Why Do You Leave Water in Your Pool for Winter?

A lot of people who have pools are now starting to search for insight on how to close their pools correctly. Any pool closing checklist or resource will tell you to only lower the water below the skimmer level and the jets so that all of the plumbing lines are clear and don’t face the risk of freezing and bursting. Each of these different resources also tells you not to drain the pool completely unless you are taking it down for storage if it is a small pool that is easy to set up and tear down. What about larger pools, though?   Why leave water in them at all?  It will just be bad next spring, after all.

Actually, that’s not really the case. If you drain a pool entirely, you are putting the whole liner at risk for rips, tears, and other damage from debris throughout the winter months, not to mention that the liner will dry out, shrinks and crack.  With some water left behind, you at least have something to stop the pool from getting torn up regardless of the winter weather that you are experiencing.  The pool cover that you choose will impact how much water you leave in your pool beyond lowering it to the skimmer lines, of course, so that’s something that you have to think about, as well.

Clean Water Protects Your Pool

The main benefit of leaving water in your pool is that it will be protected from a variety of situations and elements. People who live in deep freeze areas feel like draining the pool completely is the best option so that it doesn’t freeze all the way, but the right winterizing chemicals added to the water will actually help keep your pool safe during the long winter months. That way, when you go to open it up in spring, it’s easier to reopen and the chemicals are easier to balance because you made sure they were balanced before you closed up shop.

You’ll add things like chlorine shock, stain prevention, and algaecide to your pool before closing it for the winter. This will ensure that the water is as clean and safe as possible so that you can have an easier time reopening it next spring. This clean water is going to keep the liner intact and protect it from rips and tears, as well.

How Much to Drain

The standard is to drain your pool below skimmer levels so that you can clean out the plumbing system to avoid frozen, burst lines during the winter. If you have an in-ground pool, that might mean more draining. If your above-ground pool has a removable pump and skimmer system, just take it out and drain a little water so that there is room for expansion and contracting throughout the winter and then place the cover on.

Some people use air pillows to create an area in middle of pool to minimize ice damage to liner walls and skimmer.  If you do this, you will need to leave more water in your pool than others. Additionally, if you have drained a lot of water, you might want to choose a tight pool cover so that it is less likely to collect water and debris. Having a lot of standing water on your pool cover can lead to stress, rips, and damage to the cover as well as debris and dirty rain or snow getting into the pool that you worked so hard to clean.

Owning a Pool is Work

So many people think it’s fun to have a pool. It most definitely is. It’s also a lot of work, however, and you have to know what you are doing so that you can protect your investment. This isn’t a cheap toy to have around and you will likely spend thousands on maintenance and operations in the summer months. If you take the time to do the work correctly when it comes to closing your pool, you will be able to protect your investment and make the money that you have been spending worthwhile.

Another benefit of properly draining and closing a pool is that you will have an easier time reopening it when summer rolls around again. There is nothing worse than closing up a pool poorly only to spend weeks cleaning it and getting it ready for summer. If you do a little of the work now and make sure that you do it properly, everything will work out better for you in the end. Take the time to learn about pool ownership, including closing the pool and proper draining so that you can get the best results from your winterizing.

Some Pools Need Put Away

If you’ve got a small enough pool, such as the ones that they sell at superstores for just a few hundred bucks, you’re probably going to be tearing down and putting away the entire thing for the winter. These pools are great because they’re affordable, but they’re also not made to be permanent fixtures. You’ll have to check the manufacturer’s instructions to figure out how to close the pool properly and whether it can be left for the winter or not. The last thing that you want to do is leave it out without knowing better and wind up ruining it or having to spend a fortune when it comes time to reopen your pool.

Pool maintenance in the winter is really easy if you close your pool right. Whether that means draining some of the water before you cover it or completely tearing it down and putting it away depends on the pool that you have. Either way, you will protect your investment and get more from your pool ownership if you spend a weekend doing things the right way. When you make the decision to own a pool, you’re making a commitment to take care of it properly. That means spending a day or two every fall getting things ready for winter, and the sooner the better. Now that you understand more about draining and closing pools, it should be easy to get the process taken care of.



About Trey Collier

Grew up as a Military Brat. (Thanks Dad. Hats off to my Mom too as it took a special person to be married to someone in the military) Was a competitive swimmer in high school and in college. 11 years a Red Cross Volunteer, teaching kids & adults how to swim. ARC Water Safety Instructor and WSI Trainer, CPR Instructor/Trainer and Advance First Aid Instructor. Proud Dad of two beautiful girls.

85 thoughts on “Why Do You Leave Water in Your Pool for Winter?”

  1. Crystal L gerard

    Hi a bit off course but we are becoming first time above ground pool owners. Which is better a steel or soft sided pool? A friend of mine has a pool (steel sided), 2yrs old, new liner last yr, in great shape and they are moving and selling it. Can a 21ft steel sided be moved?

  2. Cindy

    hey there I have been draining water off of my pool it is an inground pool with a vinyl liner end it has a flooded system so when water levels get above the Jets it puts water in the pipes I’ve been draining so that the pipes would be empty we are expected to be in the teens tonight but I accidentally drained a little too much 6 inches or more below jets Hoping this is OK at this particular time it’s 28° I might get out a little more but I would need to do it fast honestly a little scared to do it at this particular time do you think this will be OK?

      1. Cindy

        Yes I know but the water could freeze in the pipes that’s why I drained it below the Jets now there should be absolutely no water in the lines I was just freaking out because I drained it a little too much but after thinking about it I think six or so inches below the Jets is much safer than six or so inches above the Jets. By the way my pool was professionally close so they did put antifreeze in the pipes but then again I definitely do not want those pipes full of water so that’s why I drained it in the first place. Thank you

          1. Cindy

            Yes my pool has a safety cover on it so it does allow water to flow through it I was trying to get the water level is low as I could before these cold tenps came in and it looks like I successfully done that in an ideal situation I would not of gotten it quite as low but it’s hard to see underneath that cover but I did indeed succeed. I have all my pipe and wrapped up and tried to winterize it as best I could and the pips are shut off so therefore it would hold the water if the water level was not below the Jets. These pools are a pain in the butt even when they are closed LOL thank you so much for your help.

  3. Marsha

    Hi Trey,
    Our liner has been removed, in order to be replaced. The weather is now in the 50’s and our pool repairman wants to wait until spring to put new liner in. Will this damage the pool to leave it empty and without a liner for the winter? The bottom of the pool is vermiculite and there are steel walls. Should the rust on the walls be treated before covering for the winter?

  4. Dana Bergstrom

    Hi Trey.

    We have a Wilkes Genesis 16 x 24 above ground pool with aluminum deck surround. It has a regular skimmer and return jet, but also a main drain that is plumbed underground back to a diverter valve where it links back in with the skimmer line and goes into the pump, like an in-ground pool does. The drain line is black, flexible PVC like a lawn irrigation system.

    Last summer, I replaced some of the hoses with schedule 40 PVC and added some ball valves for better control when cleaning the pump basket. I also upgraded the pump and filter. For the winter, I plugged the return jet and disconnected all the exposed plumbing lines to drain them and I stored the pump and filter in my basement. But I couldn’t figure out how to properly winterize the main drain. About 8″ of the black flexible PVC main drain line coming up from the ground had a ball valve at the end which I closed, but the water remained in the line. Well, you can guess what happened during the first hard freeze – the ball valve split open and ALL the pool water drained out onto my lawn.

    I’m getting ready to close the pool down again for the season, and I’m wondering if there’s a way to get the water out of the main drain line without draining all the water in my pool. Here are the options I’ve concocted so far:

    1. Somehow get antifreeze into the main drain line (not sure how that’s possible)

    2. Swim to the bottom of the pool before it gets too cold, remove drain suction cover and plug the drain line. Then either vacuum out the water from the other end or blow it out with a compressor and some kind of blow out fitting

    3. Run an extension cord and heat tape around the exposed drain line and wrap with insulation to keep warm (fire hazard?)

    Looking for some advice, since all my internet research has come up a dud.

    Thanks in advance.


    1. Trey Collier Post Author

      Scratch #3 off the list. 1 & 2 may be your best bet. But I’m unfamiliar with your pool, how its plumbed and connections. Have a local pool pro review it and give you a quote. Ask a bunch of questions. Then you can decide best course of action for you!

  5. Jessica Henderson

    Hello, we just purchased the Polygroup® Summer Waves Elite® 16′ x 48″ Frame Pool Set. I live in southeast MN. Can this pool be winterized or should it be taken down?

    1. Trey Collier Post Author

      We believe that it is better to winterize it than go thru all the trouble to take it down, clean the liner, dry it and put it away. Once a liner has had a few months holding water, they don’t like not having water in it and tend to dry out and crack. (Not to mention if there is any dampness when you put it away could cause problems with mold/mildew or a mouse/rat, etc. Keep in mind they make these type frame pools to last a fraction of the time of the regular above ground pools.

  6. Sarah Wellman

    We live in IN, and our pool ( INTEX 22×48, I think?) had water left in it- but we couldn’t use the cover that came with it due to it being left spread out on the ground in the summer, it shrunk, so we got an enormous tarp to cover it for winter. We took all the necessary plumbing out/off and worked hard to make sure the tarp was secure around the pool for winter. Unfortunately, the tarp ripped in several places and we have several trees (including an annoying “Tree of paradise”) in our yard so you can imagine all of the filth from the dirty snow, rain, sleet, leaves, etc are all sitting comfortably right in the bottom of our pool. My husband has added shock, chlorine and all of the appropriate chemicals. We skim daily, several times a day. We have a saltwater pump that he “backwashes”(I think that’s what it’s called?) all to no avail. We opened it up 2 weeks ago and the water is still murky, cloudy and while it’s not swampwater black like it was initially, it’s still pretty bad. I guess my long winded question is, can the water existing in the pool be saved and restored to the crystal clarity it once was, or do we need to chalk this up as a “loss”, drain the pool and fill it up again?: Thanks in advance!

  7. Jennifer Young

    Do you recommend the new EZ-drain covers, that drain the water as it collects? We live in Wisconsin and this was recommended to us.

    1. Trey Collier Post Author

      EZ-Drain covers have been around for awhile. We sold them for years. They have a hole in the middle of the cover that is connected to a tube where the other end connects to where normally the incoming water jet is located. Its a great idea and works pretty well, but has a couple of drawbacks.

      1) The hole becomes clogged with leaves and debris and has to be cleared often.
      2) In northern climates (like Wisconson) when the water freezes, the ice plugs the drain. That isn’t so much an issue, but the ice plug seems to stretch/break the drain tube during hard freezes based on customers we had that bought them.

      The real question might be…its neat a allows water to be drained without a pump/siphon and easier to take the cover off in spring. They seem to last a couple of seasons. They do introduce some more time/effort keeping the hole cleared.

  8. Jessica M

    Thank you for this article. I have a Coleman 16×48 above ground that I balanced, removed the pump and covered for the winter (what little winter Texas has anyways). The problem I have noticed is my cover is sinking! I have the leaf net and it has only been on for about a week with no rain or high wind. Wind exposure is minimal in the backyard. How can I keep the cover from sinking? I used beach balls in the summer to give the chlorine floater room to Bob around under the leaf net but they deflate after time. Would those work? I’ve read about tenting with PVC piping and weighing down the cover with sand bottles but my cover does not have holes for that or for bungees. Please advise .

    1. Trey Collier Post Author

      Well….it IS a Mesh Leaf Net with lots of holes…it will sink and isn’t designed to float on top of the water. It is supposed to go over a winter cover that IS designed to float on top of the water.

      Ideas: Some customers have told us they use tent stakes and bungee chords to keep the leaf net taught. Leaves blow off when this is done. Some put a bunch of cheap foam noodles or store their floats under the netting.

      1. Jessica M

        Thank you for your response, Trey. I am sorry for the confusion. I have the standard Coleman cover with a leaf net on top. It is the standard Coleman cover that is sinking. My cover has only a simple drawstring to tighten it with and no additonal holes for bungess, stakes or weights.The leaf net is fine.

        1. Trey Collier Post Author

          Ahh. If the Coleman cover is supposed to be a solid winter cover, and no other moisture, rain, misc water is being added on top of the cover, then it must have holes allowing pool water through to allow it to sink. Sounds like you need a new cover. Floats, noodles, etc., added under it will keep it afloat until a new cover is put in place.

  9. Jason

    Hello Trey,

    I’ve got a 54″ 27′ round above ground pool, half of which is surrounded by a deck, in Northern Michigan. I live in a field were I have tried everything to keep my winter cover on, (wind clips, plus wrap, plus water bags) and nothing keeps the cover on or has prevented it from tearing. Is it okay to just not have a cover off it? That’s what my local pool company is telling me because I don’t live in an area with trees and leaves.

    Also, I have disconnected all of the plumping so is it okay just to leave it trained just below the skimmer? I had it drained below the return jet, placed a rubber seal in its place, but we have received enough precipitation since I closed the pool and the tarp got ruined and now the water is back up to just below the skimmer. It should start freezing here in the next couple days. Should I try and drain it below the return jet again? I currently don’t have an air pillow on the surface either.


    1. Trey Collier Post Author

      NO…do not drain the pool. The water holds the wall up. No water will allow wind to collapse the pool. (assuming this is a typical steel walled above ground pool) Keep water out of the skimmer, pump and filter and there is no reason you cannot leave it uncovered. Water will get dirty and leaves, but can be easily cleaned come spring time. I would use a beach ball or the like. Water will freeze everywhere else first and then freeze up under the ball last. This helps to protect the liner from the knife like ice crystals when it freezes over.

  10. Shawn

    Can you leave above ground pool up that is drained and cleaned completely for the winter time or does it need water in it. We have a 54in by 20ft bestway pool. Thanks for the help

  11. Jennifer Bender

    This is a very helpful article. I think I messed up! We are in PA and it’s October 1. We went on Vacation in mid September and when we came back our pool was Green, green where you can’t see the bottom. So I emptied the pool. ( It also was uneven and needs balanced). There is about an inch of water left in the pool, with green algae on the bottom. It is an above ground pool, but it is very large. It took three loads from a fire truck to fill it up. How do I clean it and prepare for the winter?

  12. Bob Jones

    I got a question for you. 20′ above ground pool pump and all plumbing taken off and stored in shed. can I lower my water level below the skimmer, I have two truck tire tubes stacked and tied together. can I put the cover on and hang gallon water bottles off the cover so the cover slants from the middle out to the sides. effectively keeping water and leaves and ice snow and water off the cover completely

    1. Trey Collier Post Author

      That is NOT the recommended way to mount a winter cover on an above ground pool. I see that the cover is now suspended with air on both sides of the cover by “Tenting” the cover. This, literally, allows wind to whip/bend the cover fabric and that has proven to be detrimental to the longevity of the fabric. Wind is the #1 most reason for winter cover damage….in fact, if you add #2 and #3 together it won’t overtake #1. I’m pretty sure that “Tenting” might also void any warranty.

  13. shellie

    we put the chemicals in to winterize the pool and it all seems to have all floated to the bottom of the pool. Should that of happened, and is it ok?

    1. Trey Collier Post Author

      Depending on the chemicals, most likely not very good for your liner or water. It is usually best to completely dissolve the chemicals in a bucket of water before adding to the pool. It’s also a pretty good idea to circulate the water a few hours before shutting it down for the winter.

  14. Erika Marroquin

    We have a 12 ft × 30 in above ground pool. As I have read above we should add chemicals to prepare it for winter. Will the remaining water in the pool become terrible during the cold months without the pump in use? Also, when do you know when to start preparing it for the warmer climate? Thanks, first time pool owner.

  15. williamsone132

    Thanks for these helpful breakdown of tasks to do. I currently have a pool that is drained out. There is a bit of water on the bottom (from rain) and yes, it does look green and algae are having their own playroom in the bottom. Any suggestions in terms of what the best approach is since I don’t have water in it yet. I plan to fill up the whole pool throughout the course of 2 days. Should I check to make sure filter and liner are good before putting in the water? When should I begin the chemical/shock? When water is half-way filling or when completed.

    1. Trey Collier Post Author

      Of course, make sure the liner that holds the water are in good shape enough to hold water before adding water. Adding water to the pool from home faucet should be pretty good chemical wise, (I’m assuming that is your intention as adding water from other sources take a few hrs or less). Even if adding slowly from a well, I’d still wait until the pool is full before adding anything. Chemicals are measured according to the number of gallons in the pool. Once full of water, look at pool openings blog posts on here. Opening In Ground Pool or Opening Above Ground Pool

  16. Jas

    Hi Trey, Great post and great feedback on many questions. I live in Florida and have in-ground pool. My kids are grown up and don’t use the pool anymore. Me and my wife will be out of country for about a year for an international assignment. Currently I maintain it by myself. What do you recommend? Thank you!!

    1. Trey Collier Post Author

      I’d 1st check to see the conditions, if any, are required by your home owners insurance. Adhere to them at the minimum.

      You could ask trusted someone (close friend/family member) to make regular visits to the pool to do regular pool (pool sitter) maintenance as per your instructions. Give them your away # and the number of your local pool company # too if something crops up unintended or not in your instructions.

      Many local pool service companies can also be hired to check on the pool too. Check with neighbors or on Nextdoor.com or Angie’s list for reputable recommendations in your area.

  17. Marjorie Marie Tolin

    We live in NE Ohio and had the pool installer close our pool. He lowered the water below the skimmer. He installed the winter mesh winter cover. I just looked and the skimmer is full and we can see the water touching the cover. Should we drain more water out of the pool?

    1. Trey Collier Post Author

      Water in the skimmer and the plumbing lines above the frost line will freeze and expand and could bust either of them! Water should be drained below skimmer and the plumbing lines flushed out again!

  18. Nick

    I have a pool 5m by 10m, and the pool cover doesnt cover 1in on each side of the pool. Is this a problem for evaporation and does it make the pool cover less effective (is it worth it)?

    Thank you

    1. Trey Collier Post Author

      It really depends on what cover you are talking about.

      Solar Cover: 1″ isn’t really going to make that much difference in evaporation. The solar cover is supposed to float on the water bubble side down.

      Winter Cover: Winter covers are also supposed to rest on the water, come up the side of the pool and overlap about 1 foot on the decking. It is held in place with water tubes so wind doesn’t blow it away.

      Safety Cover: MUST fit to be effective and limit your liability.

  19. Henry

    Hello Trey,
    I have an in-ground concrete swimming pool +/- 10 feet deep. I’m in the northeast. I was planning on retiling the 6″ tile @ the top & repainting the pool. I fully drained the pool. Due to the numerous rainy weekends I didn’t get the tile removal done in time to be replaced before the cold weather. It took a long time to grind out the tile & old thinset down to the concrete.

    There is a pressure relief valve in the deep main drain in case the ground water table exerts force on the concrete pool.

    I would prefer not to add water to the pool just to drain it in the spring when I retile and repaint the pool. Do you think that I should add water? How much?

    Thanks, Henry

    1. Henry

      Hi Trey,

      What are your thoughts on leaving the inground concrete pool empty over the winter? Do you think that the frozen ground will crack it without water/ ice to counter act?



      1. Trey Collier Post Author

        Hey Henry:

        I wouldn’t do it. I’m not going to go through all the points here that are covered already in many of our previous posts. In-ground pools can pop out of the ground when they do not have any water. This is caused by the groundwater beneath your pool putting pressure on it to rise and now exacerbated as it freezes when there is no water in the pool deep enough to provide a thermal barrier to the water in the ground under the floor of the pool. If there isn’t any water in a pool to counterbalance the force of the groundwater, or the ground/ground water below 3ft and under the floor of pool is now freezing without the water thermal barrier, then the pressure can literally POP! a swimming pool out of the ground, and this will not be a good thing for your pool!

  20. S Falkner

    Hi, I have a 21′ round above ground pool. In the manual it says to lower the level of the water to 18” below skimmer…it was…now the level is about 8” below the skimmer because of rain. I live in Québec City and we get alot of snow and very cold temperatures. Should I pump some water out…is this not a good thing to have this much water in the pool ? Thank you for your help.

    1. Trey Collier Post Author

      8″ below the skimmer should be fine. It should be covered by a winter cover to prevent more water from entering the pool. Water will accumulate on top of the cover and a few inches of water on top of the cover helps to keep the cover securely on top. Any extra on top can be “pumped” or siphoned off when in its liquid form.

  21. lee

    what’s the downside of emptying the above ground pool from water (rectangular with metal frame), but leaving it to stand (not dismanteling it, since don’t have proper storage options and soooo much work) with a cover? We live in a warm climate winter, no frost ever. Or is there a reason to keep water in the pool (and then all that maintenance all through winter as well, while the pool just stands there, not used…)?

    1. Trey Collier Post Author

      The walls of the pool are designed to push back against the forces of the water inside the pool. Without the water to hold the walls up, its probable that a gentle breeze will collapse the walls inwards bending the walls and the uprights of the pool beyond use and you’ll be in the market for a new above ground swimming pool!

      1. lee

        thank you, that makes sense. But the pool is in a sheltered place and not windy. I’ll try to keep it standing and empty, and if the breeze gets the better of it, will fill ‘er up. Thanks for the explanation..!

  22. Nancia

    We have an above ground pool liner has a leak we can’t find and don’t have money for leak detection right now. Can I throw a tarp in bottom of liner to keep water in.the pool for winter. Please help

    1. nancia

      What could we put in the pool to support the walls and possibly keep watee in it. There is about a foot of water staying in pool. We have alot of debt right now. Trying to solve this problem the best I can till spring. Pump is broken too. I want to cry.

      1. Trey Collier Post Author

        I fully understand! Water is best in the pool! Read those articles as they will help you understand how to find the leak. If there is 1 foot of water and it isn’t going down quickly now, then its most likely the “leak” is at/near the waterline. Fill the pool up a 6 inches and then try to locate the leak using a drop of food color and watching to see if the colored water is drawn towards the leaking hole/seam (Read those articles). Then a $5-$10 patch kit can be used fix the leak. This takes some time and diligence, but not a bunch of money.

          1. Trey Collier Post Author

            A liner pool patch IS just that! A piece of vinyl that is put over a hole secured with sealing “glue”. Just putting a piece of liner (vinyl) over the hole without sealing it will not stop the leak! Vinyl Liner patch kits can be found at Home Depot, Lowes, Wal-Marts etc. EX: Vinyl Patch Kit at Lowe’s

  23. Dona Caryl

    We have had an inground pool since 1978, and am on the 3rd liner. We have had both rubber & mesh covers & currently have a mesh that fits tightly across the top. The first year of the current liner the padding popped out 6 weeks after the pool was closed. The pool store tells me NOT to lower the water as it holds the liner intact We have plugs put in after the line was blown out & never had any problem with water in the lines. Our problem is the multiple folds (creases) that are in the liner, especially the shallow end. Every spring there are more. Is there something that we are not doing that is causing this?

    1. Trey Collier Post Author

      Agree that the water helps hold the liner in place. I do not know why your liner is getting multiple folds/creases increases. Possible wall issues due to age letting ground water leak in behind liner push back the liner and when it lowers the liner forms a new crease is formed. This is something a trusted local pool builder should look at. I’d consult with places like Angie’s List for a good pool builder.

  24. Zequek Estrada

    I didn’t know there was so much work involved maintaining a pool. It makes sense if you want to protect your investment. I guess if you’re pool is tended to each day then the work wouldn’t be too bad.

  25. Stacey

    My small above ground pool was filled to about 6 inches below the skimmer at the beginning of winter. The person who closed it for winter put an too-big tarp over the pool and I believe as rainwater collected on the tarp displaced the pool water out the drain. Now I did drain the water on top of the tarp about a month ago and then came the snow & the deep freezes. Now it appears there is only maybe 12 inches of water inside the pool, the tarp is all the way down there & hanging on the edges of the pool frame. The water on top of the tarp is frozen solid. Is there anything I can do at this point to prevent the pool from suffering damage? Should I try refilling with the tarp on?

    1. Trey Collier Post Author

      Good Question Stacey. Let me see if I understand and correct me if I didn’t. Pool water was drained to just under skimmer! (Good…water shouldn’t be in skimmer to freeze and crack it) Oversized winter cover was put on top of pool water. Rain and snow melt added water above the cover….this water squeezed the pool water below cover up and out the skimmer drain (and hopefully it drained onto the ground and not into the pump/filer)

      1) If water under the cover plus water on the cover is still up near the skimmer in total (even if frozen), then you should have enough pressure inside the pool to counter the wind forces from the outside inwards.

      2) If the water under the cover has dropped to 12″ high…..and you pumped off the water on top of cover when it was liquid and the total water (above and below cover) is 12+ inches below the skimmer….this could be hazardous to the pool walls. In this case I would see what I could do the put water in under the cover (preferred) or on top of cover until the total is just under the skimmer.

      In either case above, continue to monitor the “Total” water level and keep it below the bottom of the skimmer.

      What bothers me with this is that the water on top will not normally push water below cover upwards and out the skimmer. Sounds to me more like there may be a liner leak and that should be addressed this spring.

  26. Barry Dixon

    I drained my pool about a foot below the skimmer but now it’s filled back up to an inch from skimmer. {Rain and melted snow} Should I consider drilling a hole through the ice and syphoning more water out?

    1. Trey Collier Post Author

      There are many reasons for above ground pool walls to collapse even when properly filled with water. Improper Foundation. – Rocks, sticks debris can cause holes in liner and leak water which then erodes the foundation causing the collapse. Poor Assembly – follow all manufacturers instructions make sure they are straight. Poor Maintenance Bolts become loose, corrosion issues. Treat then paint corrosion and keep everything tight. ICE Alone it won’t cause it to collapse, but if you move the ice around that may damage the seams or supports which when is thaws it could make it collapse.

    2. Phyllis

      Could not find leak in above ground pool. Now only about a foot water left. Winter coming? What to do? Can pool collapse if left this way?

      1. Trey Collier Post Author

        Yes It will collapse inward when the wind picks up. Above ground pool walls are engineered to hold water inside. They assume that there is water pressure pushing outwards so it resists against this force. Wind can collapse the walls inwards because there isn’t any water in the pool pushing back.

        If the water drained from the leak down to 12″ and stopped, then the leak is in a hole somewhere at the waterline. If you cant find leak, replacing a liner or calling a local pool person to find leak and put a patch on is cheaper than replacing your pool wall.

  27. adam

    I emptied my 17,000 gallon unground pool completely in anticipation of putting in new liner in spring….is this not a good idea? i live in new york and have a mesh cover on it for winter

    1. Trey Collier Post Author

      Well, I can’t really tell if you meant in-ground or on (above) ground with your “unground pool”. So I’ll try to answer for both possibilities.

      Bottom line is that NO it is NOT a good idea!

      Above ground pool walls are designed to push back inwards against the force of water in the pool. They have not been engineered to push back from outside the pool walls against the wind, and they wouldn’t need to when filled with water. So if this is an above ground pool, without water in it, a gentle breeze could collapse the pool walls inward and ruin the wall.

      In the case of an in-ground pool similarly the walls are designed to hold against the water in the pool. Soil when wet is capable of moving and it could collapse the wall inward without the water in the pool to hold it back.

      In the case of gunite or fiberglass in-ground pools, when there is a large amount of ground water, they could actually “Float” upwards like a boat if they didn’t have the weight of water in the pool to hold their place. This could mess up the plumbing, pool decking, electrical connections and possible wall cracking issues as well.

      Hope this helps!

  28. Jean Blair

    My liner got a tear on the bottom so I had to drain all the water out. Planning on getting a new liner in the spring. Can I leave my pool empty through the winter? It’s a 24 round.

    1. Trey Collier Post Author

      I’m sorry to hear that Jean. I wouldn’t recommend that you leave an above ground pool empty. The walls and upright supports are designed to support against the forces of the weight of the water from the inside pushing out. They are NOT designed to resist against the wind forces from the outside towards the middle of the pool. (the water normally does this) If you leave it empty, you will most likely be in need of a new pool too.

  29. Vaughn Berger

    Great article and one I’d like to repost on my blog with your permission. Vaughn Berger (Red Square Pools- Las Vegas, NV)

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