The Bucket Test

Determine if your pool is losing water due to evaporation or a leak.

Once you’ve conducted the bucket test, use the pool leak calculator to determine how many gallons you are losing over a 24 hour period, an hour, and even per minute.

bucket test

In the heat of the summer your pool can seem to lose water faster than usual. The bucket test helps determine if the unusual rate of water loss is due to a high evaporation rate or a possible leak. Use the following steps to determine if your pool is leaking.

  1. Bring pool water to normal level.
  2. Fill 5 gallon bucket with pool water about 3-4 inches from top.
  3. Place bucket on first or second step of pool (preferably the second step without immersing it).
  4. With marker or electrical tape, mark the water level on inside of bucket.
  5. Shut off pump and mark pool level on outside of bucket.
  6. Resume normal pump operation. Make sure auto/manual fill valve is off during test.
  7. After 24 hours, compare the two levels. If the pool water (outside mark) goes down more than the inside water level, there may be a leak.

In case of rain, repeat the test.

Test is not valid after 24 hours.

Evaporation will occur at the same rate regardless of the area of water. A bucket will lose a quarter inch of water as fast as a swimming pool loses a quarter inch of water.

If the pool is leaking, American Leak Detection can expertly determine if the leak is in the structure, plumbing, or accessories, and isolate the leak to minimize the required repair expense.

Typical evaporation

If your pool or spa is losing a half an inch a day,
it could be evaporation, or it could be a leak. A quarter inch per day
is most likely to be evaporation. The evaporation rate in your area
will depend on humidity, sunlight intensity, barometric pressure, wind, as well as the level of activity in the pool or spa.

Preparing for a service call

When calling for service, you may be asked how many inches of water your pool or spa is losing per day. Be ready with the information by performing the bucket test.

If you don’t know how much water your pool or spa is losing per day, you may be asked to perform the bucket test to determine if your pool is leaking or is losing water to evaporation.