How to Find a Leak in Your Pond

One day your pond looks great, and the next the water level seems a little lower than usual.

Could you have a pond leak?

A pond leak is only one of many reasons that your pond might lose water. If it is a leak, though, finding the exact location is like finding a needle in a pile of haystacks – and you need to figure out which haystack to search first.

Luckily, you can solve many water-loss issues yourself. And if you do have a leak that needs repaired, you can take steps to find the source of the problem before the service team arrives.

At a Glance: What to Do When Your Pond Loses Water

  • Understand that some water will evaporate naturally, especially in hot weather and in water features with splashy waterfalls.
  • Do the 24-Hour Test: Turn off the pump for 24 hours and see if the water level is still dropping.
  • Check your stream and waterfall for debris build-up.
  • Check your stream for areas where the liner is pushed down.

Do the 24-Hour Test

If you feel like you’re losing more water than you should be, try running what we call the 24-Hour Test. Here’s how it works:

  1. Unplug the pump. (Make sure you have an aerator running to keep water oxygenated for fish).
  2. Fill the pond to the full level and take a picture.
  3. Leave the pond sitting at a full level without the waterfall running for 24 hours.
  4. Note the water level after the 24 hours. Take a picture.

If the water goes down, then we know there is a problem with the liner. We want to let it keep dropping until it stops

If the water level does not change and the problem occurs only when the waterfall is running, then the issue is most likely in the stream, waterfall and/or plumbing.

TIP: When figuring out how much water your pond is losing, use the skimmer – not the pond rocks – as your point of reference.

If the Problem is in the Pond …

Keep your pump turned off until the water level stops dropping. Wherever the water level stops is where your hole is. Now, you can call the pros or buy a liner repair kit and get your pond back on track.

If the Problem is in the Stream or Waterfall …

You’re more likely to lose water through your stream or waterfall than you are to lose it from your pond. And the issue often has nothing to do with a tear in your liner. Here are a few reasons you might be losing water from your stream or waterfall:

  • Evaporation: You’re more likely to lose water through evaporation if you have a large or particularly splashy waterfall.
  • Debris build-up: The No. 1 cause of apparent stream leaks is debris build-up at the top of a waterfall. Dead leaves, sticks and other gunk form a kind of dam until the water rises up and out of your stream. Fixing your water loss issues is often a simple matter of removing the debris.
  • Pushed-down liner: Walk the length of your stream and look for sections of liner where the top edge seems to sit lower than it should. Your liner might have slipped where somebody stepped on it or heavy rains washed away the surrounding soil.

Is It Just Evaporation?

Pond owners often assume that any drop in their water level means they have a leak in their pond. The reality is many apparent “leaks” are nothing more than normal evaporation.

A pond with a large, splashy waterfall will lose more water to evaporation than one with a smaller waterfall. Water features will also lose more water in a hot, dry summer than they will during a rainy spring. The key is to figure out what level of evaporation is normal for your pond.

TIP: When figuring out how much water your pond is losing, use the skimmer – not the pond rocks – as your point of reference.

How Much Does It Cost to Have a Pond Leak Professionally Repaired?

We’re here to help.

If the cause of the water loss is beyond what you can fix on your own, or if you need professional guidance with DIY solutions, fill out our easy online form to get in touch with our service team.

Please follow the recommendations above before filling out your form. These steps help us more quickly find the cause of the problem – saving you time and money.

Leaks that aren’t the result of one of the issues we’ve already mentioned are often time-consuming to diagnose and repair. That’s why our initial leak diagnostic visit starts at $425, with repairs billed separately during a follow-up visit. Repairs usually run at least an additional $800, plus equipment, supplies and materials.

Here’s a look at a typical Leak Repair process:

Initial Leak Diagnostic Service Visit

  • Our team will check the pump, plumbing, filters, pond liner, stream liner and waterfall.
  • The $425 starting price includes one hour of diagnostic service, including driving time.
  • Although we will attempt to diagnose the leak issue during the first service visit, we cannot guarantee we will be able to completely diagnose the leak issue during this initial visit.
  • After the first hour of service, we will prepare a report and let you know what we discovered.
  • It is important that you are available to speak with the service coordinator via text or phone during your diagnostic service. The crew will not proceed with any repairs without approval from the service coordinator.
  • The Initial Leak Diagnostic Service Call is for diagnostic services only. REPAIR SERVICES ARE NOT INCLUDED.

Leak Repair Service Visit

  • For repairs, our daily crew rate is $2,400 plus equipment, supplies and materials. We invoice in 1/3 day increments. The minimum charge for repairs is typically $800 plus equipment, supplies and materials.
  • If an issue is diagnosed and the repair does not require any parts or supplies, we will attempt to make adjustments and repairs as required. Issues that can occasionally be resolved during the initial visit include clearing debris, adjusting low edge liner or minor adjusting of small rocks or gravel.
  • Many times water loss stems from other issues that are more difficult to detect. These causes include issues with buried pipe or fittings and holes or tears in liner hidden behind rock and gravel. These situations often take multiple visits to diagnose and additional visits to repair.
  • Many times we uncover multiple issues with pond. In these situations, we may only be able to diagnose and repair one issue during a service visit, with additional issues requiring more visits for continued diagnosis and repair.
  • If we cannot resolve an issue during the first repair visit, we will prepare an estimate with a plan for additional diagnostics and repairs.

Sound like a lot of work, time and money? It is!

But don’t worry. A lot of leaks and water loss are the result of the easy-to-fix issues we discussed above: debris-clogged waterfalls, pushed-down liners or simple evaporation. That’s why it’s so important to go through our DIY diagnosis guide before calling the pros.

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