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How long can you leave a pool empty?

The cooler months of the year are the perfect time to take care of pool maintenance or repairs and make sure your swimming pool's ready for summer. But does that include draining the water?

However neglected your pool may be looking this winter, draining should only ever be a last resort. It's not just your water bill you should be worried about, but also the possible long-term damage that could be expensive to fix.

Why shouldn't you drain a pool?

Swimming pools are designed to be filled with water. They get used to the heavy weight and pressure of the water over time, so if that's taken away, even for a short time, it can cause serious damage to pool walls, floors and liners.

Some pools can 'pop' out of the ground, while others may cave in. There may also be damage to decks or paving surrounding the pool, as well as electronic systems installed in the pool such as lights and in-floor cleaning systems.

The specific problems you could face depend on the type of pool you have.

How long can you leave an in-ground pool empty?

If you have an older in-ground pool, it probably won't have been designed to withstand the weight of the surrounding soil when drained. Modern concrete pools can usually stand being drained for as long as needed, but there'll still be a risk of popping if the ground water level is high.

Fibreglass pools are less resilient. The floor may come loose and float to the top when refilled, even after a short period. These pools should be properly braced before draining begins.

How long can you leave an above ground pool empty?

It's not only in-ground pools that can be damaged by draining. Above ground pools are also sensitive to the sudden change in pressure that comes from emptying the water.

Pool liners can start to shrink the longer they're exposed to the air, which could cause them to tear when the pool's refilled. This is especially common with older liners. For this reason, you should avoid draining an above ground pool or refill it as quickly as possible.

Don't drain and refill your swimming pool on a cold day, as this will make the lining even less likely to stretch. Check that the liner is properly aligned while the pool is refilling, as you may need to make quick adjustments before the weight of the water becomes too great.

How to drain a pool safely

If your goal is simply to clean the pool, this may be achieved more effectively with chemicals. However, there may be times when draining and starting over is the only option.

For an in-ground concrete pool, hiring a submersible pump is the most efficient way to drain the water. Fibreglass or vinyl-lined pools need a more careful approach though, and you're better off calling professionals to lower the risk of the pool or lining breaking.

If you need professional pool servicing, get in touch with Clark Rubber today. We'll send a fully trained pool technician around to your home to take a look at your pool or spa and get it up and running in no time.

Call 13 80 90 to find out more about our services for swimming pools in Melbourne, Sydney and throughout Australia.

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