Leak Detection 101

Water loss can be annoying, and expensive.  Swimming pools lose water in several very different ways.  The Bucket Test is very simple and once completed may save you the cost of an initial service call and many other water loss related costs.

 Weather plays an enormous role in water loss.  In the spring and fall the evening temperatures may drop ten to fifteen degrees below the temperature of the pool.  Evaporation rates increase enormously.  Aquajoy Spa And Pool has seen a quarter to half an inch water loss in some pools over night.  Add a little wind into the mix along with the pool heater and your water level drops quite a bit. To test for this is simple,  think back to your opening or in the fall to the summer, were you losing water at the rate you see now? If the answer is no then it could be the temperature change.  To verify this use the bucket test (see below).  Leave it there for 24 hrs if it is evaporation both your pool and the bucket should go down at about the same rate.  This also works in the heat of the summer, its quick easy and accurate.

Sherlock leak detection

The Bucket test confirms you have a leak now what! Repeat with the pump off or on depending on how you tested the first time.  If the bucket test indicates a leak when the pump is running:  check your equipment pad for leaks, that includes the backwash line for sand and D.E. filters.  Many time the back wash valve has failed.  If the bucket test indicates a leak with the pump on or off and the results are about the same:  check  the pool, walk around  and look for cracks in the concrete or tears in the liner (small pin holes can be major leaks).  Walk the yard are there wet spots?  Check your face plates and fittings are they cracked or broken?  These are all signs of a leak.  For more tips check out leak detection 102.

The  Bucket test.

  1. Fill the pool water to your usual operational level. Fill a large bucket (5 gallon preferred) with water  from the pool to about five inches from the top .
  2. Place the bucket on the first  step of the pool or secure it to the pool ladder. Ensure the bucket is immersed in the pool at least 5 inches.
  3.  Mark pool water level on the outside of the bucket. Mark the water level inside the bucket. Pump is off for this step
  4. Start up the pump.
  5. After 24 hours, compare the two water levels. If the pool water (outside the mark) goes down more than the bucket’s water level, there is probably a leak. If levels are the same, only evaporation has occurred.
  6. If the levels vary remark the bucket and repeat with the pump off.
  7. After 24 hours, compare the two water levels. If the pool water level is constant you may have a leak in the lines or equipment. If it drops by about the same amount the leak may be in the pool.  Time to call Aquajoy!


 This chart is an estimated amount of water lost per quarter inch per day.  The bucket test can save you many costs:

1) Water and sewage, unless your on a well. 2) Chemicals in your pool.  3) Gas to heat your pool. 4) Electric to operate the pump to heat and balance your water constantly or run your well pump.  What if it leaks below the skimmer and your pump runs dry, now add the cost of the repair of the pump and maybe the plumbing if the fittings melt that are attached to the pump. And the cost of your time to keep up with the loss.  There is a hidden cost that may not show up immediately, the damage occurring in the ground.


Try the bucket test it really works and if you do have a leak give Aquajoy Spa And Pool a call at (630) 774-4515 or via Email at Aquajoy@AOL.com.  We will find and repair your leak quickly at a much lower cost.