5 Ways You Can Find And Fix A Pond Leak (And More)

It’s Time To Stop Your Water Feature From Turning Your Yard Into An Unenjoyable Swamp
Our client has us come to fix a huge leak, and it was so big we had to redo most of their pond

There aren’t many people who enjoy a backyard full of puddles and bugs. This is what can happen when a pond leak goes on for too long.

In this post, you can find out the difference between pond leaks vs evaporation, how to find pond leaks, and how to repair pond leaks.

It’s A Miniature SWAMP!

“Ok, it’s not great, but it’s not that bad either,” says Matt defensively.

Christina looks up at him, frowning. “A Swamp-Thin could crawl out of there at any moment! Or an ogre might start building a hut!! It’s unacceptable. We need to find out how to find and fix a pond leak.”

Matt tries to cover his laugh as a cough, unsuccessfully. “Well, sounds like we either need to ask Google or our pond contractor what to do. It worked when we were looking up that pond liner guide.”

Christina shakes her head as she picks up her phone. “How about we get on their website and look to see if they have a blog post on it. That would be a good combination of the two.”

She gets on the website and searches for ‘leak’ in their search bar. “There is a blog on it! Let’s check it out,” she says, turning the phone so Matt can see too.

Here’s what the couple finds:

Pond Leak Or Evaporation

Beautiful pond stream in need of leak check

All ponds have evaporation, it’s a water thing. Ponds can lose anywhere from 1 to 3 inches of water per week to evaporation. In our area, it’s about 2 inches a week. It does change from feature to feature though.

If it’s a leak, you’ll likely lose more than that. Plus, you’ll notice your yard has wet puddle areas around the feature.

Finding A Pond Leak

Premier Ponds team member doing a check for leaks

Finding a pond leak isn’t easy. Our team is often on their hands and knees, moving things around, bending over, and sticking their hands in places.

The first thing to do is turn off any auto-fill devices and motors. Fill it back up (sounds weird, right?) and let your pond go for 24 hours. It’s best to not do this on rainy days and nights. If you have any fish, adding an aerator will help them breathe better during hot days.

Keep going until the water stops draining. If the water stops dropping, check the water level for the source of the leak (low edges, liner tears, concrete cracks, failed skimmer seals, etc).

We always check for the obvious first- large rocks that may settle and weight down liner, wet mulch areas, wet gravel, even the skimmer to liner connection.

If the pond drains to dangerous levels for any fish you can move them to a separate holding tub. The water in the tub needs to be from the pond. New water can cause them to go into shock.

If the water never drops or drops a very small amount during the first 24 hours, the leak isn’t in the pond basin.

If it isn’t the basin, the water loss is coming from somewhere between where the water exits the pond (plumbing) to where it goes back into the pond. The plumbing can be the hardest part to check because it’s usually underground.

The Milk Method For Finding Pond Leaks

You can also use the milk method to find a pond leak (or dye). Let the milk run from the top of the feature. Watch where it goes, as it’s likely to leak out with the other water. Don’t be shy about pouring it in, the leak area could be small and hard to see.

5 Ways To Fix A Pond Leak

Mike inspecting a pond and possible fixing a leak

The method to choose for fixing a pond leak depends on the damage. Sometimes you may just have to reposition the liner and shore it up. Then, from smallest to largest, it goes sealant, kit, joining tape, and then replacing your entire liner.

1. Repositioning Your Pond Liner

A lot of leaks happen because something shifts the liner out of place. Once you find where the liner’s out of place, just readjust it and shore it up with dirt, mulch, or gravel.

2. Pond Sealant For Small Holes

If the damage is only 1 to 2 inches this is a great way to fix it. Pond sealant is safe for fish and plants. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Drain your pond
  2. Dry the damaged area
  3. Apply the sealant as the directions say
  4. Wait for it to cure

It can take up to 8 hours to cure, so if you have any fish you may want to do this earlier in the day. Then they won’t have to stay in a tub all night. They’ll need shade and an aerator to be comfortable.

3. Repair Kits For Pond Liners

This is a patch for holes ranging from 2-by-2 inches all the way up to 30-by-30 inches. Most kits come with primer, a sticky patch, and a roller. It’s quite easy to do:

  1. Drain your pond
  2. Dry the area
  3. Apply the primer
  4. Cut the patch into a circle
  5. Apply the patch using the roller
  6. Wait for it to set

Patches tend to blend in pretty well, so it’ll be hard for people (and maybe even you) to tell where it is.

4. Using Joining Tape For Pond Liners

Sometimes you just need more liner. That’s where joining tape comes in. It’s sticky on both sides so you can stick two liners together. You can also use it for smaller damages and to reseal skimmer boxes.

  1. Clean and dry the liner
  2. Apply primer
  3. Use joining tape on the liners
  4. Let it set
  5. Tuck it back into place

You may need to shore up the area some more. Don’t want to fix one leak just to have another pop up.

5. Replacing Pond Liner To Repair A Leak

Replacing pond liner that has holes in it and leaks

The worse pond liner leaks are the ones nobody can fix. Sometimes, you just need to get a new liner. You’ll need to drain the pond, remove the old liner, place the new liner in, and then set your pond back up. It’s a lot, but worth fixing the leak.

You May Also Like To Know

“I hope it’s not a whole liner replacement,” says Christina worriedly. Matt rubs her shoulder comfortingly. “It isn’t, or it’d be much worse. I can go try to find the leak while you look around this website for more info.”