Thanks to the semi-arid region in which Austin, Tx is located in, checking and maintaining proper water level is both extremely important and quite the hassle.
Maintaining a proper water level is important for many reasons. As we have previously discussed here before, maintaining proper water circulation in your pool is one of the most important things you can do for your pool. If the water level in the pool is too low then you run the risk of pulling air through your skimmer and losing prime for the pump. Losing prime for your pump means the water will not circulate and the potential for equipment damage is likely.
Most pools, ideally, should be level with the equipment set, but it you live in Austin, you know finding a level area in town is hard to find. If your equipment begins to leak because of a burnt seal or a shrunken fitting and your equipment is below the level of the water, even after the pump shuts off it will continue to leak. If your equipment is higher than the level of the water, then you will get air intrusion and lose the vacuum in the pump, if this is the case, your pump will then have to work really hard to pull water from the pool to circulate it. If your equipment does get an air intrusion and has to prime itself up every day, the potential for even greater damage is now a reality. You can deform and melt all the plumbing close to the pump and ruin your seal, not to mention shortening the life of the motor. Depending on how long this problem exists you can rack up a very large bill to repair all the damages.
There is a real easy visual reference to determine whether your pool needs water. Most pools have a six inch tile of some sort around the perimeter just underneath the pool coping. If your skimmer was put in correctly, the mouth of the skimmer should line up with this six inch tile. The lowest you would want the water level to be in your pool is half tile. If you come down three inches from the top of the tile, you should be in the middle of the tile. This is the lowest level you would want your water level to be, for the safety of the system. If you have an autofill for your pool, this is a good level to set the autofill. It will always maintain the level and will allow for a large enough clearance for trash and debris to flow into the skimmer.
If you have to fill the pool manually, then you should fill it to the highest level possible. You should fill it as high as you can so you don’t have to worry about it a little longer. During summer here in Austin, it’s not unusual to lose up to a quarter inch of water per day. Over the course of a week you can potentially lose up to 1.75 inches just from evaporation, which does not account for splash-out. So if the pool is being used, you can lose more than two inches of water per week. The proper level to fill the pool if you have to do it manually is one inch below the top of the mouth of the skimmer. This level will give you maximum water and still allow trash to enter the skimmer.
There are so many things to think about for the pool this one is one of the easiest to do. If your pool’s water level is at half tile or below, fill it. It’s that simple. Not maintaining proper water level can lead to costly repairs. So if you have a leak of any size, even if it’s not in the budget, fix it or it will become a lot larger liability.