How To Find A Pool Leak

5 gallon bucket, tape, marker, and a ruler used for a pool bucket test.

How do I find a leak in my pool?


We often get asked, “What do you guys do to find our pool leak?”

The answer is pretty simple. It is essentially a combination of two things: a dye test and a pressure test.

How do I find a leak in my swimming pool?

There are many reasons you might suspect a leak. Maybe you see a wet spot in the yard? Perhaps there is water in your back alley? Or maybe your water bill has spiked.

All of these are very valid concerns. You may want to know how to find a leak in your pool or spa. If you have a swimming pool leak, learning how to find a leak should start with making sure you have a pool or spa leak in the first place.

Often, when people see water in their yard or draining down the back alley, they assume it is from the pool; however, it is usually not.

So if you’re asking, “how can I tell if there is a leak in my pool?” The answer is simple.

Perform a bucket test! 

This test compares your evaporation rate with the pool to see if you have a leak. Do this before calling any leak detection professional. It’s easy, it’s cheap, and it only takes 24 hours.

How to do a pool bucket test

Time needed: 1 day.

Start with a bucket test when learning how to find a pool leak

  1. Turn off your auto-fill and any waterfalls or water features you might have.

    This will ensure that no extra water is being filled in the pool and that excess evaporation won’t be taken into count.Turn off auto fill

  2. Fill a 5-gallon bucket up to the top of the bucket (about an inch from the top) and set it on your first or second step in your pool.

    We like filling the bucket to the top for two reasons. First, it weighs the bucket down enough that it shouldn’t float away or fall over, and second, it mimics the pool conditions most closely.Filling up a 5 gallon bucket

  3. Next, mark with a piece of tape or permanent marker where the water level is on the inside of the bucket.

    Either will work fine. Just make sure that whatever you use will still be there on the bucket 24 hours later.Put tape at top of water level

  4. With a piece of tape or marker, mark where the pool water level is on the outside of the bucket

    Put tape on outside of bucket at the pool water level

  5. Wait 24 hours.

    Yes, 24 hours is all you need to confirm a pool leak.

  6. Then, return to the bucket with a ruler. Measure on the inside of the bucket how far the water level has dropped from your original mark. Do the same thing on the outside of the bucket.

    If the water has dropped the same amount on the inside of the bucket as the outside, you do not have a leak.

    However, If the water level on the outside of the bucket drops MORE than the inside of the bucket, you do have a leak, and you need to schedule an appointment with a leak detection specialist.Use a ruler to measure bucket water loss

How Can I tell where my pool is leaking

Once you’ve done the pool bucket test…

If you are not ready to call a leak detection company, you can still try to pinpoint the source of your leak.

You can do this by doing a dye test.

You can buy a pool dye kit on amazon or many pool suppliers.

How to do a pool dye test

Technician Dye testing a light
Technician Dye testing a light
  1. Turn off all of your pool equipment and fill your syringe with the pool dye. The syringe should have come with your dye kit.
  2. Start with places that look suspicious, such as large or small cracks
  3. Next, very slowly and gently, push the dye out of the syringe next to any cracks you see. If it is leaking, the dye will suck into the crack and not escape.
  4. Then, repeat this process around the pool, in the skimmer, around jet fittings, and even spa overflows. You can also do this in front of your jets. If the dye is pulled into a jet, it might indicate a pipe break. (we do not recommend this as many factors may make this look like the jet is pulling dye when it is not actually due to a leak).
  5. You can buy some underwater AB epoxy and fill the crack yourself if you have a leaking crack. This is very cheap and a great option. If the dye test doesn’t show anything, it may be time to call in the pros.
  6. If you have epoxied a leaking crack, perform the bucket test again to ensure the leaking has stopped.

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