Did I ruin my pool?


New member
May 30, 2017

First time homeowner here. Last winter, I drained my pool about halfway to prepare for winter. I know that draining an above ground pool completely is a no-no, but I was told by everyone to drain it at least a little more than halfway, because our winters are freezing here.

I did just that.

The mistake I made was not cover the pool so now there's a carpet of dead leaves at the bottom. I spent two days trying to scoop them out with my little net on a stick and obviously that took forever and I gave up.

Before doing that though, I drained the pool even more, leaving maybe one or two feet of water only and it's been that way for a few days (since this weekend). I checked on the water today and I noticed that the liner seems to be "unstuck" from the actual pool. I don't remember if it was always like that or if I've just ruined my liner and I need a new one.

Here is a video: VID_20170530_200331 - Streamable

Did I mess up?

I'm currently filling the pool back up, mostly out of paranoia from reading stuff online. Although the water is still dark green and has debris at the bottom. I'd rather a very dirty pool than a ruined pool right now.

If not and I don't need to buy a whole new liner, I really need some help figuring out how to clean all the leaves at the bottom. Do I just have to go with the small net and do it over several weekends? That's going to suck. I bought one of those "leaf gulpers" and it didn't help, if anything it takes even longer because I have to keep emptying the net which gets clogged by the gross goo.

My plan was to empty it as much as possible then it'll be easy to literally go in it with rain boots and scoop out the leaves. But I'm reading I really shouldn't do that.

I even called someone that was supposed to come clean it today but they didn't show up, so now I'm pretty exasperated.

Any help much appreciated.


May 28, 2017
In the future I'd recommend to put a cover over your pool and drain just about 6" below slimmer.

I vacuumed my pool when I opened it by filling the pool all the way up, hooking a vacuum up to the skimmer with the filter on waste. That way the leaves bypass the filter.

For the record this is only my second summer with a pool and I'm still learning.


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 12, 2009
NW Ohio
Welcome to TFP!

That looks normal to me, but you do not want to drain the water level any further. What you want is a leaf rake, a scoop-style net instead of a flat skimming net. That should help speed things up a bit. But all of those leaves need to be removed. No two ways about it.

Don't bother trying to vacuum the leaves out, it will be slower and more work than netting them out. And definitely don't try bypassing the baskets, you will end up getting leaves clogged up in the impeller. At best that will be a pain to remove, at worst you could damage your pump.


Active member
Aug 26, 2016
Chapmansboro, Tn
Karl, the water will hold your liner against the pool wall when it's full. Liner look's fine. You need a leaf scoop net, maybe a pair of waders and scoop the junk out. When I drain my above ground pool for the winter, I only drain a couple of inches below the skimmer.


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
Houston, Texas
Your liner should be fine, unfortunately the only way to clean out the leaves is a pool rake and a lot of elbow grease.


Bronze Supporter
Jul 2, 2015
Hamilton Michigan
Yup leaf rake is the way to go. I went thru that a month ago. Water was so bad I couldnt even see where the leaves were hiding on the bottom. Because it was still pretty cold here I had time to do it slowly. Spent about 20-30 minutes a day scooping then went off to do other things. Once I was midway in a SLAM I was able to see enough to pinpoint what areas needed to be scooped again.