In the heat and humidity of a typical Ontario summer a pool may appear to lose water faster than usual. To help determine if your pool's water loss is due to a high evaporation rate or a possible leak, Ontario Leak Detection suggests you use the bucket test.

Pool at the Cottage


  1. Bring pool water to normal level. Use something like the bottom screw of your skimmer as your high water mark
  2. Fill 5 gallon bucket with pool water about 3-4 inches from top
  3. Place bucket on lowest step of pool without immersing it or tie bucket off to the pool ladder
  4. With marker or electrical tape, mark the water level on inside of bucket. If you not using an existing high water mark on
  5. Shut off pump
  6. If bucket is sitting on a step mark you can pool level on outside of bucket or use an identifiable high water in the pool (see Step #1) otherwise you'll need to mark the water level in the pool too (side of the ladder will work fine)
  7. Resume normal pump operation
  8. After 24 hours, compare the two levels

If the water level in the pool outside mark) goes down more than the water level inside in the bucket, there probably is a leak in the pool.

Evaporation will occur at the same rate regardless of the area of water. A bucket will lose a quarter inch of water as fast as a swimming pool loses a quarter inch of water.

If your pool appears to be leaking contact Ontario Leak Detection. We can expertly determine the source of the problem, whether it is in the pool liner, plumbing, or a pool accessory. Ontario Leak Detection will systematically isolate the leak and minimize the overall pool repair expense by reducing time and expensive repair guess-work.

Help Video

Bucket Test Video


If your pool or hot tub is losing a half an inch or more a day it is most likely due to a leak. In Ontario up to a quarter inch per day in the mild of the summer can be to evaporation; however the rate of evaporation on any given day can vary. The rate of Evaporation is dependant upon such factors as humidity, sunlight intensity, barometric pressure, wind, as well as the level of activity in the pool or hot tub. Higher rates of activity can result in higher rates of water loss.

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