When an inground pool with a liner is leaking, there are only about five things that can be wrong:
1. Your liner may have a split seam.
2. There may be a hole poked or ripped in your liner.
3. There may be a leak in your pipes.
4. There may be a leak in the face plates of the steps, skimmers or return fittings.
5. Your liner may have been attacked by ants or termites.
In trying to find and correct the source of your leak, it’s helpful to look for the most common possibilities first and then to eliminate these possible problems one at a time. I will try to address each of these problems with a different post over the next few months. Let’s begin today with the least common of the potential problems: ants or termites attacking your liner. I have only seen this happen a few times in 30 years. It makes sense that these bugs, thirsty for water, come up through the ground and chew their way through the liner, causing leaks. These attacks seem to happen more in arid regions, regions with lots of termite activity, or in periods of drought when insects are desperate for moisture.
I am told that if you look from the backside of the liner, you can actually see the “teeth marks” in the vinyl. I am also told that you can see the “trails” they leave in the sand or vermiculite floors, much like you would see in an ant farm toy.
* The following article was written by a liner manufacturer:
TERMITES AND ANTS
For many years, it has been known and proven that termites and ants will attack a vinyl pool liner. It is suspected that the termites are attracted to the pool area due to the dampness around the pool.
Usually, the first signs are very small holes in the liner in the area above the water line. Quite often, the liner may have dozens of holes in it within a short period of time after they have begun their attack on the liner.
Most of the time, if the liner is taken out of the bead track and pulled away from the wall, you may see the trails that the termites have left behind. Usually the holes they make in the liner are relatively small, about an eighth of an inch in diameter and are round or oval shaped.
If the pool liner has to be replaced as a result of termites or ants, the homeowner is advised to get an exterminator to treat the ground beneath the liner and around the perimeter of the pool deck.
Here are some of the more likely places for termites and ants to appear:
- A yard where a tree has been removed
- A yard where a patio or walkway has been removed
- Around wooden flower planters
- Around wooden fences
Although this is not a widespread problem, it should be taken seriously. An average of ten to fifteen cases a year are reported to us.