How to Tell if Your Pool Has a Leak

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Think You Have A Leak? Try the Bucket Test!

If you’re the pool owner that keeps asking yourself, “Is my pool leaking?”, it may not be a leak, but instead evaporation. There is a simple solution to find out the answer. It’s the bucket test – a new DIY project for your pool. For this experiment all you’ll need is:

  • 5 gallon paint bucket (cleaned out)
  • A permanent marker or bright colored tape
  • A heavy object that can get wet (ex: large rock or brick)
  • Plastic cup

A few things to keep in mind before starting the test

  • The Bucket Test must be performed in a 24 hour period to be correct.
  • Swimming in the pool or using the spa will void the test.
  • Inspect equipment and solar for any visible signs of leaks as equipment leaks will void the test.
  • Make sure that you start the test before your system comes on in the morning.
  • If you have an auto fill, waterfall or fountain, you will need to shut it off for the test.

Before beginning the experiment, make sure to turn off all waterfalls, fountains, and auto-fill, and do not backwash or splash water out of the pool during the test. After everything has been turned off, wait for your water to calm and become still.

Your first step is to place your 5 gallon paint bucket on the top stair of your pool, and weigh it down with the heavy object(s) so it sits firmly on the stair’s surface. Now that you have the bucket on the stair, begin to fill the bucket with pool water using the plastic cup. Fill the bucket so the water level in the bucket matches the water level of the pool.

Once the water level of the bucket and pool match, take the permanent marker or tape and mark the current water level on both sides of the bucket. Leave the bucket and the pool alone for 2-4 days. Check the bucket after the final day and look at both level marks. Mark both sides of the bucket with the new water levels.


How to Tell if Your Pool Has a Leak bucket test

Is the pool water lower than the bucket water? Or are the two levels about the same? If the pool water level matches the water level inside the bucket you have no leak, but your pool water is evaporating. If your bucket water is significantly higher than the pool water level, you have a leak. While testing your pool, make sure to note if there is rain or any significant wind, because this could make your results inaccurate.


From your results, if you believe you have a leak, you can narrow down where your possible leak may be by performing the test two more times. One with and one without your pool pump running to tell if the leak is within the pump or the pool’s structure.

Contact Us if, for any reason, you feel that you need help with completing the Bucket Test.