Advice on closing a leaking, vinyl in-ground salt-water pool


Sep 13, 2009

We inherited the pool last year when we bought the house and I would still consider us newbie-learners, so all advice is appreciated.

We have an 18x36, in-ground, vinyl-lined, salt-water pool. We are planning to replace the liner next spring. The current liner is probably close to 10 years old, all faded-out and has been patched once (big patch). I don't think the patch is leaking, but water is getting out somewhere at the rate of about an inch every four days or so. I'm tired of fooling with it and just want to replace it.

We are in the Metro Atlanta area, so ice is not as big of a concern as it is up north; however, I do want to protect the pump/filter equipment. Last year, I just enclosed the pump/filter in a "box" of foam wall board with a 100 watt light inside and it kept the temp above 50 inside there all winter long. We also didn't close the pool and just ran the pump during the coldest hours of the night to protect the pipes.

But this winter, I don't even want to burn the electricity running a pump on a pool we can't use and are going to re-line anyway.

Given that next spring's pool opening will involved replacing the liner, my plan to close the pool is to blow out & plug the lines, drain & protect the pump, filter & skimmer. But, I don't plan to do anything with the water quality as far as ph levels or shocking, etc. I'm not even going to bother covering it up, mainly because we don't even own a pool cover - even though I'll have to get the leaves & large debris out of the pool every few days or so over the winter.

But I have a nagging feeling that, due to lack of pool experience, I might be overlooking something or shooting myself in the foot by ignoring water quality over the winter.

Advice? Comments? Dire Warnings?

Thanks in advance,
JD Hood
Newnan, GA


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 4, 2009
Welcome to TFP. If you properly blow out the lines and winterize/drain your pump/filter you should be all set. Not covering the pool may drive the need to clear a bunch of muck before you can replace your liner, but that's a personal choice. Also, are you sure it is the liner leaking vs pool plumbing?


Sep 13, 2009
dmanb2b said:
Also, are you sure it is the liner leaking vs pool plumbing?
Thanks! TFP looks to be the Holy-Grail of pool knowledge!

The visible plumbing is (from all outward appearances) in great shape. I don't have any unaccounted moisture around the equipment. I don't know how to check the buried plumbing - I guess when I blow & plug the lines, if the water keeps dropping, then I know it's the liner. Either way, the liner has definitely seen better days. We don't know exactly how old the liner is, but the shallow end is completely faded out and the deep end isn't too far behind. The patch I put in last summer covered a hole that felt almost brittle. Also, we haven't turned the pump on and put pressure on the lines since last week and the loss seems to be about the same.

As for the muck potential, I've got the skim-net/leaf-rake and a "leaf-eater" vac that I can use to keep the visible crud out of the pool, which shouldn't be too bad to stay on top of -- about once a week chore if last winter is a reliable example. If the water starts to turn, would adding a jug or two of bleach (when needed) keep it from becoming soup?

Also, presuming the leak continues, what's the minimum water level for a vinyl pool? Rather, is there some point where the integrity of the walls or floor might be compromised if the water level drops too far for too long? Or, can I just let it leak all it wants over the winter?

I don't want to sound like a slob, but if it's going to be drained & re-lined next spring, I don't want to waste time maintaining it over the winter if it's only for "looks". However, if it's going to damage something or cost extra $$ next spring, then I'll do whatever I need to do - and for that, I'm *very* open to suggestions.

Thanks again!
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