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A swimming pool leak doesn’t have to be a big deal if you know how to fix a pool leak! Leaks usually occur when the pool liner is dry rot or damaged by the sun’s UV rays. But tears can also occur when people use the pool too roughly or if your water chemistry needs to be balanced.

To fix swimming pool leaks, start by getting a pool leak repair kit or patch. These tools should patch the hole and let you continue using your pool like normal and prolong your liner’s lifespan for a few years.

If you want to learn all the ins and outs of pool leak repair, keep reading!

What’s the Best Way to Repair a Leak in Your Pool?

The type of pool repairs you perform on your swimming pool depends on the leak. Most pool leaks are a tear or crack in the liner or filter system. These leaks are usually the easiest to repair and require only a few essential tools.

However, leaks in your swimming pool can also form in the pool tiles, concrete, and plumbing. These leaks can be more complicated, and you may want to hire a pool repair expert.

If you’re dealing with a tear in your swimming pool liner, an adhesive patch is the easiest and most effective repair method. You’ll need an adhesive patch and glue to get the patch to stick to the pool liner.

Follow these steps to attach an adhesive patch to your pool leak properly:

  1. Cut the adhesive patch at least 2-3 inches wider than the hole or tear
  2. Apply waterproof glue to the back of the patch
  3. Smooth it out over the whole surface
  4. Unfold the patch until it covers the hole or tear
  5. Apply pressure to the patch for a minimum of 2 hours
  6. If the tear is on the pool floor, you can place a weight or brick over the patch for 24 hours

Use putty or an adhesive patch if you’re dealing with a leak in your pool filter pump system. If the pump or filter is cracked, you should use waterproof tape or putty. However, a patch is a better option if there’s a hole in your pump or filter tank.

Do You Need to Drain Your Pool to Repair a Leak? 

Most pool leaks only require you to drain some water from your swimming pool. Pool leaks in the liner can be fixed with water still in the pool. But, if the location is hard to reach or requires you to hold your breath for a long time, you might need to drain most of your pool water.

However, if you drain your pool water to fix a leak, ensure you perform the repairs as fast as possible. The longer your pool liner’s exposed to the sun’s UV rays, the weaker it becomes. This can cause more damage than a simple tear and could lead you to have to replace your swimming pool liner.

Most pool patches can be applied with the water still in a swimming pool. It’s significantly easier to use the patch on the walls of your pool since you’ll probably have easier access to the hole or tear.

If you must drain the water, ensure everything is ready to go for the repairs before draining the water. Once the patch is applied, place a weight over the patch, and start refilling your swimming pool.

If you hire an expert to repair a hole, leak, or damage to the concrete or plumbing, then do as they direct you. They’ll be able to advise you on how to prepare your pool for repair best.

How Do You Know If Your Pool Has a Leak? 

Wet areas around your swimming pool and water loss are the two best ways to detect leaks. However, water loss can also be caused by evaporation. If it’s scorching outside and you are unsure whether a leak or evaporation causes your water loss, you’ll want to perform the bucket test.

What’s the bucket test? We’ll tell you in these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Place a bucket on your pool steps (it must be only partially submerged in water)
  2. Fill the bucket with water (leave only about an inch at the top without water)
  3. The bucket should be submerged about 5-6 inches in the water of the pool
  4. Mark where the current pool water levels on the wall (use waterproof tape to prevent staining your pool wall)
  5. Mark the water levels in the bucket (you can use a waterproof maker if you don’t mind a mark in your bucket)
  6. Wait 24 hours
  7. Check the water levels to see if both the bucket and the pool lost the same amount of water

This test should demonstrate how much water you’re losing because of evaporation. If the pool and the bucket lost the same amount of water, then you’re likely losing water from evaporation. If your pool loses more water, then a leak is causing the water loss.

If some environmental or weather phenomenon makes the test inaccurate (rain, hail, etc.), you’ll have to wait and start over again.

How Can You Determine Where the Leak is Located? 

It’s usually much easier to tell if you have a leak in an above-ground pool than with an inground swimming pool. You’ll be more likely to notice where the leak is with an above-ground swimming pool because you’ll see puddling water near a certain side of your pool.

It’s not impossible to find a leak in an inground swimming pool. You’ll want to perform the dye test to determine where the leak is in your swimming pool.

Here’s how to perform the dye test in your inground pool:

  1. Put pool dye in a syringe or dropper
  2. Turn off your pool filter
  3. Drop 4-7 drops of pool dye into the water along the wall where you suspect the leak is located
  4. Watch which direction the dye travels
  5. Investigate the area where the dye appeared to travel out through the wall
  6. Mark the tear or fissure with waterproof tape

While some people claim that food-grade dye works fine for leak detection, we recommend against this. Food dyes aren’t as water resistant and will likely dissipate in the water.

Water dyes come in either yellow, blue, or red. You should choose the color that most contrast your pool liner or pool surface. The more the dye sticks out, the more effective the dye test will be at helping you find the leak!

When performing the dye test, you’ll want the water’s surface to be as calm and undisturbed as possible. The more the water moves, the less likely the dye is to travel toward the sources of the leak.

Ideally, perform the test on a still day with little wind. Do not do the test on a rainy day since the rain will cause the ink to travel all over. Finally, turn off your pool pump and give the water time to calm down before using the dye for leak detection.

Do You Have to Replace Your Pool Liner if it Tears or Cracks? 

Repairing a pool leak varies a little depending on your pool and liner type. Most inground pools have either vinyl or concrete bases. You can fix a leak with a repair kit, but you must know when to get a new cover and repair your old one.

If your pool liner is fairly new and the tear isn’t too large, it should be easy to fix. However, if your liner is fairly old and the incision’s substantial, you should invest in a new one.

Keep in mind that most patches last a maximum of 2 years. You’ll either need to repatch your pool liner or replace your liner after the patch is worn out.


Pool leak detection doesn’t have to be complicated as long as you know what you’re doing. While a pool leak can be bothersome and worrisome, it’s not necessarily a death sentence for your liner.

Pool owners should use a patch or repair kit to fix the holes in their liner and work to prevent further damage in the future. Just remember, pool liners are expensive, so investing in a pool cover might be worth it.


Can a Concrete Pool Get Leaks?

Yes, a concrete pool can spring a leak. Depending on the type of damage your concrete pool has, this tear can be a surface tear or a structural crack. Most concrete pool leaks occur in the vinyl cover over the concrete base. These aren’t that serious but should be patched right away.

If your crack is structural, this is very serious. A professional should immediately repair concrete pools with a crack in the foundation.

How to Fix a Pool Leak in a Concrete Pool?

You can repair a structural tear in a concrete base with a polyurethane patch kit. However, if the incision is large or runs deep, then you should probably call a professional.

If the tear is in the vinyl cover over the concrete base, then you can repair it with a kit. Just follow the steps we laid out in the first section.

How Do You Know If Your Pool Pump Has a Leak?

If you see rust or decay in the metal seals of your pool pump, then you might have a leak. These sealant braces are the most likely places to experience a leak in your pool pump and filtration system.

You could also have a leak in your pool pipes. These should be easier to detect since you should see water leaking whenever you run your pump.

What is the Main Cause of a Leaking Swimming Pool?

There are a lot of things that can damage your pool and cause a leak. However, UV rays are one of the most common causes of pool leaks. The sun can damage your pool liner, especially if portions of your pool liner are exposed.

If you ever need to drain your pool for cleaning, try to get it done as fast as possible. The longer your liner’s exposed, the more damage will be done to it. To protect your liner and prevent pool leaks, use a pool cover whenever you’re not using it!

How Do You Prevent Pool Leaks?

Keeping your pool water chemistry balanced is one of the best ways to protect your liner. If the water’s too acidic, it can corrode the metal parts o your pool, like the ones in your pool pump.

If the water’s too base it can lead to mold and algae growth. While these things won’t necessarily tear your liner, they can leave stains. One of the most effective ways to clean these stains is to use an acid wash, which will damage your pool liner. So keep your pool water balanced to protect your investment!