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Some of my rocks and stream shifted over the winter, and I think I may have a leak. What is the easiest way to fix it? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: Some of my rocks and stream shifted over the winter, and I think I may have a leak. What is the easiest way to fix it?

Q: Some of my rocks and stream shifted over the winter, and I think I may have a leak. What is the easiest way to fix it?

Pat – Cumberland, MD

A: Ice and snow can certainly do a number on a landscape – if you’ve ever seen how a glacier can carve through the earth, you know what we’re talking about! Around your pond, the same type of thing can occur, albeit on a smaller scale. Ice, snow and even heavy bouts of rain can shift rocks and soil, cause erosion and move or puncture your liner, resulting in leaks.

So what can be done? You’ll need to do some investigating to determine where the problem is and then get busy making repairs. Here’s what we suggest.

1. Rock Steady

Because the rocks shifted over the winter, the first thing to do is return them to their original position them and lock them into place. As you move the rocks back, check to see if they tore the liner or shifted it out of place. If so, patch the hole and tuck the liner back in. Use PondBuilder™ PondBuild ‘N Foam to fill in gaps between the rocks, support them and prevent them from moving again next winter.

2. Rule Out Evaporation

During the heat of summer, you can expect some evaporation – and it can cause your pond to lose up to an inch of water a day. If you have a long stream bed with a lot of surface area or a large pond with few floating plants, even more water could transform from liquid to vapor. To rule out evaporation, fill the pond back up and keep an eye on the water level. Any more than an inch or so of water loss could indicate a leak.

3. Check for Damp Spots

If more than an inch or so of water is disappearing daily, one clear clue that could lead to your leak is a damp area around the pond’s perimeter. That water has to go somewhere, and a low-lying patch of wet ground is a great place to start looking for its source. Walk around the pond and carefully inspect the soil for signs of unexplained moisture.

4. Rule Out the Liner

If you’ve ruled out evaporation and found no damp areas, there are two more possible leak culprits: your waterfall or your liner. Shut down waterfall pump and wait for several hours. If the pond’s water level stays the same, then you’ll know the leak is not in the liner itself. It’s likely in the waterfall or plumbing. Check your waterfall box and skimmer for cracks or if the liner isn’t attached, and inspect your plumbing for loose connections.

5. Track, Repair Liner Leak

At this point, the bad news is that you probably have a hole in your liner, and finding it won’t be easy. But the good news is that it is possible to track it down and repair it.

To find it, use Pond Logic® Pond Shade or some milk to visually track the leak. Simply add a few drops on the side and watch it as it finds its way to the leak. This will take some time, a few attempts — and patience. You can also let the water slowly go down. (Depending how low it goes, you may need to temporarily relocate your fish.) The water level should stabilize, which will allow you to visually inspect the first few inches of liner above the water surface for the hole.

Once you’ve found the hole, patch it up with an EPDM Liner Patch Kit or use some Gold Label Pond Sealer. The 6-inch liner patch is easy to use on small punctures: Just peel off the protective film and press onto the liner. The sealer can be used in wet or dry conditions and will seal completely in 48 hours.

Good luck tracking down that leak and repairing it!

Pond Talk: Tell us about your most mysterious pond leak. How did you find it and repair it?

Quickly Repair Winter Damage - Tite Seal™ EPDM Pond Liner Patch Kit

Top Blog Posts of 2014

2014 brought lots of unusual weather, which caused some unique challenges and inquiries for pond owners. Thank you for all your questions and comments. Here are the top blogs for 2014, read by you! As always, if you have questions or comments, please feel free to send them our way! 

We wish you a safe and happy 2015.
From The Pond Guy® Staff

Top 5 Blog Posts in Pond & Lake

Top Blog Posts of 2014 - Pond & Lake

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Happy New Year from The Pond Guy(r)

I realized today that my pond seems to have a leak. How could I find out? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Put It On The Patch

I realized today that my pond seems to have a leak. How could I find out? Cindy – Kirtland, NM

This Blog Has A Lot of Holes

Having a leak in your Pond Liner can be frustrating at best, but not being able to locate the source of the water loss can be maddening. While repairing a leak in your pond is never your ideal way to spend time at your water garden, knowing how to locate and stop your leaks can change an extremely bothersome job into a relatively smooth process.

Now You See It … Now You Don’t

It is normal to experience some water loss in your pond throughout the season. This is due to evaporation. In areas with warmer climates it is not uncommon to lose a couple of inches of water each week. While evaporation is a natural process it can still be annoying at times as it will require you to add water to your pond to maintain your normal water level. Installing an Auto Fill Valve in your skimmer will keep ensure your pond is always at your desired water level without you having to go out and physically fill it. For those of you who experience small water loss like this during your warmer seasons, feel free to let out a sigh of relief, there will be no leak hunting for you today.

Learn To Locate Your Leaks

Alliteration aside, if you are losing more than a few inches a water from your pond in a short time span it is time to sniff out these leaks and seal them up. The best way to find the source of your water loss is to start with the obvious as it may save you the time and trouble of moving the rocks in your pond, or worse, pulling up your plumbing.

Look For Low Edges or Overspill: Inspect the edges of your pond, waterfall, and stream bed. Make sure there is no water spilling over the edges of these areas and if you have tight turns in your stream make sure the water able to follow the curve without splashing out. Check for damp areas or pooling water outside of the pond for indications of such leaks. If the water level exceeds the level of your pond liner you will want to adjust the level of the overflow drain in your skimmer to maintain a shallower water body. If you are losing water from the falls or stream bed re-arrange the rocks to remove obstructions and create gentler curves.

Shut Down Your Pump: If your search for the obvious turns out uneventful it is time to check the pond area itself. Shut down your pumps and turn off your auto fill valve if you have one. If you experience significant water loss from the pond then you have now successfully narrowed the search for the leak. If you have fish in your pond you will want to run an alternate form of Aeration while your system is shut down as the process can take a day or two. If the leak is in the side of the pond liner the water level will drop to the height of the cut in your liner and stop. If the leak is in the bottom of the pond the pond will eventually empty out so make sure you are periodically checking in on your project.

Inspect Your Skimmer and Plumbing: If the water is successfully being held in the pond with the pump off the leak my be in the Skimmer Box or the plumbing itself. Inspect the skimmer box and try to locate a crack or hole. Inspect and tighten the fittings going from the skimmer box or pump to the Waterfall Box. Follow the tubing path and look for any water dampness in the ground. If there is, there’s a good chance coupler fittings are loose or you have a leak in the tubing.

Got Milk?

For the areas that make sense, you can use milk or Pond Shade and an eye dropper to visually track the flow of the water leaving the pond. Go along the edges of the pond and apply drops to pinpoint the area of the pond where your pond water is making its great escape. Move any rocks or plants in that area and get ready to show this leak whose boss.

Does Your Pond Need To Quit Leaking? Put It On The Patch.

Once you have located the cut in your pond liner clean off any dirt or debris from the general area. If the hole is a small cut or puncture you can use Underwater Pond Sealer to cover the area and stop the leak. You do not have to drain the pond to use this type of sealant as it will cure underwater, just make sure that you apply the product in a bead and do not press it flat. You can use the Underwater Pond Sealer to patch holes in your waterfall box and skimmer as well. For holes up to 5” you can also purchase a Patch Kit. These kits will come with an adhesive patch that attaches directly to your liner after you have cleaned it and made sure it is dry. If you have opened the flood gates and put a puncture larger than 5” in the pond you can purchase additional Pond Liner and some Seam Tape to repair the damage. The use of seam tape will also require you to clean and dry the areas of liner surrounding the hole. After applying Seam Tape, we recommend using Cover Tape to ensure the leak is secure. Regardless of which type of repair you use you will want to overlap the cut, tear, or hole by at least 1” to ensure an adequate seal.

Pond Talk: Have you ever had a leak in your water garden? How did you go about fixing it?

Underwater Pond Sealer - Works wet or dry!

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