Is Your Pool Leaking?
Recently I have been fielding quite a few questions about pool leaks. Water loss from your pool is somewhat expected this time of year because of evaporation. Even with the occasional rain fall, it is not enough to make up the amount of water that’s naturally being removed. The amount of evaporation can be as high as 2 inches per week (≈1/4 inch per day) and depends on several factors:
- Type of pool
- In-ground or above ground location
- Whether it contains salt or fresh water
One of the largest factors affecting evaporation is called “Exposure.” The exposure factor has several variables, including shape, wind, temperature, humidity, and sun exposure. These variables can also change throughout the year.
So, why is there more evaporation this time of year? The average daily RH becomes dryer this time of year and it’s not raining as frequently. Remember when you had to drain your pool over the summer because of the amount of rain we received?
If you think your pool is losing water and evaporation isn’t the cause, here is a simple homeowner test you can do before calling a pool contractor to find a leak. It’s called the “bucket test” and it could save you significantly:
- Bring the pool water to a normal level. Fill a 5-gallon bucket with pool water to about two-thirds from the top of the bucket.
- Place the bucket on the first or second step of the pool.
- Mark the water level inside and outside the bucket. The levels do not need to be at the same level.
- After 24 hours, compare the two water levels. If the level on the outside of the bucket went down more than the level inside the bucket it indicates a potential leak. Remember: it is considered normal to lose up to ¼ inch per day
- If the change is less than ¼ inch between the inside and outside of the bucket, wait an additional 24 hours and check the difference again. A leak in the pool will cause the difference in levels to continue to get greater over time.
The “bucket test” is a quick and easy verification of a leak, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that expensive repairs are needed. Most local pool stores carry DIY epoxy repair materials that can be applied without draining your pool (which is only recommended to be done by a professional in Central Florida).
The tricky part is finding the leak! Seek some guidance from the staff at your favorite pool store. Dye or pH indicator can be used to find the leaks, but it is sometimes deceptive if done incorrectly. It is best to have a pool contractor come in to find the leaks and make minor repairs.
Pool contractors typically charge $350-$500 to find leaks in your pool. Some include minor epoxy repairs in the typical leak locations such as the skimmer, main drain housing, and the water return penetrations. Letting them do the work saves time and frustration; most importantly it gets the job done right.
Have questions or need extra guidance performing the “bucket test”? Contact us and let us help you through the process today.