Pool Sitting Empty

by Helena
(Rising Sun Md )

I had someone lined up to install a new liner for me. He told me to empty the pool. It took 2 days. He never showed up and now can't get in touch with him.

My question is how long can an above ground 15x30 pool stay empty. One end of the pool was back filled with large gravel against the wall and then back filled with dirt about half way up the wall then gradually drops off to the middle of the sides of the pool. This all under a deck.

The pool is 13 yrs old and it has been back filled almost that long. Will it collapse? I found someone else to install it but he can't do it for 9 more days. It's supposed to rain for 2 days. I run on a well so to fill it up again is just crazy. I don't know what to do. Thanks

Hi Helena.

The only thing I would do is to pull all the rock back away from the pool. Rocks around the pool can cause real problems during the installation of the new liner. You can save everyone grieve by pulling them back away from the pool.

You would have to worry more about the rain if the whole pool were several feet in the ground. My guess is you will be fine. Dirt will normally pack hard after 13 years, and should stay that way.

I would get the rock pulled back and hope for the best. It does not sound like you have much choice.

A cave in can be fixed by digging the dirt out from the outside and pushing the wall back into shape, so if the worse does happen it is still workable.

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Vinyl Pool Half Empty

by Chris

We are in the process of patching a rust spot about half way down the side of our pool. It popped a small hole in the liner so we need to get behind the liner and patch the wall and the liner itself.

We have emptied the pool about half way, maybe more. We live in Michigan and the pool is around 10 years old. How long can we leave the pool half empty without damaging the liner? It's a big project that we are trying to do daily.

Hi Chris.

A half empty pool should not cause a problem, at least not in a couple of weeks, if that's what it takes. You just want to do the repairs and refill as soon as possible.

Liner shrinkage depends, to a large degree, on the age of the liner. The older the liner the less elasticity it will have. A ten year old liner, drained all the way, has very little chance of refilling. A liner in the first year or two can be drained and refilled many time without a problem.

You will want to keep an eye on the liner that is above the water line. Make sure it stays soft and pliable. This should give you a good idea as to the condition of the liner. If it is dry, cracking and shrinking, it may not refill again. Ten years is beyond the life expectancy of many brands of vinyl liners so I would keep a close eye on it.

Half way down is well within the safe area for most liners. They usually start to shrink closer to the six inch point. As the liner get closer to being empty you run more risks of having problems.

If everything seems OK, and the wall repairs are done, plan to fill the pool when the sun will be the most direct on the liner. The heat of the sun really helps the liner to stretch back into place. Any shrinkage that has occurred should take care of itself if you do that.

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Pool Liner Broke During Winter

by Randi Cramer
(Chicago IL)

What do I do if my liner just broke in the middle of the winter? I still have some Ice left in the pool.

Do you have any idea's on what to do so the side wall does not cave in when the ice melts?

Thank you

Randi Cramer

Hi Randi

That's sounds like a bad thing to happen in the middle of winter. I am going to assume it's an above ground, vinyl lined, steel wall pool. I will also assume the leak is too bad to allow you to keep the pool full for the rest of the winter.

Never having had a pool in the cold country, I'm an Arizona boy, I will toss out a few ideas. They may be right or wrong.

If the pool cover gets too heavy it could pull the walls in. You may want to get it off the pool.

If the liner starts to shrink and starts pulling on the wall you may need to cut it loose from the top of the pool.

That would leave the ice, snow, leaves and whatever all in the bottom of the pool. It should be OK like that until spring.

I can't think of anything else to do since you cannot replace a liner in the middle of winter.

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