How to Know: Pool Leak vs. Evaporation

leak vs evaporation pool

If you have experienced water loss in your pool, you may have questioned whether it was a leak. During the summer months especially, as the temperature rises, there is an increase in water evaporation. The real question is, how do you know if your water loss problems are due to evaporation or a leak? Generally, we suggest calling a leak detection company to find the source of a leak, but before you spend the money, consider this ‘do it yourself’ test to rule out evaporation.

The Bucket Test

  • Place a bucket of water on your pool step and weigh it down with some rocks
  • Fill the bucket with water
  • Mark the water level on the inside and outside of the bucket
  • Make sure that that the waterline inside the bucket is the same as the waterline on the outside of the bucket. If it is not the same, measure the difference between start and end both on the inside and outside
  • Wait a full 24 hours and check the lines
  • If the water level on the outside of the bucket is lower than the line on the inside of the bucket, then you most likely have a leak
  • If the water level went down evenly both on the inside and outside of the bucket, it is evaporation

The Skimmer Test

  • Fill pool to normal level (middle of skimmer base)
  • Mark with a pencil, on skimmer, your water starting level
  • Turn off all features (heater, spill overs, etc.)
  • Leave pool alone for 2 day (48 hours)
  • Mark with a pencil, on skimmer, your water ending level
  • Measure the difference between start and end
  • If there is 0.25 inch per day or less of water loss (in Florida, humid environment) you are in the clear!
  • Try test again with features turned on to determine if water loss is from another source.

Other Factors to Consider

Humid environments can expect to lose up to one-quarter of an inch a day, while dry environments can lose up to one-half inch a day. If you are experiencing a larger water loss, you should be checking for a leak.

Evaporation levels vary based on a variety of factors. These factors include wind, humidity, pool surface area, and water air temperature variance. When questioning evaporation versus a leaking pool, keep in mind windy areas tend to lose more water, dry environments lose more water than humid ones, the larger surfaced area pools have higher evaporation rates, and heated pools in winter will lose more than a non-heated pool due to temperature variance to the surrounding environment.

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