Does my pool have a leak, or is it just evaporation?

PSC Ep. 77: Does my pool have a leak, or is it just evaporation?

In today’s episode of Poolside Chat, Rob and Matt tackle another common swimming pool question: 
How do I determine if I have a leak in my pool or if it’s evaporation?

Today we’re going to be talking leak detection, and joining us is Jason from Aaron’s Leak Detection. One of the most common questions we get from pool owners is, they want to know do I have a leak or is this evaporation? A lot of people will use the bucket test method. What do you think about that?

That’s a huge question that we get all the time is, “How do I know if my pool’s leaking?” The bucket test it’s fair because it gets people to at least pay attention, but it’s not ideal, it’s not apples to apples. There’s not a pool that’s going to evaporate as little as the bucket. A lot of times we’ve even had customers who report that their bucket gained water and they didn’t realize that overnight their sprinklers had turned on and hit the bucket. We’ve had customers while they’re gone for the day, their dog comes in drinks water out of the bucket and it drops way more than the pool. It’s an imperfect solution.

A better solution we suggest: requires just a pencil and a ruler.

  1. Fill your pool up to the normal level, that’s the middle of the skimmer face, you fill that pull up to the right level.
  2. Turn off the pump, you want to leave the pump off for a couple minutes just to allow that water level to settle.
  3. Remove the skimmer cover. On the back of that skimmer canister, mark the current starting water level. This is considered day zero.
  4. Reduce or turn off as many of the elements as you can, the extras so your water features, the spillover, things like that. Reduce that or turn it off completely if you can. Specifically a heater, you would want to make sure your heater’s off. Reduce evaporation is the idea.
  5. Return your pump back to normal mode, auto mode for two days. Let it run as normal, whatever normal would be whether it’s eight hours or 10 hours. Whatever you’re currently running, let it run as normal.
  6. Set a reminder to check your water levels in 48 hours come out, turn off the pump again. Let that water level settle. Use an actual ruler and measure what was the inches or fraction of an inch that the pool lost. At that point, you have quantified your water losses.pool leak detection - measuring skimmer

The guideline that we would use, at least in Central Florida for most of the year, we would expect a quarter of an inch a day water loss on a pool that has no heaters and no water features running. That screened or unscreened, that’s a general guideline. If it was in the gray area, let say I lost 0.3 inches or I lost just a little bit shy of a quarter of an inch a day. At that point maybe do it for a weak, run that test for a week or if everything was fine and you’re in the clear, less than that quarter of an inch a day, then do the test again introducing those water features.

At that point, you can introduce your spillover or your spray jets or whatever the case. Then you can one by one, piece together the story of where is this water loss coming from.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them down below. And, for all your pool and spa needs, please visit us over Thank you for joining us. Bye.

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One thought on “PSC Ep. 77: Does my pool have a leak, or is it just evaporation?

  1. Hi,
    I just completed a 50k gallon pool for a friend of mine (I used to build with my late husband). We had detected a leak at the light niche and puttied it. Now the pool maintenance man is telling me he’s having to add more salt, stabilizer, and acid every week so he thinks there may still be a leak.
    This pool is the exception; it’s on a windy lake here in Central Florida, it’s very large for a residential pool (1205sf surface area), it has a 400k BTU gas heater that runs often (because her girls have metal plates in their hips and the cold affects them), it has a huge grotto which pools at the top before it falls over the edge, with a slide that gushes water. This grotto is on automation and runs every day. We installed an autofill/drain while building to accommodate her wishes (this is the fifth pool she has had built and she knew she wanted this feature). The water level doesn’t fall below the middle of the skimmer (due to the autofill) but having to add chemicals has the pool man concerned.
    Upon finding this out today, I will be doing the ruler test on Monday with all features off, including autofill.
    My question is- with all the factors I just listed-wouldn’t it be safe to say this pool will be losing more water per day due to evaporation and features than the average pool?
    Thanks in advance for your input!

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