Leaving Pool Empty During Winter Months

by Mary
(Homewood, IL)

We have an 18 x 22 above ground pool. The liner is now leaking (we think thru the bottom drain). We are pretty sure we will have to replace the liner since we cannot seem to stop the leak.

The question, it is now October and winter is approaching. Should we replace the liner, fill the pool & winterize it or let the pool drain & wait until spring to replace the liner? We are concerned that perhaps the walls will collapse during the winter & the pool is only 3 years old.

Hi Mary.

Many of my customers here in Arizona leave their pools empty all winter so they can have me change the liner out in the spring. Most of the time this works out just fine, but not always. There is always the chance of a good wind storm blowing the pool over, or at least causing damage. It does not happen too often, but always a possibility.

In the northern climates you have more to worry about than just an occasional wind storm. With freezing temperatures the ground moves, and this could easily cause damage to an empty pool.

My recommendation is to either keep adding water to the pool all winter, or at least until it freezes, or take the pool down for the winter. Once the weather has already turned cold is not the best time for installing a new liner. Vinyl needs the warmth of the sun to install properly, fall weather is not the best time for this.

pool empty for the winter

I know this response is late in coming, my thoughts turn in other directions during the winter months. I do hope your pool will be up and running come next summer.

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Replacing Liner With Bottom Drain

by Laura Hail
(San Angelo, Texas)

Our pool was professionally installed in 2003 with vacuum and a bottom drain. We have had no problems but now that it is time to close and winterize, we are noticing a water spot on the ground outside.

Will it be OK to drain the pool and wait until spring to replace liner and not bother with winterizing and covering?

Thanks in advance for your expertise.

Hi Laura.

Even if you are planning to replace the liner I would still leave water in the pool over the winter. Above ground pools can easily blow down in a strong wind when they are empty.

I would top it off with water, shock it with a vinyl shock treatment, run the filter for a couple of days and then cover it. Over the winter, if it is not leaking too bad, I would try to keep it full.

Many unfortunate things can happen to an empty pool.

This page might be of help also.

Holes in Vinyl Pool

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Replace Liner Or Wait Until Spring

by T Murph
(Lowell MA)

My pool liner failed and I have purchased a new one. It being so late in the season is it best to replace and fill for winter or leave liner out till spring.

Hi T.

That is a very good question but a very tough one to answer. It is safer to install the new liner and then winterize the pool. It is probably cheaper money wise to leave the pool empty and install the liner in the spring.

I have seen what a good wind can do to an empty pool, so I never recommend leaving one empty. But I have also seen pools sit empty for years with no damage.

I would recommend you consider your investment in the pool and your local weather conditions. In Arizona we deal with dust storms and monsoons and an occasional micro burst. Any one of these could put an empty pool into your neighbor's yard. We do not deal with a winter freeze so I am not sure how that affects an empty pool.

To be on the safe side I would install the new liner. If you like to take chances you could wait until spring and hope the pool is still in good condition.

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