You and your family have been looking forward to enjoying your inflatable pool, cooling off and making the most of the hot summer days right in your own backyard. Unfortunately, you’ve been noticing that the sides of the pool just don’t stay nice and firmly pumped up.
You’re worried there’s a leak. And that you’re in danger of the pool collapsing under the weight of the water some time soon. And you wonder, “if there IS a leak, can I fix it myself?” And so, you start researching “How To Patch An Inflatable Pool”.
First things first: Assume there is a leak.
You DO need to get on this. Don’t put it off, unless the thought of hundreds of gallons of water spilling onto your yard or deck suddenly one day or night for some reason doesn’t scare you. The sides of the pool will gradually deflate until that nasty tipping point occurs (literally and figuratively).
Unfortunately the leak can be anywhere, and sometimes they are very difficult to see. And while there’s a good chance you’ll never figure out what caused it, but you CAN fix it and salvage your pool for the time being. (A patch will prolong the life of your pool and save you from having to purchase another pool in the immediate future, but it won’t work indefinitely.)
Step 1: Locate the leak.
There are 2 main ways to discover where the leak is.
1) Make a solution of soap and water, and using a spray bottle, squirt the sides of your pool all over, watching carefully for a place where the air from the leak causes bubbles to form in the soap.
2) Drain your pool of water, and maneuver the inflated edges pool into a large tub of water (kiddie pool?), submerging sections while carefully observing the water for bubbles where air is escaping.
Step 2: Apply a Temporary Fix or a Permanent Fix.
Depending on how long you hope to have this particular pool yet, and when you hope to be able to use it again next, you’ll need to choose if you want to perform a quick fix to the leak, or put more effort into a “permanent” solution. Honestly, both aren’t hard, so we advise going to the Permanent Fix right away if you have a bit of time.
The Temporary Pool Patch is quite simple both to describe and do. After you’ve located the leak, make sure that section of your inflatable pool is as dry as you can make it. Then, apply a piece of duct tape over the whole leak, stretching it at least 1/4″ past the ends on all sides.
The Permanent Pool Patch is an extension to the Temporary, meaning you still do the smaller piece of duct tape with a 1/4″ overlay over the leak.
After this, cut a slightly larger piece of duct tape that will completely cover the “temporary” one. Apply super glue completely around the edges of the “permanent” patch, making sure you don’t miss any spots – the glue will be the seal, not letting any air out. Place the “permanent” patch over the “temporary” patch, making sure it is completely smooth (no air bubbles).
After the super glue is dry according to the instructions on the glue, only then can you refill your inflatable pool and get the patch wet.
Or, Use A Pool Patch Kit
If you’d like to get more “official”, you can purchase several different pool patch kits. Just be sure you select one that is meant for underwater if that’s where you plan to apply the patch – some are for the exterior of the pool!
How To Prevent Leaks In An Inflatable Pool
Although in some ways, you can expect a small leak or two if you have an inflatable pool, especially as the pool ages, there are a few ways you can prevent it from happening too quickly or often.
- Simply be mindful that the pool is inflatable and that sharp objects may cause leaks! Your pet is NOT a good idea. (A surprising number of people ask questions like “can I let my dog swim with me in my pool?” or “do you think my cat will be ok on the edge?” Unfortunately, the answer is NO. Unless you like patching leaks.)
- Don’t use any sharp pool toys or items in the pool
- Don’t get too close to the pool sides with your lawn maintenance equipment
- Many inflatable pools come with a protective ground covering blanket or tarp that you lay under the pool before filling it. These tarps are extremely valuable for protecting against sharp rocks, pebbles, sticks, tree roots, or the like. Even though you do your very best to clear the ground before installing your pool, don’t forget that the ground also settles as you put all that water weight on it. If your pool doesn’t come with one, it’s worth the money to purchase something to lay between the ground and the pool, even if it’s just a standard camping tarp.
- Keep your pool properly inflated, with the pressure up to the advised levels. An under-inflated pool is much more susceptible to piercings.
- When you store it away for the winter, be careful when you’re folding, bagging or boxing it. Same goes for when you take it out again – check your workspace for sharp or jagged objects.
Some Handy Videos: How To Patch An Inflatable Pool
There are many, many different ways to patch an inflatable pool, but they are all fairly similar to the above described method. Here are 2 videos that show slightly different methods, the first with the pool dry and empty: