Return Line Leaks

If you have a leak that meets leak condition 4 then it is entirely possible that you have a leak somewhere in the return lines of your pool. A professional would use electronic listening equipment and a pressure test of the plumbing system to confirm this suspicion and pinpoint the leak location.

pool return gasket and fitting

How Do Returns Leak

It is extremely common to find return lines leaking at the point where they meet the wall of the pool. There are a number of reasons for this and most of them are installation related. From installing the gaskets in the wrong place or installing too many gaskets, to using the wrong glue, clamps or pipe material for the connection to the return fitting return leaks can be responsible for extensive water loss in a pool.

Under upwards of 20psi the pool pump delivers more than enough power to force a large amount of water out through a crack in the pipe. This will make a lot of noise (relative to using listening devices) as well as cause a great deal of water to travel through the ground as it drains away from the pool which can cause noticeable depressions in the ground.

How To Fix Return Leaks

To fix a leaking return line you will need to access the area where the return meets the pool wall. If you have paving stones then you are lucky as concrete will need to be cut and then broken away which is never a fun job to do. Using concrete saws is a dangerous and unpleasant job under almost any conditions.

Before you can start digging though you will need to be able to find the exact leak location as the returns could be leaking at the tee junctions where the main line splits and picks up the usual 2-4 returns in the pool. Finding a way to pressurize the pool plumbing lines and then listening for leaks at the pool wall and on the ground above where the pipes are is the best you can do as a pool owner.

Electronic leak detection equipment is many thousands of dollars so if your leak is difficult to diagnose you will need to break down and bring in an expert eventually. They may be more expensive than finding the leak yourself but they are still cheaper than you buying professional grade leak detection electronic testers.

The repair of the return line is 90% exposing the area to be repaired and 10% actually making the repair. Give yourself a large deck opening and expose a large portion of the pipe to make the repair plumbing easier. Be sure to pressurize the pipe once the area is exposed to confirm the leak location here. A soap solution on the pipes will go a long way towards locating the leak.

Proceed to the next leak test section - the water level test

The menu on the right is a chronological step by step process to determine where a swimming pool is leaking. This website is written as a readthrough technical assistance guide for locating leaks. When you believe you have identified where the pool is leaking you need to go to our sister website to see pictures and learn more about the actual swimming pool leak repair process.