Bucket Test for a Pool/Spa Leak

The “bucket test” will determine if water loss in a pool and/or spa is due to evaporation or a leak:

These are the materials you will need for the test:

  • 5-gallon bucket
  • heavy weight or a brick
  • permanent marker

The “bucket test” will determine if water loss in a pool and/or spa is due to evaporation or a leak:

  1. Bring pool water to a normal level

    We need to start with a full pool/spa. Fill the pool and/or spa to normal operating level. Once the pool/spa is at normal operating level, turn the pump off for the rest of the setup. Make sure the auto/manual fill valve is shut off during the test.

  2. Place a 5-gallon bucket in the pool/spa

    Fill the bucket about 3-4 inches from the top and place it on the first or second step

  3. Place a weight inside the bucket.

    Place a weight inside the bucket to keep it from floating away or tipping over. If possible, make sure that the water level inside the bucket is as close to the same as the pool/spa water level outside of the bucket.

  4. Mark the water level on both inside and outside of the bucket.

    With a permanent marker, mark the level of the water both inside and outside of the bucket. You’ll want to do this with the pump off so the water is as still and level as possible. If the pump is running you won’t be able to get an accurate mark.

  5. Resume normal pump operation.

    Turn the pump for the pool/span back on and leave it on for 24 hours.

  6. Check the level for a leak

    After 24 hours, compare the two levels. Make sure to turn the pump off to read the water levels, as moving water may change the water level and the reading. If the pool water (outside mark) goes down more than the inside water level, there is probably a leak.

Note! Hot, dry weather, water temperature, wind, and sun can all affect the rate of evaporation.

Normal water loss from an uncovered pool and/or spa can be up to 1/4″ in a 24-hour period.

In case of rain, repeat the test

The test is not valid after 24 hours

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