How To Find a Leak In an Above Ground Pool?

Find A Leak In An Above Ground Pool

Well, finding a leakage spot especially in an above ground pool is like achieving the most difficult task of your life. If you have succeeded in finding it, then that’s definitely a good and celebrating news for you. However, if you don’t succeed in finding it then, that’s obviously a bad and irritating news.

Many companies come forward to offer services to repair the leakages that are already found. However, many of them do not offer services to find the leakage. So, you must be understanding how difficult it is to find a leakage.

You will be surprised to know that in many cases, leakage is never detected and hence the only possible solution would be to replace the entire liner.

These are facts and are not intended to panic you. Stop worrying if you are finding it difficult to find the leakage in your above ground pool. We will guide you through best ideas that help you how to find a leak in an above ground pool.


Check complete pool equipment

Before you start implementing tips and ideas to detect a leakage spot, we suggest you to first check the pool equipment. When you are trying to find a leakage spot in an above ground pool, the most difficult place will be in the vinyl liner.

1. Clean the pool equipment

  • If you do not have a habit of regularly sanitizing and clearing the equipment area, you will now have a hectic work in front of you.
  • Clean the pump and filter areas of the equipment. Check if they are cluttered or overgrown. Investigate to find if any ant piles are formed under the pump. Remove and kill the ants and sanitize the area.
  • Check for weeds and pull them out. Find for unnecessary bothering things like rocks, pool toys and organic waste that reside and create chaos near the equipment area and remove them.

2. Switch on the pump

Do you know that some leaks will start to leak only after the pump turns on. When you turn on the pump, you will have more possible opportunity to find a bigger leak.

3. Detect for wet areas around your pool

We all know that water is wet. That itself is the sign to find for a leakage. Check all the possible surrounding equipment area that is outside the pool to find if there is any wetness which is only possible if there is any leakage.

4. Look closely in every possible way

  • Now, this is the most crucial and focused job that you can do.
  • Check into all the equipment components, fittings, hoses and lids to find if there are any drips.
  • Check closely near the area that is directly underneath the pool’s pump.
  • During hot climatic conditions, even if the water drips out of the pump, you might not see the wet area near the leakage. So, keep a dry towel handy to confirm if you have a doubt. Wipe the area to find if the wetness reoccurs to clarify your doubt.

5. Investigate the skimmer and return spots

Check the pool skimmer box and return spot as the leaked water will directly travel into these places. If you checked but still not sure, then try placing a dry towel at the pool’s wall to find if the wetness reoccurs. Be patient as detecting a leakage is no easy work.

Check complete vinyl liner

If you found very less possibility of leakage near pool equipment area, you will now need to detect for the same in vinyl liner. If you found a leaking spot, please don’t jump in excitement because there is no rule that a pool can have only one leakage!

1. Turn off the pump to see clearly in still waters

If the pump is turned on, you cannot see the pool floor clearly. So, turn it off and let the water stand still. Stand outside but closely to the pool and observe nook and corner of every area inside the pool to find a clue for leakage, if possible.

2. Investigate the pool floor

Most of the above ground pools have sand or earth based floors. So, if there is any leakage in the vinyl, it is possible that the water leaks out in the ground, just underneath the pool.

Sometimes, the leaked water that travels through the sand or earth based bottom will wash away the earth, thus leaving small valleys or holes underneath the pool. If this is the case, then you can come to a conclusion that the leakage is in the vinyl liner.

3. Investigate outside the pool area

If you have not yet found the leakage, then while you are still standing outside the pool, check the outside bottom area of the pool. If it is covered, dig and clear rocks and dirt around the wall to uncover the bottom track.

Now, don’t get tricked if you found a wet floor to be a sign of leakage as you know that ground may naturally hold moisture. If the wetness seems to be abnormally excessive then that might be a sign of leakage.

4. Clean the pool

Now that you are clear that there is very less possibility of leakage outside the pool, it’s time to get into the pool. Before you do that, first clean and vacuum the pool. If there are leaves and other organic or inorganic debris on the pool floor, they might cover the leakage spot.

Get into the pool after you secure your eyes with suitable mask or goggles. Carry a color dye and applicator along with you so that you can monitor closely and confirm the leakage spot. At this point of time, ensure once again that the pool pump is off.

5. Get too close to everything inside the pool

The ratio of the size of the leakage hole and the pool is incomparable. So, get into every nook and corner of your pool to find if there is any tiny hole at the bottom of the floor or pool’s wall.

Inspect too closely for holes, small valleys, or divots that you have seen while standing outside the pool. If you found them, shoot some of the dye you carried with you into the hole to find if it travels into the hole or travels back to mix with the water.

If the dye entered the hole and did not come back, then hurry!!! You have found the leakage spot!

Tips to find leakage in pool walls

Have you still not found the leakage spot? Then still you have chance to find if there is a leakage in another area – and that is the pool wall. Many pool walls leak at the lower areas.

So, invest your time searching for the leakage near the foot area of the pool walls. If you found any, shoot the dye into the hole to confirm if it is a hole or not.

Check in a methodical manner and follow the procedure below:

  • Do not jumble your search criteria as you will end up with disappointment. Divide YOUR work one after the other to check one by one every square inch of the floor and wall areas of your pool closely, in a specific method like moving from up towards down or vice versa.
  • Have you still not found the leakage? Then slowly swim every inch near the pool liner to find any hole and confirm if it is a leakage by shooting the dye into it.
  • Are you still unsuccessful? Then the last and the least option is to allow the pool to drain without adding further water. In this case, there is a possibility that the pool water will stop draining when it reaches the leakage point. This makes it easy to find the leakage, but remember that this is not always the possible case.

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Install New Vinyl Liner if Unsuccessful

Now that you have tried all the possible methods of searching for leakages, you are left with only one option and that is to get and install a new liner. Practically, once the liner crosses its age above 5 years, it is obvious to have more leakage spots. Hence, it is recommended to get a new liner rather than wasting your time searching for leakage spots.


It is obviously a patient job to find leakages in above ground pools. Since you know how to find a leak in an above ground pool, and tried every possible method, and if you have been unsuccessful, please don’t take the pain to your heart.

If your vinyl liner is more than 5 years old, and the leakages are troubling you, just replace it with a new one.

Bryan Mallory

My name is Bryan Mallory and I have over 25 years of experience in swimming pool, spa maintenance and repairs. With my experience and knowledge I can return your pool back to its best and keep it in peak condition.