Neglected Pool

by Leslie
(DFW, Texas)

I've been reading your site and see that you strongly suggest to never drain an above ground pool for risk the liner will shrink. I have a 7 year old 27' round with 3 year old liner and, well frankly, I just neglected it from Oct - now this season. I didn't cover it and just shut off the pump.

It is just me and my daughter and I considered getting rid of it because we don't use it alot and she is gone for 4-5 weeks every summer. But my daughter does enjoy it with her friends 2-3 times a year during the spring and summer (we live in TX) and this is her SR year so have decided to try to fix it for use for at least another year.

First problem is that the water is awful. It's not the liner, well I'm sure the liner could use brushing but it's the water. There are these black bugs that swim underneath the water and it is brown/black - no way to see anything and I know from past seasons that there is a ton of leaves sitting at the bottom. Trees are all around our yard.

Second is that I'm not sure I'm physically up to cleaning it out. We don't have a deck around it and leaning over the wall to try to vacuum and brush is something that I can't do very well anymore. Also I have never found a vacuum that seems to work very well. So brings me to my questions:

How far can I drain the pool down and not risk the liner shrinking? I drained it last year to clean - I never thought about it shrinking, have wrinkles in floor now! What is the best way to get out all the debris that I know is down there waiting for me? What is the timing I should try to get this all done in, hours? Days?

Is there anyone that does this type of work that I can hire?

Would they have their own vacuum or would I need to provide it?

Thanks for any advice you can give me, your site is a wealth of knowledge.

Trying not to give up hope in Texas, Leslie



Hi Leslie. It sounds like you have a job ahead of you. First off, finding someone to do it for you will be difficult. Most companies do not want to clean above ground pools, or any vinyl lined pool, for fear of damaging the liner. A two hundred dollar clean up job is not worth the risk of damaging a liner where the repairs could cost them hundreds of dollars and days of their time.

The most important thing is to be careful of the liner, unless you can afford to replace it. That means anything you use in the pool, you need to use carefully.

I would start by draining the water down to about a foot. With a foot left in the pool you should not be risking liner damage due to shrinkage.

The next step is to get in the pool and using either a bucket, or a net, try to scoop out all the debris. This needs to be done carefully so the liner is not damaged.

When as much of the stuff is out of the pool as possible, fill it up. You will still have dirty water, but not as bad as before. You should now shock the pool with vinyl shock treatment and run the filter for a few days.

At this point you need to make a choice. You can drain and clean one more time, or you can continue adding chemicals to the pool and hand vacuuming the rest of the dirt. This is going to depend on how well it was cleaned the first time and how well the water responded to the shock treatment.

Remember to be very careful with a hand vacuum. Getting them to close to the edge of the pool could easily damage the liner by putting pin holes all around the outer edge. Never touch the vacuum to the edge of the pool, stay about six inches away at all times.

It may take a few weeks to get the water clean again, but it would still be cheaper than having to replace the liner.

As far as timing, a pool can sit with a foot of water in it for days without damaging it. An empty pool could be damaged in an hour.

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