Pond care can encompass many issues, and one of the more common of these is leaks. Anytime you have an enclosed body of water you also have the possibility of leaking. The likelihood of leaking increases when that body is outdoors and exposed to the elements, especially in areas like the Capital region of New York where winters can be harsh. Surprisingly, though, leaks remain an often-misdiagnosed problem. But the fact remains that to successfully fix a leak you first have to properly trace the source of the problem.
Leak or Natural Evaporation?
The biggest issue most people have when it comes to handling leaks is immediately assuming that a loss of water in the pond actually is a leak. Believe it or not, all ponds lose some water to natural evaporation. This is the process through which water is eliminated by turning into vapor. If you practice regular pond maintenance and notice a slight drop in the water level (generally less than 6 inches), it’s probably due to evaporation, so you shouldn’t just assume that losing water means that your pond leaks.
Evaporation happens on a regular basis and will vary depending on the weather in your area and the time of year. Generally speaking, the lower the humidity, the more evaporation you should notice. Also, having a waterfall or fountain feature will also increase evaporation as the more water splashes and bubbles over rocks the faster it evaporates. Evaporation is not a result of poor pond care and provided your water loss is no more than 2 inches per day; there is little reason for concern.
Leaks Can Be Repaired-Don’t Panic
It’s when water loss becomes more substantial that you need to start considering the possibility that you may have a leak. Even individuals who are very thorough with their pond maintenance can run up against leak issues from time to time. The important thing to remember if you do experience a leak is not to panic. Having a leak doesn’t mean that your pond is falling apart and in fact, in most cases, you can probably repair the leak yourself fairly easily. So don’t assume that pond leaks will automatically add up to expensive repair bills.
Determine Cause of Leak
Once you have determined that your water loss is more than just natural evaporation you need to determine the precise cause of the leak. Again, the common assumption is that a leak means there’s a hole somewhere, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Sometimes leaks are caused by pond edges wearing down and become low or obstructions occurring in waterfalls or streams. Regular pond care should help to avoid these problems but no matter how vigilant you are, sometimes leaks just happen.
Check for Low Edges
The first step in pond maintenance when it comes to leaks is checking the perimeter of the pond for any low edges. Low edges occur most often around waterfalls, but they can happen anywhere. If you find a low edge, you can solve the problem by simply lifting the pond liner and pushing some extra dirt under it. Waterfalls can also cause “splash leaks” when excess water escapes over the side; this can be corrected by adjusting the rocks under the waterfall.
Check for Obstructions
Sometimes leaks occur because the stream or waterfall becomes obstructed. That’s why an important part of pond care is to always do regular inspections of your pond to ensure that rocks haven’t shifted to block the stream or algae haven’t become overgrown. Again, these are easy fixes that you can perform yourself to repair simple pond leaks. Provided there isn’t a more serious problem, that should be all it takes to restore your water level and get your pond up and running smoothly again.
Shut Pond Pump Off and Observe
If none of these quick pond maintenance steps work to solve the leak issue, then you’ll have to take more serious steps. You’ll need to shut your pump off for a day and watch to see if the water level drops. If it does, then you’ll need to check the perimeter of the liner at the point where it dropped to find the leak. Once you find the hole, you can patch it and start your pump up again. If there is no visible hole, then the leak may be in the plumbing, pump connections or skimmer plate and you’ll likely need to call in a professional for assistance.
Nothing is quite as frustrating as having a leak in your pond, but it doesn’t have to mean spending a fortune or re-building your whole pond. More often than not, the fix will be a quick and easy one.
Decker’s Pondscapes can always help you to determine the source of the problem. Contact us for expert help with your pond. Then, with your problem solved, you’ll be able to get back to enjoying your pond again.