How to Repair an Above-Ground Pool Leak

An above ground pool.
  • 1-5 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 10-50
What You'll Need
Vinyl patch kit
What You'll Need
Vinyl patch kit

Leaks are common enough occurrences in an above ground pool. They can happen at any time of the season and for different reasons. Whether the plumbing, filter system, or the lining is at fault, prompt repair is important. A leaking pool can cause complications with the surrounding area and possibly with the pool itself. Above ground pools are often easier to fix than regular in-ground pools because everything is easily accessible and plainly visible. The water should be clear, not cloudy or green, to see where the problem lies.

Step 1 - Check Hoses

A pool with hoses will require checking that all are working correctly. Ensure both ends of the hose cuffs are not leaking. If you detect dripping here, shut down the filter system and tighten the hose clamps or, if necessary, replace the worn hose entirely.

If your pool has solid or flexible PVC pipes, search for visible cracks in fittings and pipe joints. Fittings sometimes crack during the cold months and separate when the pool is up and running again. Use a caulking material or silicone-based gel to repair split pipes.

Step 2 - Pump and Filter Inspection

Turn on your filter system and inspect it when running. If you see signs of leaking on the ground near the pump, trace it back to the source. If your pool has a multi-port valve ensure water is not leaking from the backwash line. Sometimes the multi-port gasket will go bad and water will run away at the end of the line. One error made by many pool owners is that, in setting the backwash line far from the pool area, they fail to realize that water is being pumped away when the pool is set on a filter.

Step 3 - Do a Visual Inspection

Make a thorough visual inspection of the pool. If nothing comes to your attention, you will need to get into the water and inspect the liner using water goggles for clearer vision. Check for tears in the seam of the liner. If you cannot find a fault here, search for holes in other areas.

Pour a dark-colored food coloring into a syringe and squirt the liquid out of the syringe towards the areas that may be faulty. The problem will reveal itself as the dark liquid is sucked out of the pool water. Pool leak testing dyes, available on the market, are more expensive and are thicker in the water. But food coloring will work just as well.

Step 4 - Repair Holes

If the damage is beyond ordinary repair, call a professional pool repair service. However, a small leak can be repaired with a vinyl patch kit. Cut the patch at least two inches larger all round than the hole you are repairing. Round off the patch’s edges or cut into a circle so no corners can peel away once the repair is made.

Any visible leaks on the outer wall of the pool should be filled with suitable rubber gap filler specially designed to seal cavities. Alternatively, a pool repair putty mixture can be applied to seal any obvious leaks.