How to Find Holes in a Pool Liner

What You'll Need
Food coloring
Plastic bucket
Small rocks, optional
Waterproof crayon or tape

Expect to lose about a ½-inch of water from your swimming pool each day due to evaporation or splash out; however, if you lose an inch or more, you may have a leak in your pool liner. Although finding holes in a vinyl pool liner is a long and daunting task, locating and repairing them early will prevent them from growing bigger and causing more damage. The following steps will show you how you can detect and repair liner holes to prolong the life of your pool.

Step 1 - Determine If Your Pool Has Holes

Fill your pool to its normal operating level. Place a bucket on a pool step and fill until the water level in the pool and bucket are the same. You can place rocks in the bucket to prevent any damage to the liner in case it is knocked over. Mark the levels of water in the bucket and pool with a piece of tape or waterproof crayon.

For best results, wait 24 hours before measuring the water losses in the pool and the bucket. A greater drop in the line marked outside the bucket indicates a leak in the liner. Conduct the test twice: with the pump off and then with it operating as usual.

Step 2 - Find Out What Is Causing the Holes

Once you know that your vinyl pool liner definitely has holes, you need to determine what is causing the puncture. Sowly drop food coloring to various parts of the pool, like near the ladder, lights, return faceplate and skimmer. If the holes are around any of these areas, the food coloring will be sucked into them.

If you fail to find holes here, you will have to visually inspect the pool liner. Use the food coloring in places you notice any abnormalities to ascertain whether they are holes. This process might be time-consuming because a lot of pool liners have various designs on the sides of the walls and bottom.  

Step 3 - Find the Holes

If you still fail to find any holes in your leaky liner, you will have to dive into your pool and run your hands over the walls and floor to locate the puncture. This exhausting task must be done thoroughly to ensure that you only go around your pool once.

You may ask a friend who dives to help you check the deep end wearing his diving apparatus. Otherwise, you will have to keep holding your breath while descending to the bottom to look for the holes.   

Step 4 - Repair the Liner

Once you find the holes causing the leak in your liner, you can repair them yourself using a vinyl patch kit, following the manufacturer's instructions. Alternatively, you can call a professional to fix it for you. The holes might be near each other or spaced apart. You can also patch your liner temporarily using underwater adhesives until professional help arrives.