Leakage or evaporation? Find out with the famous “bucket test”

One of the many reasons for a pool’s water level to drop is evaporation, which can vary depending on conditions. Many pool owners mistakenly fear evaporation as the biggest problem in pool filter structure or components.

It’s hard to tell if you’re losing water simply because of evaporation or a bigger problem – your pool liner could be leaking.

Evaporation is a natural process that turns the surface liquid to vapor. More than 80% of precipitation is created by the process of evaporation. Any form of liquid, even your backyard pool, is subject to evaporation in higher temperatures, low humidity and high winds.

While all pools fall victim to evaporation, normal rates range from one centimeter to no more than five centimeters per week. In other cases, a drop in the water level can occur from people using the pool and splashing water, slow leaks in the filter, and faulty liner. Breaks, tears or holes in the coating can cause water loss.

The pool leak is easily identifiable when the outside wall of the pool is not buried or when the leak happens somewhere in the pool wall. When it is not an in-ground pool, the outside quickly shows signs of infiltration, the coating becomes damp and begins to swell or slowly loosens. It is a process known to all and usually points to the place where the problem is.

When the leak occurs on the wall of the pool, it is also possible to identify it just by failing to supply the pool. Once the water level has dropped to the height of the leak in the wall, the water level will stop going down and so just look at the height of the water surface for the water leak point.

How to differentiate evaporation from leakage?

To identify if the drop in water level is caused by evaporation or a leak, let’s go to the bucket technique. It can only be done on a day without rain and, if it rains, the test will need to be redone, ok? Bucket test to identify leak in the pool

  1. The idea is to place a bucket with water from the pool itself somewhere at the height of the water’s surface – the bucket can be placed on a step that makes it possible to stay at the water level. If your pool does not have an appropriate location, use chairs, tables and other items to keep the bucket at the height of the water level;
  2. Then, make the water level inside the bucket equal to the water level of the pool and mark with a tape or a pen the inside and outside of the bucket at the height of the water level. The idea is to identify the height of the water in the bucket with the marking on the inside and the height of the water in the pool with the marking on the outside of the bucket;
  3. After making the appointment, do not fill the pool, do not clean and do not use;
  4. After at least two days, check the height of the mark and see that the distance from the mark to the surface of the water is the same both inside and outside the bucket.

If you identify that the bucket water sinks less than the pool water, there is a high chance that your pool is leaking. Now, if the water level variation was the same inside and outside the bucket, you probably just need a cover to prevent evaporation.

The bucket test helps you know if it’s leaking or evaporating, but if the pool is really leaking, one of the solutions is what we call vinyl suitability. However, it is necessary to assess the pool in person and carry out tests to identify exactly where and why the water is leaking.

What can I do to prevent pool water from evaporating?

To reduce the damage caused by the evaporation of pool water, we can take a series of measures! Check out:

→ If your pool has a waterfall, spa or infinity edge, try to turn off these devices when you are not using the pool;

→ If your pool has a heater, avoid very high temperatures. Try not to exceed the 26ºC mark to reduce evaporation.

→ Try to backwash the pool filter only when necessary. Backwash inevitably throws water away, but we can be careful not to waste it!

To reduce evaporation, use a protective pool cover

To reduce the rate of evaporation, place a cover on the surface of the pool. It creates a vapor barrier, blocking heat from the sun and reducing evaporation. Pool covers are made from UV stabilized polyethylene, polypropylene or vinyl.

A cost-effective cover is the solar bubble cover, which is made of large, thick plastic that looks like bubble wrap. Another option is a vinyl cover, which is more durable and slower to wear out. The material is heavier and comes in insulated and non-insulated forms.

Leak identified? It needs to be fixed!

If after checking everything, you still believe there is a leak, contact a specialized company to check.

Pool leakage is a serious matter and needs to be treated as such. A crack in the coating can damage the entire structure of the house.

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