Plumbing, Heating and Pool Repair Guides

Leaking Above Ground Pool Repair Guide


The above ground swimming pool can start to leak from a number of different areas at any time of the season for a number of different reasons. Making sure you repair the leak in the swimming pool as soon as your notice it loosing water is very important. Leaking Above Ground Pool Repair Guide

Failure to repair a leaking swimming pool liner can cause damage to the ground around the pool and possibly the swimming pool. So always make sure you make your above ground pool repairs as soon as possible to prevent further damages as well as a higher cost to do the repair when it gets worse.

Finding out where the pool is leaking from can be done by something called “above ground swimming pool leak detection”. Since the above ground is actually above the ground, finding a leak in the plumbing or the liner in the pool can be easier then find a leak on an in ground swimming pool. Above ground pools generally have flexible hoses connecting the pump and the filter. Some pools will have solid or flexible PVC piping in the pool filter system, but the plumbing will still be above the ground making it visually easier to spot and then fix the broken pipes Vs having to dig up the ground or patio just to access the swimming pool plumbing like on an in ground swimming pool.

You will always want to make sure that your swimming pool chemicals are within balance and the pool water is clear before you try and find the leak. Trying to find a leak in a pool with cloudy or green water is like finding a needle in a haystack. It’s always best to have the pool in perfect working order besides the leak off course when the time comes to find the leak.

How To Check The Above Ground Pool Plumbing For Leaks

If you have hoses on you above ground swimming pool you will want to make sure that either end of the hose cuff is leaking. If you see leaks or drips you will want to turn off the filter system and tighten down the hose clamps or replace the worn pool hose if necessary.

If you have an above ground swimming pool with solid or flex PVC you will want to look for visible cracks or leaks in all the fitting and the pipe joints. Sometimes a fitting will separate or crack during the off-season and when the pool system is started back up the fitting comes apart. Make sure to check the entire pool piping, fittings and unions to make sure that they are not leaking or dripping.

You Should Check The Filter System For Visible Leaks

One of the most over looked areas on the swimming pool is the filter system. Many people just say: Oh, that’s just a small drips and they don’t realize how fast those drips can add up to a real water usage amount. You should turn on your filter system and inspect it while its running to see if you can see any visible water leaks coming from the pump or the filter system. If you see signs of water on Hydro Tools Pool Patch Repair Kitthe floor near the pump see if you can trace it back to the source.

If you have a swimming pool filter with a multi-port valve you should make sure that you are not loosing water from your back wash line. A common problem is that the multi-port gasket will go bad and you will have the backwash line stretched out and water will be tricking out at the other end of the 50′ foot line. This is a common mistake made by many pool owners. They set roll there backwash line into the woods or far away from the pool and never realize that water is pumping or dripping out when the pool is set on filter and just not backwash. So make sure you check to see if your multi-port gasket is good as well.

How To Find The Hole An Above Ground Pool Liner

Finding a hole in the swimming pool liner can be done in a number of different ways. The easiest way is to simply look for the whole with your eyes. If you cannot see the hole in the liner by just looking at the pool then the next step would be to get into a bathing suit and get into the pool. If you have a pair of water goggles they will be able to help you see under the water. This step will only work off course if your swimming pool is clear and able to be swum in. If your swimming pool is green, you will need to clear the pool up before you can jump in and look for the leak.

Once you are in the swimming pool you will want to completely visually inspect the liners seams first to see if you have a torn seam. This is common with above ground swimming pool liners. If you cannot find a leak in the seam you will now want to start looking for holes in other areas of the pool liner.

How To Use Food Coloring To The Pool Liner Leak

You can use basic food coloring to help you find the leak in your above ground pool. What you will want to do is to use a dark colored food coloring and place it into a small eyedropper or syringe. While you are in the pool squirt a bit of food coloring out of the syringe towards the area of the pool liner that you think is leaking and if it is you will see the food coloring get sucked out of the pool.

Food coloring will show up and be visible in the pool water and if there is a leak in fact the food coloring gets drawn with the flow of water that is leaking out of the pool and then you will see it “disappear” but its really not, its just passing though the liner exactly where the leak is.

You can also use pool leak testing dye if you have a local swimming pool supply store in the area. It is a bit more expensive and also is a bit thicker in the water as well. But normal dark colored food coloring will also work just as well and you will be able to find your leak.

How To Properly Patch The Hole In The Liner

Once you have found the leak in the swimming pool you will want to make sure you know how to properly patch the pool. You will need a piece of the liner or a pool liner patch kit, some pool liner patch glue and also a pair of scissors. You will of course also need to know where the pool liner is leaking.

What you will first want to do is to measure the area of the swimming pool liner that needs to be patched. You will want to make sure that the patch your cutting is at least 2″ inches bigger all around then the hole in the liner. Once you have cut the square or rectangle piece of pool liner 2″ inches bigger then the hole in the pool you will want to do one more very important step that many people forget. This is to round off the edges of the swimming pool patch. In fact you want to cut the patch into a circle if possible. The reason for this is that so there are no edges that can get caught or lift off once the patch is installed. A circular swimming pool patch will be less disturbed over time, resulting that the patch holds for a super long time.


  1. Thanks for the interesting article. Taking care of your pool is no big deal with the right equipment. Thanks for the tips.

  2. Very very useful article. I agree with “Taking care of your pool is no big deal with the right equipment”. Thank you.


  3. My above ground pool is leaking water out of the backwash port while it is filtering, i can turn it off and back on and it quits for a while. Also i turn it to rinse and backwash and let it run for a little while not noticing to much trash comming out, same results. I have replaced the entire top half of the filter system and the new one does it also? There doesn’t seem to be alot of pressure when i turn it to backwash or rinse neither, unlike the other divertor. Either way i am still leaking, need help!!

  4. Yes changed the spider gasket first on the old diverter still leaks then bought the top half of the diverter brand new and it leaked. So i took that part back and bought the whole diverter all as one piece worked good for one day and then it started leaking, all leaking is comming out of the backwash port. I am at a loss!!

  5. Yes that is what i thought, crazy! It will run for about 30min or so then it starts dripping out of the backwash, you can either turn it off or backwash and rinse it then put it back on filter and 30 or so min. it will do the same thing. When the pool is filtering the pressure is great no issues but when you backwash the system there is not as much pressure as i have seen them or think they should have. It just runs out instead of shoots out if you know what i am trying to say. We have just now started getting the pool clearer, been dealing with this issue for a while now and thought we had it so we started putting chemicals in it and well here we are again.

  6. Sorry, Yes i bought a whole new mutliport all in one piece so it had never been taken apart worked for a day and then started leaking.

  7. that is wierd that the old one and the new one are doing the same thing. Could the amount of debris like algea or anything cause any of these issues, but that still doesn’t add up because the pressure is as far as i can tell ok when filtering maybe just i little slower. Guess what i am asking is, if the sand is clogged up can it cause enough back pressure to cause the water to beat the gaskets allowing water to exit?

    • Hi Mike,

      Sure there are a lot of things that could force that to happen,

      Lets start with:

      1) when was the last time you changed your sand?

      3) What kind of pump and what horsepower is it?

      3) Do you have just a standard return jet or one of those lights that are a return as well?

      Please let me know the above.

      Any chance you could take pictures of the system?

  8. Changed sabd this season just before the problem started so sand is new put 150 punds in filter as recomended by label on the filter system. Pump is a Waterway Supreme Hi-Flo 1 HP. We have a standard return jet system. We contacted our salesman that sold me the multi-port 3 days ago “which should be under warrrenty” and discovered that they will no longer be our place of buisness. We were told they would NOT replace it under any circumstance and the only thing they would do is send a service man out for $75, so if any of your viewers live near Fort Smith Arkansas i would love for them to reply to this and I will let them know where not to go!! Also as my wife was trying to vacuum the pool to see what would happen the handle for the valve popped straight up out of the normal filtering position, as if the pressure had popped it up then water started “shooting” out the backwash valve as well as trying to filter. We are very upset with our salesman as we had bought the multi-port all in one piece so there was no room for error with installing it but of course they blamed us for messing it up! We deffinately appreciate any and all help you can provide us as we are on our own now it seems! I have the pictures you requested, trying to figure out how to upload them to you.

  9. So i have been wondering why my pool has been leaking from the backwash valve. It has been doing that for 2 days now and my water level went down. I was trying to clean the pool with the baracuda vacume to get the sand out from the bottom of the pool but maybe im doing something wrong because it leaks and it concerns me. Its so frustrating i just want to take it down and not have a pool at all. its too much of a hasle but i need to get it fixed what should i do?

    • Hi,

      Are you still having problems with the pool?

      If you got it fixed already…what was the problem you found?

      Let me know if you need some help!

  10. I have a leak in the bottom of my pool. The ink/food dye method hasn’t worked, and I’m still trying to visually locate it but can’t. Anyone have any suggestions???

    • Hi Jacque,

      Do you have an in ground or an above ground swimming pool?

      Please let me know and I can help you further.

      Thanks so much!


    • I have a leak in an above ground pool. Haven’t been able to find it yet, but just read about the food coloring way. Can a hole below the water line be repaired without draining the pool? Even if it is on the seam?


  11. Hi Joseph,

    Thank you kindly for offering to assist us, and I’d still be very interested in knowing how to find a leak in the bottom of an above ground pool for future reference! However, as I was standing next to the pool yesterday, within 1/2 hour, two more leaks sprung in the sides of the pool, and we are going to replace the pool liner completely!


  12. i have leak for sure, water line dropped then stopped, water on side of pool by base pouring out..
    cant find the leak, would it be directly in the panel area where the water outside is ?
    i have a bunch of patches on it now thinking i had the spot but still leaking badly
    i have tried feeeling for it, but not sure what i am feeling for , dot, bump, ect
    there seems to be extra material in the liner in that area too, when i push on the liner with my fingers,

    shouldnt the leak be right at the water line and in the section where there is water on the ground??
    how do i find it, tryed using dye.. couldnt tell and do any of those stop leak products work that you pour into a pool / and if so what is best to get that wont mess up my sand filter, above ground oval 18 x 33 pool
    thanks for your time, lori

  13. I’ve had my intex above ground pool for three weeks now and I already have a horrid leak. It draind all the way down to the floor of the liner, so the rip or hole must be on the floor and pretty big but I cant find it!

  14. hi again, is anyone on this? i have left this page up since july 1st and it is now the 3rd, i posted at 10 am and it came up as 352 am , on the 2nd. just so you know … time zone nj eastern

    i really need help with this, on unemployment so cant hire anyone, need my pool for physical therapy and my water bill is going to be outrageous with the flow of water i am losing ..

    is there something i should be feeling for on the inside of the pool wall opposite where the water is on the ground leaking onto the sand, it is flowing out like a little stream of water… i have put numerous patches where the water line stopped or above it, which now looks like crap, but dont care .. any suggestionis or help please thanks so much for your time
    lori again

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