Q: How can I find a leak in my pond?
Jan – East Wenatchee, WA
A: Talk about a tough mystery to solve! A tiny hole in your pond liner or one loose plumbing connection could cause a leak that slowly – or quickly, depending on the leak’s size – drains your pond. And that leak could be anywhere.
Where do you begin your search?
Don’t worry. You don’t have to completely drain your pond or rebuild it from the ground up. Try these mystery-busting troubleshooting tips first.
Is the water evaporating?
During the heat of the summertime, you can expect some all-natural water loss. Thanks to evaporation, up to an inch (give or take) of water will naturally disappear from the pond, and 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.
If you suspect something fishy, 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.
Are there damp areas around the pond?
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 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. If you find some, take a closer look at that spot’s liner and construction.
Is the waterfall to blame?
If you’ve ruled out evaporation and there are no damp areas to be found, your stream or waterfall could be the culprit. Shut down the system and wait for several hours. If the pond’s water level stays the same, then you’ll know the leak is not in the pond itself. It’s likely in the waterfall or plumbing.
Some spots to inspect include tight curves in your stream where water might be splashing out, and plumbing connections on the pump or waterfall where pipe splits or loose connections could be causing the water loss.
Worst case: Let it leak
If the water continues to disappear from your pond after shutting down the waterfall, keep a close eye on the pond’s water level until it stops falling. When it does, that’s when you should look for the leak. Because the water level will stabilize once it lowers past the hole, you should be able to find the problem at or below the water level and fix it.
To repair the leak, you have two options: patch the hole with a 6-inch self-adhesive liner patch or close it up with some underwater sealer, like Gold Label Pond and Aquarium Sealer. The round liner patch has a self-adhesive backing that’s perfect for quick repairs on small cuts in EPDM liner. The underwater sealer, which works on wet or dry surfaces, instantly repairs leaks in rubber and vinyl liners, as well as concrete, stone, wood, plastic, glass and ceramic surfaces.
Good luck – and happy leak-hunting!
Pond Talk: How did you solve your most mysterious pond leak?