How To Do A Pond Leak Test

How To Do A Pond Leak Test

Pond owners using simple pond leak test procedures can assess the leak’s source and make repairs without having to call in a professional. Pond leaks can be expensive but are undoubtedly stressful for pond owners. Calm yourself, though, and consider the following:

Note: Before doing a pond leak test, realize that regular water loss is associated with evaporation. Expect evaporation to increase during the warmer months. And realize that the most common cause for concern over pond water loss is evaporation. Evaporation increases due to various factors, including temperature, wind, and elements of water feature design, including the volume of water pumped across the pond stream (due to shallow water exposure effects of temperature & wind). 

So you’ve ruled out evaporation and want to do a Pond Leak Test. Here are a few steps to follow.

Step 1: Do a visual inspection for any signs of water escaping the liner from debris piled up in your stream. Look for unusual wet spots, soft soil, and erosion that can signify a leaking underground connection or hose. Some pond owners include spitters for additional aeration that, when clogged, can cause water to leak outside the liner around where it’s positioned at the pond edge. Where appropriate, clean out debris from the stream and adjust rocks if it appears there is a blockage backing up water that is escaping over the liner edge. If you find low areas where water is running over the liner, raise the liner edge by backfilling with additional dirt under the liner. Water escaping along the stream is the most common source of leaks and is typically fixable by the pond owner. 

Step 2: Fill the pond to its normal full level and then turn off the pump for at least 24 hours to determine at what level the leakage stops. 

Note: If your pond is home to fish, you can keep them in the pond without the pump running if the fish load is small. However, you’ll need to provide them with supplemental aeration and monitor the water quality closely with a test kit. If you decide to keep your fish in the pond during the pond leak test, consider adding Aquascape’s Maintain product to further assist in keeping the water parameters safe. Otherwise, move your koi, goldfish, and other fish to a holding area such as a quarantine tank.

Step 3: Did the pond leak during the 24 hours with the pond pump turned off? If there was no further leakage with the pump off, skip to Step 4. Allow the leak-down to complete as the leak source will be at or below where it stopped leaking. Once the leak down is complete, inspect the liner at the water level edge for holes. Also, if the skimmer faceplate is in the zone where the leak stopped, check it as a possible leak source that may require resealing. Earth Works sells liner patches and sealant. If you found the leak and patched or resealed it, congratulations, you are done and can disregard additional steps.

Step 4: If turning the pump off stops the leak, then turn the pump on again and reinspect the stream and edge work and the seals where the liner is attached to the skimmer face plate and biofall filter spillway. If the leak is identified as one of the component seals, turn off the pump and reseal the leaking components with silicone and re-foam rocks if necessary. Then turn the pump back on and let it run for 24 hours to verify there is no leak. If the leak continues, move to the next step.

Step 5: With the pump running, begin digging to expose flex hose plumbing connections to the back of the biofall and skimmer. If you find no leaks at the plumbing connections, more digging out of the flex hose for inspection or running new lines will be required, which might be the point at which you will want to contact Earth Works for repair or a rebuild upgrade.

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Earth Works operates a retail Garden Center/Plant Nursery in Jacksonville and provides landscaping, hardscaping, water features, lawn care service, lawn spraying, and drainage solutions.

Earth Works proudly serves clients in Northeast Florida, including Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Nocatee, St. Johns, Fleming Island, Orange Park, Middleburg, Green Cove Springs, Amelia Island, Fernandina, and St. Augustine.

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