Draining Above Ground Pool For Repair

by Amy
(Westminster, MD)

I am having some sink holes fixed in the bottom of my above ground pool. The service company has told me to drain the pool before they come to repair it. The liner is only a year old. If I let the pool empty for a day or two, will the liner shrink?

Hi Amy

I never like to see it happen but sometimes repairs do have to be made that require a pool to be drained. These types of repairs almost always happen in the first year or two, when the liner is fresh. In the first couple of years it is OK to drain and refill a pool without having to worry about liner shrinkage. It may shrink some but it is still fresh and will stretch right back into shape.

Try to plan it so you do not have to let it sit empty too long. A couple of days is fine, but not a couple of weeks. If you are going to pump the water out you can do this the day before they are scheduled to work on the pool. If you plan to siphon the water out allow several days or more, it is a very slow process.

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Empty Pool

Our liner got a big hole and all the water from the pool was lost. We plan on getting a new liner in the spring but we would like to know if it is ok for the pool to stay empty all winter?


The only problem with leaving a pool empty is wind damage. If a strong wind catches it just right it could blow the pool down causing damage to the wall and possibly other parts. If the liner can in anyway be patched just enough to hold a little water in the pool over the winter you are better off.

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Should I Drain My Pool

by Angie Hickman
(Tallahassee, FL)

We have no experience with above ground pools and are now in a home with a very neglected one. Is it going to be less expensive to drain it and start anew or try to buy everything it is going to take to get the water back to acceptable? We really want to be able to enjoy it this summer but are afraid it is going to cost a ton.

Hi Angie

The answer to that question depends on just how bad the pool is. In some cases treating your existing water can be very expensive. But, so can having to replace a liner, because you drained the pool and it shrank.

If you choose to treat the water be sure to let the filter run non-stop during the whole process, even up to a couple of weeks, if that's what it takes. That is usually the first mistake people make, not running the filter enough. I would start by adding a couple bags of vinyl shock treatment to the pool and running the filter of few days. This will usually clear the water up after a few days.

Another option that is used a lot is to drain the pool half way. With the pool half full there is no chance the liner will shrink. If you brush the pool while draining, a lot of the debris can be removed. You would then refill, shock and start running the filter.

A little more daring of an approach would be to drain the pool down to just a few inches and refilling. During the draining process you could brush to try to remove as much dirt as possible. Once the pool is down to a couple of inches you could get in and remove more stuff. The keys to this method are to do it on a sunny day, and do it all in one day. If you start refilling when the pool is in direct overhead sunlight you have a better chance of the liner stretching back out. By draining to just a few inches the liner will shrink some. If you make use of the sunshine it should stretch back out again.

Anytime you vacuum or brush a vinyl lined pool be very careful about bumping the edge. It is easy to be vacuuming the bottom of the pool and push the vacuum head into the wall, or even worse, to let the wall guide the vacuum head. Keep all your cleaning equipment several inches away from the sides of the pool.

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