Occasionally, you’ll notice the water in your swimming pool lowering. This usually isn’t a big deal, since the water level tends to fluctuate with rain. However, if you notice the water is dropping rapidly and consistently with time, you may have a problem.
There are two primary reasons your pool water level may be falling: the water is simply evaporating, or your pool has a leak somewhere. The cause of your problem will determine how you fix it. Here’s how to determine if your pool is leaking or not and how to resolve the issue.
The Bucket Test
Before you hunt for the leak, make sure your pool is leaking. Place a bucket on the first step down into your pool, fill the bucket with water level to the rest of your pool, turn off the pool pumps, and leave the bucket alone for about a day. If both the bucket and pool have lost the same amount of water, don’t worry–the water loss is only due to evaporation, not a leak. If the pool has gone down dramatically compared to the bucket, however, you definitely have a leak.
Pro Tip: When you’re doing the bucket test, mark the water level in your bucket with a Sharpie or other waterproof material so you don’t lose your spot.
Turn on the Pumps
Once the bucket test has shown that your pool is leaking, the next step is to determine the location of the leak. Repeat the bucket test, but this time, turn on your pool pumps and watch the water levels over the next 24 hours. If your pool’s water level stays steady or decreases slower with the pump on, it’s very likely the leak is somewhere in your pipes. Call a professional to come take a look and repair the plumbing.
The Ink Test
If the leak is in your pool shell itself, you’ll need to try a more involved test to find it. Walk around your pool and find the wettest part of the ground, the part where it’s most likely that the water is escaping. Take a bottle of dye or food coloring and get into your pool near the suspected leak. While moving slowly so as to not disturb the water too much, squirt a few drops of dye under the water and watch where it’s pulled as water flows out of the leak. Take note of where it flows out. Your pool contractor will have to patch up this spot to prevent any more water from being lost.
Don’t Lose Any More Water!
A leaky swimming pool can rapidly turn into an expensive issue between the cost of repairs and your increased water bill. Don’t let it progress to that point! With these swimming pool leak detection techniques, you’ll be able to find the problem quickly and have a professional pool builder get you back on track.
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A swimming pool is a perfect addition to anyone’s backyard during the hot summer months. However, homeowners should remember that a swimming pool is still an open body of water. Even if you’re confident your family and friends know better than to get hurt while swimming, accidents may still happen. That’s why it’s so important to select and install good swimming pool safety features long before anything goes wrong.
Swimming Pool Safety Features
While not every item of pool safety equipment is legally required for homeowners, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to a swimming pool. Before you or anyone else start using your pool, make sure these features are installed and working properly:
- Pool fences
- Anti-entrapment equipment
1) Pool Fences
In Texas, swimming pool owners are required to install a 4-foot fence around an inground pool to prevent people from falling in. The law leaves room for particular appearances and styles, so long as a fence is constructed. This feature is especially critical for families with small children. Read more about your legal responsibilities and pool fence requirements here.
There are two primary types of safety covers for swimming pools: conventional tarp-like covers and a pool net. Both are about equally effective at preventing people from accidentally falling in, though they both have other pros and cons of their own. For instance, a pool net lets you enjoy the natural atmosphere of an open body of water at all times but doesn’t catch leaves that may fall into your pool. As long as you choose a reliable safety cover, the aesthetics are entirely your choice.
3) Anti-Entrapment Equipment
A pool or spa drain creates a powerful suction that even adults have trouble escaping. Imagine what could happen to a child! Because of the danger these drains can present, many pool owners are highly encouraged or required to use anti-entrapment equipment, which is simply pool parts that cover drains and facilitate a quick emergency shutdown if necessary. This is perhaps one of the most crucial pieces of pool safety equipment you could possibly buy. Learn more about this equipment’s legal history and your exact responsibilities here.
Pro Tip: The same requirements and recommendations for pool drain covers apply to public pools too. If you notice a public pool has uncovered drains, the risk isn’t worth it–find a safer place to swim.
Finally, one excellent way to secure your swimming pool is to make sure that no one gets in without your permission. Install alarms on pool covers, gates in pool fences, and any other access points so you know immediately if someone tries to sneak in. While it may not save someone from drowning, it can prevent the situation from ever escalating to that point in the first place.
Protecting Yourself and Others
You can never predict a swimming pool accident or emergency. If you or a friend make a mistake near the pool, you’ll be immensely grateful you made sure your swimming pool’s safety features were installed correctly and ready to protect you.
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Swimming pools are a backyard staple for many families, providing countless hours of entertainment for kids and adults alike. However, parents should also be aware of the potential risks involved when a child spends time near an open body of water. Swimming pool safety is critical where children are involved.
Safety Rules for the Swimming Pool
Modern swimming pools are designed with the safety of their users, especially small children, in mind. However, there are still steps you can and should take to ensure that no one is hurt while enjoying a swim. A few crucial pool safety guidelines include:
- Install drain covers
- Install alarms, barriers, and covers
- Learn CPR
- Never leave children unattended
- Make sure your family can swim
1) Install Drain Covers
Suction from uncovered swimming pool drains can be difficult for even adults to escape from. For a small child, an uncovered pool drain that turns on and pulls too hard can be a deathtrap. Even if you go to a public pool, if you notice missing or broken drain covers, it’s not worth the risk. Keep your own pool’s drain covers in excellent condition and replace them immediately when necessary.
2) Install Alarms, Barriers, and Covers
Texas homeowners are required to install fences at least 4 feet tall around their private swimming pools to prevent anyone, particularly children, from accidentally falling in. While additional safety features such as alarms or pool covers are not mandatory, they make a huge difference in keeping others safe. If someone tries to get into your pool, they’ll set off an alarm and alert you to make sure everything is ok.
3) Learn CPR
Whether you have kids or not, it’s absolutely critical to know CPR and first aid for people of any age who experience an emergency in the water. It could be the difference between life and death while you wait for emergency services to arrive. Find a specialized first aid course designed for people who spend a lot of time near the water.
Pro Tip: There are a few key differences between CPR designed for adults and CPR for kids. Make sure you know the proper way to do both.
4) Never Leave Children Unattended
This rule is rather self-explanatory. Kids, especially very small kids, should never be in a swimming pool unsupervised. Even if there’s a lifeguard on duty, you should always designate a dedicated person to keep an eye on your children the entire time they’re in the pool. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
5) Make Sure Your Family Can Swim
Swimming is more than just a fun summer activity. In a large body of water, knowing how to swim or tread water is quite literally a lifesaver. Make sure your entire family can swim to the edge of the pool or keep their heads above water until someone can reach them.
Enjoy Your Pool Safely
Fortunately, most pools are designed to be safe for users of any age. With careful consideration and application of these additional swimming pool safety guidelines, parents can feel confident that their children can enjoy a swim in safety.
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