Swimming Pool Repair

This Fix-It Guide on swimming pool repair tells how a swimming pool works, what often goes wrong, how to identify a swimming pool problem, and what parts and tools you will need to fix it. It then gives simple step-by-step instructions for how to patch a vinyl swimming pool liner and how to replace a swimming pool pump seal. This Fix-It Guide also refers to motor repair.

How Does a Swimming Pool Work?

Swimming Pool Repair

Components of a typical above-ground swimming pool system.

A swimming pool is a tank for swimming and wading. There are wading pools that get dumped after every use or so. There are above-ground pools with a metal frame lined with vinyl. There are also in-ground pools lined with concrete, tile, or a vinyl liner. A pump circulates the water. A skimmer is the inlet to the pump that removes large debris. A filter takes out the smaller impurities. Chlorine and other chemicals purify the water before it gets pumped back into the pool.

What Can Go Wrong with a Swimming Pool?

The biggest problem that most swimming pools face is properly balancing the water chemistry. In addition, vinyl liners may suffer tears or holes. Filters can become clogged. Pumps may malfunction.

Fix-It Tip

In many parts of the United States, swimming pools are not practical year round. Either there is too much leaf debris on the pool, or it’s too cold to leave it filled with water. Check the pool owner’s manual for specific instructions on winterizing your swimming pool. Alternately, you can ask neighbors with pools how they prepare them and when.

How Can I Identify a Swimming Pool Problem?

  • If swimming pool water chemistry is not balanced, you can correct it by following instructions included with a pool chemical test kit.
  • If a swimming pool vinyl liner is torn or has a hole, you can patch it using a vinyl repair kit (follow the instructions included). You may be able to patch the liner without draining the pool (see below).
  • If a swimming pool filter is clogged, you can clean it following the instructions in your owner’s manual.
  • If a swimming pool pump does not operate properly, you can replace the impeller and shaft seal (see below), and test and replace the motor.

What Do I Need for Swimming Pool Repair?

Replacement parts are available from the manufacturer and pool and spa retailers. The tools you will need to fix your swimming pool include these:

  • Screwdrivers
  • Pool chemistry test kit
  • Goggles
  • Vinyl patch kit
  • Groove joint pliers
  • Multimeter (for testing the motor)

What Are the Steps to Swimming Pool Repair?

Patch a vinyl swimming pool liner:

  1. Locate the leak. (Of course, if you are patching the liner in an area that is wet you’ll need goggles.)
  2. Cover the leaking area with a scrap of vinyl fabric. It will be held in place by suction until you can install a permanent patch, step 3.
  3. Find the patch kit that came with the pool or purchase a patch kit for the pool liner.
  4. Cut a patch about twice the size of the opening from the vinyl in the patch kit.
  5. Apply vinyl adhesive from the patch kit to one side of the vinyl patch.
  6. Fold the sticky side of the patch together to keep the adhesive dry and take it underwater to the leak.
  7. Quickly remove the temporary patch, unfold and apply the permanent patch.
  8. Smooth out any bubbles with your hand or a flat tool to ensure full adhesion and to speed drying of the adhesive.

Replace a swimming pool pump seal:

  1. Turn off the pump motor and close the input and output valves.
  2. Loosen the fasteners that secure the tube connecting the pump and motor.
  3. Move the motor away from the pump housing.
  4. Remove fasteners holding the diffuser to the backplate.
  5. Inspect the diffuser and O-ring for wear, replacing as needed.
  6. As needed, remove fasteners attaching the impeller to the shaft. Alternately, the impeller may be screwed on to the end of the shaft.
  7. Remove the impeller and seal from the shaft.
  8. Inspect and replace the impeller and seal.
  9. Reassemble the pump.

Fix-It Tip

Concrete in-ground pools are built in place. Heavy equipment digs the rough hole, workers finish by hand, reinforcement bar is installed in a mesh, then concrete is sprayed into the area and worked smooth by hand. To fix damage to concrete pools, check with local pool suppliers for supplies and contractors to get the job done.