Pool & Hot Tub Reviews Best Ratings l Blue Waters Pool Service

The Complete Guide to Pool Leak Detection

Your swimming pool is filled with water. Because of this, a leak may occur just about anywhere on the interior or exterior of your pool. Don’t always assume that leaks come from your pool walls. You should first check your chlorinator, heater, filter, pump, and other pool accessories to see if they’re responsible for the leak.

As for inground swimming pools, they can still leak if they have an underground pipe that is cracked. In this case, you’ll need a professional pool technician to test the piping and see if a crack really does exist in it.

Sometimes evaporation causes a loss of water in pools too. You must make sure that evaporation is not the cause of your water loss. This is the first step.

Detecting Pool Leaks with a Bucket

You’ll need a large black magic marker and a plastic bucket (5-gallon capacity)

  1. Go to the steps of your pool. Put the bucket on the second step and let the water fill the inside of it. You’ll want the water level of the bucket to match the water level of the pool. Make a mark to indicate this level within the bucket, using the black magic marker.
  2. Deactivate your pool pump and all auto-refilling accessories or devices. Let the water sit for 24 hours.
  3. Compare the water levels of the bucket and pool. If there is less water in both, but they’re still at the same water level, then evaporation is the reason for your water loss. On the other hand, if you have less water in the pool than in the bucket, then your pool has a leak.
  4. If you end up having a leak somewhere in your pool, then conduct another bucket test and wait 24 hours. Only this time, make sure you turn on your pump.
  5. If you notice a higher water level in your pool, then the leak is coming from its plumbing somewhere.

Detecting Pool Leaks with Ink

You’ll need a snorkel, red food coloring, and a pair of goggles with anti-fog and anti-leak properties.

  1. Look around the walls of your pool on the outside and see if there is any wetness. If you see wetness, then you must have a leak somewhere in that area of the pool. The height of the leaky area is the current height of the pool water level because the water stopped leaking there. Based on these two factors, you should be able to find where the leak is coming from. Get into the pool and see if you can find the leak from within there.
  2. The red food coloring can help you find the leak. Move to the area in which you suspect the leak to be at. Try to perform slower movements which don’t make the water too wavy. When you approach the wall, squirt a little bit of red food coloring at the possible leaky area. If the leak is present, then observe the red food coloring and watch it flow right into the leaky area of the wall.


If the leak comes from an area of the wall that is underneath the water, use goggles to find it and apply the food coloring the exact same way. Again, move slowly in the water because you don’t want the food coloring to run all over the place.

If you’re unable to detect where your pool leak is coming from, then don’t struggle with this task any further. Take the safer option by calling a professional and letting them deal with it.