I'll post pictures tomorrow. It started with one repairable hole above the water line and now we've got a second that is not a tear but more of a crack going down into the water line. The important stuff is in bold, the rest is background to how we got here.
Starting at the beginning... we bought this house with the pool, which is a 27' round. I did some research and determined it to be a Home and Roam Leisure Pool (now defunct company). The pool was in atrocious shape, and was more of a black swamp with 3 years of leaves in it (a solid 2 feet of leaves in the bottom of the pool)... two ripped covers on top of each other... hundreds of tadpoles and mosquitos. Within 2 weeks, it was cloudy and within another week it was clear. We were swimming within the month. (It amazed me what some chlorine and proper pH could do). A heck of an introduction to pools but at least we got to swim in it for about a month before the weather turned too cold. Closed it properly last winter and was able to enjoy a crystal clear pool this spring and a decent swimming season after we cut down the offending tree over top of the pool.
I had to leave for a few weeks and being as it is fall, the pool got many leaves in it. Algae has been a problem this year but the liner was so stained I couldn't get all of it off... I was thinking there had to be hidden algae in some places because of having such problems with it. I replaced all the sand in the filter after we finished cleaning the pool last year but in the spring I'll replace the sand again due to the algae problems we've had this year. (PS previous owners said replace it with playground sand. Yeah right, that's gonna do something.... that's what I took out of the filter, too.)
Anyhow... we had a hail storm 2 days ago. After I finished scooping out the leaves which had blown in during the storm, another rainstorm came up and I had to run inside. The next day when I came out to inspect the liner I found it either lacerated or cracked. I know we should have had the pool winterized already but I am kind of thinking maybe it was a blessing we didn't.
So my question is what do I need to do for winter? The crack is 2 inches below the current water line, which is draining (on purpose) as I speak, at least to below the crack. Of course we drain it to below the skimmer/fittings for winter. The liner is okay as far as I know below those parts. Should I go ahead and close the pool as usual minus the chemicals since we need to replace the liner? I see no real reason to cover the pool for the winter if we do it this way.
My concern is if we drain it, that my walls will collapse. There are no parts for this pool and I see that it needs to be above 50 degrees to replace a liner, which I don't really want to get into before winter anyhow... not to mention that I'm afraid of what we'll find when we start tearing things apart. :/ If I find rust, etc then I'm not sure what to do. I had wanted to replace the rails because many of them are dented, but looks like that'll be impossible now due to parts unavailability. Replacing the entire pool is not an option for us, financially.
So is draining it down to below the crack a valid option for this winter, or due to weakening of the liner, not a good idea? I was thinking for counterpressure purposes...not to mention the fact that I just bought a brand new winter cover, air pillows and closing stuff... my pool budget for the year is kind of shot. However, if I need to set about draining and bracing, I'll figure out some way to do it.
The previous homeowners inherited the house from a (deceased) parent and weren't able to tell us much about the pool. She thought the liner may have been original to the pool. I did some digging and kind of think the pool was installed around 1992-1993, so I'm thinking it's possible the liner may have been replaced once (how could it last 20 years?) although there are several patches on the bottom of the pool and on the sidewalls, placed by previous owners.
At least we got to enjoy this season of the pool. That being said, this thing is starting to become an albatross. I know it's blasphemous but if there wouldn't be a 27' pit in my deck if I removed it, I think it would be leaving. We didn't get out in it much this year due to my school schedule and my husband's work schedule, but my daughter does enjoy it. I keep thinking how nice it will be for her when she's a bit older, which is what gets me through the maintenance... which is not so bad when it's not pouring rain and screwing up my pH and chlorine levels. If we can get this liner change under our belts and change out the sand again, it should be a while till we need to do any more serious repair/replacement work. I'm hoping as long as the fresh water gets a good start, it will stay stable.
Thanks for reading, sorry for the book.