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The Bucket Test

Determine if your water loss is caused by evaporation or a leak


Use the following steps to determine if your pool is leaking.

bucket test
  1. Bring the pool water to normal level. Fill a 5-gallon bucket with pool water to about two-thirds from the top.
  2. Place the bucket on the first or second step of the pool. Ensure the bucket is immersed in the pool at least five inches.
  3. Mark the water level inside the bucket.
  4. Shut off the pump and mark pool water level on the outside of the bucket.
  5. Resume normal pool pump operation.
  6. After 24 hours, compare the two water levels. If the pool water (outside mark) goes down more than the bucket's water level, there is probably a leak. If levels are the same, only evaporation has occurred.
In case of rain, repeat the bucket test. Expect water loss from normal evaporation. Test is invalid after 24 hours.

Typical evaporation

A quarter inch of water loss per day is most likely evaporation. The evaporation rate in your area will depend on humidity, sunlight intensity, barometric pressure, wind and the level of activity in the pool or spa.

After the bucket test is completed, use the pool leak calculator to determine how many gallons you're losing in a 24-hour period, an hour, and even per minute.