The Most Absolute Bucket Test for Leaks

The Most Absolute Bucket Test for Leaks


The following information comes from “Canadian Leak Detection

Use the following steps to determine if your pool is leaking

  1. Bring the pool water to normal level. Fill a 5-gallon bucket with pool water to about five inches from the top.
  2. Place the bucket on the first or second step of the pool. Ensure the bucket is immersed in the pool at least 5 inches.
  3. Mark the water level inside the bucket.
  4. Shut off the pump and mark pool water level on the outside of the bucket.
  5. Resume normal pool pump operation.
  6. After 24 hours, compare the two water levels. If the pool water (outside the mark) goes down more than the bucket’s water level, there is probably a leak. If levels are the same, only evaporation has occurred.

In case of rain, repeat the bucket test. During a summer day, expect water loss from normal evaporation. Test is invalid after 24 hours.


Typical evaporation

A quarter inch of water loss per day is most likely evaporation. The evaporation rate in your area will depend on humidity, sunlight intensity, barometric pressure, wind and the level of activity in the pool or spa.

After the bucket test is completed, use the pool leak calculator to determine how many gallons you’re losing in a 24-hour period, an hour, and even per minute.


Superior Vinyl Liners For Your Pool

Superior Vinyl Liners For Your Pool


If your pool has a vinyl liners, you will need to replace it eventually. You can increase its lifetime with good maintenance.


Good Maintenance

  • Good water quality is essential so test the pH levels regularly and sanitize.
  • Check for leaks, holes and algae buildup.
  • If you think there is a leak, call in an expert to scan the liner and locate tears and holes.
  • Patch holes. This can be done in a number of ways, but as the liner ages, it becomes more brittle and the repairs are less likely to be effective.


Signs of Trouble

  • Discoloration or fading
  • Gaps appearing between the pool wall and the liner
  • Wrinkles
  • Brittleness
  • One too many holes
  • Leaking


Replacing the Vinyl Liners

The best time to replace the liner is when the temperature is warm because the vinyl is more elastic and easier to work with. If there are holes in the liner, you may want to replace it before winter. Leaking water over the late fall to early spring can cause extra damage to the pool floor.

Your pool will need to be drained and the old liner removed. Next it is measured precisely and the walls are prepped. Any degradation to the pool walls and floor will be repaired. The new liner will be snapped into place and the pool refilled.

Do You Sustain Pool Balance With Vital Equilibrium of Chemicals?

Do You Sustain Pool Balance With Vital Equilibrium of Chemicals?



Maintaining the chemical balance of the water is probably the single most important part of keeping a healthy pool. Unbalanced pool water will wear down your equipment, solar blanket and pool cover.

To maintain proper water balance, you will need to test for the following:

  • Total alkalinity / pH balance
  • Calcium hardness
  • Sanitizer


Importance of Pool Balance is Directly Related to the pH Balance



pH is a measure of how acidic a solution is.  It is measured on a scale from acidic (1)  to the basic or alkaline (14). The pH level of pool water varies widely from 6.8 to 8.4, but the water feels most comfortable against the skin in the 7.4 to 7.6 range. ( The human eye has a pH of 7.5 ).

Generally if the pH is less then 7 it is considered corrosive. Above 8 it is too alkaline and likely to cause scaling.

Salt systems don’t preclude the need to test pH so continue to test even if you have one of these systems in place.

You can test the level of pH by one of 2 methods using :

  • a pH volt meter, or
  • an organic mildly acidic dye such as phenol red.

The results of a pH meter are straightforward. They are a measure of voltage generated between two electrodes.


Analyzing phenol red strips is more difficult. The dye changes colour depending on whether the water is more or less acidic.  It turns orange and then yellow as the level of acidity goes up. The strip is then compared to a graduated scale that shows what pH level each colour represents. However it is possible to misread the colours depending on lighting. For the best results, you should make your comparison in bright natural light.

You should also be aware that at the extremes, the colours stop changing. So if the pH level of the pool water is lower than 6.8 it will register the same as a pH of 6.8.

Finally, chlorine can make the phenol red dye turn purple, so if the chemical balance of the pool is off, the pH test results may be impossible to read.

  • Note: If the pH is too low, the sanitizer in your water will dissipate quickly.

Total Alkalinity is Directly linked with your Pool Balance


Total alkalinity (TA) measures the resistance of pH to change. Its a good indicator of how corrosive the water is. Getting the balance wrong can lead to increased deposits of scale.

You can test the TA with a titration of sulfuric acid and an acid-base indicator such as bromocresol green and methyl red. When the indicator is added to a water sample, the water normally turns green. As the sulfuric acid titrant is added, the pH level drops (becomes more acidic) and the water turns red.

Chlorine in the water can bleach out the methyl red, leaving only the bromocresol green and causing a false reading. In that case, the bromocresol green should turn blue and shift to yellow as the sulfuric acid is added.

Cyanuric acid in the water can also falsify the reading, making the water appear too alkaline.


Adjusting pH and TA to Ensure Pool Balance


You can raise the level of your pH and the TA by adding a pH increaser (TA plus) such as sodium carbonate

Lower the levels with a pH decreaser (TA minus) such as sodium bisulfate.

  • Note: If your TA level is  very high, you may need to use muriatic acid to lower it. Caution should be used as this chemical is very dangerous and can damage pool liners, metal and plaster.

Calcium Hardness Affects Your Pool Balance


Water contains calcium. When calcium levels are low, water draws calcium from its environment leading to corrosion of metal surfaces and pitting of concrete walls. When calcium levels are high, the calcium precipitates out, leaving hard deposits of calcium carbonate or scaling. Either way, the effect can be extensive damage.

The proper amount of calcium varies from  175 to 400 ppm.

The test for calcium hardness begins by adding sodium hydroxide to a water sample. This counters the effect of magnesium in the water which can also make it hard. An organic dye is then added to turn the water red. EDTA is then added, binding with the calcium and turning the sample blue. The amount of EDTA added indicates the water’s hardness.

To decrease the level of calcium hardness, in many cases you only need to add water. However, if your water is very hard, you may need to consult a pool professional.

To increase the calcium hardness, add calcium chloride, following the instructions on the label carefully!



Sanitizers kill bacteria. The most common are chlorine and bromine with chlorine being most widely used. Chlorine comes in granular, liquid or tablet forms.

Ideally sanitizers are used at 1 to 3 parts per million or milligrams per litre (mg/l).



Q. How often should I test my water?
A. Unless you are correcting a water problem, once a week is a good practice.


When the Pump Start is Failing You Should Know This

When the Pump Start is Failing You Should Know This



Q. My pool pump start is failing and it’s humming and won’t start. What now?


A. This usually indicates a problem with the motor of something jamming the impeller. With the power off, remove the pump basket, reach into the opening towards the back of the pump and feel for debris. Remove if any. If the problem persists, call your pool technician.

What You Must Know About Routine Pool Maintenance

What You Must Know About Routine Pool Maintenance


The best way to maintain your pool is to do regular checks on it, note any problems, and handle them as soon as possible.

While many people hire a pool company to oversee general maintenance of the pool, you can keep an eye on things yourself if you know what to look for. Key areas to check are:

Around the patio and building areas
  • mould stains
  • deterioration of the finish on the inside walls
  • rusting hardware
  • a strong smell of chloramine
  • too frequent need to top up the pool
  • cracks
For indoor pools
  • high levels of humidity
  • condensation on the walls or windows
For the pump, filters and chemicals
  • cloudy water
  • clogged filters
  1. Keep the area clear of debris using surface skimmers leaf nets and hand help skimmers. Prune back any plants growing nearby or overhead.
  2. Check the skimmer baskets and strainer basket every week.
  3. Wash down the patio with a garden hose and a non-abrasive cleaner designed for the pool area. Household cleansers tend to foam and can affect the pool chemistry.
  4. Check the chemical levels in the pool on a regular basis. If your pool is a busy place or you keep the water very warm, you may need to shock the water weekly.
  5. Watch for algae build up. These can appear as yellow, green or black blotches and they should be scrubbed away asap, or apply an algaecide.


4 Simple Ways to Sustain Your Clean Pool

4 Simple Ways to Sustain Your Clean Pool


You should regularly

  • skim the pool surface
  • remove leaves and debris from the water
  • vacuum

You will want to check the skimmer baskets and strainer basket on you pool pump to clean them of debris.

You should also brush down the water line and clean the stairs of stains and grease.


Q: What can I use to clean my pool?

A: To clean around the water line and stairs, using any non-abrasive pool cleaning chemical.


Q. When should I clean my filter?

A. Filters should be cleaned annually and can be cleaned with a cleaning solution, following the directions on the label carefully.


Q. There are air bubbles shooting out of my jets. What is wrong?

A. The most common cause is a dirty filter that needs to be cleaned or back-washed. Other problems could be a loose pump lid, bad lid gasket, improperly tightened pump frost plugs, or debris in the pump impellor. If the problem persists call your service company.


Q. I noticed sand in my pool in front of my jets. What’s wrong?

A. A large amount of sand could mean there is a problem internally with your filter, either in the tank or filter head. Call a service technician.

How to Understand Your Water Levels in Your Pool

How to Understand Your Water Levels in Your Pool


Q. I think I’m losing water. My Water levels are dropping

A. First put a mark on the side of the skimmer faceplate with pencil or tape. Monitor this mark for a 24-hour period. If water drops by more than an inch, shut the system down for a 12 hour period and monitor to see if water drops faster with the pump on or off. If water drops faster with the system on, the probability of an underground plumbing leak is good. If water drops at the same rate with the system on or off, the probability of a liner leak exists.
Note: High wind areas, non-use of a solar blanket and backwashing are all things to consider.

Simple 14-Step Guide to Using Pool Closings

Simple 14-Step Guide to Using Pool Closings


This is what you will need to close your pool.

1. Remove the ladders.

2. Clean your pool filter.

3. Lower the water level to just below jets a-2.

4. Add the pool closings chemicals. This typically includes

  • non chlorine shock
  • stain and scale
  • algicide
  • DO NOT add anti-freeze

5. Completely drain all the water from your pool equipment including the pump and filter.

6. Turn your filter to the winterize setting.

7. Remove the filter cap, pressure gauge and site glass. Then remove the drain plugs from the pump and filter.

8. Remove the “eyeballs” or directional fittings from the returns in the side of the pool, the strainer and the skimmer baskets.

9. Blow out the return lines and fit the plugs in. DO NOT add anti-freeze.

10. If applicable, drain your heater then disconnect it.

11. Remove the pressure switch.

12a. If you have a chlorinator systems, disconnect it.

12b. If you have a salt system, drain the water from it and remove the cell. Clean with a cell cleaning solution of muriatic acid and water.

  • 4 parts water, 1 part muriatic acid.
  • Never add the water to the acid. Always add the acid to the water.

13. Store all the fittings, pressure gauge, plugs, etc. in the skimmer basket.

14. Put on the pool closings. There are 3 types:

  • A water bag cover held in place by vinyl bags filled with water
  • A beaded lock in cover attached to the coping
  • A safety cover fastened with straps and attached to the pool deck with springs and anchors.

Quick 12 Step Guide For Using Pool Openings

Quick 12 Step Guide For Using Pool Openings


As summer draws near, pool owners think about using pool openings. Here are some tips to help you.


1. The water that typically accumulates on the surface of the pool cover gets very dirty over the winter. Be careful to avoid dumping that water into the pool below as you remove the cover. Use a submersible pump if you have o.

2. If you have one, remove the safety cover from the pool and place it somewhere to dry. If the cover is dirty, wash it with a pressure washer or garden hose and let it dry before storing it in the storage bag provided.

While the water level is low, this is a good opportunity to brush the floor and water line as well.

3. Remove the anchor bolts and wash them free of dirt. Check that everything is in good shape. Then clean out the sockets and replace the bolts in their summer position. DON’T grease the anchors since this attracts dirt and can make them difficult to remove in the future.

4. Replace all the plugs that were removed when you winterized the pool . There should be:

  • 2 plugs on the pump
  • 1 filter plug
  • 1 or more heater drain plug
  • 1 chlorinator plug on chlorine pools

5. Replace the pressure gauge being careful not to cross thread.

Now is the time to check all the other equipment: pumps, filters, and heaters.

6. If you have one, reconnect the salt system to the plumbing.

7. Replenish the water levels. Then prime the pump with a bucket of water. (Never let the pump run dry.)

8. Remove the winterizing plugs from the wall jets.

9. If your skimmer has a plug that allows a bottle to be screwed into it for ice expansion, remove that as well.

10. Check the lines for foam. If you are in any doubt, start up the system before you insert the eyeballs (directional fittings).

11. If your pool has them, remove main drains and plug in the skimmer.

  • If you have a separate line for the drain pump, the skimmer will not have a removable plug.
  • The hole closest to the pool in the bottom of the skimmer is usually the main drain.
  • Please note: If there is a separate line to the pump for the main drain(s), consult your pool professional. You will need either a “safety vacuum release system” (SVRS) in place or you must disconnect the line. These safety standards are there to prevent you from being hurt so consult your pool professional to be safe.

12. Replace the skimmer and pump baskets and start up the system to check for leaks.

  • Note: If you use a safety cover, make sure the water level is at the top of the pool.
  • If you use a beaded or water bag cover, use the manual vacuum hose, pole and vac head to run the system.

13. Connect the vacuum head to the pole and hose. Prime the hose and plug it into the skimmer.

  • Leave the garden hose in the skimmer so the pump can’t suck it dry.
  • You can choose to start the system when the water level is at the proper height, about halfway up the skimmer.

12. Test the water and add opening chemicals only after the system is up and running. Typical chemicals used at opening are

  • non-chlorine shock
  • algicide and
  • stain and scale prevention

Read all the labels on the containers before using and apply only according to the instructions.


Surprisingly Fast Pool Heating Mechanisms You Must Know

Surprisingly Fast Pool Heating Mechanisms You Must Know


There’s no point owning a pool if it’s too cold to use. Adding heating extends the use of your pool to late spring and into the fall months and it is essential for indoor pools used year round.  The extra warmth makes the pool throughout the seasons and is preferred if you have toddlers using the pool as well.

There are now many methods available to heat a pool. Some standard options are

  • gas
  • heat pumps
  • solar


Gas Heaters and Pool Heating


Gas heaters use either natural gas or propane to generate heat. An electronic ignition system and fan-assisted combustion create a high-efficiency heater that warms the water as it circulates past the furnace. The system is usually takes advantage of the same service used to heat your home.

Most gas heaters work like a giant kettle. Water passes through a heat exchanger that sits above a gas burner. The system is fast and can usually raise the temperature of the water about 1 degree Fahrenheit every hour.

Simple models use a pilot light that is lit at the beginning of the season but newer energy efficient models may feature a heat sensor that responds to a dip in water temperature  by igniting the burner. The heater is only on when it is needed.  Look for a heater with a rating of 82% or higher efficiency.

Gas heaters must be installed by a professional following government guidelines. The size (taring in BTU) is based on the size of the pool. Bigger pools need more powerful systems.

Locate the furnace someplace where it is accessible and with good air circulation, away from anything combustible and make sure you know where the shut-off valve is and how to restart the furnace should it falter.


Heat Pumps and Pool Heating


Heat pumps transfer heat from the air to the water. They slowly raise the temperature of the water significantly and cheaply. They work best in environments that are warm and humid. Some have digital thermostats included.

Heat pumps operate by using electricity to power a compressor and refrigerant system rather like an air conditioner.  The amount of heat generated is measured as a Co-efficiency of Performance (COP)


Electric and Pool Heating


Electric heaters are relatively inexpensive and are low emission choices. They are also able to run at different temperatures but they put a high demand on the household’s electrical capacity. Your electrical panel may need to be upgraded before this is an option.


Geothermal Pool Heating


A relatively new option is geothermal. This provides an efficient year-round option drawing heat from deep down in the earth and transferring it to the water through heat ex-changers.


Solar Pool Heating


Solar panels have dropped considerably in price and improved in their capacity to supply heat year round. Generally they consist of panels attached to a roof or wall.

Another solar option uses tubes to circulate water into the sunlight.