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.