How Long Can You Leave a Pool Empty?

Affiliate Disclosure: When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

How Long Can You Leave a Pool Empty

As the swimming season ends and winter sets in, some pool owners will prefer to drain the pool to make maintenance more manageable since it will not be in use for several months.

However, emptying your swimming pool is not always a good idea. Therefore, before you decide to drain your pool, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of its pros and cons and its effects on your specific pool type.

Why You Shouldn’t Empty Your Pool 

Pools are not designed to be empty, so draining yours can have adverse consequences as there will be nothing to keep the structure weighed down.

Without the weight from the water, some pools can cave in while others can pop out of the ground. Additionally, leaving your pool empty for an extended period can also damage the paving around the pool or the decks.

Besides compromising the structural integrity of the swimming pool, an extended pool drain can also cause problems for other things like electronics and cleaning or filtration systems. What’s more, an empty pool means the pool finish will dry out and crack or start flaking.

However, the actual issue your swimming pool will develop when you leave it empty depends on the specific type.

How Long Can You Leave an Inground Pool Empty? 

If you have to drain your inground pool, the overall consensus is that you should leave it empty for the shortest amount of time possible.

However, the actual time you can leave the pool empty depends on the specific type. Here is an overview of how long you should leave different inground pool types empty.

1. Concrete Pools

Concrete swimming pools are highly durable, which is why they are the most popular option. These pools are highly robust and are designed to handle the weight of the soil around them.

However, leaving a concrete pool empty can still cause problems. When you expose concrete surfaces to direct sun and other elements, they can crack and fade. That said, you can leave concrete pools empty for more extended periods than most other types.

2. Fiberglass Pools

Given how lightweight fiberglass pools can be, they are more prone to popping out of the ground if you leave them empty for a long time.

Some will be anchored in place during backfilling, but this is often not enough to prevent them from popping out when empty. Therefore, it is best not to empty a fiberglass pool without first talking to an expert. If you have to do it, make sure it is only for a few minutes.

3. Vinyl-Lined Pools

Vinyl-lined pools have plastic, vinyl, or steel plates and a vinyl lining. These pool types will not withstand being empty, and in case you have to drain them, you need to use special bracing to keep the pool in place and make sure you only leave them empty for only a few hours.

How Long Can You Leave an Above Ground Pool Empty?

There is no risk of above ground pools popping out like the inground types since they are already above the ground. However, it is still not a good idea to empty your above ground pool as this can also have problems.

Some of the common issues with emptying an above ground pool include liner shrinkage as it is exposed to the elements and changes in pressure. Also, the liner and other delicate fixtures on your above ground pool can get damaged as you fill-up the pool again.

Avoid emptying an above ground pool unless you plan to take apart the entire structure and store the components during the off-season.

Also, when taking apart an above ground pool, make sure you dry the materials properly and keep them in a conducive space where they will not develop mold or mildew.

However, it is always better to cover your above ground pool during the off-season instead of emptying the water.

With a good cover and a reliable winterizing kit like the In The Swim Pool Winterizing Kit, you can keep the pool in great shape during the winter off-season without having to leave it empty.

Bottom Line 

Emptying your swimming pool seems like a great idea when you want to close the pool for the off-season. However, it is not always the best move as it can cause more problems for your pool.

Depending on the pool type you have, leaving it empty can cause cracks on the surface, damage the liner, and ruin other things like pool lights and the filtration system. Therefore, it is always better to avoid leaving the pool empty.