How Can I Tell if My Arizona Pool Has a Leak?


The grill is fired up and the whole family is ready to go for a swim. There’s only one problem. The water is so low that a dive looks like it will end in a trip to the hospital. Where did all that water go? The pool looked full yesterday!

Due to the weather conditions in Arizona, a leak may not be the only cause for disappearing pool water. Before you panic and call in the pros, make sure you’re actually dealing with a leak. There are a few things you can do to get to the root of the problem. If you still can’t figure it out on your own, Pioneer Pools is only a phone call away.

Arizona Pools Are Very Different

Most guides will give you instructions to check for leaks in pools with vinyl liners. Vinyl liners don’t hold up well in Arizona, so the majority of reputable pool installers won’t use them. Checking for a leak in an Arizona style pool will be a much different process. Most pools in Arizona are lined with plaster, which is a material that won’t tear or spring a hole. Finding leaks won’t work the same way.

Another factor to consider is the heat and the lack of rain outside of monsoon season. Heat will quickly wick up any and all moisture from anywhere it can access. This includes your pool. It isn’t unusual for water levels to drop lower during periods of time where the temperature is particularly high. Keep this in mind when you start your leak investigation.

Is it A Leak or is it Evaporation?

Most guides that mention evaporation will tell you that about ¼ of an inch of evaporation per day is normal in the warmer months. Not in Arizona. Here, it isn’t unusual for the dry heat to drop your water levels even further. You may lose water at a rate of ½ an inch a day or more in extreme heat conditions.

While this is undoubtedly inconvenient, it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with your pool. Using a pool cover will ultimately help you save money on your water bill. If the water can’t escape, you won’t need to refill your pool once a week to replace what you’ve lost.

Evaporation is the first cause of water loss to rule out. You can easily and inexpensively test for evaporation with things you probably already have around the house.

The Bucket Test

To perform the bucket test, all you need is a bucket and a black marker. Set the 5 gallon bucket on the second step of your pool stairs. Fill it with enough water for it to match the water level of your pool. Mark the bucket with a black marker at the top of the water level. If you have a pump or a device that automatically maintains the water level of your pool, turn it off.

Come back 24 hours later and see if any water has evaporated from the bucket. If the same amount has evaporated from the bucket and the pool, evaporation is likely the culprit.

Mark the bucket again and turn the pump back on. Check the next day. If the results repeat, you’re probably dealing with evaporation. Invest in a good pool cover, and that should solve the problem. If the water level in the pool is greater, your autofill may be replenishing a leak in the pool’s plumbing.

Other Methods of Leak Detection

Once you’ve ruled out evaporation, it’s time to find the leak. If you see large cracks or water spilling out from plumbing components, look no further. Obvious issues don’t require detective skills to solve.

The leak will be at the point where the water stopped draining, most likely somewhere along the wall of the pool. The wall or ground will likely be wetter at the source of the leak. It’s absorbed a significant amount of water it cannot completely get rid of. Stand in the area where you suspect the leak may be. Remain very still. Put a few drops of ink or dye in the water. If the pool is leaking, the dye will be drawn to the leak. It may also stain the wall around the site of the leak.

Getting Your Leak Fixed

Whether you’ve found the leak or you’re still searching, Pioneer Pools is here to help. We’re one of the longest running pool companies in the Tucson area, and we completely understand the way that desert weather affects the lifespan and state of repair of your pool. We’d be happy to solve the case of the missing water and properly repair any leaks or plumbing issues that may be the culprit. Our help is just a phone call away.

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Should You Convert Your Pool to Salt Water?

salt_water_pool_conversions_tucsonSalt water pools seemed trendy when they were new. Many people opted for salt water pools over traditional chlorinated pools after hearing about the purported benefits of making the switch. Salt water pools come with a distinct set of advantages and disadvantages that are vastly different from a chlorinated pool. Before you make the switch, be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.

The Pros of a Salt Water Pool

For many homeowners, the pros of a salt water pool make conversion a quick sell. Salt water pools solve many of the issues that homeowners have with their traditional chlorinated pools, so it’s easy to enthusiastically move forward.

  • No more stinging eyes, dry hair, and irritated skin
  • Minimal use of harsh chemicals
  • Less maintenance is required
  • Costs less over time

How Salt Water Pools are Easier on Your Hair, Skin, and Eyes

If you have a chlorinated pool, chances are high that your kids have picked up a few pairs of swimming googles over the years. Opening your eyes underwater in a chlorinated pool is painful – after all, you’re allowing chemicals to come into contact with some of the most sensitive tissue in your body. Salt water is saline, and saline is the main ingredient in eyedrops and contact solution. Salt water pools are a lot gentler on your eyes, skin, and hair because they’re naturally biocompatible.

Less Chemicals Around the House

Modern families are careful about the chemicals they keep around the house. This is especially true for families with curious children who tend to crawl under cabinets or knock things over. Pool chemicals are strong and dangerous to ingest. If you’re looking to make your household safer and you prefer a natural approach, you’re a prime candidate for a salt water pool.

Maintenance is a Breeze

To an extent, salt water pools maintain themselves. A salt chlorine generator will gently clean the water by breaking the salt into sanitizing agents. This process is ongoing. Your pool is always cleaning itself in the background, and it requires no downtime. You won’t need to retool water and chemical levels constantly because the pool equipment is able to manage it on its own.

You’ll Save Money

The only chemical you need for a salt water pool is salt. That’s it. The water stays sanitary and the balance is less finnicky. You’ll undoubtedly incur some startup costs from converting to a salt water pool, but after that, the money you save an chemical and maintenance means that the conversion will eventually pay for itself.

The Cons of a Salt Water Pool

Salt water pool conversion does come with a few drawbacks. Most homeowners feel that these drawbacks are so mild that they aren’t enough to change their minds. If you’re willing to deal with a bit of a startup costs and some changes to your maintenance plan, it’s simple enough.

  • Startup costs
  • The cost of repairs
  • Specialized outside help

The Cost of Conversion

Your pool is already built for a chlorine system. All the existing equipment won’t be compatible with a salt water pool. New equipment needs to be installed for your salt water pool to work. Many homeowners find that the cost of conversion isn’t as much as they had anticipated. In the long run, most homeowners find that it’s cheaper to maintain their salt water pools. They think of it the same way they’d think of installing solar panels – it’s an investment in the future that will, sooner or later, become less expensive than their previous system.

Repairs on a Salt Water Pool

Most chlorine pools have a lot of metal components. Salt corrosion is the enemy of metal. Over time, you may notice that your metal components begin to rust. When possible, metal components can be replaced with other materials that are better equipped to handle salt exposure. If you choose to keep your metal components, they may need to be replaced periodically.

You May Need a New “Pool Guy”

Most pool companies exclusively service chlorine pools. Salt water pools are an entirely different process that require specialized knowledge for maintenance. If you’re going to convert your pool to a salt water pool and you use a company for pool maintenance, it helps to choose a conversion company that also offers maintenance services. Pioneer Pools has you covered.

The Salt Water Pool Conversion Process

Converting a chlorine pool to a salt water pool requires three very important things – a salt chlorinator system, something called a sacrificial anode, and pool salt. The salt chlorinator system is the system that will replace your traditional chlorine system. It’s prepared with the pool salt to produce salt chlorine as necessary.

The sacrificial anode is a device that will help to mitigate corrosion. Since salt is a corrosive substance, operating a salt water pool without a sacrificial anode will lead to rust buildup The anode acts as a little snack for the salt in your pool. It will begin to corrode the anode first, which is easy and inexpensive to replace. These anodes can last several years and preserve the integrity of your pool.

Maintaining a Salt Water Pool

Maintaining a salt water pool is similar to maintaining a traditional chlorinated pool in many ways. Pumps and filters must be regularly checked and cleaned to assure they remain in proper working order. The pool needs to be skimmed to remove surface debris on a regular basis. Water chemistry strips can be used to test the balance of the water to assure that it’s clean, and salt is added as needed. Alternatively, you always have the option of hiring a pool company to stay on top of the maintenance of your behalf.

Ready to Make the Switch?

Pioneer Pools is one of the longest standing family owned businesses in all of Tucson. We’re salt water pool conversion experts. If you’re ready to make the switch or if you have more questions, feel free to give us a call at 520-881-7031 to schedule an appointment or speak with one of our pool experts.

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Pioneer Pools & Spas  ■  302 S Plumer Ave ■  Tucson, AZ 85719 520-881-7031  ■  License Numbers: ROC171527 & ROC171528
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