Swimming Pool Leak Detection: Is it Leaking or Evaporating?

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.

Is your pool water evaporating, or does your pool have a leak? Here’s how to find out. Click To Tweet

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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