above ground pool If I Drain My Pool Will It Collapse? thumbnail

If I Drain My Pool Will It Collapse?

In Pools & Hot Tubs by Jamie

When it comes to pools, you want to ensure you maintain them as best you can. Pools are expensive investments, and you want to ensure they’re always maintained so you can use them throughout the year without worrying about issues.

One of those potential issues is what happens when you drain your pool. If you drain your pool, do you risk damaging the stability of the pool? And if you know your pool has been damaged without knowing how stable it was before draining. Here’s what you should know.

If I Drain My Above Ground Pool, Will It Collapse?

While it’s tempting to drain your above-ground pool in the winter, there are several reasons why you shouldn’t. The most obvious reason is that you could damage the pool liner if you completely drain it. And even though you may be able to patch small holes later, it’s best not to risk it.

Secondly, the pool walls are made of a lightweight material called vinyl, and emptying your pool will cause the vinyl flooring and walls to crack over time. Without water, they’ll start to separate and eventually fall apart on their own — there isn’t much point in draining your pool if you have to replace everything eventually!

Additionally, if you have an above-ground pool with a metal frame, there’s a chance that some of the screws or bolts may rust over time. That can cause them to become loose and make it easier for them to come undone.

Related Read: How Far to Drain Inground Pool for Winter?

Can an Inground Pool Collapse if Fully Emptied?

drain inground concrete pool

Not all in-ground pools are created equal. Different materials, shapes, and sizes make each pool unique. But what about the question of whether or not an inground pool can collapse?

The short answer is yes. It could collapse if you drain your pool and leave it empty for too long. However, there are a couple of factors that affect how long you can drain your pool before it’s at risk of collapsing:

The size of your pool – The larger the pool, the longer you can drain it before collapsing.

The material used to build your pool – Concrete, is generally more robust than vinyl or fiberglass pools. Because of this difference in strength, concrete pools can be left empty for extended periods without collapsing than vinyl or fiberglass pools.

Related Read: How Long Can You Leave Your Concrete Pool Empty?

Should You Be Draining Your Pool Empty?

The problem is that when you empty a pool, all the internal pressure generated by the thousands of gallons of water evaporates into thin air. So nothing is holding up the walls of your pool’s shell without that pressure, which can cause them to collapse inward on themselves when they’re empty.

That’s because the water supports all the weight of the structure above it — without water in the pool walls or floor panels (or both), they’ll fall apart on their own accord due to gravity pulling on them.

In fact, emptying a pool can cause more problems than it solves. For example, if your pool is leaking and you empty it, you’ll have no way of knowing where precisely those leaks are coming from or how bad they are until you refill.

Will Draining a Pool Damage the Liner?

Will Draining a Pool Damage the Liner

Draining a pool is not something you want to do if you care about your pool liner. The problem is that once the water is gone, it’s gone, and there’s nothing to hold the liner in place.

The water in your pool acts like a cushion for the liner. When you remove that cushion, there’s nothing to protect against pressure or other forces that can damage it.

The worst-case scenario is that if a crack damages enough of the liner, it may be necessary to replace it altogether. That could cost thousands of dollars. If you’re curious about just how bad it can get, check out this detailed video showing just how bad the failure process can be.

How Low Can You Safely Drain Your Vinyl Liner Pool?

If you absolutely have to drain your pool for repairs or some other emergency, it’s best to have a minimum of 12 to 14 inches of water above the shallow end of your vinyl liner pool. The higher this water level is, the better.

The reason is that the weight of the water helps hold up the vinyl liner and keep it from collapsing onto itself when there is no water pressure pushing it outwards.

In fact, if you drain your pool with less than 12 inches of water above the shallow end level, it’s possible that the vinyl liner could collapse onto itself and become permanently wrinkled and distorted.

If You Need to Empty Your Above Ground Pool:

Empty Your Above Ground Pool

There are times when you’ll need to empty out your above-ground pool. That could be because of a leak or because you want to replace the liner or filter. Whatever the reason for emptying your pool, here are some tips for doing it quickly and efficiently.

1. Do It Quickly

First, always do it quickly. The faster you take the water out of your above-ground pool, the lower the chances of severe damage. So always do it in one day, empty it during the night with a pump, do whatever work is needed early in the morning, and fill the pool up again asap.

2. Avoid Hot Temperatures

The sun will quickly shrink your liner and harden it, causing it to rip when filled back up. Wait until colder months, if possible. If you can’t wait for cooler weather, take extra precautions when removing the water and try to do it under low-temperature conditions.

3. Know You Run the Risk of Ruining Your Liner

If you’re going to be draining your above-ground pool, there’s no guarantee that you won’t ruin your liner in the process. In addition, depending on how much water is left in the pool, it may not be possible to drain it with just gravity alone.

Can You Leave Pool Empty During the Winter?

It’s not good to leave your pool empty when the weather gets cold. In fact, it can be very dangerous for your pool and all of your equipment. If you’re not going to be using your pool, you don’t want it to freeze and crack.

Even if there’s no ice formation, leaving your pool empty for an extended period can cause severe damage to the structure that supports it. In addition, if you leave it completely empty, it will freeze, damaging your liner and accessories like filters and pumps.

Final Thoughts

In the end, this is your pool. You need to keep it safe and protected. We want you to enjoy it for years, long after the winter is over, so we hope this article has been helpful in addressing your concerns.

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About the Author

Jamie

Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.