People often refer to the Bucket Method as a method of leak detection, in fact, it isn’t. A small pencil line on the ground in your pool is the best way to see if water levels are dropping, but people still bring up the bucket method as a way to measure water loss. It’s good to understand that factors will affect the exact measurements provided by the Bucket Test, including wind, heat and sun among them. Above all, it’s important to know that just because you are seeing some kind of water loss in your pool, that isn’t a leak detection. A leak detection, when performed using an underwater microphone, will tell you exactly where a leak is so you can make repairs and stop it. If you haven’t found the offending area where water is escaping, you haven’t detected the leak. All you’ve done is put a paint bucket into your pool.

Here is what people refer to when they says, “Use the Bucket Method.”

You’ll need a big ‘ol 5 gallon plastic Home Depot bucket and a black magic marker, or maybe a roll of duct tape.

1. Start With The Bucket

Place the empty 5-gallon bucket in the water on the second step of your pool. Fill the bucket with water to match the pool’s water level. Use the marker or duct tape to mark this level inside the bucket.

2. Turn Off The Pump

Turn off the recirculating pump as well as any other auto-refill device you may have.

3. Check The Results

Wait 24 hours and compare the pool water level to the level of water in the bucket. If both the pool and the bucket water have gone down but remain even, your pool is losing water due to evaporation.

However, if the pool level is now lower than the level in the bucket, you likely have a leak. Remember, it could be lower for other reasons too.

4. Repeat The Test

To narrow down the possible source of the leak, repeat the test for another 24-hour period, this time with the pump on. You’ve now spent 48 hours getting mixed and questionable results.

5. Check The New Results

If the water level in the pool is greater with water circulating under pressure, the leak is most likely somewhere in your pool’s plumbing.

After two days of dating around with hoses and buckets, take a look at the situation as a whole. You started the bucket test because you saw something in the beginning that made you think you had a leak in your pool or spa. Get an underwater microphone and listen throughout the pool. Instead of 48 hours of filling and moving buckets around, spend 30 minutes listening for the leak and know with certainty what you’re repairing to stop water loss.

The Aquafone LD is an underwater microphone, just like the pros use, but it’s made for you and your pool. You don’t have to invest thousands of dollars into a professional pool leak detection kit or hire a service company to find a leak, the Aquafone LD kit includes a microphone, amplifier and headphones. You’ll hear the leak, save lots of money on calling a leak detection company and in many cases, you can repair the leak yourself with ten dollars worth of epoxy and labor.

The answer to the bucket test is, save the bucket for painting and get an Aquafone LD kit and never guess about leaks again.