The Bucket Test

The bucket test is one of the easiest ways to test at home to find out if you have a leak in your swimming pool. It can tell you if you have a leak and approximately how much water you are losing.

  1. Fill a bucket with water from the pool and set it on the steps of your pool with the top of the bucket above water level. This will keep the water in the bucket the same temperature as the pool. If you do not have steps, you can try balancing the bucket on the top ladder tread.
  2. Mark the water level in the bucket and at the water level of your pool on the outside of the bucket
  3. If you have an autofill feature for your pool turn it off
  4. After approximately 24hrs, compare the water levels
  5. If the water level loss is the same as in the pool, then it’s probably evaporation. If it’s not, then it’s time to call the Leak Detectives!
Mother and son in pool. The son has a green ring floatation device.
Family in a back yard swimming pool.

You can narrow down where the leak is even more by doing the following. Fill the pool to its normal level and mark it with a piece of tape or Sharpie. Next with your filter system running the whole time, wait 12 to 24 hours and measure the loss of water.

Then refill the pool back to the same level and with the filter system off, wait the same amount of time, ideally also over the same part of the day and measure the water loss.

If you are losing more water with the filter system running, the leak is on the pressure side of your plumbing somewhere PAST the impeller of the pump. If you are losing less water with the filter system not running, the leak is on the vacuum side of your plumbing somewhere BEFORE the impeller of the pump.

Note : if the water loss is the same, then your leak is in the structure of the pool and not in the plumbing. Time to call Leak Detectives!

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