Water being such a large part of a HOA’s annual budget watching for pool leaks is always prudent. However, it is very common for normal every day water evaporation to be mistaken for a pool leak. Determining the evaporation rate is the first step in determining if the water disappearance is due to evaporation or a leak.
Geographic and environmental reasons determine the rate of evaporation. Due to evaporation, swimming pools loose about a quarter of an inch of water each day on average. However, environmental issues such as sunlight, humidity, and wind intensity can significantly affect evaporation rate.
The humidity of the southern United States has a positive effect in that a dryer environment would pull more water out of a pool. Thus humidity keeps more water in a pool, because humid air is already heavy with moisture. The sun also has a major impact on evaporation by heating up the pool water and turning water molecules into air molecules. Interestingly, wind plays a large part in water evaporation by blowing away water particles.
Non environmental issues such as the level of activity in the pool affects water levels. Pool users continually getting out of the pool while this make seem insignificant does have an effect. Normal splashing and playing will also reduce the water levels.
A simple and effective test to determine if the HOA pool has a leak of if the water loss is due to normal evaporation is the Bucket Test. The Bucket Test:
– Fill the pool to the normal level
– Fill a five gallon plastic bucket with pool water to within two inches of the top of the bucket
– Place the bucket on the steps of the pool, at least six inches submerged in the pool water
– Mark the level if the water within the bucket
– Temporarily turn off the pool pump and autofill. Then mark the pool water level on the outside of the bucket. Turn the pump and autofill back on.
– Measure the distance between the marks
– Allow for 24 hours and compare the two water levels.
If the water levels are the same distance apart, probably only evaporation has occurred. If the pool water goes down more than the bucket’s water level, more than likely there is a leak. At this point it would be advisable to retain the services of a company that specializes in finding leaks and having the leak fixed.
If there is a leak continuing filling the pool my seem like a viable option, however, pool leaks are generally very serious. Very serious in that if a pool leak is not addressed there is a greater potential for severe damage. Leaks can, overtime, damage the structural integrity of the pool resulting in 10s of thousands in repair costs.