As Ojaians continue to expand our efforts to conserve water, it’s time to turn our attention to our swimming pools.
The first thing to consider is a pool cover. A swimming pool’s greatest water loss (aside from a major leak) comes from evaporation, so the simple act of covering your pool when it is not in use can save thousands of gallons of water every year.
It is typical for uncovered swimming pools to lose between one-quarter and one-inch of water through evaporation every day. This loss increases if you heat your pool or have waterfalls or other water features. So, when you are not using your pool or expecting guests, cover your pool and turn off your pool heater and water features. This will help you lower your water bill and reduce your home’s impact on the environment.
The next thing to consider is pool leaks. Since most folks use their pools less in winter, this is the perfect time to look for and repair leaks to help you conserve water in the coming year. However, you can do this test any time of the year, so it will work just fine to do it now.
You are probably filling your pool with somewhere around two or three inches of water per week to replace what is lost through evaporation. The amount you need to fill your pool varies depending on the weather and the environment around your pool, so this will change throughout the year.
If you find that you are adding significantly more than this each week, you probably have a leak and should bring in a professional for testing. However, if you are only losing a little more than usual, it may be more difficult to determine if this loss is from evaporation and splashing or if it is from a leak.
If you suspect a small leak but are not sure if you are ready to shell out for a professional leak detection company, there is a simple, do-it-yourself test you can perform. All you need is a five-gallon bucket, a tape measure or ruler, and a permanent marker.
Here’s what you do:
1. Fill the five-gallon bucket with water from the pool until it is almost full.
2. Set the bucket on a pool step so that it is partially submerged.
3. Use the marker to mark the water level inside the bucket.
4. Use the marker to mark the water level of the pool on the outside of the bucket.
5. Keep everyone away from the pool and the bucket for one full day to maintain the integrity of your test.
6. Use the ruler or tape measure to measure the water loss inside the bucket and outside of the bucket by measuring the difference between the marks you made and the current water level.
If the water levels inside the bucket and outside the bucket lowered the same amount, then your water loss is most likely from evaporation. If the water level outside of the bucket lowered more than the water level inside the bucket, it is time to call in a local leak detection company, because you probably have a leak.
AimeeJo Davis-Varela is a freelance writer specializing in real estate, sustainable home improvement, eco-friendly landscaping, green living and travel writing. She is also the owner of Mind Your Manors, which provides second home management services.
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