So you’ve noticed that your pool is starting to lose water faster than normal. Evaporation can cause a significant amount of water loss in Arizona, but this seems like more than usual. Maybe much more. What do you do now? Here’s a crash course in handling a pool leak.
Don’t Ignore It
Step 1 is simple: don’t ignore it. The obvious reason being that your water bill will increase in order to make up for the rapid water loss, but a neglected pool leak can end up causing you much more than this in the long run. When water escapes your pool, it’s going somewhere. And most of those places are places that you don’t want it to be.
When chlorinated water gathers outside of your pool, it can do a lot of damage. Metal components particularly, such as the steel walls of a vinyl liner pool or the rebar in a concrete pool, can be in great danger. And even water that just goes into the soil can be harmful. As the water washes away soil, it removes the foundation that is supporting your pool, potentially causing major structural issues for your pool and anything around it. Small, seemingly harmless, leaks is one of the biggest threats to the well-being of your pool.
Check the Obvious
However, at this point, you may not be sure that a leak is, in fact, the culprit. First, check the pool equipment area to make sure the leak isn’t obvious. Eighty percent of leaks usually easily detectable and simply due to maintenance neglect—particularly during the winter months when people pay less attention to their pools than usual. Just because the leak isn’t easy to find, however, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
The Bucket Test
For step two, there’s a really simple test you can do on your own to give you more information, and all you need is a 5-gallon bucket. Place the bucket on a step in your pool and fill it with water equal to your pool’s water level. Mark this level on the bucket and make sure your pump and auto-filler are turned off.
After 24 hours, compare the water level of your pool with the water level in the bucket. If they are equal to one another, evaporation may be your only problem after all. But if the pool’s level is lower than the bucket’s, a water leak is likely the culprit.
At this point, it’s best to call a pool professional. You’ll want to keep water in your pool until after this step, as the next step is probably dye testing. Essentially, a dye test involves adding a small amount of dye to your water that will give you more information about the location and nature of your leak. At this point, a professional should be able to give you an idea of what it will take to repair the leak or any other next steps that are needed. Now, you are well on your water to having a completely functioning pool again!