The Bucket Test: A Simple Method to Check for Pool Leaks or Evaporation

Mark Larm Jun 12, 2023
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The Bucket Test; first test to determine if your pool has a leak

The Bucket Test: A Simple Method to Check for Pool Leaks and Evaporation


Owning a swimming pool is a wonderful luxury that offers refreshing relaxation and fun times. However, pools require regular maintenance to ensure they are in optimal condition. One common concern for pool owners is determining whether water loss is due to a leak of simply evaporation. To address this issue, the bucket test has become a widely recommended technique. In this blog post, we will guide you through the process of conducting the bucket test and explain why it is an essential tool for maintaining your pool’s water level.


Understanding the Bucket Test:


The bucket test is a straightforward yet effective method to distinguish between water loss caused by leaks and that resulting from natural evaporation. By performing this test, you can accurately determine the cause of your pool’s water level drop and take appropriate measures to address the issue.


Why Use the Bucket Test?


  1. Differentiating between leaks and evaporation:

Pool water loss can occur due to various factors, but leaks and evaporation are the most common culprits. The bucket test allows you to discern between the two by providing a controlled environment to monitor water levels accurately.

  1. Cost-effective approach:

Conducting the bucket test requires minimal resources, making it a cost-effective option for troubleshooting pool water loss. It is a simple test that can save you from unnecessary expenses associated with detectiong and repairing leaks.


How to Perform the Bucket Test:


Step 1: Gather the necessary materials:

  1. A 5 gallon bucket or large container.

  2. A couple large rocks.

  3. Water


Step 2: Place the rocks in the bucket (with rocks inside) on the second step or ledge of your pool, ensuring it remains immersed in the water, always during a period no one is swimming. 


Step 3: Fill the bucket with water until it reaches the same level as your pool. Ensure that both the bucket and pool water come from the same source to eliminate any variations.


Step 4: Compare the water loss: After 5 to 7 days have passed, compare the water loss between the pool and the bucket. If both the pool and the bucket have lost water at the same rate, it is likely due to evaporation. However, if your pool’s water level has dropped more significantly than the bucket, there may be a leak that requires attention.


Step 5: Taking the next steps: Watch the attached video to learn to do some isolation tests to narrow down and isolate what may be leaking. For instance, one time I had a customer who had a pool leaking and I discovered that it was the waterfall. To save money we just shut off the waterfall and the problem was gone. I did tell her that when her company was over it was alright to run the waterfall for the tranquil sounds that people love because the water loss would be minimum for an hour or two. However there becomes a time when it is recommended to contact a professional pool technician or leak detection company to conduct a thorough inspection and provide the necessary repairs.


Maintaining the water level of your pool is essential for the overall health and enjoyment of your swimming experience. The bucket test offers a simple yet valuable way to determine if water loss is due to a leak or evaporation. By following the steps outlined above, you can accurately identify the cause and take appropriate action, whether it involves routine maintenance or professional repairs.


Check out my YouTube video to discover what to do next if your pool is leaking. Click the link The-Bucket-Test


If you need any of my recommended pool supplies or equipment just scroll through the website and enjoy your day.