Pool lining can dry out when it's left without water overtime. When it dries out, it can expand and stretch, leading to cracks and imperfections. Then, when you fill the pool back up, the water can seep through those cracks and cause damage.
Drain the water down to no more than 6 inches from the bottom of the skimmer if you plan to use a standard floating winter cover. Use your pool filter, switched to the "Drain" setting, to empty the pool water.
Your water should only be drained so it sits just below the skimmer and jets. This helps make sure that no water can get into the pumping system. You may also need to drain a few extra inches of water, depending on the type of pool cover you're using.
You'll need to keep draining water off the cover with a pump or siphon to protect it from damage. Important: Never drain an above ground pool completely when winterizing. Your vinyl liner can dry out, shortening its life considerably.
How long can you leave a pool empty? Well, the minimum amount of time possible in order to minimize the risk of serious damage. Most issues that require a pool drain will take at least a day or two to resolve, but it's recommended to not let it sit empty for any extended period of time.
This is why the Intex pools manufacturer strongly recommends draining and disassembling your pool if the temperatures in your area drop to or below 41°F (5°C). And so do we. We don't want your cozy winter by the fire to be ruined by a messy pool collapse.
Add Chlorine to Your Pool to Ensure a Clean Opening
In the fall, make sure to add chlorine and algaecide to your pool for over the winter. Don't add too much chlorine though. If the chlorine level is too high over the winter, you can bleach the liner.
Depending on the size of your pool, we still recommend you run your pump run at least 4-6 hours a day during the fall and winter months. The daily cycle can be divided into multiple cycles, but each cycle should be no shorter than 4 hours, for all the water to pass through the filter at least once.
Though the growth rate of algae slows down as water gets colder, we recommend keeping the free chlorine level between 2-4 ppm, as mentioned above. In some areas it's possible to see steady temperatures above 60 degrees in January or even February, giving algae a chance to grow. Don't risk it.
If you have a vinyl-lined above-ground pool, leaving it full for the winter will protect the vinyl liner from shrinkage and other damage. Since these pools are above ground level, keeping them full ensures that the wind will not damage the walls, liner, or frame.
Important: Never completely drain an above ground pool. This can cause your pool to collapse. If your pool is plumbed with detachable, flexible hoses, remove them and store for the winter. Remove all drain plugs from the pump, filter tank, and any other pool equipment.
First, if the draining is done at the wrong time or under the wrong conditions, you can actually risk damaging your pool structure and liner. All the water from your pool needs to go somewhere when it's drained, and that usually means the ground.
Most inground fiberglass and concrete pools are built structurally to withstand the weight of the dirt against them when drained. However, if the groundwater is high enough, it can push the entire pool out of the ground. The pool shell acts like a ship and floats up in the groundwater.
In general, draining this type of pool is the trickiest. Inground pools made of concrete or gunite are susceptible to popping out of the ground if drainage is not done properly. If there has been a surplus of rain recently or your pool is located in a wet area, it is best not to try and drain the pool yourself at all.
It is very important to evaluate the water level in your pool and keep your water level well below the coping and tile or otherwise when the water freezes it will expand and the force of the ice will crack tile and coping resulting in expensive repairs.
SHOCK THE POOL:
The best way to administer shock into your pool is by pouring it into a bucket of water with at least a couple gallons of water. Mix it to dissolve and pour the mixture around the perimeter of the pool. Remember: Always add shock to water, never add water to shock! Now it's time to wait a while.
Ideally, your pool's chemistry should remain as balanced as possible throughout the winter. Keeping everything balanced is easily accomplished by testing the water at least once per week. There's a low chance that you'll need to add chlorine as long as the pool isn't being used and there is no water circulation.
Even if you have your pool covered, some debris may still get in it during the winter. For this reason, you should consider running your pump on occasion whenever the outdoor temperature is between 35 and 65 degrees. Around four to six hours should be sufficient to remove debris and help promote good circulation.