and the freeze/thaw cycle cause the “cold joint” between the gunite and hydraulic concrete to separate. This small movement is enough for cracks to develop and water to leak from your pool.
Detecting a Pool Skimmer Leak
Lie on your stomach with your head leaning over the pool, and look into the skimmer upside-down. Check the area where the tile ends, which may be parged in with white plaster before the plastic skimmer begins. Make a note of any cracks, and look for small bits of debris that have been sucked in. The problem area may be located underwater, at the waterline, or above water. You can find out for sure if a crack is leaking by conducting a dye test.
How to Repair a Leaky Pool Skimmer
Once you locate the suspected leak, clean out the crack with a flathead screwdriver to remove any sucked-in debris or putty from previous repair jobs. Mix underwater pool putty with water according to the instructions. Then, roll the putty into a rope and push it into the crack. Smooth out the edges to firmly seal the leak. Once the putty hardens, it should hold for years.
Unfortunately, finding and fixing a pool leak isn’t always this straightforward. If a pool skimmer inspection turns up empty, call Millennium Pool Service. We have the experience and tools necessary to perform complex leak detection and repair. Our techniques include sonar technology, dye testing, static testing, and pressure testing. We’re confident we can find the source of the leak and repair it using the most appropriate methods available. For help detecting and repairing a pool leak, please contact us at 703.939.5062 in Virginia or 301.591.3750 in Maryland.