Uh, where did my water go?!?

Here in sunny Florida, evaporation is the default answer for water loss, and naturally so. The heat plays a huge role in water loss for pools here. Pools typically lose 1/4″ of water per day due to evaporation. Pools on the water (lakes, beach, etc) tend to lose a little more because the wind also aids in evaporation. Those pools can lose as much as 3/4″ of water per day just from mother nature. Also, higher evaporation occurs when the humidity is low. I really wish that was a problem here in Florida, the low humidity I mean.

Another cause of pool leaking is splash out which can attribute to a greater water loss when coupled with evaporation. The figures mentioned above do not include splash out. So it’s not unrealistic to have a few inches of water loss a week if you’re swimming a lot and it’s a million degrees outside.

The question is… How much water loss is too much? If you are constantly refilling your pool and you believe you are losing more than an inch a day it very well could be a leak. But leak detection’s are expensive, right? Yep, they are. It requires specialized electronic equipment and training to uncover where the pool is leaking at. However, there is a cheaper (free) option to help determine if you have a leak at all. If you have an auto fill now would be the time to turn it off. 

An unscientific test you can do that will give you a solid result is the bucket test. Here’s what you do.

1) Take a 5 gallon bucket, place it on the first step, and mark the water line of the pool water on the outside of the bucket. When you place the bucket on the step the pool water should be even with the mark you made on the bucket.

2) Mark the same height of the pool water with a line on the inside of the bucket. (Internal and external lines should be at the same height now.)

3) Fill up the bucket up to the internal line with pool water (don’t use tap water to eliminate different make ups of water evaporating at different rates and thinking you have a leak when you actually don’t).

4) Now the pool water inside of the bucket should be at the same height as the rest of the pool after you place the bucket on the step.

5) Watch it (not literally) for the next 48-72 hours. If they lower at the same rate then it’s just evaporation. If the pool water lowers at a faster rate then you more than likely have a leak.

I’m pretty sure I have a leak, what do I do now? 

So here are a few things you can do to decipher if you have a leak or not, and where it could be before you call the specialists.

1) Visually inspect the equipment for leaks. If it hasn’t rained and you have standing water at the base of your pump or filter it’d be a good suspicion that is where your leak is coming from. Also make sure the drain plugs are tight on your pump and filters.

2) Check the fittings of your plumbing. If the seal has worn away it could induce a water leak. If you visually notice water at the joining of two pipes that could be where the leak is coming from.

3) Is the water leaking when the pool equipment on? If so, this tends to be a pressure side leak. Check for water leaks from the top of the pump, through the filter and all the way back to the returns. Obviously if you can’t see the leak it’s time to call out the leak detection specialists.

4) Is the water leaking when the pool equipment is off? If so, this tends to be a suction side leak. Check for water leaks from the intake lines all the way to the side of the pump. If you are continually running the equipment with water lower than the skimmer you could compromise the seals of the adjoined pipes connected to the pump. Also make sure the o-ring on the pump lid is good and lubed with a lubricant like Magic Lube. Again, if you can’t see the leak it’s time to call out the leak detection specialists.

5) Does your water stop at a certain level? If so, see where it stops at. There are a few common heights where the water stops. If it stops just below the skimmer that means you probably have a leak somewhere in the skimmer line. Also the pool light is a common place. The hole in the niche where the cord goes through has a gasket around it to help create a water tight seal. After time it can lose it’s ability to create a water tight seal. If the water stops just below the top of the pool light then you probably have a pool light leak. The niche hole is at the top so that would explain why the water level stops just below the top of the light.

6) Is the water leaking all the time regardless if the equipment is on or off and doesn’t stop at a certain level? If so, this tends to do with the vessel (body) of your pool. You may have a crack in the bottom that is hard to see or along the walls or steps.

7) On a day that it hasn’t rained and hasn’t had any swimmers, walk around the perimeter of the pool and see if there are any wet spots on the deck. That area may be the source of your problem.

If you aren’t having any luck at this point give us a call and we can put you in touch with our leak detection specialist.

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