Swimming pools are great to help us beat the heat, but occasionally we may need to beat the leak! Pools can leak constantly or may only leak when the pool equipment is running. This can lead to water waste and a high water bill, and with pools being one of the greatest water users outdoors, it’s important to make sure they are being operated as efficiently as possible.

Leaks in your pool system may be difficult to find, even if you have used your meter to check for leaks, 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.

First, 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 Video for the 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.
  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 the water level in the pool has dropped more than the level in the bucket, you have a leak. If both the levels go down but are the same in the pool and in the bucket, then you do not 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 pool equipment running, the pool’s plumbing is probably the cause.

How to Use Your Meter to Check for Leaks

If you have a high water bill and you’re not sure if it’s the pool or something else on your property, start your search by using your water meter as a leak detection device. Watch our How to Read Your Meter video!

Note: If you live in Phoenix, your meter reads in cubic feet. One cubic foot equals 0.748 gallons. So, if you determined that 100 cubic feet were used during a meter test, then 74.8 gallons were used.  All you have to do is multiply the cubic feet by 0.748.

More details on how to care for your pool can be found at these suggested links from the Water – Use It Wisely resources page:

The City of Scottsdale is one of 20 Water – Use It Wisely partners to offer water-saving advice and programs.

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