Is There A Leak In Your Pond, Or Are Your Frogs & Fish Drinking All The Water?
Understanding the basic principles of leak detection and repair will save you time, money, and headaches in your water gardening adventures …
I guarantee it!
What Is Evaporation?
Ponds that are located in areas of the country with moderate temperatures and high humidity can expect to see 1 to 1 ½ inches of water loss per week during the spring and summer. Most of this evaporation should be replaced naturally by rain. However, if you live in an area with high temperatures and low humidity, it's possible to see 3 inches or more of evaporation in a week.
The quantity and size of your waterfall(s) will also affect the amount of water that is lost. Regardless of the climate, a 4'x 6'pond with a 20-foot stream and 5 feet of cascading waterfalls may lose as much as 2 inches or more every day!
Why? Splashing and moving water has greater exposure to additional evaporation than does the still water in the pond. If that same pond was 16' x 21' pond, you'd probably never even notice the additional evaporation because it's a larger pond.
What It Isn't
Evaporation is not filling your pond up all the way one evening, and waking up the next morning to find the water six inches lower. That's a leak! If your pond is experiencing a loss of water at a more rapid rate, you either have a leak, or your frogs are drinking the water. Seriously, let's figure that it's a leak. What do you do then?
Your first line of defense is to carefully inspect the edges of not only your stream and waterfall, but also the perimeter of the pond. As the dirt around the stream or waterfall settles, it can create low spots that may cause water to escape over the edge of the liner.
Keep your eyes peeled for wet mulch or gravel, or muddy areas around the perimeter of your pond. If you find a spot that's leaking, all you have to do is lift the liner up and push some soil under it in order to raise the edge. Bingo – leak fixed!
Another possibility is that water is splashing out of your stream. To fix a "splash leak," all you have to do is adjust a few of the rocks under and around your waterfall. This will contain or redirect the splash and it will stop the splash leak. Once again, you've solved the problem the easy and cost-effective way ... using common sense.
Low edges can be built back up by simply backfilling and compacting soil beneath the liner in order to raise the edge of the liner above the water level.
Obstructions In The Stream And Waterfalls
- Make sure thepond is filled to the appropriate level.
- Unplug the pump.
- Let the pond sit for 24 hours.
- If the water level drops, then you know the leak is in the pond.
When The Water Drops
- To find out where the leak is occurring, allow the water level to continue to drop. The level where the water stops dropping is the level where the leak is located.
- Concentrate your search around the perimeter of the pond at the level that the water has stopped dropping.
Now the fun begins! At this point, you may want to consider calling in Acorn Ponds & Waterfalls, but if you want to continue on your own you'll need to:
- Remove any rocks around the entire perimeter at the level where the water stopped. You can then carefully check for some sort of puncture, or hole in the liner.
- When you find the hole, you simply patch it with a liner patch kit available at pond supply retailers.
- Now you can replace the rocks, fill the pond back to the top, and enjoy!
Steady And Level
Another possible culprit is the faceplate of your skimmer, if you have one. If the water level stopped dropping above the bottom of the faceplate you should investigate the skimmer. It may not have sealed correctly.
If the Leak Is in the Skimmer
- Investigate the skimmer faceplate without disassembling it.
- Simply move a few rocks around the front of the skimmer and slide your hand behind the liner, feeling for wet soil around the opening of the skimmer. If the soil is saturated, then the faceplate may have not been installed properly and might be the source of the leak.
- Remove the faceplate, clean all of the old silicone off the liner, and refer back to the instruction manual on proper procedures for sealing the skimmer faceplate to the skimmer. Hopefully, you've solved the leak.
It's not fun when your pond is losing water. It can be a time-consuming and frustrating process to locate the leak. Hopefully with these steps and tips, you can quickly locate the source of the leak and get right back to enjoying your water garden.
It’s A Great Time To Upgrade Your Pond.
Have you thought about…
- Adding a waterfall to your pond?
- Putting in decorative lights?
- Using a safety edge for added reassurance?
- Adding a stream with your waterfall?
- Installing a bog filter?