Think You Have A Pool Leak? Try the Bucket Test!

If you’re the pool owner that keeps asking yourself, “Is my pool leaking?”, it may not be a leak, but instead evaporation. There is a simple solution to find out the answer. It’s the bucket test - a new DIY project for your pool. For this experiment all you’ll need is:

  • 5 gallon paint bucket (cleaned out)
  • A permanent marker or bright colored tape
  • A heavy object that can get wet (ex: large rock or brick)
  • Plastic cup

Before beginning the experiment, make sure to turn off all waterfalls, fountains, and auto-fill, and do not backwash or splash water out of the pool during the test. After everything has been turned off, wait for your water to calm and become still.

Your first step is to place your 5 gallon paint bucket on the top stair of your pool, and weigh it down with the heavy object(s) so it sits firmly on the stair’s surface. Now that you have the bucket on the stair, begin to fill the bucket with pool water using the plastic cup. Fill the bucket so the water level in the bucket matches the water level of the pool.

Once the water level of the bucket and pool match, take the permanent marker or tape and mark the current water level on both sides of the bucket. Leave the bucket and the pool alone for 2-4 days. Check the bucket after the final day and look at both level marks. Mark both sides of the bucket with the new water levels.

Is the pool water lower than the bucket water? Or are the two levels about the same? If the pool water level matches the water level inside the bucket you have no leak, but your pool water is evaporating. If your bucket water is significantly higher than the pool water level, you have a leak. While testing your pool, make sure to note if there is rain or any significant wind, because this could make your results inaccurate.

From your results, if you believe you have a leak, you can narrow down where your possible leak may be by performing the test two more times. One with and one without your pool pump running to tell if the leak is within the pump or the pool’s structure.

If you have a leak, we can help. Call to have one of our certified technicians come to your house. For a full list of repair and installation services, check out out Pool Services page today!

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Leslie’s makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and Leslie’s assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. Leslie’s assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.