Pool Care Pool Maintenance

4 Most Common Reasons to Lose Your Pool Water

If you’ve noticed your pool water level is dropping to the point that you have to refill it to maintain the correct water level, there might be an issue. Your swimming pool shouldn’t be losing so much water to that extent unless you drained it. And that brings as to the question – why is my pool losing water?

It could be losing water because of a leak somewhere, evaporation, backwashing of your filter, or through splashes when you hosted a swim party or event with lots of active fun. You have to investigate and know precisely what is causing your pool to lose water to figure out the best solution.

You can solve most of these problems with simple DIY tips that I will provide below. Read along to understand more about this topic and know how you can eliminate the guesswork.

Why is Your Swimming Pool Losing Water?

One routine maintenance practice of a swimming pool is ensuring it has enough water and at the right level.

If the water level was to drop even an inch, your pool skimmer might not work correctly. What follows is your pool pump will draw Air leading to overheating.

Overlooking the water loss could turn out to be a bigger problem later that might cost you big. That’s why it’d be best to know if it’s evaporation, leaks, splashes during swimming, or backwashing that’s causing it.

A. Leaks

Pool leaks can occur anywhere, in and outside the swimming pool. That means there lots of places that can leak and cause water loss.

It’d be best to the exact place that’s leaking before you can proceed. You can start by checking your pool’s filtration system, including the filter, pump, heater, and others.

If you have an inground pool, the leaks might be caused by cracked underground piping. If you’re suspecting it, then hiring a pool professional could be your best move. A pool expert can pressure test the lines for any possible cracks.

But before you can rule that pool leak is the cause of water loss in your swimming pool, know the signs of the leak.

Signs your pool is losing water because of a leak

Change in Water Level: This is the obvious observation that has led you to read this post. Right? However, if the water level is dropping at a high rate even when the pool water is cold, the apparent cause might be a leak.

Cracks or Falling Tile: if you notice tile movement, cracks around or in the pool, or if the ground surrounding your pool is unsettled by excess water, your swimming pool may be leaking.

Increased Water Bills: if you use an automatic fill device, you might never know you have a leak since it will ensure your swimming pool is at the ideal level by refilling it automatically. If you notice your monthly water bills are increasing or the device is constantly running, you may have a leak.

Wet Spots around the Pool: if you have soft and mushy spots ground around your swimming pool, there is a possibility you have a plumbing leak. It might also cause uneven grass growth, erosion, and landscaping sinking or shifting.

Dirt or Air Blown into Your Pool: if there’s a plumbing leak, one sign you will see is dirt being pooled into your pool water through the returns. You might also start getting gurgling sounds from the returns, something that wasn’t there initially.

Algae Growth: you’re always in time to balance your pool chemistry. You add the right amount of chemicals, clean it at the right time, and always maintain the ideal pool temperature. However, you still get algae. That might be a sign of a leak that’s returning dirt into the pool, causing chemical consumption to fluctuate, leaving your swimming pool exposed to algae.

Water Under or Around Equipment: one sign that you might want to look for when suspecting a leak around the pool equipment stands water or corrosion around it. When the equipment leaks, you can quickly know by looking at the ground around it.

How to Find a Leak in Your Pool

Are you confident you have a leak? Do you the exact spot that’s leaking? If you don’t, I have two easy approaches you can use to detect the leaking spot.

Use-of-a-Bucket Approach

What do you need?

  • 5-Gallon bucket (clear-type preferably)
  • Marker

Step 1: Fill your Bucket with Water

Fill your 5-gallon bucket with water and place it on the second step of your pool. You can add or remove some water to match it with your pool water level. Using a marker, mark the bucket’s water level.

Step 2: Turn Off Your Pool Pump

This approach requires minimal water movement. That’s why you’ve to turn off your recirculating pool pump. If you have an auto-refill device, shut it off too.

Step 3: Wait for the Results

Leave the bucket in the water for 24 hours. Within this period, restrict access to the swimming pool to make sure the water stays undisturbed.

Step 4: Check the Results

After 24 hours, compare your pool water level with the bucket’s water level. If both levels dropped evenly, your swimming pool water loss could be due to evaporation. But if the water level in the bucket is higher than your pool’s, it’s likely there’s a leak.

Step 5: Repeat the Test

Repeat the water in a bucket test for another 24 hours, with the pump on to narrow down to the possible leak source.

Step 6: Check the Results

If the water level difference had increased when the pool circulation was on, there is a possibility the leak is in your pool plumbing. If this result corresponds with Wet Spots around the Pool, then that confirms your leak problem.

Use-of-Ink Approach

What do you need?

  • Dark food coloring or leak-finder dye
  • leak-Proof Snorkel

Steps to Follow

Step 1: Check Wetness around the Pool

Check for ground wetness around your swimming pool. It’ll help you narrow down the place that’s leaking. Keep narrowing down until you find one possible spot.

Step 2: Use the Food Color or Dye to Pinpoint the Leak

Wear your leak-Proof Snorkel and jump into the water. Move slowly to where you think the leak is without disturbing the water. Squirt the food color or dye in the water near the wall around the leak.

If the color moves to the wall like a current, that is the leaking spot. If you think the leak is at the pool bottom, do the same.

If you didn’t find the leak even with the above methods, it would be best to hire a professional to help out.

B. Evaporation

If your swimming pool isn’t leaking, the next possible cause of pool water loss is evaporation. Did you know that evaporation can lead to water loss?

According to the Department of energy, evaporation can lead to up to 70% water loss in swimming pools.

Evaporation occurs when the water temperature rises to the point that some water molecules start to change from liquid to vapor and escape into the atmosphere. It can happen during the day when the sun’s heat is high or during the night when you’ve heated the water.

When the surface water evaporates and escapes into the atmosphere, your swimming pool loses water. When this is repeated more often, then your swimming pool loses more water.

It worsens when the weather conditions such as sunlight, heat, wind, or humidity change. Your swimming pool could even lose a quarter of an inch daily.

You should know, evaporation doesn’t happen on a sunny day only. It can also happen during the night when the temperature around the swimming pool drops.

Fortunately, you can combat evaporation to conserve your pool water.

How to prevent evaporation in your pool

Evaporation is a problem that you can prevent or limit quite quickly. You can try:

1. Covering Your Swimming Pool

You can cover your pool with a pool cover. It’s a known method of conserving pool water. Using a pool cover can lower water loss through evaporation, especially on hot days and those freezing nights.

According to research done on pool covers, covering your swimming pool can drastically reduce evaporation up to 95%.

And the best part is, the pool cover will not only prevent evaporation but keep the pool clean by keeping the debris, leaves, and other contaminants at bay.

You can also expect your heating bills to lower since the covering can help keep the pool warmer until the next day.

Another thing, you have options. You have the option of using a standard pool cover, safety cover, or solar cover.

Standard, Safety, or Solar Cover – Which Pool Cover Do You Use?

These two covers are both ideals for reducing the amount of water evaporating into the atmosphere. However, they both offer extra benefits that you will need to weigh in before deciding the best model for your needs.

Standard Pool Cover

A standard pool cover is the regular pool cover you get in the market. It’s mainly used to prevent debris from falling into the swimming pool.

The construction of this cover has nothing special. However, it can help cover the water and prevent solar heat from reaching the water while also keeping all the water vapor inside the swimming pool even at night.

It’s cheaper than the safety and solar cover, but you can understand the pricing since it’s the least durable and also has nothing special to offer except covering.

Safety Pool Cover

You can also use your safety pool cover to reduce the rate of evaporation in your swimming pool. And as you might already know, this type of coverage is more than just a pool cover.

It’s a pool cover that you can use to protect your swimming pool from debris and leaves while also improving pool safety.

With this type of cover installed on your swimming pool, your swimming pool is protected from kids and animals. It protects them from drowning.

The pricing of the safety pool cover is a bit high, considering it’s built using heavy-duty materials. Some are even made from sturdy fiberglass materials.

Solar Pool Cover

As the name suggests, a solar pool cover uses solar energy to warm the swimming pool water but at the same time reducing evaporation.

The primary purpose is to help keep the pool warm, but their design allows them to be used as evaporation inhibitors.

There are three types of solar pool covers:
  1. Solar Blanket: it is designed to cover the entire swimming with a bubbled blanket. It allows sunlight in the swimming pool but prevents it from leaving, thus transferring the heat to the pool water. A pool blanket is excellent at reducing evaporation while also keeping the pool water warm. However, its pricing is a bit high, and there is the hassle of having to take it off every time you want to dive.
  2. Solar rings: they are available as small, ring-design, and bubbled covers that you place on the water surface. They work like solar blankets only that they only cover sections of your swimming pool. What’s more, you need multiple solar rings to gain their benefits. According to studies, solar rings can reduce pool evaporation by 50%. There is no need to remove them when swimming. You can set them aside and enjoy your swimming as they heat the pool.
  3. Liquid Solar Blanket: if you don’t want to use a solid pool cover that needs removal every time you want to swim, you can get a liquid solar Blanket. As the name suggests, it’s a monolayer liquid or solution that you pour on the pool water surface to form a blanket to prevent evaporation. It’s safe to swim in it, and it doesn’t affect pool chemical chemistry. It’s the easiest to apply and the cheapest. However, it’s the least effective in reducing evaporation, especially during a windy day.

2. Turn Off Pool Water Features

It is true pool features such as a pool fountain, lamina sprayer, slides, and waterfalls add beauty and extra fun to a swimming pool.

However, the same features can increase the amount of water getting exposed to sunlight and Air. And you know what, the extra exposure will lead to more evaporation.

It’d be best to pay extra attention to these features since even though they aerate the water, they expose more and more water droplets to Air and heat, and they become prone to evaporation.

If your swimming pool is losing a high amount of water through evaporation and having these features installed, you might want to turn them off. You will even be saving the energy required by the pool pump that runs them.

3. Lower Your Pool temperature

Did I mention how water evaporation occurs? Yes. It’s the aftermath of when the water is heated to a temperature higher than the surrounding. The water molecules on the surface start to turn into vapor and escape to the atmosphere.

When you control the pool thermostat, you can slow evaporation. Warmer pool water vaporizes quickly because of its fast-moving molecules.

When the temperatures around a warm pool drop, the pool water becomes vulnerable to evaporation, during the cold night, the pool water molecules will turn into mist and evaporate away.

The process increases speed when the pool water temperature goes even higher than the air temperature around it.

Drop your pool thermostat at night to save your pool water from evaporating and when you won’t be using it for a while.

4. Add windbreaks

The wind is another cause of increased evaporation; its speeds it up. The best solution is installing a windbreak around the pool to lower its speed and ability to hit the water surface directly.

A windbreak will not only slow evaporation but also hinder heavy wind gusts from creating waves that can blow some water away from your pool.

You have few options here:

  1. Landscaping: You can plant shrubs or thick bushes to block the wind. They will not only act as windbreakers but also add some beauty to your backyard. However, when selecting the plants, pick the shrubs that shed fewer leaves and flowers. You will be reducing the amount of debris that gets to your pool.
  2. Wood or metal fence: installing a solid fence around the pool can reduce the wind speed and divert the direct waves away from your pool surface. If you already have a fence that isn’t solid, you can easily change it by adding wood or metal sheets to block the wind. And you know what, there are some visually appealing choices you can go with when searching for the best solid fence. You can even install a custom-designed fence with color and pattern complementing your backyard décor.

C. Splashes

When you host a pool party, the swimmers can get a little excited and start to try some swimming fun that can splash the pool water all over the place.

Some swimming fun like cannonball and others that require splashing the water can cause pool water loss.

The best solution here is to ask the swimmers not to jump or splash the water all over. Also, try to keep the diving boards and the slides at the pool center. That way, the water that splashes will fall back into the swimming pool.

D. Backwashing

If you use a sand filter or a D.E filter, backwashing is a maintenance requirement to keep the pool filter clean and practical.

However, you should know, the amount of water you use during the backwashing is enough to reduce the pool water to a noticeable level.

If you do this more frequently, you will need to refill and balance your pool water sooner than expected.

And since it’s never an option to avoid backwashing your pool filter, doing it in moderation can help reduce water loss.

Never leave the filter to backwash by itself; monitor it until the water gets clear. As soon as it clears, close the valve and return to filter or circulation.

Pool Losing Water – Do the Above and Prevent Water Loss

As you’ve seen, there is more than a way your pool might be losing water. You must understand the leading cause of water loss. Once you narrow down to that one problem, employ the best solutions I’ve suggested, and you’ll notice a difference. If all these works seem too much for you, there is the option of hiring a pool expert to check everything for you and recommend the best solution.

About the author

Sharif Miah

Hi! I'm Sharif, the founder of Globo Pool® and I have been working in the pool & hot tub industry for the last few years. I love to share my experiences with people & hope you are enjoying my information and lessons!

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