How to Fix a Leak in Your Inground Pool: A Step-by-Step Guide

Discovering a leak in your inground pool can be a cause for concern. Not only can it lead to water loss and increased utility bills, but it can also cause damage to the pool structure and surrounding areas.

Fixing a leak in your inground pool is essential to maintain its integrity and prevent further issues. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with a step-by-step approach to help you identify and fix a leak in your inground pool, ensuring a watertight and enjoyable swimming experience.

Identifying the Leak

Conduct a visual inspection: Inspect the pool area for any visible signs of leakage, such as wet spots, cracks, or loose tiles. Pay attention to the pool shell, skimmers, returns, lights, and any plumbing connections.

Perform a bucket test

Place a bucket on the first or second step of the pool, ensuring it is filled with water to match the pool’s level. Mark the water level on both the inside and outside of the bucket.

Leave it undisturbed for 24 hours and compare the water loss between the pool and the bucket. If there is a significant difference, it indicates a leak in the pool.

Use food coloring

In a still pool, add a few drops of food coloring near areas suspected of leaking, such as cracks or plumbing fittings. Observe if the color gets drawn towards any specific area, indicating a leak.

Fixing Common Pool Leak Issues

  1. Skimmer leaks:
    • Tighten skimmer screws: Check for loose screws around the skimmer faceplate and tighten them if necessary.
    • Replace skimmer gaskets: Over time, gaskets can deteriorate, leading to leaks. Replace the skimmer gaskets if they show signs of wear or damage.
  2. Return line leaks:
    • Inspect return fittings: Check the return fittings for any cracks or damage. Replace them if necessary.
    • Replace O-rings: If the return fittings have O-rings, inspect them for wear and tear and replace them if needed.
  3. Plumbing leaks:
    • Check unions and connections: Inspect all plumbing unions and connections for signs of leaks. Tighten them if they are loose or replace them if damaged.
    • Repair or replace pipes: If you locate a leak in a plumbing pipe, you may need to repair or replace the affected section. Consult a professional if the repair is extensive.
  4. Pool shell leaks:
    • Cracks and structural issues: If you notice cracks in the pool shell, they may require professional attention. Consult a pool specialist who can assess the severity of the crack and recommend appropriate repair methods.
  5. Vinyl liner leaks:
    • Patch small holes: For small punctures or tears in the vinyl liner, use a vinyl patch kit to seal the area. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application.
    • Replace damaged liner sections: If the vinyl liner has significant damage, it may be necessary to replace the affected sections. Consult a professional for assistance with liner replacement.

Seeking Professional Help

Leak detection services

If you are unable to locate the source of the leak or the repairs required are beyond your expertise, consider hiring a professional leak detection service.

They use specialized equipment and techniques to accurately pinpoint the leak’s location.

Pool repair specialists

For complex leaks or structural issues, it is advisable to seek the help of professional pool repair specialists. They have the experience and knowledge to assess and fix various types of pool leaks effectively.

Preventive Measures

Regular pool maintenance

Maintain proper water chemistry, clean the pool regularly, and monitor the equipment to prevent premature deterioration or damage that can lead to leaks.

Address issues promptly

Act quickly when you notice signs of a potential leak. Timely repairs can prevent further damage and minimize the extent of the repairs needed.

Winterize the pool

Properly winterize the pool if you live in an area with freezing temperatures. Freezing water can cause pipes and fittings to crack, leading to leaks.


Fixing a leak in your inground pool is crucial to prevent water loss, structural damage, and increased maintenance costs. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this article, you can identify and address common pool leak issues.

Remember to seek professional help when needed and take preventive measures to maintain the integrity of your pool. Regular maintenance and prompt action are key to enjoying a leak-free and long-lasting inground pool.

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