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Pool Leak or Evaporation?

Is Your Pool Leaking or Just Evaporating? Here's How To Tell...

If you’re like most people who own a swimming pool, you probably plan on spending a lot of time this summer on your floating lounger with a drink in hand. But if you’ve been nervously eyeing the tile line wondering if the pool is losing an excessive amount of water, those plans may be cast in doubt.

Pool Leak or Evaporation?

There may be a perfectly natural reason your swimming pool’s water level is dropping. A pool will lose approximately a ¼ an inch of water every day to evaporation.

Warning signs you may have a pool leak:
  • You’re adding water more than once a week
  • The pool deck is lifting or settling in places
  • The pump isn’t priming
  • There are bubbles coming out of the return lines

The Bucket Test

One easy way to tell for sure if you have a leak is by conducting the tried-and-true bucket test.

  • First, fill your pool to the standard level, typically to the middle of the tile line.
  • Fill a 5 gallon bucket to about 1 inch from the tip.
  • Place the bucket on the top step of the pool.
  • Mark the water level inside the bucket and the water level outside the bucket.
  • Wait 24 hours. If the water level outside of the bucket and dropped more than the level inside, guess what? You have a leak.

Great, So Now What?

You’ve identified that you have a leak. The next step is to locate exactly where the pool is losing water. This is not a DIY project. Leak detection specialists are trained professionals who use high-tech solutions such as thermal imaging, sound equipment and pipe cameras to find precisely where a leak (or leaks) is occuring.

Typically, this is somewhere along the plumbing lines, which are about 18 inches below the pool deck. If that’s the case, we’ll have to excavate the line and patch or replace the damaged length of pipe. (That’s right. We not only find leaks, we fix them.)

Don’t Delay

In most cases, fixing a leak is a minor operation. We’ll get your pool up and running within a day or so. That is, of course, if you take action the moment you determine that there is a leak. Unfortunately, many people postpone the repair, wasting thousands of gallons of water to keep the pool level. The problem is all that water is going somewhere. We’ve seen cases where leaking pool water puddles up around the foundation of the home, causing severe water damage.

The leak isn’t going to fix itself, folks. In fact, it’s only going to get worse. So, get it repaired.

How to Curb Pool Water Evaporation

Let’s say your bucket test reveals that evaporation is the culprit. (You’ll know this because both the bucket and the pool will have lost the same amount of water.) That’s a relief, but you should still take steps to conserve as much water as possible.

The best way to do this, of course, is a pool cover. These can range from pricey automatic contraptions to inexpensive, floating solar blankets. There are even chemical solutions that form a microscopic layer on the surface to reduce evaporation. Either option will go a long way toward saving water. Plus, covers keep your pool warm by retaining heat and will help preserve chlorine’s potency.


Keep water loss to a minimum by covering the pool when it’s not in use. And it’s still losing an excessive amount, schedule an appointment with Leak Finders by calling (804) 207-5511 or contacting us online.