Is the Pool Losing Water?

Pools are great to help us beat the heat, but occasionally we may need to beat the leak! Pools and other water features can leak constantly or may only leak when their equipment is running. If you have a high water bill and you want to check to see if there is an on-going leak in or around your home, first consider doing a basic meter flow check. Next, even if you have passed the basic meter flow check, do a bucket test to check your pool or other water features for leaks.

Leaks in your pool system may be difficult to find for one of two reasons. First, if you have an autofill device, it will continue to keep the pool’s water level the same by adding water on a more frequent intermittent basis. Second, if you fill the pool yourself with a hose, you may not notice that you are adding water on a more frequent basis.

Pool PictureFirst: Look for visible leaks:
Most leaks associated with the pool are found in the pool equipment. Periodically turn the pool equipment on and look for visible leaks. Look for white crusty mineral deposits on pipes which could indicate a slow leak. Also, look for wet spots on the ground around the pool, pool equipment, and between the equipment and the pool.

Next: Do a Bucket Test to see if there are Non-visible Leaks:

You can read the instructions below or watch: How to Do a Bucket Test

1. The bucket test is simple. Let's get started by collecting a couple of items. You'll want a bucket and a wax pen. Stop manually adding water to the pool or turn off the water to the pool’s autofill until the test is complete.

2. "What is an autofill?" It is a device that fills your pool with water automatically. As with skimmer baskets, autofills are typically located next to the pool inside a recessed container beneath a round lid.

3. If you have an autofill, let's turn off its water supply. Find the pool's backflow device which is usually located at the back or the side of the house. The pool's water supply line is usually the first line out of the pool's backflow. Turn its shut-off valve to the off position.

4. Also, no splashing water out of the pool during the bucket test or backwashing the pool.

5. Place a bucket or container on a pool step without submerging it, and then fill it with water so it is the same level with the pool water. Use a wax marker to mark the level of the water in the pool and the level of the water in the bucket.

6. Wait a minimum of two to three days to let natural evaporation occur. If it rains or it’s a windy day you may have to redo the test. If both the levels go down the same amount in the pool and in the bucket, then you do not have a leak. If the water level in the pool has dropped more than the level in the bucket, you have a leak.

7. If you have a leak, you can do a little more testing to indicate whether leak is in the pool structure or the plumbing system.

• Repeat the test with the pool equipment running
• Repeat the test with the pool equipment manually turned off so it can’t run

If tests reveal that more water was lost with the pump running, the plumbing is probably the cause. For information on pool repair, try searching the web for “pool cleaning and chemistry” or “DIY pool repair.”

How much does my pool lose to evaporation?
Pool evaporation rates can vary due to a variety of reasons such as sunlight intensity, air and water temperature, wind, humidity, and shading. It's estimated that a 400 sq. ft. pool will lose approximately 19,665 gallons of water per year to evaporation. This table shows inches and gallons of water lost to evaporation for each month.

Water saving tips for pools:
• Consider using a pool cover to reduce evaporation and help keep your pool clean. A cleaner pool needs fewer chemicals and less backwashing. Consider using the new chemical covers that create a microthin film of molecules on the water surface to reduce water loss to evaporation.

• Pools seldom require draining if chemical levels are properly maintained, so consult a professional to make sure it’s necessary. Consider using water restoration systems that eliminate the need to drain the pool. Search the web for “treat calcium without draining pools Phoenix” to learn about local companies.

• If you have to refill your pool, read your water meter before and after filling. The difference between these reads is the gallons used and can be multiplied by current water rates to calculate the cost of water used. Please note that sewer fees are based on your water use in the months of December, January, and February, so if you refill your pool during that time frame, you may want to complete a wastewater adjustment form.

• Reuse pool water when backwashing by applying the water to the landscape. Don’t add new chemicals for up to 72 hours, then use the backwash to water salt-tolerant plants such as oleanders, Bermuda grass, and natal plum.

• Backwash only when needed and just long enough for the water to run clean.

• Minimize 'splash out' by not overfilling the pool.


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