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Detecting a Leak in a Water Feature

A beautiful water feature has a calming effect on the psyche, but there's nothing more frustrating than when it springs a leak. Here's how to fix it.

The beauty and serenity of a water feature is lost when there's a leak. Here's how to find and fix the leak.

Detecting a leak in a pond or stream can be tricky. Keep in mind, however, that all water features lose water due to evaporation, especially during the summer months. In hot climates, you may see a three- to five-inch drop in the water level every week. In cooler climates, it's more like one to three inches. But if you're convinced that evaporation alone isn't responsible for a drop in the water level, and that you do indeed have a leak, here's what you need to do.

First, take comfort in knowing that 99 percent of all leaks occur at one of two places, such as along the streambed or at the waterfall. Take a walk along the streambed and look for wet spots. If you find any, remove the rocks along the edge of the stream and inspect the liner. The weight of the rocks as well as natural settling may have caused the liner to drop below the water level. This often happens within the first year after the water feature is built. To fix the problem, simply lift the liner back up to its original level and place small stones against the edge to prop it up.

Take the same approach at the waterfall, especially along the edges. Also, look for stones that may have shifted and are diverting water away from the stream or pond or causing water to splash outside the stream or pond.

It is also possible, though far less likely, that the leak is due to a problem with the plumbing system or a hole in the liner. If that's the case, you may want to call a professional installer.

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