As peak pool season comes to an end, you may be wondering what to do with your pool. Or maybe your water has taken a turn for the worse following some rain, or you neglected to clean it in a timely fashion. Whatever the reason, many pool owners think the logical solution is to drain the pool. This is a bad idea for a number of reasons.
How Often Should a Pool be Drained?
It may surprise those who've never had a pool, but typically in-ground swimming pools do not need to be drained. In the case of fiberglass pools you should NEVER drain your pool without first consulting your dealer. Even if the water seems beyond help, draining usually isn't the answer.
The big reasons for draining a pool are either that a repair needs to be performed that can't be done with water in it or that you need to stabilize the level of Total Dissolved Solids (TDI). Almost every other problem can be solved without draining.
What Are the Risks of Improperly Draining a Pool?
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. If too much water ends up in the ground, you risk creating an upward hydrostatic force. In laymen's terms, the water pressure below the ground will force all that water upward, and could actually crack or float the bottom of your pool, leading to costly repair bills.
For fiberglass pools, the risks of damage are even greater. Not only is there a risk of the bottom being floated, but unnecessary and improper draining can also have other detrimental results. The side walls can bulge out when the water is drained, and the floors can also split, leading to expensive repair bills not only to the fiberglass shell, but to the plumbing and deck as well.
When it comes to fiberglass pools, most manufacturers will tell you that draining them is strictly forbidden, and may void the warranty. There is a good reason for this. It's the weight of the water that helps hold the fiberglass panels in place. If you decide to drain your fiberglass pool, popping or bulging of the panels can occur when the weight of the water is not keeping the panel intact. Always consult your dealer before draining your pool.
What If My Pool Needs Serious Cleaning?
You may think that draining all that yucky water out of your pool is the only way to get it really clean. But two to three days of shocking the water, vacuuming and filtration can handle the problem just as well, without the risk of damaging your pool's liner or the high water bill that comes from draining and re-filling.
If giving your pool water a little TLC doesn't bring it around, or if you notice the telltale signs of a high TDI concentration, don't try to handle the job all on your own. A trained and licensed pool professional is your best bet to handle the draining of your inground pool. They can handle any pool maintenance your backyard oasis needs, and they can make sure you avoid costly repair bills.