Does my pool have a leak, or is it just evaporation?

Evaporation is part of pool ownership, but are you really sure that your water loss is caused by evaporation or do you have a leak? In today’s post, we’ll be sharing with you some techniques on how to check for a water leak so that you can deal with it as early as possible to not only save on water, but on pool chemicals as well!

The Bucket Method

You may have heard this when talking to other pool guys (or gals!) and the reason why this method is so popular in detecting whether you have a leak or not is that it doesn’t require any special tools. All you need is a bucket, some duct tape, and a little patience.

Leak Detection - Step One

Fill up your pool to its normal operating height. This is usually about halfway up your skimmer box level. Once the water is up to this level, shut everything down. Shut off or remove your automatic water levelling device (if you have one), turn off your pumps, turn of any water features, shut off any valves leading to and from your pool, and everything that may lead to water going into or out of your pool.

Leak Detection - Step Two

Mark the water level inside the skimmer with tape (or a pencil, we prefer tape because some plastics don’t play well with pencils). Get a water bucket, fill it with pool water till about an inch from the top, and mark the level with duct tape. Place the bucket on the top step of your pool so the temperature of the water in the bucket would remain the same with your pool water.

Leak Detection - Step Three

Wait for about 24 hours and measure the water levels in the skimmer and the bucket, note down the results. For some people, this would be enough. But here at Mr Pool Man, we would like to be more thorough as not to miss anything.

Leak Detection - Step Four

Reset everything, refill the water in your pool and your bucket to where they’re both touching the lines created by the tape. Once your water level is back up, turn on the pumps, and your pumps only. If you have water heaters and water features, keep them turned off so that we can see the real results of just the water circulating around your pool.

Leak Detection - Evaluating The Results

Now that you have two sets of results on hand, it’s now time to interpret those results.

  • The optimal result is that both water levels, the skimmer water level and the bucket water level, have gone down the same levels. If this is the case then congratulations! You don’t have a water leak!
  • If your water level in the skimmer box is lower than your water level in the bucket then that means that you have a structural leak somewhere and this calls for some professional intervention.
  • If your water level has dropped only when the pump is running then it means that you have a leak somewhere in the pressure or suction side of your pool.

Dealing with Leaks

For structural leaks, it’s best to call a pool professional to deal with it because depending on the size of the leak, some major repairs might be required.

If you have a suction side leak that’s pretty minor then you can patch it up with some pool putty or some Aussie Gold Aqua Fix-It. If it’s a major leak then some plumbing work would be in order. If you’re confident in your plumbing skills then you can do it yourself, if not, then there’s no shame in getting a plumber to do it for you. Don’t worry about the cost too much, what you’ll spend on repairs is nothing compared to long-term expenses caused by water loss and potential equipment damage.

If you have a pressure side leak then skip the patch up job and directly go for the plumbing fix. The reason for this is pressure side leaks will push out any kind of patchwork no matter how small it is because of the constant pressure from the water.

Preventing Pool Water Evaporation

Now if you don’t have a leak and you want to preserve the water levels in your pool then there’s only one thing that you can do, and that is get a Daisy pool cover. Pool covers can reduce your pool’s water evaporation by 90% to 95%. We have a more in-depth write-up on how pool covers can drastically decrease your water and chemical expenses in our blog post where we tackled the really interesting problem of How to keep your pool water level during Australian Water Restrictions

Interested in fitting a pool cover or want to learn more about how pool covers work? Click the button below to go to our ultimate pool covers guide!


Determining if you have a leak is the first step to ensuring that your pool stays in top shape the whole year round. Not only will detecting pool leaks early save you water and money, but it will actually make your pool chemistry balancing tasks much easier. Why? Well, if you're losing water and you're consistently filling it with fresh water then you're constantly diluting your pool chemicals, causing levels to fluctuate wildly and will actually cause havoc on your chemical levels.

So if you're not sure whether you're losing water from evaporation or leakage, do the simple test above first before calling a leak detection company to avoid false alarms and save money, simply because leak detected or not, you'll have to pay them!

Do you have any questions about this topic or the featured products? No worries, we're here to help! Drop us a question down below and we'll get back to you ASAP.

Happy swimming :)

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