September 24, 2018

How to diagnose and fix a pond leak

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If your pond is losing water, don’t freak out. At Good Earth Water Gardens, we’ve seen it all. And chances are your drop in water levels isn’t dire. It’s probably either no big deal or an easily addressed leak. Worse-case scenario, it’s an issue we can help you address. Here’s what you need to know.

Diagnosing & Fixing Pond Leaks

Why your pond is losing water

If the water level of your pond is dropping, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a leak. Evaporation is real!

Depending on the temperature, humidity, and the amount of sunlight your pond gets, one to two inches of water could evaporate each week. And the more surface area, the faster water evaporates. So, if you have stream rocks and splashing falls, you’re going to lose water faster.

  Splashing can also cause water loss. If water splashes off the rocks in your stream or waterfall, make sure it falls inside your pond liner. If it doesn’t, reposition the rocks to redirect the water. You also want to make sure no clogs or debris are moving water in the wrong direction. Leaves, sticks, and algae can divert water and send it outside the pond liner.  

Plants can also drink quite a bit of water. If many plants call your pond home, they could be causing a noticeable drop in water levels. But if the water level drops at the same rate on sunny and cloudy days, plants probably aren’t the cause.

 Low edges are actually the most common cause of leaks. This is especially true with new ponds where the soil is still settling. If your pond was built correctly, these edges are easy to find.  

Start at the stream and waterfall and look for areas where the soil or mulch on the edge are wet. If you find a wet area, lift up the liner and backfill some dirt to hold it into the correct place. You might need to move some rocks to do this, but it’s pretty simple. Work your way around your pond to make sure you’ve identified all problem areas.

When it’s a pond leak

If evaporation, plants, splashing, or low edges aren’t the culprit, you most likely have a pond leak. This is where it gets interesting.

The first thing to do is turn off the pump. If you have fish, put an aerator in the pond to keep oxygen levels up.

Let your water feature sit for 24 hours to help isolate the problem. If the water level doesn’t change in those 24 hours, you know the issue isn’t with the pond, but with the stream or waterfall. If the water continues to drop, let it keep going. Once it stops, you’ll know the depth of where the leak is located.

You’ll also want to be honest about your pond liner. If it’s old or wasn’t the highest quality to begin with, it might have multiple holes. UV damage, animals, and shifting rocks can damage a liner. And you might need to come to terms with the fact that the entire liner might need to be replaced, either now or in the near future. But if you feel confident that the liner is in good shape, identify and patch the hole.

Take a hard look at the liner. Remove any rocks around the liner at the level where the leak is and see if you can find any small tears or punctures. Once you find the leak, apply a patch. Then, replace the rock and refill the pond. Done!

If you can’t find a leak, look at the water feature’s mechanics. Examine the skimmer faceplate to make sure it’s sealed correctly. The other option is that it could be the plumbing that’s leaking. If you just groaned, you’re not alone – this is tough and messy work.

When to call in the pond experts

Many pond issues can be addressed with careful maintenance. But you should never be afraid to ask for professional help. This is especially true when it comes to pond plumbing or replacing an entire pond liner.

 At Good Earth Water Gardens, we mean it when we say there are no dumb questions. We’re happy to come take a look and give you our professional opinion. And in all honesty … yeah, if you have a plumbing leak or a degraded pond liner, you’re going to be a lot happier if you have a professional address it for you, whether it’s us or another reputable service.  
Let us know how we can help. You can always email us or give us a ring at 913-749-8090.

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