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Finding a Leak in Your Water Garden – Water Garden & Feature Q & A


Finding a leak in your Water Garden

Water Gardens & Features Q & A

Q: I think my pond may have a leak. How do I find it? – Donny of Georgia

A: To find a leak in your pond or water feature, you’ll need to do some sleuthing. Your fish and waterfall/stream will splash some water out of the pond, and some of it will evaporate (especially during the long, warm days of summer), but if you have an average pond and you’re losing more than 3 inches per week, try these techniques to troubleshoot the cause of the leak:

1. Turn off the pump and wait: By shutting off your pump, you’ll be able to narrow down the location of the leak. If the water level in the pond continues to drop, you’ve got a leak or liner breech in the main basin of your pond. If the water level stays the same, you’ve got some more investigating to do.

2. Inspect your plumbing: A leak in the plumbing means you’ll need to carefully examine all the check valve assemblies and fittings, replacing them if necessary. Look at your skimmer and/or filtration system and make sure they’re clean and sound. You won’t be able to check buried pipe, of course, but look around the pond for abnormal wet patches.

3. Check your liner: Your pond’s leak could be caused by a liner breech, either in the waterfall/stream or along the pond’s edge. Has a rock, plant or excess algae growth shifted the liner, causing the water to flow over it? Has the liner settled along the streambed or pond edge after a heavy rain? Do you see wet spots in the mulch or gravel alongside the pond? These clues may lead you to the cause of the leak.

4. Let it flow: If the leak is in the pond basin itself, all you can do is leave the pump off and let the water run out until it stops, being mindful of your plants and fish, of course. Low water levels may force you to net your fish and relocate pond inhabitants. As the water drains, check the sides of the pond for holes or gashes. Look for low edges that allow water to escape and make sure the liner is still in place.

5. Fix it: When you find the leak, we suggest to scrub and remove any debris before patching to help ensure a clean seal. A hole in the pond liner can be easily fixed with and 6″ EPDM Liner Patch Kit or a Universal Liner Patch Kit if you liner is something other than EPDM. Follow the included instructions or contact us and we can help you. If you don’t want to drain your pond to repair the leak you can always use the Underwater Pond Sealer. It works instantly to repair leaks in rubber liners, vinyl liners, concrete, stone, wood, glass and ceramic.

Pond leaks happen, so be sure to regularly inspect and maintain your decorative pond or water feature. Hopefully, you’ll be able to catch the leak before it turns into a flood!

POND TALK: Do you have any tips for finding an underwater leak?

10 Responses

  1. Well I think you should first confirm that whether there is a leak or water level is decreasing due to the evaporation before hiring any of the leak detection services. For this you may do a bucket test. Place a bucket on the step of pool with water in it up to a certain mark. And also mark the level of your pool. Now observe both marks i.e. pool’s level and bucket level after 24 hrs. If the decrease level is constant in both the case then it is due to the evaporation and if not same then there must be a leakage problem.

  2. I have small 2 tear water fall into a 3′ by 4′ by 16″ pond. I constructed this out of concrete granite rock & flag stone. It held water great for the first year but this year I have a leak that I can not find. HELP PLEASE!!

    • Hi John,

      I would follow to suggestions on our last blog for trying to narrow down your leak search. Does your pond have any liner underneath or just the rocks as a base? If it is just the rocks/cement it’s possible that the gaps between or cracks in concrete are releasing the water in which case the water would be coming from several different areas in the pond. You could try using waterfall foam to fill in gaps between the rocks. The foam is not necessarily designed to stop leaks but it does help hold water inside the pond and help to support rocks. We also have a product called pond armor that you could apply to the pond area that holds the water. This is alomst like painting on a liner which would help seal any small cracks.

  3. I live in North Carolina, if your pond is 3 feet or more
    at it’s deepest, I put the plants in the bottom near
    my water fall after cutting them back. I never turn my water fall off. My plants come back every year, sometimes before I can pull them back up to the top. In extreme winters I also use a Sauser Heater to keep ice from completely forming on the ends farthest from the water fall.

  4. HI MR. POND GUY
    THIS YEAR WE REBUILT OR POND AND REPLACED THE LINER AND FILTERING SYSTUM AND NOW ABLE TO PUT MORE PLANTS IN THE POND AND THE 2 BOGS. I KNOW I CAN OVER WINTER THE LILLIES BUT, CAN I AND HOW CAN I WINTER OVER THE WATER HICENTS, CYPERIS, CANNA, WATER IRIS OR DO HAVE TO JUST THROW THEM OUT. OUR POND TOTALY FREEZES, WE LIVE NEAR ROCHESTER NY WITH A HARDI ZONE OF # 4 – 5.

    • Francis,

      Any floating plants, such as the water hyacinth are hard to winterize. Usually you have to bring them indoors because they will not survive the harsh winters.

      As for any bog plants, what we do in Michigan where it seems like we only have summer for 2 weeks out of the year =), we trim the foliage of the bog/marginals down to about 2″ above the roots. We are in zone 5 as well and we don’t have a problem having them come back year to year.

      If you have any bogs/marginal plants that are tropical however, again, they will not survive the winter even if you did trim back the foliage.

      Hopefully this helps!

      Thanks for the question

  5. How would you detect a leak in pond without a liner, as in a stock tank?

    • Paul,

      If the stock tank is above ground, try and look around the tank for any leaks. Some times they can be visible, other times it can be a small drip that you may not notice.

      If the stock tank is built into the ground, the concepts above should work. By turning off any pumps and letting the water sit will allow you to see where the water level comes down to if there is a leak.

      Does it drain to the bottom if you let it sit? If so the leak must be on the bottom. If it stops mid-level, then the leak is around the side. If it leaks only when the pump is on, then water is somehow escaping from the pump tubing, filtration or waterfall area or whichever you have.

      Hopefully this helps.
      Thanks for the question!

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