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Thread: Draining a vinyl liner pool

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    Draining a vinyl liner pool

    The discussion about draining, in Worst pool yet? Can I get this clean?, became too technical for the Algae - Prevention and Treatment area, so it has been moved here. JasonLion

    Chemically cleaning that pool is possible and all of the cautions mentioned should be heeded, however if we had to clean up that pool, we would hook a vac to hold the liner in place while the pool was drained and get out the soap and water. You would be done in a day instead of weeks. Half the water is already drained. If its a sand bottom rather than vermiculite, you would need to be more cautious in your cleaning process.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Worst pool yet? Can I get this clean?

    Quote Originally Posted by renovxpt
    we would hook a vac to hold the liner in place while the pool was drained
    That can work, but it isn't something I would ever recommend a home owner attempting. Doing that correctly takes experience and doing it wrong can be rather expensive.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Worst pool yet? Can I get this clean?

    DO NOT DRAIN! DO NOT DRAIN! DO NOT DRAIN! DO NOT DRAIN! DO NOT DRAIN! DO NOT DRAIN!

    The liner will shrink, even with a vacuum on it. The liner will be toast and it will cost about $3000 to replace it.

    Scoop the organics out. When everything is stirred up, give it a couple hours to settle and do it again. Repeat as needed.

    Run the filter 24 and 7 (23 and 7 if it's a DE filter). Watch your tank pressure and back wash as needed.

    Add 20 gallons of Clorox or two 5 gallon carboys around the pool and 3 pints of MA and 1 qt. of the thick blue clarifier. Run the pump overnight.

    Next morning, check the filter pressure. Turn on the hose to the pool and vacuum to waste so you don't clog/contaminate the filter. Work quickly but don't race as it will stir things up again. If you miss a 1" x2' strip, so what. Go for the masses. Don't worry about being perfect yet. Remember, you're dumping water. If you can't see, approximate. It's called Blind Vacuuming. You will start to see improvement after the second row. Watch the pump and skimmer baskets. They will fill quickly. Stop when the water level gets 6" below the skimmer. Refill the pool. Repeat as needed.

    Use a liner pool vac head, not one made for gunite. Liner heads have brushes, gunite heads are flat rectangles with wheels. Gunite vac heads may cut the liner or lift it and cause a hole.

    This is how I have been deswamping for years. It works. Every time!

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    Re: Worst pool yet? Can I get this clean?

    Jason is right, its not something the guy at home depot could tell you how to do but if your interested:

    1. When there is about 3 inches left in the shallow end find the place in the pool where the liner seems to fit the loosest and take the palms of your hands, lay them flat on the liner and pull up until you create some slack in the liner and then pull out a 9 inch section. If this doesn't work you can fold a 12 inch piece of duct tape in half longways and use the other half to pull up the liner.
    2. Insert the flexible hose of a shop vac between the liner and wall to 3-5 inches above the base of the wall.
    3. Duct tape the open space around the vac hose to seal the space between the liner and wall.
    4. Close all valves in the plumbing system and turn on the vacuum. This should hold the liner in place while you drain the pool.

    If the liner is not plastic enough to perform this task, it needs to be replaced anyway.

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Worst pool yet? Can I get this clean?

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    Add 20 gallons of Clorox or two 5 gallon carboys around the pool and 3 pints of MA and 1 qt. of the thick blue clarifier. Run the pump overnight.
    Here I'm going to step in and contradict.

    Here at TFP, we advocate accurating testing and using those test results to treat your pool appropriately, not spending money on extra products that may not be necessary, like clarifier. Yes, they might work, but more often than not, chlorine alone will do the same job.

    Also, as outlined in the articles I mentioned, testing is the first step. Please follow the directions carefully. NEVER add bleach and acid at the same time, which Scott does not make clear in his advice above.

    You bring the PH into range, which might require acid, but it might not. Then you can raise the chlorine to shock level. This might take 20 gallons but it might not. Then you test as often as you can, up to hourly, the FC, adding more chlorine to hold shock level. Remember, shock level is based on your CYA. If there is no CYA you'll need to add the appropriate amount. Run your filter 24/7, backwashing and cleaning the filter as necessary, until the water is sparkling clear and the FC holds overnight.

    So please do not blindly throw in 20 gallons of chlorine and a bunch of acid without testing and knowing exactly what your pool needs at any given time.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
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    Re: Worst pool yet? Can I get this clean?

    I have to disagree with Scott. You have already drained most of the pool and exposed the most vulnerable area of the liner to the sun and heat, which at this time of year is not as damaging as the middle of the summer. If the liner has lost its plasticity you will have to replace it. Leaving it in the current condition without quick action will shorten its life quickly. If you want to immediately refill the pool and keep scooping that is an alternative. The worst thing is to let it sit partially drained and deteriorating.

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    Re: Worst pool yet? Can I get this clean?

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom

    Here at TFP, we advocate accurating testing and using those test results to treat your pool appropriately, not spending money on extra products that may not be necessary, like clarifier. Yes, they might work, but more often than not, chlorine alone will do the same job.

    Also, as outlined in the articles I mentioned, testing is the first step. Please follow the directions carefully. NEVER add bleach and acid at the same time, which Scott does not make clear in his advice above.

    You bring the PH into range, which might require acid, but it might not. Then you can raise the chlorine to shock level. This might take 20 gallons but it might not. Then you test as often as you can, up to hourly, the FC, adding more chlorine to hold shock level. Remember, shock level is based on your CYA. If there is no CYA you'll need to add the appropriate amount. Run your filter 24/7, backwashing and cleaning the filter as necessary, until the water is sparkling clear and the FC holds overnight.

    So please do not blindly throw in 20 gallons of chlorine and a bunch of acid without testing and knowing exactly what your pool needs at any given time.
    This is the best advice in this thread.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Worst pool yet? Can I get this clean?

    Quote Originally Posted by renovxpt
    I have to disagree with Scott. You have already drained most of the pool and exposed the most vulnerable area of the liner to the sun and heat, which at this time of year is not as damaging as the middle of the summer. If the liner has lost its plasticity you will have to replace it. Leaving it in the current condition without quick action will shorten its life quickly. If you want to immediately refill the pool and keep scooping that is an alternative. The worst thing is to let it sit partially drained and deteriorating.
    This is getting very contradictory and confusing to the OP. You first advocating draining, Scott advised not to. Now you are saying not to drain as it will leave the liner vunerable. Scott is only suggesting blind vacuming to a certain water level (likely 1/3) and refilling immediately. I don't agree this will leave the liner vunerable, it won't be exposed for very long.

    Now, the OP is probably reading all of this with disgust because he doesn't know what to believe or think. It is easy for new pool owners to be overwhelmed with just the basics but when all of this is thrown at them they are likely to walk away and give up in frustration. Please consider this.

    Andy, I hope you are not too overwhelmed after reading all of this and know that everyone truly is here to help you get your pool on the road to Trouble-Free.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: Worst pool yet? Can I get this clean?

    Under normal conditions, I agree that blindly pouring chems is a bad practice and not something I would encourage. I think you have seen enough of my posts to know I don't do things blindly and without purpose or against the interest of the consumer who come here for advice. I have dealt with this situation type of swamp so many times, it is from experience that I made the suggested procedure. It works. The amounts I suggested were based on the size of the OP's pool. A 16x32 would not have gotten the same quantities.

    I meant 6" below the skimmer. If he has a high water table, I don't think he wants a floated liner. At 12" or more, which would be a third or so, that is a potential risk I am not comfortable with since I don't know his geography.

    I have had only one pool in all my years that required more than 4 visits from opening to clean. That was a pool that had a deteriorated mesh cover on it and was unopened for two years. It looked like the Sargasso Sea, the algae was over 2 feet tall. and the skimmers were tied to the drains (no equalizer) so I couldn't vac to waste below the skimmers. That it was a 1500 sq. ft pool didn't help either. It laughed at me when I put 10 pounds of cal-hypo in. If I hadn't had the pix to back it up when my then boss asked me about it, I might have had issue with him. I brought him there anyway as a learning experience for him. He understood when I dumped 20 gallons of 12% in front of him. He poured 5 himself!

    I run my business in a similar fashion, with similar ethics as this forum. I urge my customers to come here and learn. I encourage people from other forums to come here too. I know there are other technical people here who feel the same way, that an educated consumer is the best customer. Just like doctors, sometimes we have different opinions. That's fine and all to the greater good. As long as we do what we can to right the wrong that someone from a pool store who is interested in getting the consumers money vs interested in helping the consumer, our industry is stronger for it.

    Sorry if I seemed to ramble.

    Scott

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    Re: Worst pool yet? Can I get this clean?

    Sorry if I wasn't clear. Exposing a vinly liner to the sun and heat for protracted periods of time will reduce its plasticisty and reduce its life expectancy. Given the wrong conditions it will shink and become unusable. The pool has already been drained enough to expose it to these conditions and the sooner the problem gets rectified the better. In the first post the pool was full, in the last post it had 6 inches of water in the shallow end. Either the poster needs to clean out the pool and finish the job or fill it back up before irreversible damage occurs and the liner is shot. I was simply suggesting the easiest and fastest way to solve the problem before it gets to the point of requiring a new liner, which may have already occured.

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    Re: Worst pool yet? Can I get this clean?

    I missed the part where the OP lowered it that much.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    Re: Worst pool yet? Can I get this clean?

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    I missed the part where the OP lowered it that much.

    Scott
    If there was such a post, it wasn't in this thread. I saw one saying everyone told him not to drain, and if he should believe it. That's it.
    --paulr
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    Re: Worst pool yet? Can I get this clean?

    Whoops, my apologies, I confused frustratedmoms picture with the OP's first picture, thinking they were the same pool. It was either the oak leaves, old age or high CYA levels in my brain that led to the oversight. Sorry for the confusion and the misdirected advice.

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